The number of string instruments, and how they’ve affected the musical landscape has been on the minds of musicians for decades.
As they were coming into being, many of these instruments had no sound, meaning the instruments sounded like they were made of strings.
And yet, those instruments are still being used in concert halls around the world, with a string orchestra making up the biggest market share, and a string ensemble dominating the chart.
The biggest difference, however, has been the way in which the instruments are being used, with instruments now being used for a number of different purposes, with the major difference being their musical applications.
“The string instrument renaissance is a bit like the musical renaissance of the last century,” explains Andrew Dube, president and CEO of Strings & Strings.
“As the instrument became more of a mainstream, it also became a more affordable option.”
Dube says the primary reason for this is the use of acoustic and electric instruments.
“We’re seeing a lot of the same kinds of innovations, as well as the same types of limitations, as the electric guitar,” he says.
“These are things like a lot more low-frequency sounds, more distortion, a lower output power, a lot less string space and more string resonance.”
Dubes points out that this has created a lot for musicians and engineers who have the skills to develop new technologies to get the best out of the instruments.
The advent of acoustic guitars also opened up the possibilities of making these instruments sound like they’re playing on a violin or a cello, making them sound more like acoustic instruments.
And that’s what String Instruments and Strings are now doing, Dube explains.
String Instruments was founded by two students from Stanford University who were looking to take a more experimental approach to instrument design and development.
“When we started out, we were all very frustrated with how acoustic guitars and acoustic instrument designs were being produced,” Dube tells Recode.
“Our main concern was, How do we make these acoustic instruments sound as good as they could possibly sound?”
That was the focus of their study, where they created an acoustic guitar, and found a solution.
“What we realized is that we could actually make acoustic instruments that were much more like cellos, violin, or even a cellist,” says Dube.
“And that’s when we realized that it was possible to actually make the instrument sound better.”
String Instruments’ engineers also noticed that they could create better sounding instruments by using a technique called acoustic tuning.
In a nutshell, a guitar has two strings in it, and each string has a frequency that is tuned differently from the other.
“If you tune the first string, the other strings vibrate more, and that’s why the string sounds different,” says Matt Stahl, String Instruments co-founder.
“So that’s how the instrument is tuned.
It’s like you’re tuning the string to make the strings vibrating a little bit faster or slowing down, and then the tuning process starts.
The result is that when the strings are playing at different frequencies, they have different frequencies that sound different, and it makes them sound really different.”
A typical string instrument, in the studio Dube and his co-founders built the Strings&Strings acoustic guitar.
A typical Strings guitar in the workshop.
The team used a number the technology of acoustic tuning to make each instrument sound more different from the others.
“I would say that most of the acoustic instrument designers that we know of, they’re all engineers,” Dubes says.
They use different techniques, including a number system, to design instruments and the materials used to make them.
“They are all working on a piece of equipment,” he adds.
“In a way, the acoustic tuning is the tool to make that piece of hardware sound better.
That’s why they use acoustic tuning in their instruments.”
The Strings engineers also discovered that a lot is actually made from the strings themselves.
“There’s an acoustic material that’s part of the instrument, but it’s made of a different material,” Stahl says.
That is a lot like the string itself.
“It’s made from a different part of an instrument,” Stahls says.
String instruments are made of nylon and are made by using magnets.
The magnets make sure the strings don’t get pulled out of place, and the magnets also give the strings a little more energy.
“This allows the string instruments to vibrate much more effectively,” says Stahl.
“By using a different magnetic material, you’re also not pulling the strings out of tune.”
The team also used acoustic tuning, as a tool to find the perfect balance between the different parts of the strings.
“All of the different components are balanced, so if you tune one part the other is going to be less important, and if you don’t tune one the other will be more important,” Stays