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Tone Production
 

Tone Production

You’ve probably had the experience of hearing a great guitarist with a distinctive tone and wondering how it is achieved. You can buy the same instrument, play under the same conditions, and still come nowhere near equalling the sound that she or he achieves.

The magic of the classical guitar rests very much in the tone quality produced by the player, and as with the violin there can be distinctive differences in the tone produced by leading players. It is often surprising to find how much this individual quality can survive changes of instrument, and how a really good player can extract an amazing quality from a humble violin or guitar.

Frederick Noad learns the trick.

At the heart of quality tone production is the way the rest and free strokes are performed, as introduced in Chapter 7. With the rest stroke some of the factors involved are these:

  1. Is the string made to vibrate vertically or horizontally in relation to the soundboard? It makes a distinct difference, and usually the more vertical vibration is preferable.
  2. Where is the note played in relation to the bridge or sound hole? Closer to the bridge, the sound will be more metallic. In contrast, the roundest sound will be achieved if the string is played at a point halfway between the left-hand fretting finger and the bridge. Try this out to hear the difference:

First, play the note near the bridge and pull the finger across in a free stroke that just clears the second string, vibrating the string in a plane parallel to the top of the guitar.

Now, with the same note prepared, play a rest stroke over the sixteenth fret, pressing the string down so that the vibration is as vertical as possible. Notice the considerable difference. For an even sweeter sound, play the same A at the tenth fret of the second string. Play your rest stroke at a point halfway between the tenth fret and the bridge, and press the string down for the roundest sound.


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ЧЕСНОКОВ Юрий Борисович (р . 1933), российский волейболист, заслуженный мастер спорта (1960), заслуженный тренер СССР (1976). Чемпион Олимпийских игр (1964), мира (1960, 1962), СССР (неоднократно в 1954-66).