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Thread: wheres your "Wolf Note"

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    Default wheres your "Wolf Note"

    I heard of an interview quoteing the great Classical virtuoso genius Andres Segovia and he said something to the effect of that even his greatest guitars that had been handcrafted by the finest Master Luthiers in all of Espana and all the world had a "Wolf note" somewhere on the fretboard. So I ask you. Wheres your "wolf note"?
    Ive got a guitar tat soiunds great , but the 3rd string from the top on the 7th fret buzzes. Ive had it crowned and levelled by a pretty good luthier and Ive set the action and neck as well as it will about go, so even though this isnt the "wolf Note" of a great guitar, its defintily a "ghost note" on a excellent and straight neck with tall and fat frets in excellent condition.

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    Mojo's Minions Redmist's Avatar
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    Default Re: wheres your "Wolf Note"

    Is the wolf note not the same exact resonance frequency of the instrument?
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    Default Re: wheres your "Wolf Note"

    Quote Originally Posted by Redmist View Post
    Is the wolf note not the same exact resonance frequency of the instrument?
    could be. I forgot exactly what he said about it. I assumed it was a bad thing

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    Mojo's Minions Redmist's Avatar
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    Default Re: wheres your "Wolf Note"

    could be. I was only guessing.
    Someone on here will know.
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    John Mayer's Mankini ImmortalSix's Avatar
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    Default Re: wheres your "Wolf Note"

    I have an Epiphone that is FULL of wolf notes

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    Default Re: wheres your "Wolf Note"

    a wolf note tends to happen more on stringed instruments that use bows not guitars. i guess it could happen on a guitar though since all it is is the note you're playing matching the resonance of the instrument. what you have is called a dead fret and a crappy guitar tech that didn't level the frets well LOL.

    -Mike

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    Default Re: wheres your "Wolf Note"

    Wolfe tones are frequencies that are close to the resonant peak of the instrument or multiples thereof...pretty common in amplified archtops; other stringed instruments use sound posts to even out the response (at the expense of some volume and tone quality), but guitar builders appear to largely ignored them because it didn't become a serious issue until guitars were amplified. Segovia retired his Hauser in his later career because it developed a slightly uneven response on the G string...

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    Default Re: wheres your "Wolf Note"

    Ain't got no "Wolf notes" but I sure as hell got me a couple of them there dead notes on the fretboard.
    Now all this talk about Wolf notes and Ghost notes and Dead notes makes me a little uneasy, so I just play around em' where possible.

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    Default Re: wheres your "Wolf Note"

    My SG doesn't have any dead spots and i haven't noticed any wolfiness.

    If I bend my G string on the 11th fret of my Strat it gets stuck in this little 'gash' in the fret. I need to get that fixed...
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    Mojo's Minions Hellion's Avatar
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    Default Re: wheres your "Wolf Note"

    Well, I've got a Strat that "wolfs" at the octave of the low E string, pretty much the same point that Robin Trower and Dave Gilmour said it would. And while it's not quite the same thing, I've got an SG that will do a "Zappa" trick and jump to the octave on the 10th fret of the 3rd string. Now, if only I could convince the band to tune up a half step!
    Last edited by Hellion; 09-23-2008 at 10:44 AM.

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    Default Re: wheres your "Wolf Note"

    Most of the issues with wolfe tones are more noticeable with acoustic or acoustic-design based guitars...not solidbodies.

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    Default Re: wheres your "Wolf Note"

    Quote Originally Posted by ES350 View Post
    Most of the issues with wolfe tones are more noticeable with acoustic or acoustic-design based guitars...not solidbodies.
    + 1
    It's the Ghost tones you gotta watch out for.

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    Default Re: wheres your "Wolf Note"

    On my Squier, most of the A notes and harmonics would cause the trem system to resonate heavily, and I really liked it. But after I fine-tuned the setup a couple years ago, it disappeared.

    On the full-hollow Ibanez Artcore I just got a few weeks ago, I have noticed that some notes cause the body to resonate a lot more than others.

    This "wolf note" term is umfamiliar to me.
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    Default Re: wheres your "Wolf Note"

    Quote Originally Posted by baritone View Post

    This "wolf note" term is umfamiliar to me.
    http://everything2.com/e2node/wolf%2520note

    Segovia said all instruments no ,matter how great had a "Wolf Note"

    Is there also a "ghost note" that makes the instrument resonate LESS than the usual note?

    QUOTE-"The term ghost note, then, can have various meanings. The term anti-accent is more specific. Moreover, there exists a set of anti-accent marks to show gradation more specifically. Percussion music in particular makes use of anti-accent marks, as follows:
    slightly softer than surrounding notes: u (breve)
    significantly softer than surrounding notes: ( ) (note head in parentheses)
    much softer than surrounding notes: [ ] (note head in brackets)" -END QUOTE
    Last edited by jerryjg; 09-23-2008 at 10:40 PM.

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    Default Re: wheres your "Wolf Note"

    wolf notes on an electric guitar are going to correspond more to ease of feedback (whether desired or not). Unless of course you're playing an electric acoustically.

    a ghost note (as far as we're talking with guitars) would simply be a note whose frequency causes destructive interference with the guitar's resonant frequency (think out of phase) causing this note to sound at a lesser volume than other notes. Again, pretty much moot with electric guitars played through amplifiers.

    Ghost notes for me (originally jazz saxophone player) were notes you intentionally muted in a phrase to make the other notes stand out. Like Jerry said, it's like a reverse accent. It was made by intentionally leaving your tongue on the reed making the note sound muted (think palm mutes on guitar). Learning to sucessfully use ghost notes in your phrasing was what really separated your playing from 'playing the right notes', and playing jazz.

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    Default Re: wheres your "Wolf Note"

    Quote Originally Posted by Truant View Post
    wolf notes on an electric guitar are going to correspond more to ease of feedback (whether desired or not). Unless of course you're playing an electric acoustically.

    a ghost note (as far as we're talking with guitars) would simply be a note whose frequency causes destructive interference with the guitar's resonant frequency (think out of phase) causing this note to sound at a lesser volume than other notes. Again, pretty much moot with electric guitars played through amplifiers.

    Ghost notes for me (originally jazz saxophone player) were notes you intentionally muted in a phrase to make the other notes stand out. Like Jerry said, it's like a reverse accent. It was made by intentionally leaving your tongue on the reed making the note sound muted (think palm mutes on guitar). Learning to sucessfully use ghost notes in your phrasing was what really separated your playing from 'playing the right notes', and playing jazz.
    Yes and No.

    Yes the wolf note is just an exciting of the natural resonant frequency of the instrument resulting in an increase of volume and harmonics.

    No the Ghost note is not a phase cancellation effect that is the opposite of a wolf note, rather it is as you suggested; a de emphasising or de accenting of a notes or group of notes. In other words to play a note very faintly.

    Dire Straits Private Investigations track with the very quietly played thump of the bass line towards the end of the track is a good example.
    It is perhaps arguable as to wether this is Ghosting or wether these notes should be termed Grace notes i.e. cutting short a note by muting regardless of volume or accent.

    For those that have broad minds and or an appreciation of classical 20th century music might I suggest that any of Igor Stravinsky's major works ( Le Sacre De Pruntemp, Petrouchka or L'Oiseau de Feu ) are spectacular examples of Grace and Ghost notes scoring.

    So how the hell did we get on to this anyway ?......Surfs Up !
    Last edited by wanmei1; 09-24-2008 at 03:15 AM.

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    Default Re: wheres your "Wolf Note"

    Wolf Tone

    I used to play viola in college. I had an instrument that I ran into the wolf tone only once. If you run into it, you just know it. The string underneath my fingers just went haywire (definitely vibrating above and beyond its normal amount) and the tone disappeared. That or if I tried to force it, it would change to the wolf tone's note. The wolf tone was like 1/4 tone away from an E flat on the C string, if I remember correctly.

    There are things you can do such as installing wolf cancelers. I just don't know if they work with guitars. I have no clue what you would do for a guitar, but for a violin-family instrument you installed a wolf tone canceler and hoped it remedied the situation. Mostly, I never saw one of these on a violin, but rarely on a viola, sometimes on a cello, sometimes on a 'bass.

    I have a friend who is an up and coming violinist that I could ask....

    EDIT: Still, it does sound like it could be a possibility (wolf tone). Another thing you could do possibly is change the resonant frequency of the instrument (by increasing or decreasing its mass)....
    Last edited by Robert Delahunt; 09-24-2008 at 04:06 AM.
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    Default Re: wheres your "Wolf Note"

    Quote Originally Posted by TwinReverb View Post
    Wolf Tone

    I used to play viola in college. I had an instrument that I ran into the wolf tone only once. If you run into it, you just know it. The string underneath my fingers just went haywire (definitely vibrating above and beyond its normal amount) and the tone disappeared. That or if I tried to force it, it would change to the wolf tone's note. The wolf tone was like 1/4 tone away from an E flat on the C string, if I remember correctly.

    There are things you can do such as installing wolf cancelers. I just don't know if they work with guitars. I have no clue what you would do for a guitar, but for a violin-family instrument you installed a wolf tone canceler and hoped it remedied the situation. Mostly, I never saw one of these on a violin, but rarely on a viola, sometimes on a cello, sometimes on a 'bass.

    I have a friend who is an up and coming violinist that I could ask....

    EDIT: Still, it does sound like it could be a possibility (wolf tone). Another thing you could do possibly is change the resonant frequency of the instrument (by increasing or decreasing its mass)....
    Spot on.
    By altering the inherent natural resonant frequency of a guitar ( and mostly the problem exists in hollow body guitars ) you change the wolf tone frequency ( note ) to a different part of the audio band hopefully where it is much diminished in amplitiude over it's natural resonant frequency.
    Adding or subtacting mass ( more difficult ) is the cure and alternatively damping the body is effective.
    Classical musicians purportedly use a coin taped to stringed instruments to alleviate wolf tone where as others use chewing gum. ( I am told that blueberry flavor works best. )

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    Default Re: wheres your "Wolf Note"

    I played archtops for a long time (and still do) in some pretty high volume situations and have had to deal with this. A few observations come to mind...

    Increasing mass does raise the resonant peak; a TOM vs a wood saddle, a smaller bridge base (a Super 400 type vs the standard Gibson bridge base) a heavier tailpiece, Grovers vs Klusons, etc. Likewise, dampening the response of the top with sound posts and the other numerous methods (a balloon, foam, etc) helps.

    Different size bodies have different resonant peaks---a ES350T and similar thin hollowbodies have a resonant peak on the G and B strings, while most full depth boxes have peaks on the E and A strings (Eb and F are common on 17" Gibsons).

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    Default Re: wheres your "Wolf Note"

    I had guitars that would vibrate very badly at certain frequencies. You know that dissonance you hear when you're out of tune, well it would do that wavering on a single note. I guess I'd call that a wolf note.

    Happened on a PRS McCarty. I could not play an F# anywhere on the fingerboard. What's weird is it still did it when I tuned down a halfstep.

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