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Dusty observation


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I just realized that just a little bit of dust on my acoustic guitar dampens the resonance..

 

After cleaning it with some "Pledge" wood cleaner stuff (which I've always done ever since a wee lad) I noticed that my guitar was brighter, and seemed to resonate further into space...

 

Just barely enough for my brain to notice the minor difference.

 

This is possible, right? I'm not just hallucinating?

 

:)

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I really notice a difference.

My guitars are NEVER dirty. But occasionally there's dust and sand all over them and I find it amazing that I can feel and hear a difference between sandy dusty guitar and clean guitar.

I met a schizo in Sarasota the other day who told me all about his wonderful guitars that he's smashed on that pole over there...

 

A guitar is not something you toss out of anger. No instrument is.

 

Throw yourself. The message is just as loud and you can feel it. :P

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  • 6 months later...

I still stand by my assertion that dust does not affect resonance, but I'll add Boerseun's caveat that a certain amount begins to play a role. I suppose if it was out of control it would, but in most circumstances this would not be the case.

 

To introduce some science into the discussion, at what level does dust play a role in influencing resonance? How can we quantify the effect?

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All I know is when my acoustic is dusty and or sandy it sounds dampened and does not project as stronger or as further as my acoustic when it's completely clean.

 

That's all I know. I can feel this. Maybe my alvarez is sensitive to these things?

 

It doesn't matter how dirty my les paul is. It's a solid plank of wood. Dust doesn't affect that thing at all.

 

I believe anything that comes in contact with the surface of the acoustic projector (the wooden body of an acoustic guitar) be it a sticker, or paint, or dust, or sand,

dampends the resonance.

 

My only proof is my ears.

 

What kind of hardware/software would you need to test the notion?

 

I'm either insane, or sensitive. Can't quite figure it out yet :hihi:

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All I know is when my acoustic is dusty and or sandy it sounds dampened and does not project as stronger or as further as my acoustic when it's completely clean.

 

If you place your guitar face up and flat on the ground and pour a bunch of sand on top of the soundboard, you will definitely hear a difference. I just question being able to hear a difference when you have a 1mm buildup of dust on a part of the strings. Sure it affects it in some way, but can you hear it?

That's all I know. I can feel this. Maybe my alvarez is sensitive to these things?[/quote

 

Feeling and knowing are different. An Alvarez would be just as sensitive as a Les Paul.

It doesn't matter how dirty my les paul is. It's a solid plank of wood. Dust doesn't affect that thing at all.

 

Why not?

I believe anything that comes in contact with the surface of the acoustic projector (the wooden body of an acoustic guitar) be it a sticker, or paint, or dust, or sand, dampens the resonance.

 

Ok, I'll concede that, but by what quantifiable amount?

 

My only proof is my ears.

Can I borrow your ears to test this theory out? ;)

 

What kind of hardware/software would you need to test the notion?

Aha! Great question! Unfortunately, the answer is not so simple.

To be scientific, all variables except those being tested must remain static. Hence, the attack and release must be consistent. Show me one guitar player that can do this, there's no such thing. So we need an analog machine capable of consistent hits....

 

I suppose an analog machine that could be triggered from midi could work. We could create an automated plectrum that would strike a string with a certain amount of force consistently. Once the "virgin" recording is set, the experiment would begin by placing small masses (stickers, tape, paint) at various points on the soundboard. Separate experiments would incorporate sand and dust spread evenly across the wood, carefully avoiding the soundhole and bridge. Oscilloscopes (analog) and FFT (digital) analysis would provide the experimental evidence. ;)

 

I'm either insane, or sensitive. Can't quite figure it out yet :D

 

I'd go with insane, but that's just me. :)

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wow. great post.

 

OK.

All I know is when my instrument is hollow and relies on acoustics to project it's vibes it is dampened by what is touching the outside of the acoustic walls.

I know this is a fact.

 

Maybe if I had a neuman u87 I could record a before and after and you could see for yourself. (My rode NTK I don't think could do the trick??)

 

I think sand is more of a factor here than dust.

Tiny rocks stopping my wood from vibrating!

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All I know is when my instrument is hollow and relies on acoustics to project it's vibes it is dampened by what is touching the outside of the acoustic walls.

I know this is a fact.

 

Of course, I use my hand to mute the soundboard, but it's quite a bit more massive than dust or sand.

Maybe if I had a neuman u87 I could record a before and after and you could see for yourself. (My rode NTK I don't think could do the trick??)

The NTK should be great for a test. It doesn't matter what mic you use.

I think sand is more of a factor here than dust.

Tiny rocks stopping my wood from vibrating!

 

I had a Yamaha classical guit that was given to me by a friend. I traveled the US with that guitar and managed to collect some sand in the hollow from my travels along the California coast. The total amount, from estimation, would not be more than 1/2 cup. I didn't hear any difference in the sound. Nonetheless, that sand was always cool to hear when I would pick up the guitar to play, or set it down. I could feel it in that sense, but it wouldn't affect the resonance, as far as my ears could tell.

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Alright.

 

So we have conflicting opinions.

 

We need a way to measure this other than my insane ears!

 

I promise that when I get some new acoustic strings I will restring my acoustic, let them settle and stretch,

then I'll take it out to beach and play with the drummers.

I will leave this sandy guitar up 'gainst my wall for a few days to collect dust,

then I will record the instrument in a designated spot with a designated microphone placed specifically for this experiment.

 

After this is recorded

I will clean my guitar thoroughly

and record again from the same spot,

with the same mic position.

 

I will make sure everything is as constant as possible for this experiment.

It might be a couple weeks, but I really want to record this.

 

Do you want to conduct a similar experiment from your perspective?

 

dream sweet.

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Here's the problem: To measure the effect we have to have a consistent strum/pluck. This cannot be accomplished by human hands. I'll try and think of some easy way we can test without human-based error.

 

I fail to see why not.

You can elaborate some other time.

I'll be here all week. :)

Looking forward to it, for sure.

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