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  1. #1

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    Reading through the archives, I keep coming across this concept of "thunk". I'd never heard that term in relation to guitar but instantly knew it was an onomatopoeia for the sound of, what I would describe as, a percussive low-sustain hollowbody guitar. However, I could find no threads about how to actually decrease sustain in a guitar nor could I find any threads about the method I've used for some time to create thunk in a guitar.


    As a proof of concept, I took my longest-sustaining guitar - a semi-hollow that has D'Addario medium roundwounds and sings beautifully but has zero thunk. It sounds like a solid-body. I simply took a piece of foam from a bike helmet and placed it in between the bridge and the bridge pickup. I rotated it so edge of the foam makes contact with the string at a narrow point to keep the strings from being dampened enough to sound muted. Also, I let more of the foam make contact with the bass strings than the treble, and moved the edge of the foam closer to the bridge on the treble side. See photo.

    An easy and cheap method to create "thunk" on any guitar.-unnamed-2-jpg


    Here's a brief recording. The first half is the neck pickup and then I switch to neck + middle where I think the thunk is a little more pronounced. This effect could be taken further with heavy flatwounds and, obviously, a hollow body instrument.




    Thoughts?

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sabicas
    Reading through the archives, I keep coming across this concept of "thunk". I'd never heard that term in relation to guitar but instantly knew it was an onomatopoeia for the sound of, what I would describe as, a percussive low-sustain hollowbody guitar. However, I could find no threads about how to actually decrease sustain in a guitar nor could I find any threads about the method I've used for some time to create thunk in a guitar.


    As a proof of concept, I took my longest-sustaining guitar - a semi-hollow that has D'Addario medium roundwounds and sings beautifully but has zero thunk. It sounds like a solid-body. I simply took a piece of foam from a bike helmet and placed it in between the bridge and the bridge pickup. I rotated it so edge of the foam makes contact with the string at a narrow point to keep the strings from being dampened enough to sound muted. Also, I let more of the foam make contact with the bass strings than the treble, and moved the edge of the foam closer to the bridge on the treble side. See photo.

    An easy and cheap method to create "thunk" on any guitar.-unnamed-2-jpg


    Here's a brief recording. The first half is the neck pickup and then I switch to neck + middle where I think the thunk is a little more pronounced. This effect could be taken further with heavy flatwounds and, obviously, a hollow body instrument.




    Thoughts?
    Wow, that sounds GREAT.

  4. #3

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    gretsch guitars offered a foam damper feature...worked on a lever...toggle switch (below the bigsby in pic) set it in place






    cheers

  5. #4
    I've tried various dampeners such as the Gretsch's and Jaguar's and could never get a good sound. The foam surface area is too broad and it's too far from the bridge, resulting in a sound like a muffled banjo. As well, the treble and bass strings need a different amount of pressure and distance from the bridge.

  6. #5

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    the italian company meazzi offered this string damper



    cheers

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sabicas
    I've tried various dampeners such as the Gretsch's and Jaguar's and could never get a good sound. The foam surface area is too broad and it's too far from the bridge, resulting in a sound like a muffled banjo. As well, the treble and bass strings need a different amount of pressure and distance from the bridge.
    Yeah, this is like a totally different sound. It's a good sound.

    Those string damper things on old Gretsches and Fenders...yuck.

  8. #7
    Oh wow, that meazzi looks interesting. Is that available anywhere or extremely rare vintage. I'm guessing the latter.

  9. #8

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    yeah i thought you'd like!! hah..old 70's tech...according to the gdp they show up on ebay once in awhile

    cheers

    ps- here's link for more pics and info

    Add On Mute
    :
    Vintage Gretsch Guitars :
    The Gretsch Pages

  10. #9

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    Add another damper at the nut...thunkalicious!

  11. #10

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    Standard procedure on a bass to get rid of unnecessary “stuff”.

  12. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop
    Add another damper at the nut...thunkalicious!
    yeah, i've done that as well, mostly to kill sympathetic resonance when unwanted. However, it won't thunk a fretted note and it's more difficult to get something under the strings at the nut without overly muffling the open notes. At least, I haven't found it to be easy. The foam at the bridge pretty much takes care of what I would need from a nut muffler.

  13. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop
    Add another damper at the nut...thunkalicious!
    Are you the Rob MacKillop that has been publishing DADGAD materials in the last few years? If so, you might be interested to know that my clip above was recorded in DADGAD which is my "standard" tuning.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by vintagelove
    Standard procedure on a bass to get rid of unnecessary “stuff”.
    exactly!..thought of that right away as well...the great session player carol kaye had a system of putting felt across the top of her strings (flats)..under the bridge cover of her fender...been doing the foam trick on my 65 silvertone bass and jazz bass (both with flats) for years...bass strings being so heavy are a bit more forgiving regarding the exact foam placement..but works great..as it cuts some sustain and overtones and renders a more authentic upright bass style thump


    cheers

    ps- the great george van eps invented the damper that was used at the nut...used by jim hall on his iconic es 175...herb ellis too

  15. #14

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    The very same! Pierre Bensusan is the only other person I know who uses DADGAD as his standard, if not only tuning. I had a guitar student who was quite sane until I showed him DADGAD, and he decided to learn BeBop with that tuning. I told him he was mad, but music needs madmen. Haven't seen him in a few years...

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sabicas
    Are you the Rob MacKillop that has been publishing DADGAD materials in the last few years?
    haha sounds a bit like an accusation...

    please come quietly with us sir and answer some questions...

  17. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop
    The very same! Pierre Bensusan is the only other person I know who uses DADGAD as his standard, if not only tuning. I had a guitar student who was quite sane until I showed him DADGAD, and he decided to learn BeBop with that tuning. I told him he was mad, but music needs madmen. Haven't seen him in a few years...
    I'm hijacking my own thread here, but I'd like to discuss the possibilities of DADGAD in non-fingerstyle jazz. I feel it works quite well in Gypsy Jazz style licks as it encourages approach notes in order to get from here to there. Arpeggios are actually easier for me to play than when I was using standard tuning as the 3rd just sticks out there in a convenient spot for me to make major or minor in the primary shapes. The harmonic minor scale also feels better in to me in DADGAD. I admit I sometimes tune the low D up to E to get some more closed chord possibilities.

    Maybe a new thread on the subject is needed. Two contributors only?

  18. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop
    haha sounds a bit like an accusation...

    please come quietly with us sir and answer some questions...


    Hey, the DADGAD world is small. I regularly do searches to see if anyone is trying anything new with it.

  19. #18

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    I think I'll pass on a discussion of DADGAD in jazz, but I know it can be done, so keep at it.

  20. #19

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    To continue the hijack... some crazy german recorded an album with Monk tunes on a Classical in DADGAD. Forgot his name.


    Gesendet von iPhone mit Tapatalk

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sabicas
    Reading through the archives, I keep coming across this concept of "thunk". I'd never heard that term in relation to guitar but instantly knew it was an onomatopoeia for the sound of, what I would describe as, a percussive low-sustain hollowbody guitar. However, I could find no threads about how to actually decrease sustain in a guitar nor could I find any threads about the method I've used for some time to create thunk in a guitar.


    As a proof of concept, I took my longest-sustaining guitar - a semi-hollow that has D'Addario medium roundwounds and sings beautifully but has zero thunk. It sounds like a solid-body. I simply took a piece of foam from a bike helmet and placed it in between the bridge and the bridge pickup. I rotated it so edge of the foam makes contact with the string at a narrow point to keep the strings from being dampened enough to sound muted. Also, I let more of the foam make contact with the bass strings than the treble, and moved the edge of the foam closer to the bridge on the treble side. See photo.

    An easy and cheap method to create "thunk" on any guitar.-unnamed-2-jpg


    Here's a brief recording. The first half is the neck pickup and then I switch to neck + middle where I think the thunk is a little more pronounced. This effect could be taken further with heavy flatwounds and, obviously, a hollow body instrument.




    Thoughts?
    Palm muting, in which the edge of the hand rests on the bridge, achieves much the same effect and is capable of nuance.

  22. #21
    Of course but not quite the same sound. This was aimed at people looking for a guitar that has thunk. Search the archives to find many discussions on the subject.

  23. #22

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    I love the sound of open strings combined with fretted notes so using something like a Van Eps damper is the opposite of what I like to hear. Barney Kessel, for one, used these chords so beautifully. I can understand why some players would find them useful. I recall Herb Ellis putting an ad in Guitar Player back in the 70s to try to find a duplicate damper.

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sabicas
    .....I simply took a piece of foam from a bike helmet and placed it in between the bridge and the bridge pickup.....
    Highly intriguing - I would find it especially interesting to hear A/B recordings of the same figure(s) played with and without your Thunkification device engaged. I can understand how after getting it positioned right, the thought of then removing it just for a comparison study might not be inspiring though!

    You may eventually have to market this reinvention of the thunk.

  25. #24

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    ...or use Reinvention of the Thunk as one of your album names.

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by MattR
    ...or use Reinvention of the Thunk as one of your album names.
    Also could be "The Art of Thunk"

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by citizenk74
    Palm muting, in which the edge of the hand rests on the bridge, achieves much the same effect and is capable of nuance.
    We can not discuss this without mentioning one of the master of this technic


  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gabor
    Also could be "The Art of Thunk"
    ..Melodious Thunk

    An easy and cheap method to create "thunk" on any guitar.-melodiusthunk-jpg

  29. #28

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    The traditional thunk sound though I believe is accomplished though the angle at which the pick hits the strings. The hollow body guitar helps a lot too! And the short sustain in jazz mostly comes again from muting the string with the pick immediately after the initial attack.

    Another way (or a complimentary way), is developing a staccato attack with the fretting hand, releasing the pressure as soon as a note is played. This helps when playing with a 45 degree angle (a technique that facilitates speed, but not pick muting - although I've seen shred players mute that way). At least that's the way I've always tried to do it! To me palm muting gives a different sound..

  30. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by MattR
    Highly intriguing - I would find it especially interesting to hear A/B recordings of the same figure(s) played with and without your Thunkification device engaged.
    Sure. I recorded two more snippets with the same guitar as before. As "vanilla" as possible with the neck+bridge pickups and tone and volume pots at 10 for clarity.

    "Before" is without foam


  31. #30
    "After" is with foam


  32. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by MattR
    ..Melodious Thunk

    An easy and cheap method to create "thunk" on any guitar.-melodiusthunk-jpg
    Also a famous quote "Don't believe every quote you read on the internet, because I totally didn't say that." It is from Albert Einstein the inventor of the lightbulb.

    ***

    joke aside: I do respect Monk, but in case he really said that, he was definitely wrong. It is total nihilism, and although the statement can earn cheap popularity, the same time it is destructive, and has the literal meaning "I do not care". Indeed if one cares then she/he can do something for things go to a direction. Things not just happen.

  33. #32

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    I think a wood bridge would be thunkier than a TOM.

  34. #33

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    From 1967, anti-thunk:


    Danny W.

  35. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sabicas
    I recorded two more snippets with the same guitar as before.
    COOL. I personally dig the envelope the foam puts on there in the after version, as an apples/oranges alternative to the before, and agree it's not the same result at all as palm muting.

    Whether it be referred to as thunk or plunk, it doesn't have the same effect that I've heard when switching from a metal to a wood bridge either, and I'd also say it is a more dramatic contrast.
    Last edited by MattR; 12-18-2019 at 02:54 AM.

  36. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sabicas
    Maybe a new thread on the subject is needed. Two contributors only?
    I use DADGAD about 1/3 of the time, standard 1/3 too, and the rest of the time EBDGAD and DGDGBD. But finger-style only (on electric though), so I won't have anything useful to you to contribute.