# Note Frequency Theory

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Guitarfreak, Feb 4, 2010.

1. ### GuitarfreakWell-Known Member

The fundamental pitch is the part of the signal that peaks the highest in a frequency analyzer correct? Tell me I am not crazy, because somebody is trying to convince me that the fundamental is lower than the highest peak. Which makes some sense, but it's not the mantra that I have been following this whole time.

2. ### jg49Well-Known Member

Pretty simple to check it, record your A string open, check your analyzer, peak should be 440 hz plus or minus. I would bet the ranch that's what you'll get.

3. ### GuitarfreakWell-Known Member

Ahh jg, always a pleasure. That's exactly what I said. h/o maybe if I link to the convo... starts 2nd page-ish

http://forum.recordingreview.com/f8/essential-guitar-mod-26899/

4. ### BobRogersWell-Known Member

A harmonic note (as opposed to a "note" made by something like drum head) is the sum of sine waves with frequencies that are all integer multiples of a common frequency. That frequency is the fundamental. The fundamental does not have to have the highest amplitude of the sine waves being summed. In fact, it doesn't even have to be present in the sequence. (Though our brains will "fill it in" and hear the missing fundamental.)

5. ### BobRogersWell-Known Member

On a plucked guitar string the fundamental is certainly the highest peak if you pick by the twelfth fret, but it gets relatively lower as you pick closer to the bridge. If you could arbitrarily shape the initial position of the string you could get any spectrum you want, but that can't really be achieved in practice.

6. ### jg49Well-Known Member

Hey in a very unscientific analysis I recorded A, open guitar string and used voxengo span which is a free freq. analyzer and was suprised. the highest peak was around 110 and the second peak but just barely lower at 220. Since this was done with a cheap analyzer and set to real time it required my observation of the resultant peaks by eye so hardly conclusive but anyway....

In reference to the thread you linked, I don't know if there is a delay between the two pickups it would seem to me that there would not be, but there is definitely a difference in postion and the way it recieves the the second, third and fourth harmonics of the string

7. ### TheJackAttackDistinguished Member

The fundamental is not necessarily the strongest partial of any given note. Piano tuners have to deal with this all the time especially with short bass strings on spinets and small verticals. Inharmonicity is one of the factors which moves those partials around away from theoretical points. That said, there isn't much inharmonicity in a guitar or wind instrument but certain drums or chimes or bells are a whole other story.

Back to the subject at hand. The strength of various partials is actually what makes up the particular tone color/quality of an instrument-ie what makes a trumpet sound like a trumpet or a sax like a sax.

8. ### GuitarfreakWell-Known Member

Bahh, so then he's right about the low E string vibrating at 80Hz (Or around that?) I am guessing that this means that the second harmonic is dominant to the guitar's timbre? At least for the tone resulting from my picking location?

9. ### dvdhawkWell-Known Member

I know this great link has been tossed around in some other threads, because it is such a useful tool. Although it's not very detailed regarding the harmonic content, it really does a great job covering the fundamentals of a variety of instruments .

10. ### soapfloatsWell-Known Member

Sort of like a manual pickup/tone selector?

11. ### GuitarfreakWell-Known Member

Cool, thanks guys. As much as I love learning new things, that means that I was wrong and now I have to change that mindset because I've been thinking it wrong all along. See as common practice in all my guitar recordings I HP at 80Hz, when in theory since I downtune to C, I am losing a bit of the fundamental there. Also if the track needs it I make a small cut at the highest peak in the low mids, usually 130Hz. I always referred to that as lowering the fundamental, when in fact I was wrong all along. I guess 130Hz would indeed be the second order harmonic and 65Hz be the downtuned open C string fundamental yes?

12. ### jg49Well-Known Member

C 2 = 65.41 htz . A small reduction in the 120 hz or less seems to improve clarity when bass and kick are involved in the mix. Of course this really depends on where the bass player is playing on the neck his tuning and I am talking about rock here. Soloed though the guitar can lose some emphasis especially if playing rhythm with open chords (again this depends on neck position.) I find one of the more difficult keys to get a good handle on this is E major especially if the rhythm guitarist is using open E chords at the nut, it seems as though if the bass player uses any string above the low E and they are in the same octave and the possibility of mud or lack of definition exists. I find this gets worse as distortion is added to the individual instruments as is the want in most modern rock, the more heavily you distort both instruments the more they seem to blend amorphously. Certainly better tracks help but what I have been trying lately is to get one of the two instruments to clean up their sound profile some, it seems to me that the instrument with less distortion rides on top more, of course this is a delicate balance and often a hard line to sell to the player who seems to have the mindset of "this is what sounds good in the room." I have been experimenting a lot with reamping tracks after the recording sessions and have been having pretty good responses from the artists when they hear A/B comparisons during playback. I have had better results with guitar tracks I think mostly due to the fact that I am a guitarist myself and I am mostly foundering around with bass reamping though sometimes running a bass track back through a small guitar amp has produced some interesting results.
Anyway if you are using lowered tunings I would hope that your bass player is also especially if you are doing lower runs as otherwise the two instruments have less than an octave division bewtween them.

13. ### GuitarfreakWell-Known Member

As of this moment if I have need for a bass I program it. I don't have a bass and I don't have a bass player atm. But good news, I plan to get a bass sometime in the future to aid in my recordings! At which point I will tune the bass to mirror my guitar tuning. Reamping is fun stuff huh? I have been doing it for a few months now and if I ever do a recording without using a reamped DI track it is usually a non-serious recording which I deem a "jam", you have heard a few of these. What DI box do you use for your guitar and bass tracking?

14. ### DavedogDistinguished Member

Show me a distorted signal on a graph of any kind and I'll show you what the amp or the distortion device is doing....not the fundamental of the instrument.

At some point, scale length and temperment of the instrument becomes the deciding factor of the strength of the fundamental in a given note. Having frets limits the amount of overtones inherant to the instruments simply because there is a finite scale length no matter where you press the string down. Fretless instruments are a bit more complicated in their true resonance.

Do you have a capo? Try using it sometime when recording rhythm tracks, and use it up the neck while playing the chords to your song in different positions and fingerings. Mix them side by side and use the harmonic content of each one to fill out the backing parts.

An example would belike this.....Suppose your song is in the key of 'A'. Your rhythm passage involves chords in first position 'A'. (it doesnt matter whether you de-tune for this to work....this is just an example and is referring to neck positions) Anyway, you play this passage as written. Then you capo up to the second fret. Now play the same passage in first position 'G' fingering. Listen to them side by side. Superimpose them and mix together. There are several ways you can do this. The same song in the same key can be played , capo'd, at the fifth fret and played in first position 'E' or capo'd at the seventh fret and played in first position 'D'.

Each one, even though its the same chordal passage, will have a completely different set of dominant harmonic content due to scale length. Of course the pitch goes up, but the fundamentals you'll find with the analyizer will change as well. As will the strength of the harmonic content.

This is unique to fretted instruments.

15. ### jg49Well-Known Member

Hey Dog cool idea, sorta of what I do with inversions when playing second rhythm but I can see where the capo effect would change the harmonic structure. GF I think I am using the same Radial reamp box you have and I bought the Radial J 48 active DI.

16. ### GuitarfreakWell-Known Member

DD that is a really cool idea, I will have to try that the next time that I am playing something acoustic or using open chords. Thanks for the tip. BTW, I caught your pun about me being a metalhead, but I know enough to not examine the distorted waveform, I was of course referring to examinations of the dry DI input

jg, oh you went active? I was almost positive that you would be the passive JDI kind of guy. Haha, guess I was wrong. Why did you choose that particular box out of curiosity?

17. ### jg49Well-Known Member

I am not passive I am sedentary (which is code for old and slow.) What did Howling Wolf say "I'm built for comfort I ain't built for speed." I chose the J48 because the bass player in the group I often play with has an active bass with a hot preamp in it and this DI handles up to 9 v inputs, it also has some other features I thought were useful. Features include a -15dB pad, 180ยบ polarity reverse, a unique merge function to mix two signals to mono, an 80Hz high-pass rumble filter, and ground lift. It does require phantom power and does not unlike a lot of active DIs operate on battery power.

18. ### GuitarfreakWell-Known Member

Haha, cool deal bro. I am looking into the Countryman Type 85 myself. It doesn't have all those neat features that your unit has, but I've been told that it's the best sounding DI box for metal. Now I know that sounds like it's all hearsay, but I've heard this guy's tracks and his guitars sound tight as hell, perfect. Actually he is the guy that I am apprenticing under and the first and foremost reason why my guitar tracks sound a lot better now, in case you were wondering. I only thought you would use a passive box because they don't color the tone as much and seem to sound a bit 'spankier' with more headroom which I thought you would be interested in, but your reasoning about the active pickups is a good one. I would have done the same thing. Cool cool bro. That's pretty cool how your box is powered by phantom power, I'll have to see how the Countryman is powered because in my head I thought that I would have to plug it into the wall or something, but now I see that I will have to ask my guitar master next time I talk to him

19. ### DavedogDistinguished Member

The Countryman 85 uses a battery. It has been around since before you were born. It has a transfomer which is why it sounds good. It was originally developed for the Nashville cats doing acoustic guitars at live shows as well as acoustic bass with the Countryman Pickup Systems. Also the Countryman Piano Systems.

The sound guys I would work with at shows long ago all became my friends when I pulled my 85 out of my gear bag and offered it to them to DI my bass at a show. No mic on bass, quality signal...."DOOD yer okay even if you are a bass player."

BTW. The capo technique works for ANY style of music and if you want that ginormous rhythm guitar sound for metal , the open position chords played in different places on the neck and blended together gets it huge right away.

Try it. Thank me. Pay me.

20. ### GuitarfreakWell-Known Member

My buddy says it can also be powered with phantom power, that is true right? Maybe only the newer models? Also DD since you own one is it true in your opinion that the 85 gives you a more colored sound as opposed to most other boxes out there? And what would that coloring be?