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Seeing Sound waves?

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posted on Jan, 11 2007 @ 05:56 AM
One of my best friends I’ve known for years told me that when he plays guitar and is looking at the fret board, he catches a glimpse of what he thinks is the visual vibration of a sound wave produced by the strings. He started seeing is 3 years ago and notices it most of the time when he plays.
He describes it as appearing slightly above the fret board kind of like a projection on to it. Firstly I’ll point out that he obviously see the real string vibrate but see this projection if u will just above the strings
Visually it looks like a purple or black background in which the strings then turning either white or black. He points out that the string appears similar to what a brain wave machine prints out with peaks etc.
He only sees it for between 1/10th of a second to about 1 and it’s mainly when he shifts his vision focus point for one place to another.

He did tell me a bit more but I just wanted to check what people thought or weather someone else has experienced or heard of this?

posted on Jan, 11 2007 @ 07:10 AM

It's entirely possible to see sound waves, but usually through some additional medium, such as water vapor or dust particles. If he smokes while playing, I suppose it's possible he really is seeing a physical effect, but there'd have to be some other factors involved I think. However, it sounds as if your friend has been playing guitar for quite a few years.

Perhaps he's learned to train himself to visualize?

Visualization is a pretty fascinating thing if you get good at it. It's basically a mentally created visual overlay over what you're already seeing, to better represent the location of something not usually perceivable by sight alone. IMHO, auras are a good subconscious example of this.

For instance, Bob is a salesman, and must deal face-to-face with differing personalities each day. He's learned through 20 years on the road how to tell a sucker from a no-sale just from sight. In fact, he's begun to see this as a visual representation around each person. The brain, cataloguing everyone in the room's facial expression, clothing, belongings, posture, etc, simply assigns a particular color of aura to each person and Bob chooses to zero in on the more favorable of auras to make a sale.

Likewise, a musician who hasn't learned to read music, but still needs to have a visual representation to go by, might invent their own visualization of it, where the sounds are represented via a mental overlay, in colors, or vibrations, or sparks, or what have you. The mind is really quite incredible in its capacity to do this. I use mental overlays all the time, myself, though as my eyesight gets worse, I'm less able to catalogue on the fly.

posted on Jan, 15 2007 @ 09:59 AM
i see that too when i play guitar! it looks like tiny sparks. especially when i play with a lot of passion they show up. i think if everyone paid a little more attention to their surroundings they wouldnt think these things we're uncommon.

posted on Jan, 15 2007 @ 11:20 AM
No offense, but musicians tend to do a lot of drugs. Just putting it out as an option.

Otherwise... I dunno. If you really concentrate on something, you can usually see a bit more detail than you did before. I've looked at guitar strings vibrating before. At first glance you just see a blur. But if you concentrate, you can actually see the string moving pretty fast. If you look at a ceiling fan, you can concentrate on one blade spinning instead of seeing a circular blur, etc. But as for the colours, I can't really explain that part.

posted on Jan, 15 2007 @ 01:23 PM
I was immediately thinking it may have been synesthesia (a condition I have), but it seems to be more the product of an over-active imagination.

posted on Jan, 15 2007 @ 01:38 PM
the strings don't make that much sound, so i doubt he's seeing the vibrations transmitted on the air. try unplugging the amp, you can barely hear the strings being plucked, your friend is probably experiancing the same effect as when you see an after image of a bright light once you've looked away from it, perhaps from a reflected light on the B or the e string. could also be the drugs. could be he's seeing the shadow of the strings, could be that his brain is compensating for the vibration of the string, as it does when you watch a cartoon. think about it, if he can see the relitively small vibration coming from a guitar string a car alarm would just about blind him.

posted on Jan, 15 2007 @ 01:55 PM
There's a couple of things it could be, beyond the obvious ones of imagination and recreational substances.

Depending on the note, if you're playing under fluorescents you can sometimes see the strobe effect of the lights "freeze" the string in weird ways. But that only happens if you're tuned a little off, at least in the US, in the UK you guys use 50Hz so I'm not sure how you'd have to tune.

But a fluorescent light reflected on a string tuned just right could easily cause some of this.

posted on Jan, 15 2007 @ 10:28 PM
Not possible, i don't know what he is seeing but it definitely is not sound waves. Sound waves are also longitudinal waves | | | | |, not transversal waves /\/\/\/\. So his description is flawed as well as illogical, he should have listened during physics class.

[edit on 15-1-2007 by DraconianKing]

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