Lloyd Allayre Loar was a designer for the Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Mfg. Co. Ltd. and sound engineer in the early part of the 20th century. He is most famous for his F-5 model L-5 guitar. In his years he worked on electric amplification of stringed instruments, demonstrated them around the country. One example, played in public in 1938 was an electric viola that used electric coils beneath the bridge, with no back, able to "drown out the loudest trumpet."In 1898 Orville Gibson had patented a new kind of mandolin that followed violin design, with its curved top and bottom carved into shape, rather than pressed. The sides too were carved out rather than being made of bent wood strips; the instruments were unique before Lloyd Loar came to work for Gibson. However, it is the Loar-designed instruments that became desirable. First made famous by Bill Monroe, Loar's signed; the L-5 guitar owned by Maybelle Carter, made after he left Gibson, sold for 575,000 dollars. Among the changes that Loar introduced was the f-hole instead of a round or oval sound-hole, another violin-family feature imported to the mandolin.
He "tuned" the tops of the instrument and the sound chamber so that the instrument's sound chamber was resonant to a particular note. Another change that Loar introduced to the Gibson line was a tone-producer, a circle of wood inside the instrument on the underside of the sound board that produced "overtones." His idea was to have a more complete set of these overtones with the carved top instruments. The result was an instrument that, like Stradivarius’ violins, has presented challenges to duplicate. Luthier-researchers such as Roger Siminoff have worked to understand the fine details. Gibsons' and Loar's mandolins were instrumental in displacing the round-backed instrument from the American market and influenced mandolins worldwide, he developed keyboard-stringed instruments. According to Roger Siminoff, he developed unique mechanisms to create sound. One plucked strings, the other struck metal reeds. Loar was a well-regarded musician on mandolin and musical saw, he traveled Europe in several musical groups.
In one group, he performed with Fisher Shipp. A surviving playbill shows that Loar performed in a chatauqua that included a speech by William Jennings Bryan. Loar performed in many other groups that promoted the Gibson company, whose products Loar endorses in early Gibson catalogs. Lloyd taught at Northwestern University from 1930 to 1943, teaching vocal composition, advanced music theory and "The Physics of Music". Loar worked for Gibson from 1919 to 1924, his contributions include building the instrument top like a violin. He pioneered the use of the Virzi Tone Producer, a spruce disc suspended from the instrument top that acts as a supplemental soundboard. According to A. R. Duchossoir, Loar designed experimental electric instruments while at Gibson. Loar's views on the importance of the development of electric instruments were supported by Lewis A Williams, one of the founders and major stockholders of Gibson as well as its secretary and general manager. None of Loar's original electric instruments appear to have been preserved—but Walter A Fuller, who joined Gibson in 1933 and became Gibson's chief electronic engineer, found some of Loar's original devices when he first set up his R&D lab in the mid-1930s.
He claimed that Loar's electrics had electrostatic pickups, but because they exhibited high impedance they were susceptible to humidity. According to Fuller, the pickups were round, about the size of a silver dollar and had a piece of cork on the back, by which they were glued to the underside of the top of the instrument. Duchossior's book, Gibson Electrics, The Classic Years, features a photo of a Gibson L5, serial number 88258 of 1929, one of the original Loar-designed L5s, with fitted electrostatic pickup and factory-fitted jack socket in the tailpiece. Duchossoir claims that Loar spent time at Gibson working on a'quasi-solid body' electric double bass, that according to this instrument and several patents filed by Loar between the mid-1920s and the mid-1930s, he worked on pickups that were electromagnetic in nature. According to Duchossoir, Lewis Williams was replaced as general manager, a lack of amicable relations with the new manager—an accountant named Guy Hart—led to the termination of Loar's contract.
After leaving Gibson, Loar created and patented an electric instrument with a coil pickup, co-founded the Acousti-Lectric company with Lewis Williams in 1934. The company was renamed the Vivi-Tone company in 1936. Loar died in 1943; the F5 model was made famous by the founder of Bill Monroe. Monroe played a Gibson F5 model serial number 73987 signed by Loar on July 9, 1923 for most of his career; this mandolin can be viewed in the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, where it now resides in their collections. Loar signed a rare subset of F5 mandolins called Ferns, of which twenty are known to exist; the name refers to the distinctive fern inlay design of the peghead. The earliest documented Fern bears the serial number 73755, dated July 9, 1923, the same signing date as Bill Monroe's famous Loar; this is the only known Fern built without the "Virzi" Tone Producer, a secondary sound board suspended underneath the mandolin's top inside
Kalamazoo is a city in the southwest region of the U. S. state of Michigan. It is the county seat of Kalamazoo County; as of the 2010 census, Kalamazoo had a population of 74,262. Kalamazoo is the major city of the Kalamazoo-Portage Metropolitan Statistical Area, which has a population of 335,340 as of 2015. Kalamazoo is equidistant from the major American cities of Chicago and Detroit, each less than 150 miles away. One of Kalamazoo's most notable features is the Kalamazoo Mall, an outdoor pedestrian shopping mall; the city created the mall in 1959 by closing part of Burdick Street to auto traffic, although two of the mall's four blocks have been reopened to auto traffic since 1999. Kalamazoo is home to Western Michigan University, a large public university, Kalamazoo College, a private liberal arts college, Kalamazoo Valley Community College, a two-year community college. Known as Bronson in the township of Arcadia, the names of both the city and the township were changed to "Kalamazoo" in 1836 and 1837, respectively.
The Kalamazoo name comes from a Potawatomi word, first found in a British report in 1772. However, the Kalamazoo River, which passes through the modern city of Kalamazoo, was located on the route between Detroit and Fort Saint-Joseph. French-Canadian traders and military personnel were quite familiar with this area during the French era and thereafter; the name for the Kalamazoo River was known by Canadians and French as La rivière Kikanamaso. The name "Kikanamaso" was recorded by Father Pierre Potier, a Jesuit missionary for the Huron-Wendats at the Assumption mission, while en route to Fort Saint-Joseph during the fall of 1760. Legend has it that "Ki-ka-ma-sung," meaning "boiling water," referring to a footrace held each fall by local Native Americans, who had to run to the river and back before the pot boiled. Another theory is that it means "the mirage or reflecting river". Another legend is that the image of "boiling water" referred to fog on the river as seen from the hills above the current downtown.
The name was given to the river that flows all the way across the state. The name Kalamazoo, which sounds unusual to English-speaking ears, has become a metonym for exotic places, as in the phrase "from Timbuktu to Kalamazoo." Today, T-shirts are sold in Kalamazoo with the phrase "Yes, there is a Kalamazoo." The area on which the modern city of Kalamazoo stands was once home to Native Americans of the Hopewell culture, who migrated into the area sometime before the first millennium. Evidence of their early residency remains in the form of a small mound in downtown's Bronson Park; the Hopewell civilization was replaced by other groups. The Potawatomi culture lived in the area. René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, passed just southeast of the present city of Kalamazoo in late March 1680; the first Europeans to reside in the area were itinerant fur traders in the late 18th and early 19th century. There are records of several traders wintering in the area, by the 1820s at least one trading post had been established.
During the War of 1812, the British established a prison camp in the area. The 1821 Treaty of Chicago ceded the territory south of the Grand River to the United States federal government. However, the area around present-day Kalamazoo was reserved as the village of Potawatomi Chief Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish. Six years as a result of the 1827 Treaty of St. Joseph, the tract that became the city of Kalamazoo was ceded. In 1829, Titus Bronson from Connecticut, became the first white settler to build a cabin within the present city limits of Kalamazoo, he platted the town in 1831 and named it the village of Bronson—not to be confused with the much smaller Bronson, about fifty miles to the south-southeast of Kalamazoo. Bronson described as "eccentric" and argumentative, was run out of town; the village was renamed Kalamazoo in 1836, due in part to Bronson's being fined for stealing a cherry tree. Today, a downtown park, among other things, are named for Bronson. Kalamazoo was incorporated as a village in 1838 and as a city in 1883.
The fertile farmlands attracted prosperous Yankee farmers who settled the surrounding area, sent their sons to Kalamazoo to become businessmen and entrepreneurs who started numerous factories. Most of the original settlers of Kalamazoo were from upstate New York. In the 1940s, the city became the first to install curb cuts. In 1959, the city created the Kalamazoo Mall, the first outdoor pedestrian shopping mall in the United States, by closing part of Burdick Street to auto traffic; the Mall was designed by Victor Gruen, who designed the country's first enclosed shopping mall, which had opened three years earlier. Two of the mall's four blocks were reopened to auto traffic in 1999 after much debate. An F3 tornado struck downtown Kalamazoo on May 13, 1980, killing five and injuring 79. On February 20, 2016, Kalamazoo became the site of a random series of shootings in which six people were killed. A prime suspect was apprehended by police without incident. In the past, Kalamazoo was known for its production of windmills, buggies, cigars, stoves and paper products.
Agriculturally, it once was noted for celery. Although much of it has become suburbanized, the surrounding area still produces farm crops corn and soybeans. Kalamazoo was the original home of Gibson Guitar Corporation, which spawned the still-local Heritage Guitars; the company was incorporated as "Gibson Mandolin - Guitar Co. Ltd" on October 11, 1902, by the craftsman
Detroit is the largest and most populous city in the U. S. state of Michigan, the largest United States city on the United States–Canada border, the seat of Wayne County. The municipality of Detroit had a 2017 estimated population of 673,104, making it the 23rd-most populous city in the United States; the metropolitan area, known as Metro Detroit, is home to 4.3 million people, making it the second-largest in the Midwest after the Chicago metropolitan area. Regarded as a major cultural center, Detroit is known for its contributions to music and as a repository for art and design. Detroit is a major port located on the Detroit River, one of the four major straits that connect the Great Lakes system to the Saint Lawrence Seaway; the Detroit Metropolitan Airport is among the most important hubs in the United States. The City of Detroit anchors the second-largest regional economy in the Midwest, behind Chicago and ahead of Minneapolis–Saint Paul, the 13th-largest in the United States. Detroit and its neighboring Canadian city Windsor are connected through a tunnel and the Ambassador Bridge, the busiest international crossing in North America.
Detroit is best known as the center of the U. S. automobile industry, the "Big Three" auto manufacturers General Motors and Chrysler are all headquartered in Metro Detroit. In 1701, Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac founded Fort Pontchartrain du Détroit, the future city of Detroit. During the 19th century, it became an important industrial hub at the center of the Great Lakes region. With expansion of the auto industry in the early 20th century, the city and its suburbs experienced rapid growth, by the 1940s, the city had become the fourth-largest in the country. However, due to industrial restructuring, the loss of jobs in the auto industry, rapid suburbanization, Detroit lost considerable population from the late 20th century to the present. Since reaching a peak of 1.85 million at the 1950 census, Detroit's population has declined by more than 60 percent. In 2013, Detroit became the largest U. S. city to file for bankruptcy, which it exited in December 2014, when the city government regained control of Detroit's finances.
Detroit's diverse culture has had both local and international influence in music, with the city giving rise to the genres of Motown and techno, playing an important role in the development of jazz, hip-hop and punk music. The erstwhile rapid growth of Detroit left a globally unique stock of architectural monuments and historic places, since the 2000s conservation efforts managed to save many architectural pieces and allowed several large-scale revitalizations, including the restoration of several historic theatres and entertainment venues, high-rise renovations, new sports stadiums, a riverfront revitalization project. More the population of Downtown Detroit, Midtown Detroit, various other neighborhoods has increased. An popular tourist destination, Detroit receives 19 million visitors per year. In 2015, Detroit was named a "City of Design" by UNESCO, the first U. S. city to receive that designation. Paleo-Indian people inhabited areas near Detroit as early as 11,000 years ago including the culture referred to as the Mound-builders.
In the 17th century, the region was inhabited by Huron, Odawa and Iroquois peoples. The first Europeans did not penetrate into the region and reach the straits of Detroit until French missionaries and traders worked their way around the League of the Iroquois, with whom they were at war, other Iroquoian tribes in the 1630s; the north side of Lake Erie was held by the Huron and Neutral peoples until the 1650s, when the Iroquois pushed both and the Erie people away from the lake and its beaver-rich feeder streams in the Beaver Wars of 1649–1655. By the 1670s, the war-weakened Iroquois laid claim to as far south as the Ohio River valley in northern Kentucky as hunting grounds, had absorbed many other Iroquoian peoples after defeating them in war. For the next hundred years no British, colonist, or French action was contemplated without consultation with, or consideration of the Iroquois' response; when the French and Indian War evicted the Kingdom of France from Canada, it removed one barrier to British colonists migrating west.
British negotiations with the Iroquois would both prove critical and lead to a Crown policy limiting the west of the Alleghenies settlements below the Great Lakes, which gave many American would-be migrants a casus belli for supporting the American Revolution. The 1778 raids and resultant 1779 decisive Sullivan Expedition reopened the Ohio Country to westward emigration, which began immediately, by 1800 white settlers were pouring westwards; the city was named by French colonists, referring to the Detroit River, linking Lake Huron and Lake Erie. On July 24, 1701, the French explorer Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, along with more than a hundred other settlers began constructing a small fort on the north bank of the Detroit River. Cadillac would name the settlement Fort Pontchartrain du Détroit, after Louis Phélypeaux, comte de Pontchartrain, Minister of Marine under Louis XIV. France offered free land to colonists to attract families to Detroit. By 1773, the population of Detroit was 1,400. By 1778, its population was up to 2,144 and it was the third-largest city in the Province of Quebec.
The region's economy was based on the lucrative fur trade, in which nume
Gibson Brands, Inc. is an American manufacturer of guitars, other musical instruments, consumer and professional electronics from Kalamazoo and now based in Nashville, Tennessee. The company was known as Gibson Guitar Corporation and renamed Gibson Brands, Inc. on June 11, 2013. Orville Gibson founded the company in 1902 as the "Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Mfg. Co. Ltd." in Kalamazoo, Michigan, to make mandolin-family instruments. Gibson invented archtop guitars by constructing the same type of carved, arched tops used on violins. By the 1930s, the company was making flattop acoustic guitars, as well as one of the first commercially available hollow-body electric guitars and popularized by Charlie Christian. In 1944, Gibson was bought by Chicago Musical Instruments, acquired in 1969 by Panama-based conglomerate Ecuadorian Company Limited, that changed its name in the same year to Norlin Corporation. Gibson was owned by Norlin Corporation from 1969 to 1986. In 1986, the company was acquired by a group led by David H. Berryman.
Gibson sells guitars under a variety of brand names and builds one of the world's most iconic guitars, the Gibson Les Paul. Gibson was at the forefront of innovation in acoustic guitars in the big band era of the 1930s. In 1952, Gibson introduced its first solid-body electric guitar, the Les Paul, which became its most popular guitar to date— designed by a team led by Ted McCarty. In addition to guitars, Gibson offers consumer electronics through its subsidiaries Onkyo Corporation, Cerwin Vega, Stanton, as well as professional audio equipment from KRK Systems, pianos from their wholly owned subsidiary Baldwin Piano, music software from Cakewalk. On May 1, 2018, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, announced a restructuring deal to return to profitability by closing down unprofitable consumer electronics divisions such as Gibson Innovations. Orville Gibson patented a single-piece mandolin design in 1898, more durable than other mandolins and could be manufactured in volume.
Orville Gibson began to sell his instruments in 1894 out of a one-room workshop in Kalamazoo, Michigan. In 1902, the Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Mfg. Co. Ltd. was incorporated to market the instruments. The company produced only Orville Gibson's original designs. Orville died in 1918 of endocarditis; the following year, the company hired designer Lloyd Loar to create newer instruments. Loar designed the flagship L-5 archtop guitar and the Gibson F-5 mandolin, introduced in 1922, before leaving the company in 1924. In 1936, Gibson introduced their first "Electric Spanish" model, the ES-150, followed by other electric instruments like steel guitars and mandolins. During World War II, instrument manufacturing at Gibson slowed due to shortages of wood and metal, Gibson began manufacturing wood and metal parts for the military. Between 1942-1945, Gibson employed women to manufacture guitars. "Women produced nearly 25,000 guitars during World War II yet Gibson denied building instruments over this period," according to a 2013 history of the company.
Gibson folklore has claimed its guitars were made by "seasoned craftsmen" who were "too old for war." In 1944 Gibson was purchased by Chicago Musical Instruments. The ES-175 was introduced in 1949. Gibson hired Ted McCarty in 1948, who became President in 1950, he led an expansion of the guitar line with new guitars such as the "Les Paul" guitar introduced in 1952, endorsed by Les Paul, a popular musician in the 1950s. The guitar was offered in Custom, Standard and Junior models. In the mid-1950s, the Thinline series was produced, which included a line of thinner guitars like the Byrdland; the first Byrdlands were slim, custom built, L-5 models for guitarists Billy Hank Garland. A shorter neck was added. Other models such as the ES-350T and the ES-225T were introduced as less costly alternatives. In 1958, Gibson introduced the ES-335T model. Similar in size to the hollow-body Thinlines, the ES-335 family had a solid center, giving the string tone a longer sustain. In the 1950s, Gibson produced the Tune-o-matic bridge system and its version of the humbucking pickup, the PAF, first released in 1957 and still sought after for its sound.
In 1958, Gibson produced two new designs: the eccentrically shaped Explorer and Flying V. These "modernistic" guitars did not sell initially, it was only in the late 1960s and early 70s when the two guitars were reintroduced to the market that they sold well. The Firebird, in the early 60s, was a reprise of the modernistic idea. In the late 50s, McCarty knew that Gibson was seen as a traditional company and began an effort to create more modern guitars. In 1961 the body design of the Les Paul was changed due to the demand for a double-cutaway body design; the new body design became known as the SG, due to disapproval from Les Paul himself. The original Les Paul design returned to the Gibson catalog in 1968. On December 22, 1969, Gibson parent company Chicago Musical Instruments was taken over by the South American brewing conglomerate ECL. Gibson remained under the control of CMI until 1974 when it became a subsidiary of Norlin Musical Instruments. Norlin Musical Instruments was a member of Norlin Industries, named for ECL president Norton Stevens and CMI president Arnold Berlin.
This began an era characterized by decreasing product quality. Between 1974 and 1984, production of Gibson guitars was shifted from Kalamazoo to Nashville, Tennessee; the Kalamazoo plant kept going for a few years a
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
An electric piano is an electric musical instrument which produces sounds when a performer presses the keys of the piano-style musical keyboard. Pressing keys causes mechanical hammers to strike metal strings, metal reeds or wire tines, leading to vibrations which are converted into electrical signals by magnetic pickups, which are connected to an instrument amplifier and loudspeaker to make a sound loud enough for the performer and audience to hear. Unlike a synthesizer, the electric piano is not an electronic instrument. Instead, it is an electro-mechanical instrument; some early electric pianos used lengths of wire to produce the tone, like a traditional piano. Smaller electric pianos used short slivers of steel to produce the tone; the earliest electric pianos were invented in the late 1920s. The earliest stringless model was Lloyd Loar's Vivi-Tone Clavier. A few other noteworthy producers of electric pianos include Baldwin Piano and Organ Company and the Wurlitzer Company. Early electric piano recordings include Duke Ellington's in 1955 and Sun Ra's India as well as other tracks from the 1956 sessions included on his second album Super Sonic Jazz.
The popularity of the electric piano began to grow in the late 1950s after Ray Charles's 1959 hit record "What'd I Say", reaching its height during the 1970s, after which they were progressively displaced by more lightweight electronic pianos capable of piano-like sounds without the disadvantages of electric pianos' heavy weight and moving mechanical parts. Another factor driving their development and acceptance was the progressive electrification of popular music and the need for a portable keyboard instrument capable of high-volume amplification. Musicians adopted a number of types of domestic electric pianos for pop use; this encouraged their manufacturers to modify them for stage use and develop models intended for stage use. Digital pianos that provide an emulated electric piano sound have supplanted the actual electro-mechanical instruments in the 2010s, due to the small size, low weight and versatility of digital instruments, which can produce a huge range of tones besides piano tones.
However, some performers still record with vintage electric pianos. In 2009, Rhodes produced a new line of electro-mechanical pianos, known as the Rhodes Mark 7, followed by an offering from Vintage Vibe; the Neo-Bechstein electric piano was built in 1929. The Vierlang-Forster electric piano was introduced in 1937; the RCA Storytone electric piano was built in 1939 in a joint venture between Story & Clark and RCA. The case was designed by the American industrial designer, it debuted at the 1939 World's Fair. The piano hammer action but no soundboard; the sound is amplified through electromagnetic pickups, circuitry and a speaker system, making it the world's first commercially available electric piano. Many types were designed as a less-expensive alternative to an acoustic piano for home or school use; some electric pianos were designed with multiple keyboards for use in school or college piano labs, so that teachers could instruct a group of students using headphones. "Electric piano" is a heterogeneous category encompassing several different instruments which vary in their sound-producing mechanisms and consequent timbral characters.
Yamaha, Baldwin and Kawai's electric pianos are actual grand or upright pianos with strings and hammers. The Helpinstill models have a traditional soundboard. On Yamaha and Kawai's pianos, the vibration of the strings is converted to an electrical signal by piezoelectric pickups under the bridge. Helpinstill's instruments use a set of electromagnetic pickups attached to the instrument's frame. All these instruments have a tonal character similar to that of an acoustic piano. Wurlitzer electric pianos use; the reeds fit within a comb-like metal plate, the reeds and plate together form an electrostatic or capacitive pickup system, using a DC voltage of 170v. This system produces a distinctive tone – sweet and vibraphone-like when played and developing a hollow resonance as the keys are played harder; the reeds are tuned by removing mass from a lump of solder at the free end of the reed. Replacement reeds are furnished with a slight excess of solder, thus tuned "flat"; the Columbia Elepian, the Brazilian-made Suette, the Hohner Electra-Piano use a reed system similar to the Wurlitzer but with electromagnetic pickups similar to the Rhodes piano.
The tuning fork here refers to the struck element having two vibrating parts – physically it bears little resemblance to a traditional type. In Fender Rhodes instruments, the struck portion of the "fork" is a tine of stiff steel wire; the other part of the fork and adjacent to the tine, is the tonebar, a sturdy steel bar which acts as a resonator and adds sustain to the sound. The tine is fitted with a spring which can be moved along its length to allow the pitch to be varied for fine-tuning; the tine is struck by the small neoprene tip of a hammer activated by a simplified piano action. Each tine has an electromagnetic pickup placed just beyond its tip; the Rhodes piano has a distinctive bell-like tone, fuller than the Wurlitzer