A 30-Year Error



This week I learned that I had misunderstood the guitar string frequency range. This numerical error had screwed up my equalizations pretty much all the time. I reprocessed my latest song just now, and here it is with improved guitar eq.

Here’s how it happened. Back in the mid 80s, when I first researched the proper tuning, the A string was listed as “440Hz.” This is a big standard A, and it appeared in all sorts of literature. I never had a reason to doubt it, and this was pre-Internet. You couldn’t just click and look things up like you can now.

The A-string of a guitar is not 440Hz. It’s 110Hz! It’s a quarter of that frequency. The low E is even lower, 82Hz, and where I thought only the bass guitar resided. Once it hit me, it all made instant sense.

E = 82.41 Hz
A = 110.0 Hz
D = 146.8 Hz
G = 196.0 Hz
B = 246.9 Hz
E = 329.6 Hz

The highest E-string is below where I thought the low A started. All my eq decisions were shifted radically up from where they needed to be in order to approach this with some sense of proper intent and mastery.

guit-eqsome of the surgery


Once I nailed the frequencies down I could suppress the main note (low E82Hz & middle E 164hz) and then raise up all the resonant frequencies to make it sound richer. The guitar sounded less confined and hollow and began to sound more like it actually sounds in person. It was a paradigm shift–literally.

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