Can You Play Guitar Underwater? Gear Gods Investigates!

It’s something I’ve often wondered – if you play a guitar underwater, will it make sound? “Why the heck would anyone take a guitar into the water?” you may ask – for science, of course! To me, it would make sense that you would hear it fine – water is denser than air, and things that are dense (like wood) allow sound to travel more efficiently, right? But hey, I’m no physicist – you’ll have to hear for yourself!

Big thanks to Alex Rees (and his dad) for letting us use their amazing pool and helping me shoot the video and record the audio!

In order to do this experiment, I had to make a hydrophone, so I took an old Shure Unisphere mic, took the grill off, and dipped the whole capsule in Plasti-Dip so the diaphragm would be in direct contact with the water (less the Plasti-Dip of course). Then I used electric tape to seal up the rest of the mic and the connection to the XLR cable, which went direct in to a Zoom recorder for the audio. The camera was a GoPro Hero 3+ in the waterproof housing, and the guitar was an old ass Yamaha I got off Craigslist for $100, so don’t feel bad that it’s wrecked. We weighted myself and the mic stand (to which the GoPro was also clamped) down to the bottom with rubberized dumbbells that Alex loaned me, and then we were off! Let me tell you – playing guitar underwater is a lot harder than it looks!

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As Editor-in-Chief of Gear Gods, I've been feeding your sick instrument fetishism and trying unsuccessfully to hide my own since 2013. I studied music on both coasts (Berklee and SSU) and now I'm just trying to put my degree to some use. That's a music degree, not an English one. I'm sure you noticed.