Essay, Research Paper: Guitar Players


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Jimmy Hendrix, Eddie VanHalen, B. B. King, Angus Young, Brian "Head"
Welch, Fletcher Dragge. What do all of these people have in common? They are all
guitar heroes in they're own styles of music. However, because of the different
styles of music they play, each guitarist mentioned above uses a different style
of guitar. The guitars different body styles and shape help mold the perfect
sound for the style you play. From sweet and warm, to loud and thrashing, the
guitar is one of the most versatile instruments and can be used for any style of
music. Most styles of music (and the legends who made that style famous) have a
specific guitar that embodies each genres sound. Jimmy Hendrix, a virtuoso of
the 60' era, played a Fender Stratocaster. Eddie VanHalen, know for his
innovative "tapping" style solos, Plays a custom peavey guitar called
a Wolfgang. B. B. King, a blues guitar legend, plays a signature model Gibson
Hollow body. Angus young, lead guitarist for AC/DC, plays a solid body Gibson SG.
Head, one of two guitar players for the band Korn, plays an Ibanez 7-string
model. Fletcher Dragge, a pioneer in the field of punk, plays a standard series
RG Ibanez. To those who don't play guitar these names may be unfamiliar, but to
those who play, these guitars cover most of the different sounds you can get out
of a guitar. One way a guitar sounds different than other models is the way it
is built. Depending on what kind of wood is used the sound can completely
change. Some examples of woods used for guitars are ash, pine, sandalwood,
rosewood, and maple. The more dense the wood is, the longer the sustain it has
(sustain is a term for how long the sound will carry from one attack). Also, the
lighter the wood, the brighter tone it has. The wood used for the fret board is
also important. Usually it is made of maple or rosewood. Each of these woods has
a different feel to it (it is more of a preference for one or the other as
opposed to it being a mater of how they sound). When a guitar is manufactured,
there are three ways of attaching the fretboard (or neck) of the guitar to the
body. The first style is a bolt-on neck. The fret board is literally bolted and
glued to the body of the guitar. This is the cheapest and quickest way to attach
the neck. Although it is the fastest and cheapest, guitars with a bolt-on neck
still get a great sound; even though you sacrifice some sustain. The second way
to attach the neck is called a set-neck style. The body has a slot that is the
same size as the end of the neck. They attach the neck using only glue. This
creates more contact between the neck and the body for a long sustain and a fat,
warm tone. The third style is not even a way to connect the neck to the body
(technically, it is a way to attach the body to the neck). It is called
neck-through body style. The neck of the guitar and the center section of the
body are one piece of wood. They then glue a "wing" to each side of
the center part of the body half of the guitar, creating a huge sustain, and an
amazing tone. This last process cost much more than the other two styles. The
body shape of a guitar is as important to the sound as is the way it is made. If
there are slight imperfections in the fretbord or the body, it can cause
problems with intonation. There are many different body styles that all
accommodate a different style of music. A hollow body or acoustic guitar has the
perfect sound for classical or folk music. A semi-hollow body guitar is used
mostly for blues or rockabilly. All other electric guitars sounds can be changed
to fit the style of music you wish to play. Most solid body guitars have the
same base tone. The difference in sound comes from the many kinds of pick-ups
used in the guitar, and how they are arranged. A pick-up is a set of magnets
that are used to read the vibrations of the strings. They then send the notes
you play through the cable to the amplifier. There are many different kinds of
pick-ups used in guitars. There are two main versions of a pick-up: a single
rail, and a humbucker. There are many versions of each kind. A single rail
pick-up has six bar magnets used to read the sound. They have a very bright
sound. The Humbucker pick-up was invented by Seymour Duncan to eliminate the
fuzz that was prominent in older Single rail pick-ups. They are twice as wide as
single rails. They contain a single wire that is wrapped around two sets of six
magnets. The wire is used to stop the buzzing (or "buck the hum" as
Seymour said it). The different combinations of single and humbucker pickups are
endless. The use of one and the other can result in some really different tone
qualities. Each style of music has it's own average pick-up combination.
Alternative rock usually sides with the humbucker/ two single setup because it
is so versatile. Harder rock players usually use two humbuckers for the fat and
warm tone. Punk and ska players tend to lean towards the single coil pick-ups
because of their bright tone. Another kind of pick-up is an active pickup. Most
pick-ups are passive, meaning that they take the power they need from the amp.
Active pick-ups use an internal battery. This allows for a fast response and a
hotter sound. The main reason people choose to use different models and pick-up
configuration is to mold and shape their own individual guitar sound. Finding
the perfect sound for your style of music is not tough, but putting your
personal touches on it can be frustrating. Many newer players are resorting to
"stomp boxes" (a.k.a. foot pedals or effects generators) to alter the
sound of their guitar. A good example of a guitarist that is breaking out of the
traditional way of using pedals is Wes Borland. He uses strings of pedals to
create new sounds that compliment his playing style. He has a sound that no
other guitar player can copy. He also plays on a seven-string guitar. He has
found the perfect sound for his style of music, a feat that takes many people an
entire career to accomplish.
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