3rd Bridge

3rd Bridge

The 3rd bridge is an extended playing technique used on mainly electric guitars such as the Fender Jazzmaster that has the strings continue through to the tremolo piece. It is called the 3rd Bridge because some players utilized the unique sound that one can get out of playing in that area. Bands like Sonic Youth and Placebo are known for using this technique. Other more common use of the term contains a prepared guitar with a rod, for instance a screwdriver or pencil, placed between the fretboard and strings. [http://bigsby.wordpress.com/2008/02/26/third-bridge-guitar/] In that case the strings are played at the side of the fretboard, causing a resonating overtone at the string part above the pickup.

Physical Explanation and examples

The third bridge divides the string into two pieces. When played at one part, the opposed part starts to resonate more or less, depending on their mathematical relation. [http://www.oddmusic.com/gallery/om21600.html] On harmonic positions the created multiphonic tone is consonant and increases in volume and sustain because of the reciprocal string resonance. The sound is comparable with the sound of bells of clocks. Harry Partch allready experimented with this technique on his Kitara's with movable glass rods. Glenn Branca adopted his theory and used amplified string tables for some of his symphonies. Also Fred Frith and Keith Rowe were early practisors of this technique, mainly inspired by adopting John Cage's technique of the prepared piano. Classical guitar duo Elgart & Yates wrote a small book Prepared Guitar Techniques in which the technique is described and used in the added written musical piece, although not defined with the term 'third bridge' yet. Sonic Youth applied their guitars with screwdrivers, mainly in their early years. On their album Confusion is Sex this technique is often used. Afterwards Bradford Reed developed the Pencilina and Yuri Landman the Moodswinger to explore the possibilities of this technique. Reed plays mainly with drumsticks hitting the strings as well, while Landman's technique is partly based on muting the opposed part while striking, causing a sound which reminds of a backwards-recorded sound.

ee also

* Tailed bridge guitar


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