How do String Instruments Work?

When starting band there is lots of information about the different wind instruments but not the string instruments. So, what are the different string instruments? For the longest time I had no idea. Their structure and mechanics are so similar it can be hard to tell them apart. I have a friend that told me a story about how their step dad thought all string instruments were called guitars, which is not true. I’m Hannah Kerchner, founder of Hannah’s Musical Hope and I’m here to instruct you on the basics of string instruments.

Have you ever had a rubber band pulled really tight and when you pull the tightened band is makes a cool vibrating sound? By doing this you are demonstrating the basics of a string instrument. A string instrument is a musical instrument that produces sound by vibrating strings. Some instruments such as a violin uses bows which are generally made of horsehair. The bows are moved across the strings to make notes. Other string instruments produce sound by plucking the individual strings with a pick or with your fingers.

The most common string instruments used by individuals and in orchestras are violins, violas, cellos, bass, and guitars. Guitars, and bass specifically can be played acoustically which means the sound comes solely from the vibrations on the instrument or electrically with an amp. String instruments vary a lot but all have the same general concept.

String instruments are used by a large variety of musicians and in a large variation of music styles. The most common place string instruments are seen is in an orchestra. Outside of the orchestra guitars are used in rock bands, mariachi bands, show bands, and individually. The bass, like the guitar, is also seen in many different bands. The string bass is used in orchestra, and jazz bands and bass guitars are used in rock and show bands. If you play a string instrument orchestra isn’t the only place you have to go, there is a variety of settings you can play in.

String instruments are a lot different than wind instruments. Rather than sound being produced by airflow it’s produced by vibrating strings. No matter what instrument you decide to play it’s good to be informed. If you have any questions about specific string instruments, or what they are feel free to comment below. If you have any advice or expertise you’d like to share or a story about your instrument feel free to comment below! We look forward to hearing from you! “You are the music while the music lasts!” -T.S Eliot Happy playing!