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Old 10-17-2013, 01:17 AM   #1
carpetfilter
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Join Date: Oct 2013
Untouched strings resonating

I've been practicing on a Fender Strat for the last several months (new to guitar) and I notice a lot of unwanted sound from unplayed strings. Much of this is me being rather sloppy with my fret hand, and I'm working on that along with palm muting to get those unwanted sounds under control. But sometimes completely untouched strings begin to vibrate, not with their normal open note, but matching the note of another plucked string. As if they're playing a harmonic all on their own.

For example, if I pluck the open high E string, both the low E and A strings will ring out, in a high E sound, even if completely untouched. A similar thing happens with other notes and strings.

I've been looking around the net for advice, and while most of it comes down to muting strings you don't want to ring, there seems to be little talk about my specific issue. Maybe I just don't know what to call it so I'm not finding the discussions?

I am wondering if the floating tremolo is conducting vibrations from one string to another, and I'm considering docking it for now since I don't use the tremolo (yet).

Any thoughts?
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Old 10-17-2013, 03:51 AM   #2
innovine
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Congratulations, you have discovered Sympathetic Resonance (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sympathetic_resonance)
The vibration from the plucked string travels through the bridge and nut into the neck and body, and into the unplucked strings. Some of these can start to vibrate in sympathy (depends on the frequencies of the notes being played). Well spotted that the low E and A ring with the high E. Docking the tremelo probably won't do much (might actually make it worse - the floating action might dampen the transfer...).

When playing on the higher strings, I tend to use the side or heel of my hand to mute the lower strings to prevent this, and when playing lower strings, I tend to use my fingers on my left hand to mute the higher strings.

Interestingly, the same physical phenomenon is used by Sitars and such to produce the droning accompaniment sounds.. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sympathetic_string

Last edited by innovine : 10-17-2013 at 03:59 AM.
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Old 10-17-2013, 04:45 AM   #3
Zaphod_Beeblebr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carpetfilter
I've been looking around the net for advice, and while most of it comes down to muting strings you don't want to ring, there seems to be little talk about my specific issue. Maybe I just don't know what to call it so I'm not finding the discussions?


What more if there to talk about? You can't fight physics.

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Old 10-18-2013, 12:01 AM   #4
carpetfilter
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Awesome, thanks for the info! Now that I know it's normal, I'm fine with it I'll just mute the strings - gotta get better at that.
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