Although it can be transformed by various electronic devices, the sound of the solid body electric guitar originates from, and is strongly linked with, the string vibration. The coupling of the string with the guitar alters its vibration and can lead to decay time inhomogeneities. This paper implements and justifies a framework for the study of decay times of electric guitar tones. Two damping mechanisms are theoretically and experimentally identified: the string intrinsic damping and the damping due to mechanical coupling with the neck of the guitar. The electromagnetic pickup is shown to not provide any additional damping to the string. The pickup is also shown to be far more sensitive to the out-of-plane polarization of the string. Finally, an accurate prediction of the decay time of electric guitar tones is made possible, whose only requirements are the knowledge of the isolated string dampings and the out-of-plane conductance at the neck of the guitar. This prediction can be of great help for instrument makers and manufacturers.

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