Why The Wave
When recording and amplifying stringed instruments, I noticed a loss in sound quality that is normally enhanced by the wood from which they are made. Manufacturers select special woods to bring out warmth, clarity and character of the music produced by the instrument. These characteristics are consequently lost with existing microphones.
Engineers experimented with electrically powered instruments such as musical boxes and player pianos as early as the 1800s. However, the first attempts at amplified instruments did not come until the development of electrical amplification in the 1920’s. One of the earliest pioneers was a Gibson engineer named Lloyd Loar. In 1924 he developed an electric pickup for the viola and other stringed instruments. In his design, the strings passed vibrations through the bridge to the magnet and coil, which registered those vibrations and produced an electrical signal. These designs attempted to amplify the natural sound of guitars, but produced a very weak signal. It was not until the invention of a more direct pickup system, which used an electromagnet to register vibrations directly from the strings, that the modern guitar pickup was born.
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