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Guitar string tension advice

GUEST,Tunesmith 20 Nov 08 - 12:26 PM
Zen 20 Nov 08 - 12:33 PM
McGrath of Harlow 20 Nov 08 - 08:44 PM
McGrath of Harlow 21 Nov 08 - 06:25 PM
Mark Ross 21 Nov 08 - 11:32 PM
Richard Bridge 22 Nov 08 - 01:51 AM
Cluin 22 Nov 08 - 03:09 AM
GUEST,Big Elk 22 Nov 08 - 06:55 AM
McGrath of Harlow 22 Nov 08 - 07:09 AM
Mark Ross 22 Nov 08 - 10:58 AM
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Subject: Guitar string tension advice
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 20 Nov 08 - 12:26 PM

If I tune the first string of a guitar to the note of "D", what gauge of string should I use to get an equivalent feel/sound to a 0.10 used in normal tuning(i.e "E" )?


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Subject: RE: Guitar string tension advice
From: Zen
Date: 20 Nov 08 - 12:33 PM

A 0.011 should be close.

This string gauge calculator should help.

Zen


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Subject: RE: Guitar string tension advice
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 20 Nov 08 - 08:44 PM

Here's another similar - Universal String Tension Calculator , but I think Zen's might maybe be handier to use. (Thanks Zen!)


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Subject: RE: Guitar string tension advice
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 21 Nov 08 - 06:25 PM

Of course those sites tell you what the string tension would be if you tuned up or down to particular notes. The other question of course is, what is the optimum string tension you want to have for particular string gauges, to avoid risk of strings breaking, and to get the best sound.   

And the overall string tension is pretty important, because you don't really want the instrument to implode.


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Subject: RE: Guitar string tension advice
From: Mark Ross
Date: 21 Nov 08 - 11:32 PM

It also depends on the scale length.


Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Guitar string tension advice
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 22 Nov 08 - 01:51 AM

I'd have to re-visit some old textbooks, but I think that pitch is inversely proportional to scale length and to mass (and proportional to tension).

Mass will be proportional to the square of diameter.

The proportional difference between the shortest common scale lengths for an ordinary guitar and the longest (about 24 3/4 to 26 inches - but 25 1/8 is a lot commoner than 26") is a sniff over 5%, while the proportional difference of the square of the diameter is 20%.


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Subject: RE: Guitar string tension advice
From: Cluin
Date: 22 Nov 08 - 03:09 AM

25.5 inches is a more common scale length over here, being the traditional modern (oxymoron?) Martin scale length found on their dreadnoughts.

Lots of Gibsons (like the J-45) use the common "Gibson" short scale length of 24.75"


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Subject: RE: Guitar string tension advice
From: GUEST,Big Elk
Date: 22 Nov 08 - 06:55 AM

To be contrary all mainstream martin 000 and 00 guitars are 24.9 scale length. Martin OM, M, D and 0000 variants all have the longer scale length at 25.5

Martin Simpson uses medium gauge strings, but as he always uses a 14 rather than 13 gauge top string to compensate for the top string being de tuned to D. Martin Carthy uses strings that most mortals could not even finger the are so heavy.

Some small scale manufacturers make a DADGAD set on a similar basis to equal out string tensions.

In my case I use 52 to 11 strings on both my guitars, but the one I use most for open tunings has a slightly different bridge profile, being higher on the top two and base strings. There is a lot of difference between makes. I find Elixir to slack in tension on wound and plain strings, no recommendation intended but D Dario's suit my guitars and me and are consistent.


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Subject: RE: Guitar string tension advice
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 22 Nov 08 - 07:09 AM

The scale length is one of the variables built into those linked string tension guides, which means they are useful for stringing up any odd instruments, which can have all kinds of different shapes, sizes an tunings.

But what would be also useful would be a guide showing what are the preferred range of tensions for strings of different gauges - and also some indications of maximum overall string tensions for instruments, which presumably would vary quite widely.


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Subject: RE: Guitar string tension advice
From: Mark Ross
Date: 22 Nov 08 - 10:58 AM

Actually, Martin Long Scale is 25.4", not 25.5.

Mark Ross


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