More Tension or Less? Dealing With In-Between Tunings

Discussion in 'Beginners/FAQ' started by Vyn, Sep 11, 2018.

  1. Vyn

    Vyn Not a Sparkly Vampire Contributor

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    As an example, I've been using a set of 9-46's for E standard (Ernieball Hybrids if anyone is interested) and 10-50 for D standard (usual 10-13-17 plain for the treble strings then custom gauges for the bass strings, again Ernie ball nickle-wound).

    The question is tackling Eb standard. For strings 2 through to 6 I can customise the gauges to my preference however the first string is more of a problem as there isn't a halfway point between a 9 and a 10. Do I go a little on the loose side with the 9 or on the tighter side with the 10? What are your preferences, do you just deal with going tighter?
     
  2. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    Go with whatever feels and sounds best to you. There's no right or wrong.

    Are you going to tune up or down at all? Maybe plan for that.
     
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  3. Vyn

    Vyn Not a Sparkly Vampire Contributor

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    I've tried both and I'm struggling making my mind up between the two. The guitar in this case will be in Eb standard with the possibility of the Eb being dropped to Db for the occasional song (have worked out the gauge for that). Looks like I struggle with changes in gauge/tension much more on the treble strings than the bass strings, might be something to practice more.
     
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  4. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear Vendor

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    Dude, there are 9.5s! :) Time to switch to D'addario. You're right whole increments are a big jump on the trebles. They basically equate to two semitones. So for going down in semitone increments, 0.5 plain steps are perfect tension translations.
     
  5. Vyn

    Vyn Not a Sparkly Vampire Contributor

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    I've tried making the switch to D'addario a few times now and I just end up coming back to Ernie Ball. Not entirely sure if it's a tonal, tactile or purely psychological familiarly thing but I'm quite firmly rooted in the Ernie Ball camp. 9.5 sounds almost perfect though, will give it a try!

    That would explain why my picking hand has a heart attack on the treble strings if the gauges/tension aren't quite right. I've avoided Eb tuning for years because of it.
     
  6. Lorcan Ward

    Lorcan Ward 7slinger

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    9.5 and other .5 gauges are the reason I always come back to daddario. More companies need to make .5 gauges since it makes such a difference to the high strings.
     
  7. Metropolis

    Metropolis SS.org Regular

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    10-46 D'addarios could be just right because they have more tension than Ernie Ball strings. It's because difference in steel they use, and maybe core thickness in wounded strings. EB's are little softer feeling and not as bright what I remember. Sorry... you wanted less tension. I would assume there is not too big difference between 9.5-46 D'addarios or 10-46 EB's because of that. So that's also a thing to keep in mind between those two brands.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2018
  8. TheWarAgainstTime

    TheWarAgainstTime "TWAT" for short

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    This :yesway: I like 9-46 in standard and 10-52 for D standard. I built a 9.5-49 set for Eb a while back and it felt really nice. Would have stuck with that long-term, but I ended up keeping that guitar in drop C.

    D'addario strings are the truth.
     
  9. Vyn

    Vyn Not a Sparkly Vampire Contributor

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    This is pretty much what I'm going for, although 48/50 respectively for Eb/D instead of 49/52. I've ordered the D'addario 9.5, everything else will be Erine Ball though (old habbits die hard haha).
     
  10. AkiraSpectrum

    AkiraSpectrum SS.org Regular

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    If i'm not mistaken I'm pretty sure most EB strings of similar gauge to D'addario actually have more tension (but admittedly not all). These are the tensions for 25.5" scale length with a 10-46 set provided by each company:

    Ernie Ball:
    .010 - 17.55 lbs.
    .013 - 15.19 lbs.
    .017 - 16.55 lbs.
    .026 - 18.87 lbs.
    .036 - 19.79 lbs.
    .046 - 17.83 lbs.

    D'addario:
    0.010 - 16.22 lbs
    0.013 - 15.39 lbs
    0.017 - 16.58 lbs
    0.026 - 18.39 lbs
    0.036 - 19.04 lbs
    0.046 - 16.91 lbs

    The Ernie Ball rep I spoke to said that EB's tend to feel more flexible than most other brands due to their spec.
     
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  11. Vyn

    Vyn Not a Sparkly Vampire Contributor

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    This is why I don't like looking at tension numbers and go by feel - while they provide some sort of a reference, two strings can provide the same mathematical tension but bend differently based on the material properties.
     
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  12. AkiraSpectrum

    AkiraSpectrum SS.org Regular

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    I agree. Tension calculators and the like are a great tool to give a general reference-point, but at the end of the day playing it is the only way you'll know what you like.
     
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  13. couverdure

    couverdure No Gear Day

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  14. soldierkahn

    soldierkahn BAD MAMMA-JAMMA Contributor

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    https://www.stringjoy.com/

    this place stocks a lot of "in-between" gauges, and you can fully customize each set. Its the site i use.
     

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