Re: Your string guages are wrong!
This is from the Zachary guitars website and is best explained here:
Wake up! ....Your strings are all wrong!
No, I am not talking about the brand. I am not trying to convince you that one brand is better than the other. That's a job of the string companies. The problem is not with the brand or with the material they are made of. That makes no difference.
Its the tension I am talking about. The tension is what matters and it matters greatly.
Would you agree with me that every string on your guitar should have equal tension? In other words, each string should have exactly the same tension when tuned to pitch. Would you agree with me on that?
No??? ...What do you mean NO? Are you nuts? For those who said no, you are idiots and should be on the PRS site looking at grossly quilted tops and drooling over them. That's where you belong, so stay there..
For those of you who do have a brain and said YES, you must agree that every string should be the same tension. Isn't this totally logical? What idiot would not realize this and want this? What string manufacturer would not offer this? For you to be able get the best feel from your strings and for you to be able to have the most balanced tone, you must have them all equal tension. Right ???
Well, ................Almost !
Almost but not quite. You don't win the stuffed Sponge Bob just yet.
Everything about guitars has to do with physics and Myself and Yngwie Malmsteen are no scientists. Isn't that right Yngwie? Yngwie also noticed something was wrong with strings and did something about it. Trouble is he did not actually know the technical reason why, he just went by tone and feel. No problem with that. He plays fast but he is not the smartest guy in the world. He just noticed that its better to go thicker for the lower strings in order to get them to work, compared to what is provided in a regular string set. He didn't do badly and at least he was on the right track. He noticed the problem and therefore deserves to have the Ferrari collection he has.
I researched this string gauge problem for several years. It was very blatant and I noticed it right away after building my first bass guitar. After installing a regular set I purchased at a music store, I was horrified to find the lower strings, especially the lowest string, to have the least amount of tension and the thinnest string having the most tension. Horrible! Must have been designed by the same guy who put the 10-46 set together many years ago. Having a top that has more tension and a bottom with not enough tension is totally the opposite of how it should be according to the rules of physics and also for proper tone and feel. I deserve an exotic car collection myself because I figured out that as the strings get fatter they naturally require to have a higher tension relative to the thinner strings. So what you need is a slight gradual increase in tension from high to low. This is even superior to having equal tension. Can you believe the genius here. This is what I call the OPTIMUM GAUGES.
These rock stars knew that something was wrong with standard sets but they did not systematically understand why and they did not look at each string and evaluate its tension in relation to the other strings. They simply slapped on some thicker strings on the bass side. They also did not take into consideration the linear increase whenever possible in the string tension from high to low. They just added some heavier gauges to the bottom and called it a "Signature Set" with their name on it. It may have just been a fluke, done purely for financial gain. Some of these guys would even endorse their shoe laces if they could. Ferraris don't come cheap, neither do California Blondes with silicone breasts, but I digress again.
These guitar heroes like Zakk Wylde, Yngwie and other ugly MFs, have signature strings which they call "light top and heavy bottom". Well actually its the string manufacturers who call them "light top and heavy bottom". As usual, what do they know? This designation is really incorrect. These "custom" gauged strings should actually be called "correct top and correct bottom". These custom sets are heavier at the bottom when compared to the conventional "incorrect" sets but the correct term to use for traditional string sets would be "Incorrect Gauges". How is this for marketing the store offered sets? Would you buy "Incorrectly Gauged Guitar Strings" if it was written on the label. That is if they would tell the truth about them?
In fact, the standard commercially available sets, which you are currently playing, don't even follow any logic. As you will see, the tension of the strings don't even correspond to any system. The only explanation I have is that some dummy in the 50s or 60s who started it all, goofed badly, so ever since then everyone has copied and followed his mistake. Typical of the guitar industry. Now the whole world is stuck on stupid by using these wrong gauges and they will not change because of ignorance.
Here is an example for you. Lets analyze the all too popular 10-46 string set, which has been used for decades by everyone and their dog Rover. I must tell you that this set is actually one of the better gauged sets, there are a lot worse than this, especially bass guitar sets, which are atrocious. Six string bass sets are scary bad. This 10-46 set, which every string manufacturer makes is not as bad as it gets but still not fit to be installed on a Zachary guitar.
So here is the standard of the industry 10-46 set with the tension of each string listed when the strings are tuned to pitch. Tension is measured in lbs.
1 2 3 4 5 6
.010 - 16.2 .013 - 15.4 .017 - 16.6 .026 - 18.4 .036 - 19.5 .046 - 17.5
Do you see what the problem is here?
Look at the tension of each string. Compare them.
Do you see a pattern?
Is there any logic to it?
No, there is no pattern or logic.
Remember to arrive at Optimum Gauges should have a slight linear increase in tension as the strings get thicker.
Notice how the .013 is less in tension than the .010 ? It should be the other way around. The 2nd string actually has less tension than the first. Stupid isn't it?
Also notice how the .046 is way below the tension it should be. Sh*t, its lower in tension than the 5th and even the 4th strings. That will give you one muddy note, no matter how you slice it.
Was the guy who designed this set doing some serious drugs? I think so. Its the only explanation. Or more likely he was not a guitar player. Consistent with the guitar industry.
How about all the string manufacturers, did they all blindly follow this idiot? I guess so. What does that say about them?
How about all the guitar players in history ranging from stellar guitar heroes to the hack next door? Were they idiots as well? How about me? I only noticed this after I started building guitars. This is the case. We all simply trusted the string manufacturers and they all simply trusted the original dimwit who first started selling this 10-46 set. Meanwhile probably 40 years have gone by. Its funny just thinking about it.
The 6th string is so important because this is what gives your guitar its bottom and all to often it sounds muddy. Unsuspecting players have sold good guitars and amps thinking the problem was with their gear. Don't laugh, many years ago I sold a brand new Fender Vibroverb reissue after I got my PRS, because the amp sounded totally dead and I thought there was something wrong with the amp. I wish I could have that amp back now. I am still pissed about it.
On shorter scale guitars like Gibson, it becomes even more important and very crucial actually. How many times have we heard the complaint that Gibson sounds muddy in the bass. People complained but never investigated as to why. Well here is your answer. On a short scale that wimpy low string will simply not work.
Also, for those of you and me who like to tune down or play in alternate tunings, when we tune the 6th string down 2 whole steps from E to D, having the wrong gauge is a recipe for tonal and and technical disaster. It simply will not work. Going to a longer scale guitar will help the situation but does not remedy the root of the problem.
So the genius that I am, here is what I did to save your ass.
The corresponding Zachary Optimum Gauges string tensions for the ZOG set starting on .010
1 2 3 4 5 6
ZOG(Zachary stings) high E - 16.2 B - 16.6 G - 16.6 D - 18.4 A - 19.5 low E - 19.7 tensions in Lbs, tuned to pitch
1 2 3 4 5 6
Others(your strings) E .010 - 16.2 B .013 - 15.4 G.017 - 16.6 D.026 - 18.4 A.036 - 19.5 E .046 - 17.5
Pure genius, wouldn't you say?
So what would you like to say to the guy who originally put the ever popular (10-46) string set together for you?
I thought so. The words would not even be suitable for this depraved website. To be fair to most players, we never questioned this atrocity because we expected the experts, the string makers to give us the perfect string sets.
Well, guess what? They didn't.
And now you know. So remember where you heard it first.
Last edited by Dino; 12-13-2006 at 03:40 PM.