How do I measure the frequencies of electric guitar strings

Post any questions about our parallel port products
Post Reply

How do I measure the frequencies of electric guitar strings

Post by lenson »

Hi I am completely new to Oscilloscopes so I need your help please, I have just bought the ADC-100 from RS as I believed this was what I needed to measure the frequencies of electric guitar strings. Can you advise the correct procedure that I need to follow in order to do this and if I bought the correct product.
As I say I am completely new to Oscilloscopes and how they work, I understand that I need to use the spectrum analyser, do I read the frequency with a microphone and what settings should I chose to achieve a reading of what frequencies the string that is plucked is playing.
What I am trying to see is the frequency the string vibrates at and what other frequencies exist or appear whilst the string vibrates.
I am working on a new pickup design for electric guitars and I believe that our prototype is giving a clearer tone and for longer than existing pickups, I am trying to see if I can produce a visual image on a spectrum analyser so that I can compare with other pickups.

I really appreciate your help, thanks.

Paul Gregory

PS I omitted to say the frequencies that the strings vibrate at
E 82Hz, A 110Hz, D 147Hz, G 196Hz, B 247Hz, E 330Hz

User avatar
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 598
Joined: Wed May 07, 2003 9:45 am

Post by markspencer »


The frequencies that you are trying to look at are well within the range of the ADC-100.

How you are going about measuring the vibrations I can only make suggestions and not give you definite solutions. To measure the sound wave and all the harmonics which are aslo being produced you will need a good microphone. This will convert the sound pattern into an analogue voltage that the ADC-100 can measure. Once this has been recieved it will be displayed as an sprectrum in the Spectrum Analysier window in Picoscope.

Each application may require a different set of microphone characteristics but for general audio use a good microphone can be found at

The M31 has a very flat frequency response and good directional response.

The microphone connector is an industry standard Male XLR with the following connections

Pin1 - Ground

Pin2 - Signal

Pin3 - Power Supply (+9V @ 5mA)

The microphone requires +9V which can be provided from a PP3 battery.

You will have to make up a connecting lead to connect the XLR connector to the BNC connector. Suitable XLR and BNC connectors can be found in RS.

This is just one suggestion there may be other ways to measure it.

Best regards,

Mark Spencer


Post by lenson »

Hi Mark
Thanks very much for your help and very quick reply. You have pointed me in the right direction which is what I needed I will let you know how I get on.

Best Regards,
Paul Gregory

Post Reply