Is there any science behind a good guitar solo?

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Offline thedoc

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Is there any science behind a good guitar solo?
« on: 05/08/2014 18:11:41 »
Every wondered what makes a great guitar solo? Oxford's Dr
David Robert Grimes has been looking at the science behind
playing the guitar.
Read a transcript of the interview by clicking here
or [chapter podcast=1000773 track=14.08.05/Naked_Scientists_Podcast_14.08.05_1002581.mp3] Listen to it now[/chapter] or [download as MP3]
« Last Edit: 05/08/2014 18:11:41 by _system »

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Offline RD

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Re: Is there any science behind a good guitar solo?
« Reply #1 on: 05/08/2014 19:31:19 »
Q. Is there any science behind a good guitar solo?

One option is to feed the guitar-output down a tube into your mouth, so you can modify the sound in a way similar to speech ...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROtFteYkvoU   [:)]
« Last Edit: 05/08/2014 19:33:39 by RD »

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Offline alancalverd

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Re: Is there any science behind a good guitar solo?
« Reply #2 on: 06/08/2014 14:58:39 »
"They might do it intuitively....." No, we read the label on the packet, or talk to the bloke in the shop. There's a whole range of stuff of decreasing stiffness from classical via jazz to lightweight rock, with a range of structures and finishes  (steel, gut, round wound, flatwound, tape wound....).

Good classical and jazz guitar tuition includes vibrato techniques, as does any other string instrument.

Nwadays I play a fretless jazz bass with flatwound strings and no fixed pitches at all - the string equivalent of a bass trombone!
helping to stem the tide of ignorance

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Offline percepts

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Re: Is there any science behind a good guitar solo?
« Reply #3 on: 07/08/2014 00:57:44 »
So which scientist or mathematician can provide the formula which describes this

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2lvXYhy9X9c

or this

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIMrU8qcbs8

or any other guitar solo
« Last Edit: 07/08/2014 01:14:32 by percepts »

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Offline alancalverd

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Re: Is there any science behind a good guitar solo?
« Reply #4 on: 07/08/2014 06:45:27 »
Description is no problem - we have been using musical notation for hundreds of years. There is a standard notation for "bent" notes  (portamento) which isn't common for other instruments, though I came across it in a tuba piece this week, and both vibrato and tremolo are standard indications for stringed instruments.

In principle any sequential actions can be described by a predictive formula but it's a lot easier to write and read a series of explicit instructions, which is why we use notations rather than formulae where the sequence is long compared with the number of repeats: music, dancing, rally driving, aerobatics..... 
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