School of Rock: The Physics of Waves on Guitar Strings

Perhaps the most iconic instrument in modern rock is the guitar. It’s really just a bunch of strings stretched across a board, which you can strum to make awesome tunes, thanks to the physics of waves and sound.

Let’s start with a demo you could probably repeat at home. Get a nice string—one that’s sort of thick—and lay it out in a straight line on the floor. Now grab one free end and give it a side-to-side shake. Here’s what it might look like:

There are some really important things we can see from this

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