How Do Acoustic Guitars Produce Sound?
July 3, 2019
Simon Dupree in Guitars, acoustic guitar

Acoustic guitars have a shape that is designed to project sound. They are able to play the same notes as pianos, banjos and mandolins and yet create their own, unique sound. Let’s look at how this occurs and what gives the acoustic guitar its signature sound.

Sound Generation

Sound is produced by vibration, and the strings on the acoustic guitar vibrate when they are strummed to create sounds that resonate through the instrument. The vibrations move into the saddle, which transmits sound to the guitar’s soundboard. From there, the vibration is amplified and the sound hole releases the sound.
The sound is shaped by all the different parts it passes through. The body of the guitar alters the speed and intensity of the vibration to produce a unique sound. Obviously, a guitar is shaped differently from a piano or mandolin, so that factor alone plays a huge role in how the sound comes out.
Where the sound hole is located makes a difference too, as you can compare a guitar to a flute and see how sound hole location plays a role in how an instrument sound. When you play one flute, the sound only comes out the hole that are not covered. As you cover different holes, the sound changes. The same thing happens with the vibrations in the guitar. As they travel through the guitar and come out the sound hole, they are transformed during that journey. The placement of the sound hole is helping to shape the end result to make a distinct sound.
The sound hole on the guitar is located in a different spot than it would be on another musical instrument, which is part of why you have the different sounds of the various instruments.
The Shape Affects the Sound
The entire shape of the guitar has an effect on the overall sound as well. The neck, headstock and body all affect the sound in different ways and help acoustic guitars to produce a variety of sounds. There are actually a wide range of guitars to pick from, and the subtle differences in manufacturing differentiate them and the sounds they produce. A seasoned veteran of the guitar can tell just by looking at the instrument what kind of effect the shape will have on the sound.
That’s why it is important to have the right kind of acoustic guitar. Some of them are simply not designed very well and will produce less than desirable sounds. They may sound tinny or simply “off”, and you will want to read some reviews before you make a decision to ensure you don’t regret your purchase.
You can use resources such as Music Groupies to find reviews on acoustic guitars and to make sure you are getting a quality instrument. These can be expensive instruments, so you don’t want to end up paying all that money for something that you will be disappointed with later on.
The Quality Effect
The higher quality the guitar is, the more likely it is to have a clear, pleasing sound. Guitar manufacturers have been working or generations to perfect the sound of a guitar, and that means that some guitars will be very expensive, since they take so much work to create and ensure they can produce the right sounds. It’s not difficult to make a guitar that can produce some sound, but to have the sound come out clear, precise and at the right pitch requires fine craftsmanship. Different materials create different sounds- the more expensive materials (like wood) will create different sounds from guitars than cheaper materials (like plastic).
An acoustic guitar is a wonderful instrument that can be used to make some amazing music. Knowing how the sound is produced and what affects different factors have on the sound will enable you to choose the right kind of guitar and will help you to play the way you want to play.
Simon Dupree has discovered he has a passion for music from a very young age. Ever since then, music has been an essential part of his life. When he is not practicing, he`s probably behind the keyboard writing for Music Groupies.



Article originally appeared on Music Think Tank (
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