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Beginners/FAQ For you new players out there. Any question is a good one, so ask away.

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Old 09-29-2010, 10:47 PM   #1
MaxOfMetal
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Post String Tension Super Thread (Got a string question? Post it here!)

Many questions that often comes up on the boards are those involving string gauge. This thread will help to create a knowledge base of sorts to help guitarists with their string gauge woes.

To aid me in creating this, I have chosen to use this string tension calculator: String Guage and Tension Calculator - Version 0.1.4 - 26 apr 1998. It's not 110% accurate but it's accurate enough to positively answer MANY, if not most questions involving gauge, scale, etc.

Let's start with some basics involving the factors at play.

Scale Length
This is the estimated distance from the string's two termination points. One being at the nut, the other being at the bridge. What does that measurement have to do with string gauge? Well, look at it like this: say you take a rubber band and stretch it 12" and feel the tension that the rubber band is exerting. Now, stretch that same rubber band to about 18", now feel the tension. You should be able to easily tell a difference in tension. Now, in order to sound a given note, a string of a certain gauge must be under a certain amount of tension. The tighter, the higher the pitch. The looser, the lower the pitch.

Tension
Here, we'll be looking at tension as a measurement in lbs. Thus, for instance, if the scale of the guitar is 25.5" and a .009 gauge string is tuned to a standard 6-string guitar's high E (E4), the tension would be 13.13lbs. If we reduced that tension to 10.42lbs, then the note would ring out as a D, or one step down (D4).

Gauge
The gauge of the string, is it's thickness, or the diameter of the string itself. For instance, the commonly referred to "9s", are .009", or nine one-thousandths of an inch. The thicker the string, the more tension it'll need in order to reach a higher pitch. For instance, where a .009 at E4 is at 13.13lbs of tension, a .010 (just 1/1000 bigger) would have a tension rating of 16.21lbs at E4 on 25.5" scale.

Why is tension so important?
Well, to best illustrate this, lets perform an experiment. Take your guitar and down tune the low E (6th string, E2) and tune it down to B (B1). Notice how loose the string is, and how it buzzes and overall, just doesn't sound so great? That's why having proper tension is so important. It's why all the strings on your guitar aren't the same exact size, but a calculated, ever increasing gauge as the tuning of the strings gets lower.

If we can just keep using bigger strings, why bother with longer scales?
The lower you tune, the thicker the string will need to be to still have that ideal tension (which is different for everyone), eventually the string will have to be so wide around, that it's feel and timbre (tone) will start to suffer.

So why hunt down the proper strings?
To give your self the ideal feel, tension, and timbre on your chosen instrument taking scale and tuning into consideration. Look at it as finding the right sauce to put on your pasta.

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Old 09-30-2010, 01:50 AM   #2
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Nice post and cool calculator!

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Old 09-30-2010, 05:26 AM   #3
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String gauge for Drop G#

Hello guys, I have a question for you.
I have a Schecter Hellraiser C7 with a D'Addario 0.10 - 0.59 (0.10 - 0.13 - 0.17 - 0.26 - 0.36 - 0.46 - 0.59) string set.
But that string gauge doesn't work for me, because I often switch between Standard Tuning, Drop A and Drop G#... And with Drop G# that gauge doesn't really work fine.
I want to buy a string set, whose gauge would suit pretty well all these tunings, maybe a hybrid set.
Infact I was thinking about buying an hybrid D'Addario 6 string set like this:
0.10 - 0.13 - 0.17 - 0.30 - 0.42 - 0.52
but don't know what gauge should I choose for the 7th string.

What do you think about it? Any suggestion?
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Old 09-30-2010, 05:46 AM   #4
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try EB 13 - 72 with added 10 for the high E
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Old 09-30-2010, 06:14 AM   #5
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I think that it will work perfectly for Drop G#, but in standard B E A D G B E a 10 - 72 set seems too much to me, isn't it? Would a 26,5" scale guitar work with that?
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Old 09-30-2010, 07:12 AM   #6
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I hate to always be the parade rainer, but B-standard and drop G# are pretty far away from one another. It would be advisable to use two different sets of strings, preferably on two guitars, or two different guitars with the same strings with two different scale lengths.

At least buying individual strings would save you some headache over sticking to sets.
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Old 09-30-2010, 07:43 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bostjan View Post
I hate to always be the parade rainer, but B-standard and drop G# are pretty far away from one another. It would be advisable to use two different sets of strings, preferably on two guitars, or two different guitars with the same strings with two different scale lengths.

At least buying individual strings would save you some headache over sticking to sets.
GHS makes a 10-60 set of boomers that would probably work well for drop G#. Might not be extremely tight so keep that in mind if you prefer really tight feel for rhythm. Thats the set I plan to use on my JP7 for drop G.
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Old 09-30-2010, 07:51 AM   #8
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I know I risk for bringing it up, but what about using a capo at the first fret for standard and drop A tuning, and removing the capo for drop G#?
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Old 09-30-2010, 07:53 AM   #9
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the 72 looks scary but i use it on my 1527 in standard 7string tuning and i love it! i also tuned the guitar to e-b-g-d-a-d-g and the tension was fine .... i know that schecter is 26,5 but friend of mine is using exactly this set for drop A on a 27" scale guitar and is fine too ..... give it a try i think you will like it too
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Old 09-30-2010, 11:08 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bostjan View Post
I know I risk for bringing it up, but what about using a capo at the first fret for standard and drop A tuning, and removing the capo for drop G#?
Who makes a 7 string capo? I would think a big string would end up pushing the limits of the capo's ability to hold down the other small strings effectively.
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Old 09-30-2010, 01:35 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xwmucradiox View Post
Who makes a 7 string capo? I would think a big string would end up pushing the limits of the capo's ability to hold down the other small strings effectively.
Any Capo made for classical guitars will be more than wide enough (some are even wide enough for some 8s), and even take into account the usual flat[er] fretboards that 7+ string guitars have.

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Old 09-30-2010, 02:04 PM   #12
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What about a set like:
0.10 - 0.13 - 0.17 - 0.30 - 0.42 - 0.52 - 0.68 ?
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Old 10-01-2010, 10:15 PM   #13
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Another

Guitar String Calculator
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Old 10-02-2010, 08:31 PM   #14
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String Searching

I currently use D addarrio EXL 115's. (11-49), but I want to know what feels like 11's in drop B. I had I think EXL 158's once, but are rare to find by me and since I refuse to buy online ( I detest credit cards, and I'm 16 so I can't use them). What else is good for that kind of stuff? I don't like EB ( Ernie Ball) too much cause they surface is rough. To get an "11's" feeling in Drop D/ Db what do you people recommend for that in drop B.

Different string companies are welcome. I mainly want to experiment for those reasons and a set lasts me 2 months at longest so if any last longer ( other then coated) please let me know. Sorry if any questions are "stupid" I'm a noob.
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Old 10-02-2010, 08:33 PM   #15
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Then get yourself a debit card and order from JustStrings.com - Strings for guitar, bass, banjo, mandolin, fiddle and other musical instruments.

Use this calculator to give yourself a better idea of the gauges to look for: String Guage and Tension Calculator - Version 0.1.4 - 26 apr 1998.

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Old 10-02-2010, 08:37 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaxOfMetal View Post
Then get yourself a debit card and order from JustStrings.com - Strings for guitar, bass, banjo, mandolin, fiddle and other musical instruments.

Use this calculator to give yourself a better idea of the gauges to look for: String Guage and Tension Calculator - Version 0.1.4 - 26 apr 1998.
thanks
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Old 10-02-2010, 09:37 PM   #17
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well, Here is my question (I just can`t use those calc, I suck)
7 strings bass, 35" scale, with the 7th string tune to B with a .120 string(like a standard 6 strings bass with a higher string) the whole tuning is the next:
beadgcf
rep to the best and clearer answer (harry up man, is Maxofmetal around and he`s ....in fast)

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Old 10-07-2010, 04:08 PM   #18
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Which string to get?

I'm thinking of buying a 0.75 string from juststrings.com. But i'm not certain which one to get. Can someone guide me in the right direction?
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Old 10-07-2010, 04:13 PM   #19
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Search and you'll find a great deal of string threads with a great deal of insight. ERG strings are confusing, I know. But I'm sure one of the many threads made here on that topic will certainly help you.

Cheers!

EDIT: And we've moved.
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Old 10-07-2010, 04:14 PM   #20
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What scale guitar?
What tuning?
What strings do you typically use?
Are you buying bulk?

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Old 10-07-2010, 04:23 PM   #21
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sorry for lack of info, hehe.
I'm buying a Agile Intrepid 828, tuning will be F Bb Eb and so on.
I'm using a 0.66 for drop A on a 25.5 scale guitar, so i've found out that a 0.75 fits perfectly. But what i'm really confused by, is that there are so many types of strings within one brand? for example:
GHS Compound Nickel
GHS Special Dynamite Alloy
D'Addario Electric Chromes
D'Addario Electric XL Nickel Wound
I'm just really confused
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Old 10-07-2010, 04:31 PM   #22
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Firstly, the standard strings you use, are more than likely nickel, round wound strings. These are the type found on just about all factory, fretted, electric guitars.

Stainless steel wound strings are rougher in feel, but last longer and give off a noticeably brighter sound. They're also tougher on frets, nuts, and bridges as the stainless steel is a very hard material, especially compared to softer nickel.

Flatwound strings (such as the D'Addario Chromes) are very smooth to the feel, as the windings are flat, opposed to circular. Though, they tend to be very dark and round sounding.

If you want something similar to all the strings you've most likely used in the past, simply go for a nickel, round wound string. The D'Addario XL NW would be a good example.

Really though, there's no "wrong" choice. String gauge and type preferences vary greatly from person to person. Luckily, strings are typically cheap enough to do a lot of experimenting with.

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Old 10-07-2010, 04:34 PM   #23
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thanks alot!
Going for the D'Addario XL NW type
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Old 10-07-2010, 05:30 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaxOfMetal View Post
Firstly, the standard strings you use, are more than likely nickel, round wound strings. These are the type found on just about all factory, fretted, electric guitars.

If you want something similar to all the strings you've most likely used in the past, simply go for a nickel, round wound string. The D'Addario XL NW would be a good example.
To add a bit of confusion to the mess, nickel wound strings are not the same as pure nickel wraps. When string manufacturers say "nickel wound," they typically mean nickel plated steel wound or steel alloy with some nickel wound.
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Old 10-07-2010, 05:40 PM   #25
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To add a bit of confusion to the mess, nickel wound strings are not the same as pure nickel wraps. When string manufacturers say "nickel wound," they typically mean nickel plated steel wound or steel alloy with some nickel wound.


I was a little too lazy to get overly technical.

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