Dr. Jonathan A. Kemp is a physicist and musician working at the University of St Andrews. His research includes work on inharmonicity in bass guitar strings and the pitch sensitivity of guitar strings to player control. These string designs are released commercially through kempstrings.com.
He completed his undergraduate degree in Physics with Music at the University of Edinburgh in 1998 (featuring an honours project on piano string inharmonicity supervised by Dr. Raymond Parks and Prof. Clive Greated) before completing a PhD thesis, Theoretical and experimental study of wave propagation in brass musical instruments under the supervision of Prof. Murray Campbell and Prof. Clive Greated in 2002. Jonathan has teaching experience at the University of Edinburgh, the Open University, the University of Abertay, Dundee and the University of St Andrews. He has been working full time in Music and Physics at the University of St Andrews since 2011, teaching, supervising the electronic music studio and conducting research.
St Andrews, Fife,
+44(0)1334 46 2145
Dr. Jonathan Kemp's research has resulted in sets of guitar strings that have equal sensitivity for conventional pitch bends on five strings and bend in tune on four strings with tremolo arm use as described in his PLOS One journal paper and released as Kemp Strings.
His 2020 paper "On inharmonicity in bass guitar strings with application to tapered and lumped constructions" has resulted in an unprecedented reduction of the inharmonicity of bass guitar strings. This results in strings with better tone quality and superior support for musical harmony on high fret numbers and these strings designs have also been released commercially through Kemp Strings. He has also published recently on the acoustical effect of the knot at the end of the string being part of the sounding length of "Ray Ross bridges" in a 2023 paper "The acoustical behavior of a bass guitar bridge with no saddles".
He has also published papers on measurement techniques for musical wind instruments and the characterisation of distortion in loudspeakers. His PhD thesis, Theoretical and experimental study of wave propagation in brass musical instruments was completed at the University of Edinburgh in 2002. For full details of my research please consult Jonathan Kemp’s Research Portal Entry at the University of St Andrews.
His research uses the MATLAB programming environment and he has written a short pdf booklet available free of charge: Introduction to MALTAB (or Octave) by application to musical acoustics.Visit research Page
St Andrews Fusion:
Scott Gardiner (Bothy Ballad Singer):
Jonathan Kemp’s high school band The Wizards of the Spinal Church: