History and Working Principles of Electric Guitars

History and Working Principles of Electric Guitars
History and Working Principles of Electric Guitars

The most important common point of many music genres that we listen to every day today is their instruments. If we take a look at these musical instruments, electric guitars, one of the newest among them, are unlikely to catch our attention. So how does this cool instrument, which plays an important role in almost every song today, work? What is the physics behind these guitars? The subject of this article will be the history and working principle of electric guitars.
Although the development and diversification of electric guitars was in the 1960s, the history of the invention of the electric guitar dates back to the 1900s. The foundations of electric guitars were laid in the early 1900s thanks to the magnetic mechanism designed by Paul Tutmarc, a musician who was keen on electronics, inspired by telephone circuits.

Paul Tutmarc
Paul Tutmarc, Father of the electric guitar

The mechanism Tutmarc designed was basically to amplify the vibration in the guitar strings. With the development of this mechanism, the story of the guitars we know in the modern sense began. This design was then developed by George Beauchamp by adding an extra magnet. Beauchamp took the electric guitar design he developed to Adolph Richenbacker, a Swiss electronic engineer. Richenbacker was impressed by the design developed by Beauchamp and formed a company with Beauchamp to produce guitars with this mechanism. Other inventors of his time, inspired by this mechanism, made different guitar designs and founded companies such as Gibson and presented these designs to the market. Of course, problems were noticed in the guitars designed in this period and efforts were made to correct them. If we give an example, we can mention a problem that was noticed in the Les Paul ES-1950 type safe in the 150s.

An example of a problematic design (Les Paul ES)
An example of a problematic design (Les Paul ES-150)

In the design of this safe, the safe is kept large and a space is left inside its body. This design caused distortions in the sound of the guitar from time to time, and for this reason, the design was changed, the size of the case was reduced and the space inside was removed. In fact, the biggest difference in the appearance of electric guitar and acoustic guitar is due to the dimensions of the cases and the space between them. Then, over time, electric guitars; It is diversified with equipment such as various bridge types, fret numbers and tremolo arm. In these periods when electric guitars began to diversify, electric guitars became famous around the world and became an indispensable equipment for musical genres such as metal music in the world.
If we talk about the working principle of electric guitars, we can basically say that electric guitars work with electromagnetic induction. Although electromagnetic induction is not a concept that most of us will encounter in daily life, it actually has many places in daily life. For example, if you have previously ridden a bicycle with a dynamo attached to its wheel and any equipment of the bicycle is powered by that dynamo, we can say that the dynamo works with electromagnetic induction, similar to the work of the magnets of electric guitars. This system is provided by the magnetics and metal wires on the electric guitars.

single coil guitar pickup
An example of magnetic designs used on electric guitars (Single coil guitar pickup)

The magnets on the electric guitar create a constant magnetic field, including the metal strings. This constant magnetic field created by the magnets is changed by the metal strings as the guitar starts to be played, thus creating an electric flow in the coils wrapped around the magnets. It is a fundamental physics law that a changing magnetic field creates an electric current and is called Faraday's Law. However, although an electric current is produced in the guitar, this current created is much lower than the current required to create the sound we are accustomed to hearing from the guitar. For this reason, this current from the guitar is connected to the speaker after it has been amplified by a series of electrical circuits and amplifiers to power the speaker.

Marshall DSLc Model One Amp
An example of today's commonly used amplifiers: Marshall DSL5c Model One Amp

It is almost impossible to hear the sound of any guitar without an amp. For this reason, it doesn't make much sense to play an electric guitar without an amp. After all these circuits are established, the only thing left is to listen to a guitar played by guitarists. These are the events that take place in this period from the generation of current in the guitar to the sound of the sound.

Although we aim to provide basic information about the electric guitar, one of the revolutionary inventions of the 20th century, in this article, there are many different parts and more than one magnetic type and design used in electric guitars. Each of these are topics that are so subtle that they can be the subject of an article on their own. For this reason, more detailed articles can be written about the parts of the electric guitar and the laws of physics that make it work, if there is more content request on such topics. In case of such a request, you can specify your wishes and if you have question marks in your mind, you can specify your questions in the comments section. Finally, if we talk about electric guitars, electric guitars are a legendary musical instrument that has been arguably one of the best inventions of the 20th century and has become an indispensable part of new musical genres. Without this musical instrument, many genres in music would perhaps never have emerged, and perhaps the music industry would not have become so popular. For this reason, we are glad that we had the chance to get to know a legend in music such as the electric guitar.



📩 03/06/2023 23:07