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post #121 of 134 (permalink) Old 10-30-2010, 09:17 PM
 
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Re: String Tension Charts

This is from an interview I did with Roger Mayer for Mixdown Magazine.

How did Jimi set up his guitars?

First of all, we weren't using a flat radius fretboard. We were using the normal one - not the very high radius but definitely curvy [9" rather than 7.25"]. The actual strings we used were not what people would expect. The string gauges would run 10, 13, 15, 26, 32, 38. The big difference there is that you're using the 15 for the third, because if you use the 17 for the third the actual sound of the guitar is very G-heavy. And the electrical output of the strings is dependent on the square of the diameter. If you square all the diameters and look at them you can get much more of an idea about the balance of the guitar. You should always remember that, because many, many times people use a set of strings that are completely imbalanced and they just don't sound that good.
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post #122 of 134 (permalink) Old 11-03-2010, 10:14 PM
 
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Re: String Tension Charts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trickae View Post
Hey Guys,

Great thread here. I've been playing an ernie ball hybrid 9-46 gauge and can't help but feel that the low E isn't tight enough. Would it hurt too much for me to stick a 48 or 49 on it? I know D'addario Jazz strings come with 49's

9-11-16-26-36-49

I've seen other posts recommending 12's for the b' string

9-12-16-26-36-49

And if I stuck with those gauges for my 7 string - would this be alright?

9-12-16-26-36-49-60

?

thanks in advance.
It's not the the E is not tight enough, in those hybrid sets the A and the D strings are too tight, making the E seem lighter. I don't remember what the actual gauges are but try those Zachary strings you will be very happy.
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post #123 of 134 (permalink) Old 02-04-2011, 10:08 AM
 
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Re: String Tension Charts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Petie View Post
This is from an interview I did with Roger Mayer for Mixdown Magazine.

How did Jimi set up his guitars?

First of all, we weren't using a flat radius fretboard. We were using the normal one - not the very high radius but definitely curvy [9" rather than 7.25"]. The actual strings we used were not what people would expect. The string gauges would run 10, 13, 15, 26, 32, 38. The big difference there is that you're using the 15 for the third, because if you use the 17 for the third the actual sound of the guitar is very G-heavy. And the electrical output of the strings is dependent on the square of the diameter. If you square all the diameters and look at them you can get much more of an idea about the balance of the guitar. You should always remember that, because many, many times people use a set of strings that are completely imbalanced and they just don't sound that good.
I have studied this issue and I think he had the same idea as early jazz guitar players when trying to build a perfect string set: The purpose of the Jimi's string set is to balance the impedance rather than tonal equality or playability. Those days guitar strings contained less magnetic nickel wrap, and the output is more balanced between the strings. The issue of a plain g string is that it usually has a higher output than other plain strings, and Jimi wanted to control that.
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post #124 of 134 (permalink) Old 02-16-2011, 10:24 AM
 
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Re: String Tension Charts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dino View Post
It's not the the E is not tight enough, in those hybrid sets the A and the D strings are too tight, making the E seem lighter. I don't remember what the actual gauges are but try those Zachary strings you will be very happy.
Hey Jemsters,

Just an update.

I'm really digging the following setups for my guitars. I didn't reply immediatly as I wanted to test them out for a few months.

So here are my sets with hybrid slinkies as a base:

Ibanez RG550EX - standard E
Code:
E: .009" [PL] = 13.13 pounds
B: .012" [PL] = 13.11 pounds (changed)
G: .016" [PL] = 14.68 pounds
D: .026" [NW] = 18.41 pounds
A: .036" [NW] = 19.54 pounds
E: .049" [NW] = 20.59 pounds (changed)
RG8527z - 7 String in standard E tuning
Code:
E: .009" [PL] = 13.13 pounds
B: .012" [PL] = 13.11 pounds (changed)
G: .016" [PL] = 14.68 pounds
D: .026" [NW] = 18.41 pounds
A: .036" [NW] = 19.54 pounds
E: .049" [NW] = 19.68 pounds (changed)
B: .060" [NW] = ~+20 pounds (changed)
next guitar will be an S8570 - thinking of using skinny top heavy bottoms on it with the following gauges

S8570 - standard D(D-G-C-F-A-D) - light top / heavy bottom
Code:
D: .010" [PL] = 12.9 pounds
A: .014" [PL] = 14.2 pounds
F: .018" [PL] = 14.7 pounds
C: .030" [NW] = 19.5 pounds
G: .042" [NW] = 21.4 pounds
D: .056" [NW] = 21.4 pounds

Total Tension = SUM(above)?
This will be a tough string set to experiment with. Having a 58 on the bottom seems to be too chunky and so i'm thinking a 56 would be just right. May need some more work.

Last edited by Trickae; 02-16-2011 at 10:35 AM.
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post #125 of 134 (permalink) Old 11-14-2011, 09:59 AM
 
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Re: String Tension Charts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dee View Post
I started writing this long, long ago but I never finished it. It has been sat on my hard drive for ages, but I figured someone somewhere might benefit from this information. So here it is... incomplete, but probably quite useful? I don't know. Maybe I'll finish it one day.


STRING TENSION CHARTS

All calculations are based on D'Addario nickel wound [NW] and plain steel [PL] strings. Custom sets can be put together using single strings. D'Addario and Ernie Ball are two string manufacturers offering singles.

I put together my own set because I was tired of the sloppy B and low E strings in a regular 9-42 set (a common trend in all standard sets), as well as the sloppy B-string on a 7-string guitar. For the sake of good tone, consistency and feel, electric guitar strings should gradually rise in tension as the diameter increases. To some of us, this is known as an "optimized" or "progressive tension" set. Currently there are no string manufacturers offering optimized sets except for Alex at Zachary Custom Guitars. If you wish to experiment, these charts will hopefully be useful to you.

The charts for the custom sets are based on my suggested gauges, but of course, they are also based on simple science. I have made these suggestions with the intention of putting minimal extra strain on the neck, hopefully meaning no truss rod adjustments are needed at all because they do not drastically deviate in tension from the standard sets they are "correcting". Usually, minor adjustments to the tremolo spring claw will be required if you have a floating bridge equipped guitar.

There has been a lot of debate about the issue of optimized string sets, and my intention is not to fuel the fire. This post is to help anyone who is interested in getting the best out of their instrument. If you are happy with your regular sets, by all means carry on using them!



6-STRING GUITAR

STANDARD TUNING, 25.5" SCALE
________________________


Gauge: 8-38 Standard Set
Scale: 25.5"
Tuning: Standard

Code:
E: .008" [PL] = 10.38 pounds
B: .010" [PL] = 09.10 pounds
G: .015" [PL] = 12.90 pounds
D: .021" [NW] = 12.05 pounds
A: .030" [NW] = 14.05 pounds
E: .040" [NW] = 12.11 pounds
 
Total Tension = 70.59 pounds
*NOTE: This is a standard 8-38 set. The B, D, and low E strings are particularly low in tension.

________________________


Gauge: 8-42 Custom Set
Scale: 25.5"
Tuning: Standard

Code:
E: .008" [PL] = 10.38 pounds
B: .011" [PL] = 11.01 pounds
G: .015" [PL] = 12.90 pounds
D: .022" [NW] = 13.34 pounds
A: .030" [NW] = 14.05 pounds
E: .042" [NW] = 14.77 pounds
 
Total Tension = 76.45 pounds
*NOTE: A slightly heavier alternative to the standard 8-40 set. Replacing the B, D, and low E strings with a gauge higher makes this into a well-balanced set.

________________________


Gauge: 9-42 Standard Set
Scale: 25.5"
Tuning: Standard

Code:
E: .009" [PL] = 13.13 pounds
B: .011" [PL] = 11.01 pounds
G: .016" [PL] = 14.68 pounds
D: .024" [NW] = 15.77 pounds
A: .032" [NW] = 15.77 pounds
E: .042" [NW] = 14.77 pounds
 
Total Tension = 85.13 pounds
*NOTE: 9-42 is the most common set. It is usually fitted to most new electric guitars. Notice that the low E and B strings are lacking tension which can lead to a slightly mushy tone and sloppy feel.

________________________


Gauge: 9-44 Custom Set
Scale: 25.5"
Tuning: Standard

Code:
E: .009" [PL] = 13.13 pounds
B: .012" [PL] = 13.11 pounds
G: .016" [PL] = 14.68 pounds
D: .024" [NW] = 15.77 pounds
A: .032" [NW] = 15.77 pounds
E: .044" [NW] = 16.10 pounds
 
Total Tension = 88.56 pounds
*NOTE: This is the custom set I use on my 6-strings (various Ibanez RG models). I noticed an improvement in tone and feel after switching from being a 9-42 user for 20 years. With the custom set, string to string balance is better, picked runs feel smoother and easier to pick, chords sound slightly fuller and more resonant because of the heavier E string. It's a small enough difference so you don't feel the need to re-adapt to your guitar, but large enough to be noticeable. I only wish this was the standard 9 set.

________________________


Gauge: 10-46 Standard Set
Scale: 25.5"
Tuning: Standard

Code:
E: .010" [PL] = 16.21 pounds
B: .013" [PL] = 15.38 pounds
G: .017" [PL] = 16.57 pounds
D: .026" [NW] = 18.41 pounds
A: .036" [NW] = 19.54 pounds
E: .046" [NW] = 17.48 pounds
 
Total Tension = 103.59 pounds
*NOTE: Same problem as the 9-42 set, where the B and Low E strings can suffer slightly due to lower tension than ideal.

________________________


Gauge: 9.5-49 Custom Set
Scale: 25.5"
Tuning: Standard

Code:
E: .009.5" [PL] = 14.63 pounds
B: .013"   [PL] = 15.38 pounds
G: .017"   [PL] = 16.57 pounds
D: .026"   [NW] = 18.41 pounds
A: .036"   [NW] = 19.54 pounds
E: .049"   [NW] = 19.68 pounds
 
Total Tension  = 104.21 pounds
*NOTE: An alternative to a standard 10-46 set? This is close, only it switches the high E string for a .009.5" instead of the .010". In a regular 10-46 set there is almost as much tension on the high E string as there is on the G. For the sake of better string-to-string balance, my suggestion is to try a 9.5 (available from D'Addario as a single). There is still plenty of tension on a .009.5" to feel and sound good.

At the low end there is a .049". The standard 10-46 set has a low E string that's several pounds lighter in tension than the A, which seems slightly backwards. Using a .049" corrects this, having slightly more tension than the A, as it should.

Dislikes: The almost 2 pounds difference between the D and G. This cannot be avoided because no-one makes .025" gauge strings, to my knowledge, so the best compromise might be to keep the D and G from the original 10-46 set. I think this would be better than fattening up the G, as not only would it upset the balance of the B string, it may possibly disrupt Saturn's orbital path.

________________________


Gauge: 10-49 Custom Set
Scale: 25.5"
Tuning: Standard

Code:
E: .010" [PL] = 16.21 pounds
B: .014" [PL] = 17.84 pounds
G: .018" [PL] = 18.58 pounds
D: .026" [NW] = 18.41 pounds
A: .036" [NW] = 19.54 pounds
E: .049" [NW] = 19.68 pounds
 
Total Tension = 110.25 pounds
*NOTE: A slightly heavier alternative to the standard 10-46 set, only better balanced from string to string. It isn't perfect, but this is as close as you'll get.

________________________


Gauge: 11-49 Standard Set
Scale: 25.5"
Tuning: Standard

Code:
E: .011" [PL] = 19.62 pounds
B: .014" [PL] = 17.84 pounds
G: .018" [PL] = 18.58 pounds
D: .028" [NW] = 21.30 pounds
A: .038" [NW] = 21.58 pounds
E: .049" [NW] = 19.68 pounds
 
Total Tension = 118.6 pounds
*NOTE: See the trend here? In all of standard sets there are random dips and rises in tension between strings, the low E and B strings of the 11-49 set following the same pattern as the previous sets, only this time the high E is even heavier than the G. There is an almost 3 pound leap in tension from the G to D. Balance is all over the place.

________________________


Gauge: 11-52 Custom Set
Scale: 25.5"
Tuning: Standard

Code:
E: .011" [PL] = 19.62 pounds
B: .015" [PL] = 20.48 pounds
G: .019" [PL] = 20.70 pounds
D: .028" [NW] = 21.30 pounds
A: .038" [NW] = 21.58 pounds
E: .052" [NW] = 22.01 pounds
 
Total Tension = 125.69 pounds
*NOTE: A heavier alternative to the standard 11-49 set, once again, creating a better balanced set overall.

________________________


Gauge: 12-54 Standard Set
Scale: 25.5"
Tuning: Standard

Code:
E: .012" [PL] = 23.35 pounds
B: .016" [PL] = 23.30 pounds
G: .020" [PL] = 22.93 pounds
D: .032" [NW] = 28.10 pounds
A: .042" [NW] = 26.31 pounds
E: .054" [NW] = 24.18 pounds
 
Total Tension = 148.18 pounds
*NOTE: This is a standard 12-54 set, and yet again, tension is all over the place. An almost 6 pounds jump in tension from the G to D strings? Atrocious.

________________________


Gauge: 12-56 Custom Set
Scale: 25.5"
Tuning: Standard

Code:
E: .012" [PL] = 23.35 pounds
B: .016" [PL] = 23.30 pounds
G: .020" [PL] = 22.93 pounds
D: .030" [NW] = 25.04 pounds
A: .042" [NW] = 26.31 pounds
E: .056" [NW] = 26.35 pounds
 
Total Tension = 147.29 pounds
*NOTE: It's not perfect, but this custom set should address some of the problems with the 12-54 set. Using a thinner D string and a heavier low E, this set is actually very slightly lighter overall. No adjustments to the truss rod should be needed.

Would a 46 in a 9-42 work as well. I see you advise to replace the 42 with a 44 but would a 46 be too much? Tunes to standard e......
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post #126 of 134 (permalink) Old 11-14-2011, 12:07 PM
 
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Re: String Tension Charts

As a word in this thread, I used to use these compensated sets, and have since switched back to normal guages. On thinner guages, changing the low E can be worth it, but I've found that above about a 52 guage low E I saw no improvement in playability and only a muddier tone to show for it.

Elixer are good with this, since their 11 and 10 guage strings come with marginally thicker low E strings than other sets, with the rest of the guages being equivalent.

After experimenting with both, I don't feel there is a significant advantage to these "balanced" sets. I think its conflating tension with tone, and while that does have an effect on the tone, who says its a positive one?

As for changes in tension regards playability... I think individual technique has far more to say. Whether you have your thumb behind the neck or on top of it for example. I'm no slouch of a player and when using the compensated sets I found the difference in feel outside of the low E (Where technique while playing is more uniform, since you can't exactly put your thumb over the neck while playing that string), was such that I didn't notice it.

Tonally, I've experimented with super thick low B strings too, and found they just end up being too muddy by the time they "feel" thick enough. I think the only solution to Low B string tension is a longer scale length, if you intend to maintain definition without resorting to extreme measures on the pickups and so on.


TL;DR - I urge people to think about why they actually want these graduated tensions in the first place. Some will say tone, others will say feel. In my experience, there hasn't been a significant advantage in either area when using graduated sets. The low E is the only string that I've seen a significant benefit in changing, and even then, not all the time.
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post #127 of 134 (permalink) Old 06-06-2012, 03:19 PM
 
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Re: String Tension Charts

Hey guys, this thread is very informative, and got me thinking...

The OP mentioned that string tension should increase gradually as the fundamental notes of the strings decrease. My question is: by how much? Is there a additive, multiplicative, or exponential relationship that determines what the tension feels like? Granted, having a graduated tension is already a big improvement. This might be something I'll have to ask some physics people about, but I think there's got to be some kind of formula.

Also, someone mentioned about balancing impedance and the sound of the strings. This is another thing I'm wondering if there is any data on. It'd be interesting to try to develop a set of strings that was balanced tension AND impedance, although of course this final sound would depend on the pickups, amp, and wood as well.
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post #128 of 134 (permalink) Old 06-06-2012, 05:36 PM
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Re: String Tension Charts

Not sure how strings could affect impedance, since there is no electrical flow going through them.



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post #129 of 134 (permalink) Old 06-06-2012, 06:57 PM
 
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Re: String Tension Charts

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlaskaBat View Post
Not sure how strings could affect impedance, since there is no electrical flow going through them.
I think he means the amount of magnetic material, and its effect on the balance of each note with every other note on pickups where not all the polepieces can be adjusted.

Regardless, I'd like to say that I have the same opinion now as I did in my last post. I found a tonal detriment to using the "adjusted" gauges, and the playing feel was largely unchanged beyond the low E.

Still feel that way. Get normal sets, and pick a brand that uses a 49 low E instead of a 48. (Elixer!)
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post #130 of 134 (permalink) Old 06-07-2012, 07:54 AM
 
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Re: String Tension Charts

Quote:
Originally Posted by GuitarBizarre View Post
I think he means the amount of magnetic material, and its effect on the balance of each note with every other note on pickups where not all the polepieces can be adjusted.

Regardless, I'd like to say that I have the same opinion now as I did in my last post. I found a tonal detriment to using the "adjusted" gauges, and the playing feel was largely unchanged beyond the low E.

Still feel that way. Get normal sets, and pick a brand that uses a 49 low E instead of a 48. (Elixer!)
The impedance of the string has an acoustic dimension and magnetic dimension.

The acoustic impedance (z) is calculated from mass (m) and pitch(f)

The formula is z=sqrt(m*f)

On standard string sets, the acoustic impedance of low E-string is appr. twice as big as e'-string

Anyway, the wound strings produce a lower output than plain strings, since they are slightly less magnetic than the plain strings.

Certain steel alloy wound strings are more magnetic than nickel plated, not to mention pure nickel wrap strings, which are less magnetic.

Adding more weight on lower strings increases the impedance range of the strings.

But it is not "good" or "bad", it is just the matter of opinion.
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post #131 of 134 (permalink) Old 06-07-2012, 08:32 AM
 
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Re: String Tension Charts

Some of the physics and math on strings is simple but the perceived tension of the certain string is simply too complex to be accurately modeled. To define what is the perceived tension of the certain string is dependable on several variables:

1) the string tension. All other things being equal, the string with higher tension feels tighter. Simple!

2) the ratio of the string pitch to it's breaking frequency. AOTBE, the string tuned to pitch closer it's breakage point feels tighter. Simple, and quite well known fact, but most players do not knwo the physics behond this phenomen

3) the string diameter. AOTBE, the smaller string may feel tighter, because the pressure on your fingertip tissue per the area unit is bigger. The surface material also affects to this sensation

4) the friction in the nut and bridge - with the complex co-interference of string breakage point ratio! - the friction is divided to the friction during the string bend and the friction when you start to bend it - basic physics, but psychologically complex.

If you start pushing the car, you can feel the difference in power needed to start moving it and keep it moving, but on string bend the stiffness change during the bend, and the friction types can not be percieved separately. Percieving the resistance contains both the flexibility of the string, which is related to the length of string between the nut and the tuner post (and behind bridge)- as well as friction


5) the angle of your finger and hand related to the position of the string related to guitar neck!!

If you play guitar long enough, the differences of the strings are taken under consideration each time you choose which string to bend and influence how you pervcieve the tension of the certain string. The only relevant test person to be asked of the percieved tension would be a tabula rasa, a guy who has never played the guitar. Which is paradoxal, because his technique for bending each string would be completely wrong anyway!

IMHO no mathematic formula here, really.
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post #132 of 134 (permalink) Old 11-14-2014, 05:43 PM
 
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Re: String Tension Charts

E: .009" [PL] = 13.13 pounds
B: .012" [PL] = 13.11 pounds (changed)
G: .016" [PL] = 14.68 pounds
D: .026"/24" [NW] = 18.41/15.77 pounds
A: .036"/34" [NW] = 19.54/17.60 pounds
E: .049"/48" [NW] = 19.68/18.93 pounds (changed)
total:98,55 /93,22

those are Ernie Balls slinkies.. i should choose??
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post #133 of 134 (permalink) Old 11-14-2014, 07:20 PM
 
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Re: String Tension Charts

I wonder what an electric guitar would be like in a vacuum. Probably lots of sustain with no air resistance. Although I'm not sure how porous woods would like that.
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post #134 of 134 (permalink) Old 11-14-2014, 10:38 PM
 
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Re: String Tension Charts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyle am I View Post
I wonder what an electric guitar would be like in a vacuum. Probably lots of sustain with no air resistance. Although I'm not sure how porous woods would like that.
I'm pretty confident most string energy is not lost into the air, but into heat and unwanted vibration of other objects to which the string is attached.

Remember - resonance is another way of saying "lost energy".

A guitar string fixed between two immovable points in a vacuum can only lose energy in heating up it's own windings. It would sustain nearly forever.

But that said, it would have no resonance to speak of. It would sound very unlike the guitar as we know it. Good or bad I can't say. You'd get one of two extremes - either a string that produced almost no harmonic overtones at all, nearly a pure fundamental - or the opposite, a string where the harmonic overtones all but drowned out the fundamental.

It may even be possible to have both scenarios, depending on the way the string was plucked. I honestly don't know.
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