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Re: Slide guitar - acoustics question

Right, the slide acts as a string shortener as does a fret, not as a damper. This neat trick sets both sides of the damper vibrating, then the slide simultaneously lengthens one side of the vibrating string while shortening the other.


On Mar 22 2007, Cornelia Fales wrote:

Thanks, Martin - we thought of that, except that it has something to do with the slide(r) itself, since we tried it sliding the finger instead of the slide(er), and neither our ears nor the spectrograph indicated a falling gliss.


Martin Braun wrote:
Dear Nina and List,

by damping (touching) a vibrating string in the middle of its length you get two vibrating half-strings.

Now if you slide the damping finger, one half get shorter producing a rising gliss and the other half gets longer producing a falling gliss.

The falling gliss is much softer, because a string section that gets longer increases in mass and thus dramatically decreases in vibration amplitude.

You might like to have your students find the solutions themselves by various double damping experiments.


Martin Braun
Neuroscience of Music
S-671 95 Klässbol
web site: http://w1.570.telia.com/~u57011259/index.htm

----- Original Message ----- From: "Cornelia Fales" <cfales@xxxxxxxxxxx> To: <AUDITORY@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> Sent: Wednesday, March 21, 2007 11:14 PM Subject: Slide guitar - acoustics question

Hello List,

Can anyone explain this slide guitar technique?

1) Lightly damp a single guitar string at, say, half its length to get the harmonic pitch an octave above the open string pitch (ie, interfering with the fundamental and odd modes of vibration),
2) Replace your damping finger with a steel slide at the same damping pressure, and slide it up the neck to some point along the neck.
The result is the expected ascending glissando from the beginning harmonic pitch to the pitch at the end of the glide, but also a fainter descending glissando that moves at the same speed and distance as the stronger ascending glissando. The downward glissando is easily audible with practice - more so if the rising harmonics are filtered out - and is also clearly visible on a spectrogram.

My students and their teacher have two questions: 1) if the slide really maintains the same pressure as the original damping finger, then theoretically its movement doesn't change the length of the string or the fundamental, but must instead be interfering with different vibration modes as it slides upward. So how does it produce a (chromatic) glissando?
2) what accounts for the descending glissando?

Thanks for any insights.

Nina Fales

Anthony J Watkins Department of Psychology, School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences,
The University of Reading, Reading, RG6 6AL, UK. phone: +44 (0)118-378-7559; fax: +44 (0)118-378-6715 home page: http://www.personal.rdg.ac.uk/~syswatkn/home.html
email: syswatkn@xxxxxxxxxxxxx