Wah Pedals: A Look “Under the Hood”

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Since their invention in 1966, wah pedals have had a prolific history in modern rock music. From Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodoo Child” to David Gilmour in “Echoes” (where it was used backwards). But what goes into a wah pedal? How does it get that distinctive, “cry baby” sound? Let’s get under the hood and find out.

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Introduction to Resistors

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In a continuation of our Introduction to Electronic Components series we present (drum roll please) resistors!

Resistors…resist. It’s what they do. Well, they don’t resist everything. They won’t help you resist the temptations of the dark side, for example. But these little guys are useful components when it comes to regulating the amount of electricity with which you want to work.

Interested in more? Check out our full playlist here.

A New Project: DIY Electric Slide Guitar

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Our compatriots never cease to amaze us.

Student and guitar pro Adam November guests on this episode of the Science of Music to show us all his homemade electric slide guitar! This DIY project was made for an acoustics class at NYU’s music technology program. Watch as Adam shows off his creation and explains how you can make your own guitar from materials easily purchased at your local hardware store.

Introducing an Introduction (to Electrical Components: Capacitors)

New YouTube channel means new content! The Science of Music presents an Introduction to Electrical Components: an ongoing series dedicated to teaching the basic building blocks of musical electronics. Today’s topic: capacitors or “caps” for short.

Capacitors are a type of passive electrical component that store electrical charges via an electrostatic field. There are several different types of capacitors, and we’ll go through their differences and shared similarities.

Be on the lookout for more in our Intro to Components series with resistors, voltage regulators, and more in the weeks ahead.

Can Speakers be Used as Microphones?

A door once opened can be stepped through in either direction…

Okay, we promise that we’re serious people when we’re not making Doctor Who references (but we are never not making Doctor Who references so…paradox?). This video shows how a speaker, once removed from its enclosure, can be used as either a speaker or a microphone, thus exhibiting the beauty of transduction! Specifically, this is a good example of how electromagnetic transduction can work in both directions (electrical to acoustic transduction and acoustic to electrical).

Credits:

  • Directed by: Langdon Crawford
  • Voice:  Tyler Mayo
  • Editing Caitlin Gambill

How to Use an SPL Meter

This video explains how to use an Sound Pressure Level (SPL) meter.  This is an essential tool for measuring intensity (think amplitude or volume) of a sound.   This is different than our perception of loudness, thus a specialized instrument (the SPL meter) is needed.


Credits:

  • Written and Directed by Nick Dooley and Travis Kaufman
  • Produced with support from The National Science Foundation

Audio Interconnections: XLR, TRS and More

*Singing* The quarter inch tip is connected to the…positive! The sleeve is connected to the…ground wire!

Okay, we at the Science of Music are nerdy but we’re not quite that nerdy, we swear. But understanding cables and interconnections will help every musician who has to deal with gear. From XLR to RCA to the immortal midi cable (which has two unused pins…seriously, check it out), having an understanding of gear, mic, line, and insert cables will make your life infinitely easier.

Credits:

  • Written and Directed by Nick Dooley and Travis Kaufman
  • Produced with support from The National Science Foundation