#1
I just got my first acoustic guitar with electronics built in and took it with me to the practice studio last night. My buddy who plays drums is quite heavy handed, so I had to crank up the volume quite a bit.

I found that the guitar was prone to getting some real nasty, relatively-low frequency feedback whenever I turned up the amp or PA system (I tried it through both). Whenever the feedback got going, the guitar shook kinda violently. Is this vibration potentially harmful to the guitar?
#3
No.

Your guitar is meant to vibrate - how else will sound travel?

That feedback should be fine, as the guitar is designed to vibrate, but to be safe, you should take measure to prevent the feedback.
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#4
Perhaps... Your guitar is resonating on the same frequency as the feedback I guess ? But I don't see a lot of problems there.(experts needed)
#6
Quote by zlef666
probably not bad for the guitar, but it might be for the amp


+1
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#7
try standing farther away from the amp i had the same problem with my acoustic-electric try to point to guitars soundhole away from the amp and it may help abit other then that if you got a gain control turn that down abit too
#8
Not my amp (belongs to the studio), so I'm not worried about that.

I realize the guitar is meant to vibrate, but this was much more substantial than the amount of vibration caused by just playing it - that's why it concerned me.
#9
Runaway harmonic resonance can destroy pretty much every construction, no matter how strong and durable, so I would certainly be concerned, even though wood is extremely tough when it comes to handling repeated bending stress. The laquer might crack though, and glued joints might fail. Not the first minute perhaps, but in the long run.

You could try a soundhole sourdine, apart from what matto_woah suggested. And ask your drummer to ease off a bit. Playing (together with) amplified acoustic instruments does require some sensitivity.
Of course it can be that the type of music is simply too heavy for an acoustic. In that case you're fit for a solid axe.
#10
Quote by Marcel Veltman
Runaway harmonic resonance can destroy pretty much every construction, no matter how strong and durable, so I would certainly be concerned, even though wood is extremely tough when it comes to handling repeated bending stress. The laquer might crack though, and glued joints might fail. Not the first minute perhaps, but in the long run.

You could try a soundhole sourdine, apart from what matto_woah suggested. And ask your drummer to ease off a bit. Playing (together with) amplified acoustic instruments does require some sensitivity.
Of course it can be that the type of music is simply too heavy for an acoustic. In that case you're fit for a solid axe.


Thanks for your help. What you said is pretty much what I thought on a gut level. The resonance didn't go on all that long, so I figured no harm done at this point. But I can't imagine anything can sustain that sort of resonance for long periods of time without getting damaged.

I have a couple solid body guitars, this is just my first time with an acoustic-electric. You're definitely right though that this particular drummer is just a bad match for anything acoustic.
#11
Here's a good practice for any band:

Play with everything(EVERYTHING. guitars, bass, etc.) turned down except the mics for vocals. Let the drums play as normally.

Can you all still play through a song without messing up the timing?

If yes, your band is amazing at listening to each other and keeping together. Great.

If no, your band needs to learn to listen to each other. Turn down the volume when needed while keeping the intensity.

The true test of a good band is whether or not they can still keep together without any amplification. Drummers usually need the most practice with this since they usually hit harder than they need to.
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#12
Quote by Marcel Veltman
Runaway harmonic resonance can destroy pretty much every construction, no matter how strong and durable, so I would certainly be concerned, even though wood is extremely tough when it comes to handling repeated bending stress. The laquer might crack though, and glued joints might fail. Not the first minute perhaps, but in the long run.


You have the right idea, but for an acoustic guitar there is not even a chance that feedback could do any noticeable harm. Consider the fact that while feedback does cause the body to vibrate, you're also strumming which is a MUCH more strenuous load.

The only possible way to destroy your instrument from feedback would be to get an OUTRAGEOUSLY powerful amp to send an absolute hurricane of sound. The main problem with that though is you're eardrums and internal organs would be severely damaged.

Keep the volume down and keep your hearing safe. Other than that, the guitar will survive.
Last edited by GC Shred Off at Nov 12, 2008,
#13
Quote by GC Shred Off
You have the right idea, but for an acoustic guitar there is not even a chance that feedback could do any noticeable harm. Consider the fact that while feedback does cause the body to vibrate, you're also strumming which is a MUCH more strenuous load.

The only possible way to destroy your instrument from feedback would be to get an OUTRAGEOUSLY powerful amp to send an absolute hurricane of sound. The main problem with that though is you're eardrums and internal organs would be severely damaged.

Keep the volume down and keep your hearing safe. Other than that, the guitar will survive.


Please allow me to disagree. If your acoustic catches a really severe feedback, you can clearly feel and even see the amplitude being much bigger than during normal playing. It's quite scary actually.
And the signal that arouses feedback doesn't at all need to be strong. It is the timing that does the trick, not necessarily the force. A powerfull agitator will make the amplitude build up much faster, but a weak harmonic input will eventually be just as effective.

I do agree however that people at the scene are more endangered then the instruments. It's most unlikely that a guitar suffers any damage, simply because some overstressed human will pull the plug first.
#14
Quote by Marcel Veltman
Please allow me to disagree. If your acoustic catches a really severe feedback, you can clearly feel and even see the amplitude being much bigger than during normal playing. It's quite scary actually.
And the signal that arouses feedback doesn't at all need to be strong. It is the timing that does the trick, not necessarily the force. A powerfull agitator will make the amplitude build up much faster, but a weak harmonic input will eventually be just as effective.


I suppose if the sound hits the natural frequency of the guitar it could cause dangerous vibration, but assuming the he is holding onto the guitar (and damping the strings and top to stop the feedback as most people do) there is little to worry about.

Whatever the case, loud feedback is bad for your ears and damaging your hearing should be the main concern.
#16
Quote by SeeEmilyPlay
I have never heard of feedback damaging a guitar!
Aren't they meant to handle that sort of thing???


Yes, they are made to handle as much as much as you can. No need to worry.
#18
In the studio, you should never be monitoring through the same speakers that are being recorded. The monitoring is usually through headphones. If doing a live recording, then the studio should have "goboes" or go-betweens, which are moveable barriers that are used to isolate the sound source from the monitor and provide separation, but you'd likely still be monitoring through headphones.

There's no way that, in a studio environment, you should have to deal with feedback.

And to answer the question, I suppose it's theoretically possible to damage a guitar with it's own feedback, but the levels required to do this would far surpass the threshold of pain, generally accepted as 120dB, or about the volume of a jet airliner taking off, heard at close range. I think you would have to really be TRYING to get a guitar to self-destruct this way...ever watch that show "Brainiac" where they try out destructive experiments...blowing up travel trailers and the like? This would be a good one for them.
#19
Well yeah.. Theoretically it's possible to destroy a guitar with it's own feedback, but if you were playing the guitar, you would be seriously injured before that could occur.
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- Art & Lutherie Cedar CW (SOLD! )
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- Seagull 25th Anniversary Flame Maple w/ LR Baggs Micro EQ

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#20
Quote by WaltTheWerewolf
is this a cheap acoustic? i noticed cheaper acoustic-electrics feedbacked horribly, especially the
really cheap inbanez ones, but this was in a small practice space so bigger setting could be different with more room for the sound to go perhaps.


No, it's not a cheap acoustic at all - that's why I got so nervous. It's a Breedlove Pro D25/SR.
#21
Quote by maxtheaxe
In the studio, you should never be monitoring through the same speakers that are being recorded...


This was in a practice studio, not a recording studio. I live in LA, so most people live in apartments or condos and it's not really feasible to practice with a drummer at someone's residence. This drummer is a particularly loud drummer, which is why I usually have to crank my guitars up quite a bit when I play with him.
#22
Quote by GC Shred Off
I suppose if the sound hits the natural frequency of the guitar it could cause dangerous vibration, but assuming the he is holding onto the guitar (and damping the strings and top to stop the feedback as most people do) there is little to worry about.

Whatever the case, loud feedback is bad for your ears and damaging your hearing should be the main concern.


The feedback through the PA system was not actually resonating through the strings, it was the wood of the guitar itself that was resonating. That's why it freaked me out. I couldn't damp it from the strings, I had to apply pressure to the saddle to damp it and even that didn't work that well, so I wound up unplugging it. I turned it down, tried to play with the levels on the PA and stay as far away as my cable would let me go, but once the drummer started, the first hit on the drum would start the feedback up again (the mics weren't even on).

We switched over to a guitar amp and that made things better. I still got feedback, but instead of the nasty wood vibration, it was mostly just feeding back on the low-E string.
Last edited by jreikes at Nov 14, 2008,
#23
PSSST. Theres a edit function. Please try not to triple post.
Equipment:
- Art & Lutherie Cedar CW (SOLD! )
- Martin D-16RGT w/ LR Baggs M1 Active Soundhole Pickup
- Seagull 25th Anniversary Flame Maple w/ LR Baggs Micro EQ

Have an acoustic guitar? Don't let your guitar dry out! Click here.
#24
I'm certainly no pro when it comes to recording and live performances, but I am a bit surprised that no ones mentioned or suggested that you try a feedback buster. It's a soundhole cover that slips right into the soundhole of the guitar and helps dampen down the amount of feedback acoustics are notorius for generating when playing live. I would expect them to work the best when using an under-saddle pickup. Doubtful you'd get the same benefit if the guitar is mic'ed internally, but like I said, I'm no pro in this area. At any rate, here's a pic of some nice ones if you're interested in checking them out:

#25
Quote by jreikes
No, it's not a cheap acoustic at all - that's why I got so nervous. It's a Breedlove Pro D25/SR.


someone else mentioned some of those soundhole covers to reduce feedback, the ones he pictured were great ones i think...just stay away from the completely rubber ones because they are a pain to get in.
#26
Nah, the completely rubber ones are fine to get in. Those are actually the best soundhole covers since they cover everything.
Equipment:
- Art & Lutherie Cedar CW (SOLD! )
- Martin D-16RGT w/ LR Baggs M1 Active Soundhole Pickup
- Seagull 25th Anniversary Flame Maple w/ LR Baggs Micro EQ

Have an acoustic guitar? Don't let your guitar dry out! Click here.