The guitar is a complex physical system containing many resonances. Fundamental tonal properties such as initial levels and initial level decays are set by properties of the guitar. The decays of partials are approximately proportional to the inverse of the initial level. Furthermore, the initial partial levels, and thus the inverse level decays, are approximately proportional to the frequency response of the guitar body (recorded as radiated sound for a constant driving force). At resonance frequencies, however, the peak level of the frequency response overestimates the initial tone level and underestimates the decay. In spite of a more rapid decay, a high initial level may give a tone of longer duration, i.e., longer duration above a masked threshold. The guitar gives a decaying tone spectrum with the higher partials decaying more rapidly than the lower ones. Initially the decaying vibrations of the eigenmodes play a noticeable role. High sound pressure levels, including high levels at 500–800 Hz and at 1500–4000 Hz, seem to be favorable. Frequency components above 5000 Hz are perceptible only at the attack of tones. [Work partly in cooperation with G. W. Caldersmith.]

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