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Arithmetic of Spring Forces on the Banjo Bridge

Politzer, David (2021) Arithmetic of Spring Forces on the Banjo Bridge. , Pasadena, CA. (Unpublished)

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Spring-like forces on the bridge are key to a banjo's characteristic voice. These are due to the tension in strings and head. Conceptually distinct from the forces of waves in the strings and head that encode the underlying music, the spring-like forces impact the timbre of how those waves are converted to sound. This note presents a simplified model that allows the head contribution to be calculated (mostly) with paper and pencil. The key simplification is placing a circular bridge at the center of the head. The resulting formulae show how design elements and player’s adjustments can effect the sound. The results also provide estimates of the magnitudes of the effects when evaluated with numerical values for Young’s moduli and typical banjo set-up specs. For steel strings and tight mylar head, the head contribution is about three times as large as that of the strings.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Discussion Paper)
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Politzer, David0000-0002-4983-6621
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Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20210413-111925222
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:108711
Deposited By: H. Politzer
Deposited On:13 Apr 2021 23:35
Last Modified:19 Apr 2021 17:24

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