A humbucking pickup, humbucker, or double coil, is a type of electric guitar pickup that uses two coils to "buck the hum" picked up by coil pickups caused by electromagnetic interference mains hum. Most pickups use magnets to produce a magnetic field around the strings, induce an electrical current in the surrounding coils as the strings vibrate. Humbuckers work by pairing a coil with the north poles of its magnets oriented "up", with another coil right next to it, which has the south pole of its magnets oriented up. By connecting the coils together out of phase, the interference is reduced via phase cancellation: the string signals from both coils add up instead of canceling, because the magnets are placed in opposite polarity; the coils can be connected in series or in parallel in order to achieve this hum-cancellation effect, although it's much more common for the coils of a humbucker pickup to be connected in series. In addition to electric guitar pickups, humbucking coils are sometimes used in dynamic microphones to cancel electromagnetic hum.
Hum is caused by the alternating magnetic fields created by transformers and power supplies inside electrical equipment using alternating current. While playing a guitar without humbuckers, a musician would hear a hum through the pickups during quiet sections of music. Sources of studio and stage hum include high-power amps, mixers, power lines, other equipment. Compared to single coil pickups unshielded ones, humbuckers reduce hum, produce a louder signal with more mid-range presence; the "humbucking coil" was invented in 1934 by Electro-Voice, an American professional audio company based in South Bend, Indiana that Al Kahn and Lou Burroughs incorporated in 1930 for the purpose of manufacturing portable public address equipment, including microphones and loudspeakers. The twin coiled guitar pickup invented by Arnold Lesti in 1935 is arranged as a humbucker, the patent USRE20070 describes the noise cancelation and current summation principles of such a design; this "Electric Translating Device" employed the solenoid windings of the pickup to magnetize the steel strings by means of switching on a short D.
C. charge before switching over to amplification. In 1938 A. F. Knoblaugh invented a pickup for stringed instruments involving 2 stacked coils; this pickup was to be used in pianos. The 1939 April copy of "Radio Craft Magazine" shows how to construct a guitar pickup made with two identical coils wrapped around self-magnetized iron cores, where one is flipped over to create a reverse wound, reverse polarity, humbucking orientation; the iron cores of these pickups were magnetized to have their north-south poles at the opposite ends of the core, rather than the now more common top-bottom orientation. To overcome the hum problem for guitars, a humbucking pickup was invented by Seth Lover of Gibson under instruction of then-president Ted McCarty. About the same time, Ray Butts developed a similar pickup, taken up by Gretsch guitars. Although Gibson's patent was filed 2 years before Gretsch's, Gibson's patent was issued 4 weeks after Gretsch's. Both patents describe a reverse wound and reverse polarity pair of coils.
A successful early humbucking pickup was the so-called PAF invented by Seth Lover in 1955. Because of this, because of its use on the Gibson Les Paul guitar, popularization of the humbucker is associated with Gibson, although humbuckers had been used in many different guitar designs by many different manufacturers before. Humbuckers are known as dual-coil, double-coil, or hum-canceling pickups. Rickenbacker offered dual coil pickups arranged in a humbucking pattern beginning in late 1953 but dropped the design in 1954 due to the perceived distorted sound, which had stronger mid-range presence; the Gibson Les Paul was the first guitar to use humbuckers in substantial production, but since even some models of Fender Stratocasters and Telecasters, traditionally fitted with single-coil pickups, are factory-equipped with humbuckers. Stratocasters fitted with one humbucker in the bridge position, resulting in a pickup configuration noted as H-S-S are referred to as "Fat Strats", because of the "fatter", "rounder" tone offered by the humbucking pickup.
In any magnetic pickup, a vibrating guitar string, magnetized by a fixed magnet within the pickup, induces an alternating voltage across its coil. However, wire coils make excellent antennae and are therefore sensitive to electromagnetic interference caused by alternating magnetic fields from mains wiring and electrical appliances like transformers and computer screens the older CRT monitors. Guitar pickups reproduce this noise, which can be quite audible, sounding like a constant hum or buzz; this is most noticeable when using distortion, compressors, or other effects which reduce the signal-to-noise ratio and therefore amplify the unwanted interference relative to the signal from the strings. The direction of voltage induced across a coil by the moving string depends on both the coil winding direction and the polarity of the fixed magnet. On the other hand, the direction of current induced by external fields is only dependent on the direction of winding. Therefore, a humbucker has two coils wound in such a way to cancel hum and maximize signal when they are connected.
By convention humbucker coils are both wound counterclockwise.
An electric guitar is a guitar that uses one or more pickups to convert the vibration of its strings into electrical signals. The vibration occurs when a guitar player strums, fingerpicks, slaps or taps the strings; the pickup uses electromagnetic induction to create this signal, which being weak is fed into a guitar amplifier before being sent to the speaker, which converts it into audible sound. The electric signal can be electronically altered to change the timbre of the sound; the signal is modified using effects such as reverb, distortion and "overdrive". Invented in 1931, the electric guitar was adopted by jazz guitar players, who wanted to play single-note guitar solos in large big band ensembles. Early proponents of the electric guitar on record include Les Paul, Lonnie Johnson, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, T-Bone Walker, Charlie Christian. During the 1950s and 1960s, the electric guitar became the most important instrument in popular music, it has evolved into an instrument, capable of a multitude of sounds and styles in genres ranging from pop and rock to country music and jazz.
It served as a major component in the development of electric blues and roll, rock music, heavy metal music and many other genres of music. Electric guitar design and construction varies in the shape of the body and the configuration of the neck and pickups. Guitars may have a fixed bridge or a spring-loaded hinged bridge, which lets players "bend" the pitch of notes or chords up or down, or perform vibrato effects; the sound of an electric guitar can be modified by new playing techniques such as string bending and hammering-on, using audio feedback, or slide guitar playing. There are several types of electric guitar, including: the solid-body guitar. In pop and rock music, the electric guitar is used in two roles: as a rhythm guitar, which plays the chord sequences or progressions, riffs, sets the beat. In a small group, such as a power trio, one guitarist switches between both roles. In large rock and metal bands, there is a rhythm guitarist and a lead guitarist. Many experiments at electrically amplifying the vibrations of a string instrument were made dating back to the early part of the 20th century.
Patents from the 1910s show telephone transmitters were adapted and placed inside violins and banjos to amplify the sound. Hobbyists in the 1920s used carbon button microphones attached to the bridge. With numerous people experimenting with electrical instruments in the 1920s and early 1930s, there are many claimants to have been the first to invent an electric guitar. Electric guitars were designed by acoustic guitar makers and instrument manufacturers; the demand for amplified guitars began during the big band era. The first electric guitars used in jazz were hollow archtop acoustic guitar bodies with electromagnetic transducers. Early electric guitar manufacturers include Rickenbacker in 1932; the first electrically amplified stringed instrument to be marketed commercially was designed in 1931 by George Beauchamp, the general manager of the National Guitar Corporation, with Paul Barth, vice president. The maple body prototype for the one-piece cast aluminium "frying pan" was built by Harry Watson, factory superintendent of the National Guitar Corporation.
Commercial production began in late summer of 1932 by the Ro-Pat-In Corporation, in Los Angeles, a partnership of Beauchamp, Adolph Rickenbacker, Paul Barth. In 1934, the company was renamed the Rickenbacker Electro Stringed Instrument Company. In that year Beauchamp applied for a United States patent for an Electrical Stringed Musical Instrument and the patent was issued in 1937. By early-mid 1935, Electro String Instrument Corporation had achieved mainstream success with the A-22 "Frying Pan" steel guitar, set out to capture a new audience through its release of the Electro-Spanish Model B and the Electro-Spanish Ken Roberts, the first full 25" scale electric guitar produced; the Electro-Spanish Ken Roberts was revolutionary for its time, providing players a full 25" scale, with easy access to 17 frets free of the body. Unlike other lap-steel electrified instruments produced during the time, the Electro-Spanish Ken Roberts was designed to play standing vertical, upright with a strap; the Electro-Spanish Ken Roberts was the first instrument to feature a hand-operated vibrato as a standard appointment, a device called the "Vibrola," invented by Doc Kauffman.
It is estimated that fewer than 50 Electro-Spanish Ken Roberts were constructed between 1933 and 1937. The solid-body electric guitar is made without functionally resonating air spaces; the first solid-body Spanish standard guitar was offered by Vivi-Tone no than 1934. This model featured a guitar-shaped body of a single sheet
The Floyd Rose Locking Tremolo, or Floyd Rose, is a type of locking vibrato arm for a guitar. Floyd D. Rose invented the locking vibrato in 1976, the first of its kind, it is now manufactured by a company of the same name; the Floyd Rose gained popularity in the 1980s through guitarists like Eddie Van Halen, Neal Schon, Brad Gillis, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Alex Lifeson, who used its ability to stay in tune with extreme changes in pitch. Its tuning stability comes through the double-locking design, regarded as revolutionary. Floyd D. Rose first started working on what became the Floyd Rose Tremolo in 1976, he was playing in a rock band at the time, inspired by Jimi Hendrix and Deep Purple. He used the vibrato bar but couldn't make his guitars stay in tune using traditional approaches like lubricating the nut, or winding the strings as little as possible around the tuning pegs. At the time, Rose made and sold jewelry, so had the skills and tools to fabricate small metal parts. After noticing the strings moved with the regular nut design, he made a brass nut that locked the strings in place with three U-shaped clamps.
He installed this nut in his 1957 Fender Stratocaster. He improved this design by using hardened steel—otherwise the strings wore the clamps down too quickly—and redesigned the bridge, which locked the strings with clamps. Rose hand-made the first bridges and nuts, which were picked up by some influential guitarists at the time, such as Eddie Van Halen. Other well-known guitarists who picked it up early were Neal Schon, who purportedly got serial number 3, Brad Gillis, Steve Vai; the first patent was awarded in 1979, shortly afterward, Rose made an agreement with Kramer Guitars because he could no longer keep up with demand manufacturing the bridges by hand. Kramer's guitar models with the Floyd Rose bridge became popular, leading them to drop the earlier Rockinger vibrato in favor of the Floyd Rose between June 1982 and January 1983; the Floyd Rose design's popularity led to other companies making similar bridges, thus violating the patent. Notably, courts found that Gary Kahler's vibrato bridge infringed on Floyd Rose's patents, awarded a judgment in excess of $100M against Gary Kahler.
Floyd Rose and Kramer went on to make licensing agreements with other manufacturers, there are now several different models available based on the double-locking design. Because the bridges and nuts were no longer hand-made it was necessary to update the design, the bridges were changed to add a set of tuners that allow for fine-tuning the guitar after the strings are locked at the nut. In January 1991, Kramer's exclusive distribution agreement with Rose ended when Fender announced they would be the new exclusive distributor of Floyd Rose products. While Fender used Floyd Rose-licensed vibrato systems this move allowed Fender to offer a few models with the original Floyd Rose Tremolo, such as the Richie Sambora Signature Strat in 1991, the Floyd Rose Classic Stratocaster in 1992 and the Set-Neck Floyd Rose Strat in 1993. Floyd Rose collaborated with Fender to design a Fender Deluxe Locking Tremolo, introduced in 1991 on the Strat Plus Deluxe, the USA Contemporary Stratocaster, the Strat Ultra.
Fender used the Floyd Rose-designed locking vibrato system on certain humbucker-equipped American Deluxe and Showmaster models until 2007. In 2005, distribution of the Floyd Rose Original reverted to Floyd Rose, whereas the patented designs were licensed to other manufacturers to use. Position I illustrates the normal position of an ideally tuned Floyd Rose bridge; the bridge balances on a pivot point, being pulled counter-clockwise by the strings' tension and clockwise by one to five springs. Controlled by special tuning screws, these two forces are balanced such that the bridge's surface is parallel to the guitar body; the strings are locked with a special mechanism at the nut as well as at the bridge, hence "double-locking". Position II illustrates the position of the bridge when the vibrato arm is pushed down towards the guitar body; the bridge rotates around a pivot point counter-clockwise and the tension in each string decreases, lowering the pitch of each string. The sound of any notes being played becomes flat.
While the tension of the strings decreases, the tension of the springs increases. It is the balance between string-tension and spring-tension, as well as the fact that the strings end at the bridge saddles and nut, that brings the strings reliably back into tune when force on the bar is removed. Position III illustrates the position of the bridge when the vibrato arm is pulled up away from the guitar body; the bridge rotates clockwise, tension in the strings increases, the pitch of the sound increases and so notes sound sharper than normal. Due to the limitations on the assembly's movement imposed by the guitar's body, the amount of available pitch change is much larger when the bar is depressed than when it is lifted. Note that when using the vibrato bar, string action is affected, this can sometimes cause the strings to unintentionally touch the frets and create unwanted sounds on instruments set up with low action and recessed vibrato installations; the main advantage of the Floyd Rose vibrato system is its double-locking design.
This makes the guitar stay in tune through large pitch changes, e.g. forcing the vibrato bar all the way down to the guitar body, or pulling up on the bar to
Single coil guitar pickup
A single coil pickup is a type of magnetic transducer, or pickup, for the electric guitar and the electric bass. It electromagnetically converts the vibration of the strings to an electric signal. Single coil pickups are one of the two most popular designs, along with dual-coil or "humbucking" pickups. In the mid-1920s George Beauchamp, a Los Angeles, California guitarist, began experimentation with electric amplification of the guitar. Using a phonograph pickup assembly, Beauchamp began testing many different combinations of coils and magnets hoping to create the first electromagnetic guitar pickup, he wound his earliest coils using a motor out of a washing machine on switching to a sewing machine motor, using single coiled magnets. Beauchamp was backed in his efforts by Adolph Rickenbacker, an engineer and wealthy owner of a successful tool and die business. Beauchamp produced the first successful single coil pickup; the pickup consisted of two massive "U" shaped magnets and one coil and was known as the "horseshoe pickup".
The two horseshoe-shaped magnets surrounded the strings that passed over a single core plate in the center of the coil. The Gibson Guitar Corporation introduced the "bar pickup" in 1935 for its new line of Hawaiian lap steel guitars; the pickup's basic construction is that of a metal blade inserted through the coil as a shared pole piece for all the strings. A pair of large flat magnets were fastened below the coil assembly. In 1936 Gibson introduced its first electric Spanish styled guitar; the ES-150 was outfitted with the bar pickup. Jazz guitar innovator, Charlie Christian, began playing an ES-150 in the late 1930s with the Benny Goodman Orchestra; this caused the popularity of the electrified guitar to soar. Due to Christian’s close association with the ES-150 it began being referred to as the “Charlie Christian Model” and Gibson’s now famous bar pickup as the “Charlie Christian pickup” or “CC unit”; the P-90 is a single-coil pickup designed by the Gibson Guitar Corporation. These pickups have a large, flat coil with adjustable steel screws as pole pieces, a pair of flat alnico bar magnets lying under the coil bobbin.
The adjustable pole pieces pick up the magnetism from the magnets. Moving the screw closer or further away from the magnet determines signal strength, thus tone as well. There are two variations of P-90 pickup that differ by mounting options: Soap bar casing has true rectangular shape and the mounting screws are contained within the coil perimeter, positioned between the pole pieces, between strings 2-3 and 4-5, thus creating irregular and somewhat unusual pattern, they are mistaken for pole pieces. The "soap bar" nickname most comes from its predominantly rectangular shape and proportions resembling a bar of soap, the fact that the first P-90s on the original Gibson Les Paul Model of 1952 were white. Dog ear is a casing type with extensions at both sides of pickup; these are extensions of the predominantly rectangular cover that encompass the outlying mounting screws. Dog-ear P-90 pickups were mounted on Gibson's hollowbody guitars like the ES-330 and on solid body models like the Les Paul Junior.
The same pickups were available on Epiphone models and the design is best remembered for its appearance on the hollow body Epiphone Casino of the mid to late 1960s. The sound of a P-90 is somewhat brighter and more transparent than Gibson's humbucker pickup, every bit as crisp and snappy as Fender's single-coil pickups despite its high output and big sound. Despite its tonal qualities the P-90 fell out of favor with Gibson in the early 1950s as a consequence of guitar players complaining about the amount of hum it put out. Gibson employee Seth Lover solved the hum problem by designing a hum-canceling pickup known as a humbucker, it was supposed to sound like a P-90 but in fact has quite a different sound, it became Gibson's mainstay pickup from that point on. The P-90 did not become as popular for that reason, although many guitarists still prefer the tone of the P-90; the Fender Telecaster features two single coils. The neck pickup produces a mellower sound, while the bridge pickup produces an twangy, sharp tone with exaggerated treble response, because the bridge pickup is mounted on a steel plate.
These design elements allow musicians to emulate steel guitar sounds, making it appropriate for country music. Pickups are selected with a three-position switch, two wiring schemes exist: Vintage: 1) neck pickup with treble cutoff for a bassier sound. Modern: 1) neck pickup only, with no treble cutoff; the Fender Esquire has a variation to the Vintage wiring scheme by using the scheme on a single pickup. This gives a treble cutoff in the first position, normal in the middle position, a tone control cutoff in the third position; the traditional Stratocaster design guitar features three single coils. The guitarist can control which combination of pickups are selected with a lever switch; the pickup positions are referred to as the bridge and neck pickups based on their proximity to those parts of the instrument. The neck pickup has the greatest output, with the most mid-range and bass response, whereas the bridge pickup has the greatest treble response, with a slight twang to it; the sound of the middle pickup is similar to that of the neck pickup, albeit with less bass and more treble.
However many players, such as Ritchie Blackmore, find it somewhat of an obstruction to t
The guitar is a fretted musical instrument that has six strings. It is played with both hands by strumming or plucking the strings with either a guitar pick or the finger/fingernails of one hand, while fretting with the fingers of the other hand; the sound of the vibrating strings is projected either acoustically, by means of the hollow chamber of the guitar, or through an electrical amplifier and a speaker. The guitar is a type of chordophone, traditionally constructed from wood and strung with either gut, nylon or steel strings and distinguished from other chordophones by its construction and tuning; the modern guitar was preceded by the gittern, the vihuela, the four-course Renaissance guitar, the five-course baroque guitar, all of which contributed to the development of the modern six-string instrument. There are three main types of modern acoustic guitar: the classical guitar, the steel-string acoustic guitar, the archtop guitar, sometimes called a "jazz guitar"; the tone of an acoustic guitar is produced by the strings' vibration, amplified by the hollow body of the guitar, which acts as a resonating chamber.
The classical guitar is played as a solo instrument using a comprehensive finger-picking technique where each string is plucked individually by the player's fingers, as opposed to being strummed. The term "finger-picking" can refer to a specific tradition of folk, blues and country guitar playing in the United States; the acoustic bass guitar is a low-pitched instrument, one octave below a regular guitar. Electric guitars, introduced in the 1930s, use an amplifier and a loudspeaker that both makes the sound of the instrument loud enough for the performers and audience to hear, given that it produces an electric signal when played, that can electronically manipulate and shape the tone using an equalizer and a huge variety of electronic effects units, the most used ones being distortion and reverb. Early amplified guitars employed a hollow body, but solid wood guitars began to dominate during the 1960s and 1970s, as they are less prone to unwanted acoustic feedback "howls"; as with acoustic guitars, there are a number of types of electric guitars, including hollowbody guitars, archtop guitars and solid-body guitars, which are used in rock music.
The loud, amplified sound and sonic power of the electric guitar played through a guitar amp has played a key role in the development of blues and rock music, both as an accompaniment instrument and performing guitar solos, in many rock subgenres, notably heavy metal music and punk rock. The electric guitar has had a major influence on popular culture; the guitar is used in a wide variety of musical genres worldwide. It is recognized as a primary instrument in genres such as blues, country, folk, jota, metal, reggae, rock and many forms of pop. Before the development of the electric guitar and the use of synthetic materials, a guitar was defined as being an instrument having "a long, fretted neck, flat wooden soundboard, a flat back, most with incurved sides." The term is used to refer to a number of chordophones that were developed and used across Europe, beginning in the 12th century and in the Americas. A 3,300-year-old stone carving of a Hittite bard playing a stringed instrument is the oldest iconographic representation of a chordophone and clay plaques from Babylonia show people playing an instrument that has a strong resemblance to the guitar, indicating a possible Babylonian origin for the guitar.
The modern word guitar, its antecedents, has been applied to a wide variety of chordophones since classical times and as such causes confusion. The English word guitar, the German Gitarre, the French guitare were all adopted from the Spanish guitarra, which comes from the Andalusian Arabic قيثارة and the Latin cithara, which in turn came from the Ancient Greek κιθάρα. Which comes from the Persian word "sihtar"; this pattern of naming is visible in setar and sitar. The word "tar" at the end of all of these words is a Persian word that means "string". Many influences are cited as antecedents to the modern guitar. Although the development of the earliest "guitars" is lost in the history of medieval Spain, two instruments are cited as their most influential predecessors, the European lute and its cousin, the four-string oud. At least two instruments called "guitars" were in use in Spain by 1200: the guitarra latina and the so-called guitarra morisca; the guitarra morisca had a rounded back, wide fingerboard, several sound holes.
The guitarra Latina had a narrower neck. By the 14th century the qualifiers "moresca" or "morisca" and "latina" had been dropped, these two cordophones were referred to as guitars; the Spanish vihuela, called in Italian the "viola da mano", a guitar-like instrument of the 15th and 16th centuries, is considered to have been the single most important influence in the development of the baroque guitar. It had six courses, lute-like tuning in fourths and a guitar-like body, although early representations reveal an instrument with a cut waist, it was larger than the contemporary four-course guitars. By the 16th century, the vihuela's construction had more in common with the modern guitar, with its curved one-piece ribs, than with the viols, more like a larger version of the contemporary four-course guita
Vibrato systems for guitar
A vibrato system on a guitar is a mechanical device used to temporarily change the pitch of the strings. Instruments without a vibrato have other tailpiece systems, they add vibrato to the sound by changing the tension of the strings at the bridge or tailpiece of an electric guitar using a controlling lever. The lever enables the player to and temporarily vary the tension and sometimes length of the strings, changing the pitch to create a vibrato, portamento, or pitch bend effect; the pitch-bending effects have become an important part of many styles, allowing creation of sounds that could not be played without the device, such as the 1980s-era shred guitar "dive bombing" effect. The mechanical vibrato systems began as a device for more producing the vibrato effects that blues and jazz guitarists had achieved on arch top guitars by manipulating the tailpiece with their picking hand. Guitar makers developed a variety of vibrato systems since the 1920s. A vibrato-equipped guitar is more difficult to tune than a fixed-tailpiece guitar.
Since the regular appearance of mechanical vibrato systems in the 1950s, many guitarists have used them—from Chet Atkins to Duane Eddy and the surf music of The Ventures, The Shadows, Dick Dale. In the 1960s and 1970s, Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, David Gilmour, Ritchie Blackmore, Jimmy Page, Frank Zappa used vibrato arms for more pronounced effects. In the 1980s, shred guitarists Eddie Van Halen, Eric Johnson, Joe Satriani and Steve Vai, metal guitarists Ritchie Blackmore, Kirk Hammett, Terje Rypdal, David Torn and David Duhig used vibrato in a range of metal-influenced styles; some electric guitarists have reversed the normal meanings of the terms vibrato and tremolo when referring to hardware devices and the effects they produce. This reversal of terminology is attributed to Leo Fender and the naming of his 1954 Stratocaster mechanical vibrato system as a "Tremolo Device for Stringed Instruments". Additionally, the 1956 Fender "Vibrolux" guitar amplifier, used electronically generated tremolo that Fender called “vibrato”.
Other classic guitar amplifiers contain electronic “vibrato units” which produce a tremolo effect via a tremolo circuit. This confusion of terms persists. While the "tremolo arm" can produce variations of pitch, including vibrato, it cannot produce tremolo. Other used names for the device include "vibrato bar" and "whammy bar", the latter attributed to guitarist Lonnie Mack's aggressive, rapid manipulation of the pitch-bending device in his 1963 song "Wham!". It has been called a "whang bar". Most vibrato systems for guitar are based on one of four basic designs: Bigsby Vibrato Tailpiece, introduced in the late 1940s and used in close to original form on many guitars Fender Synchronized Tremolo or strat trem, introduced on the Fender Stratocaster, which inspired many designs, including: Floyd Rose locking tremolo G&L Dual-fulcrum Vibrato, designed by Leo Fender Fender two-point synchronized tremolo Fender Floating Bridge, which has two main variants: Fender Floating Tremolo or jag trem, introduced on the Fender Jazzmaster Fender Dynamic Vibrato or stang trem, introduced on the Fender Mustang Cam-driven designs based on pedal steel guitar concepts, include: Kahler Tremolo System Washburn Wonderbar Stetsbar tremolo Many other designs exist in smaller numbers, notably several original designs marketed by Gibson under the Vibrola name, which they used for some licensed Bigsby units.
A design patented in 2006 from Trem King uses a fixed bridge with a moving tone block. The world's first patented mechanical vibrato unit was designed by Doc Kauffman; the initial patent was filed in August 1929 and was published in 1932. Between 1920 and 1980 Kauffman collaborated with many pioneering guitar manufacturers including Rickenbacker and Fender. In the late 1930s Rickenbacker produced the first commercial batch of electric Spanish guitars, utilizing the Kauffman "Vib-rol-a" as a stock option, thus setting precedence for electric guitars produced by Fender and Gibson; the Epiphone guitar company first offered the Vibrola as an option on some archtop guitars from 1935 to 1937. Epiphone sold the Vibrola as an aftermarket option as well; this Vibrola was used on some Rickenbacker lap steel guitars at around the same time and was introduced on their six string'Electro Spanish' guitars beginning about 1937. Some early Vibrolas on Rickenbacker guitars were not operated by hand, but rather moved with an electrical mechanism developed by Doc Kauffman to simulate the pitch manipulation available with steel guitars.
The Vibrola distributed as an option with Rickenbacker Electro Spanish guitars was hand operated like the earliest Epiphone Vibrolas. A unit was created and used on Rickenbacker's Capri line of guitars in the 1950s, such as John Lennon's 1958 Rickenbacker 325, it was a side-to-side action vibrato unit, notorious for throwing the guitar out of tune, hence Lennon's replacing his with a Bigsby B5 unit.. The first commercially successful vibrato system for guitar was the Bigsby vibrato tailpiece just called a Bigsby, invented by Paul Bigsby; the exact date of its first availability is uncertain, as Bigsby kept few records, but it was on Bigsby-built guitars photographed in 1952, in what became its standard form. In several interviews, the late Merle Travis
The Fender Stratocaster is a model of electric guitar designed in 1954 by Leo Fender, Bill Carson, George Fullerton, Freddie Tavares. The Fender Musical Instruments Corporation has continuously manufactured the Stratocaster from 1954 to the present, it is a double-cutaway guitar, with an extended top "horn" shape for balance. Along with the Gibson Les Paul and Fender Telecaster, it is one of the most-often emulated electric guitar shapes. "Stratocaster" and "Strat" are trademark terms belonging to Fender. Guitars that duplicate the Stratocaster by other manufacturers are called S-Type or ST-type guitars; the Stratocaster is a versatile guitar, usable for most styles of music and has been used in many genres, including country, rock, folk, soul and blues, jazz and heavy metal. The Fender Stratocaster was the first guitar to feature three pickups and a spring tension vibrato system, as well as being the first Fender with a contoured body; the Stratocaster's sleek, contoured body shape differed from the flat, slab-like design of the Telecaster.
The Stratocaster's double cutaways allowed players easier access to higher positions on the neck. Starting in 1954, the Stratocaster was offered with a solid contoured ash body, a 21-fret one-piece maple neck with black dot inlays, Kluson tuning machines; the color was a two color sunburst pattern, although custom color guitars were produced. In 1956, Fender began using alder for most custom color Stratocaster bodies. In 1960, the available custom colors were standardized, many of which were automobile lacquer colors from DuPont available at an additional 5% cost. A unique single-ply, 8-screw hole white pickguard held all electronic components except the recessed jack plate—facilitating easy assembly. Original Stratocasters were manufactured with five tremolo springs, allowing the bridge set up to "float". In the floating position, players can move the bridge-mounted tremolo arm up or down to modulate the pitch of the notes being played. Hank Marvin, Jeff Beck and Ike Turner have used the Stratocaster's floating vibrato extensively in their playing.
As string gauges have changed, players have experimented with the number of tremolo springs, as the average gauge has decreased over the years, modern Stratocasters are equipped with three springs as a stock option in order to counteract the reduced string tension. While the floating bridge has unique advantages, the functionality of the "floating" has been accepted and disputed by many musicians; as the bridge floats, the instrument has a tendency to go out of tune during double-stop string bends. Many Stratocaster players opt to tighten the tremolo springs so that the bridge is anchored against the guitar body: in this configuration, the tremolo arm can still be used to slacken the strings and therefore lower the pitch, but it cannot be used to raise the pitch; some players, such as Eric Clapton and Ronnie Wood, feel that the floating bridge has an excessive propensity to detune guitars and so inhibit the bridge's movement with a chunk of wood wedged between the bridge block and the inside cutout of the tremolo cavity, by increasing the tension on the tremolo springs.
Some Stratocasters have a fixed bridge in place of the tremolo assembly. There is considerable debate about the effects on tone and sustain of the material used in the vibrato system's'inertia bar' and many aftermarket versions are available; the Stratocaster features three single coil pickups, with the output selected by a 3-way switch. Guitarists soon discovered that by jamming the switch in between the first and second position, both the bridge and middle pickups could be selected, the middle and neck pickups could be selected between the 2nd and 3rd position; when two pickups are selected they are wired in parallel which leads to a slight drop in output as more current is allowed to pass to the ground. However, since the middle pickup is always wired in reverse, this configuration creates a spaced humbucking pair, which reduces 50/60 cycle hum. In 1977 Fender introduced a 5-way selector making such pickup combinations more stable; the "quacky" tone of the middle and bridge pickups, popularized by players such as Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, David Gilmour, Rory Gallagher, Mark Knopfler, Bob Dylan, Scott Thurston, Ronnie Wood, John Mayer, Ed King, Eric Clapton and Robert Cray, can be obtained by using the pickup selector in positions 2 and 4.
This setting's characteristic tone is not caused by any electronic phenomenon—early Stratocasters used identical pickups for all positions. This "in between" tone is caused by phase cancellation due to the physical position of the pickups along the vibrating string; the neck and middle pickups are each wired to a tone control that incorporates a single, shared tone capacitor, whereas the bridge pickup, slanted towards the high strings for a more trebly sound, has no tone control for maximum brightness. On many modern Stratocasters, the first tone control affects the neck pickup.