String Tension Super Thread (Got a string question? Post it here!)

Discussion in 'Beginners/FAQ' started by MaxOfMetal, Sep 29, 2010.

  1. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear

    Messages:
    10,825
    Likes Received:
    1,400
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2009
    Location:
    Southend-on-Sea, Essex, U.K
    Gotcha. As I understand you've taken comments about 27" not producing enough tension for good clarity of tone too seriously for your situation - those comments are directed at tuning much lower, for example 8 strings.
    Even 25.5 is perfectly fine for low B.
    You can't really go thinner than 008s, so you may not enjoy the slight extra tension of the baritone scale. It will be roughly one semitone tighter (like tuning your current guitar to F).
    So fanned fret on the trebles may help you. At least there are 007s available if it's too tight. But you needn't worry about it not being tight enough in any way :)
    If you're tuning to B standard, and worried about tighter trebles, I would definitely suggest a multiscale to keep the trebles the same tension, or, just sticking with a 25.5" straight scale which will give you what you are used to, plus a low B (which will be perfectly fine at this length, especially for somebody with lower tension preferences)
     
  2. Tomservo

    Tomservo SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2018
    Sounds great thanks for your help!
     
  3. Rocks256

    Rocks256 SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    116
    Likes Received:
    18
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2016
    Location:
    Poland
    For Ab standard tuning on a Schecter 7 string, would you recommend 11-52+70 ? A the moment i have 9,5-44 + 60 for Bb Standard? Looking for same tension, most of the string have 15-17 lbs tension
     
  4. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

    Messages:
    14,714
    Likes Received:
    2,647
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2005
    Location:
    St. Johnsbury, VT USA
    I'd think 10-46 or 10-48 + 65 or 66 would be closer. 11-52+70 is definitely going to have just a little more overall tension in Ab than 9.5-44+60 does at Bb.
     
    Rocks256 likes this.
  5. lurè

    lurè SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    296
    Likes Received:
    252
    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2018
    Location:
    Italy
    Does anyone have experience with D'Addario NXYL?
    I've found a set of 80-09 which I think would be perfect for drop E on 8 string but I'm not sure if they're worth the price.
    Should I give'em a try or stick to more "affordable" strings? (currently playing GHS boomers)
     
  6. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear

    Messages:
    10,825
    Likes Received:
    1,400
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2009
    Location:
    Southend-on-Sea, Essex, U.K
    Great set. Very balanced for F# standard. Technically you 'should' bump the 80 to a 90 to tune it to drop E and keep the balance, but regardless it's a huge step up balance wise from just about every other 8 string set out there. Get them for sure :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2018
    EverDream and lurè like this.
  7. Rocks256

    Rocks256 SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    116
    Likes Received:
    18
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2016
    Location:
    Poland

    Well i think im going to get both maybe for G# C# F# B E G# C# ill try 11+52 + 70 for first time, if it will be too tight i might switch to thinner. I used 10-48+ 64 for A D G C F A D
     
  8. Paincakes

    Paincakes SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    224
    Likes Received:
    58
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2013
    Location:
    California
    Question related to mixing a nanoweb 6 string set from elixir with a 7th "non coated" B string from another brand. Will there be a noticeable difference if the first 6 strings are nanoweb, and the 7th is not?

    Elixir's 7-string set isn't quite the gauge I'm looking for, so I either have to mix brands (6+1) or just skip on coated strings.
    For info, I would get the 9-46 hybrid set from Elixir, and add a low .062 from wherever.
     
  9. Rocks256

    Rocks256 SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    116
    Likes Received:
    18
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2016
    Location:
    Poland
    It will be noticeable, u can do it but totally different feel. I can;t stand coated string and im glad that u have switched to Daddario NYXL. They last 6 months for me
     
  10. RyanIbanezMan

    RyanIbanezMan SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2018
    Hi there!

    New owner of a 7-string here (a few months) with a quick question. I'm on standard .009 gauge strings currently (9-54) on a 25.5 scale length guitar which works fantastically in B standard tuning and Drop A. While this is what I'm mostly going to stick to, I also enjoy occasionally tuning down to G C G C F A D (like Drop C but with a low G) which turns the lower strings awful floppy. I'd like to try to make the guitar as versatile as possible in terms of lower tunings so that I can mess about to find a sound I like, but it's very unlikely I'm going to be going down more than 2 tones.

    I've done a little research and used a string tension calculator and I've settled on a couple of different gauges to try (I'll be buying Ernie Ball singles most likely) so that lower tunings are more tolerable, but I was wondering what the opinions of those in this thread would be regarding the tension and how it might affect the intonation, what string sets you would recommend from what I've picked, if there's anything I'm not thinking about.

    I'm specifically worried about the tension on the higher gauges - the 70 set I've got below have over 21lbs of tension on the E2 and B1 when tuned to standard and I'm not sure if that's going to be too much considering the lowest I'm going to have will be 13lbs of tension on my B3.

    current - 9 11 16 24 32 42 54 (standard 9s)
    To trial - 9 12 16 24 32 48 64
    To trial - 9 12 16 26 34 50 66
    To trial - 9 12 16 26 36 52 70
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2018
  11. EverDream

    EverDream SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    226
    Likes Received:
    44
    Joined:
    May 21, 2005
    Location:
    California, US
    Okay, personally, I wouldn't want the tension on my neck to be that lopsided for any extended period of time. If I wanted to hear a tuning that had the 2 lowest pitched strings down 2 whole tones with my preferred tension I would definitely increase the string gauge on the other 5 strings to be my preferred tension for 1 whole tone down and not have a 2 tone spread in the strings/tension like you are presenting. So what I would buy would be:

    10 13.5 19w 26 34 46 60

    60 on the low A (or G when dropped) is about the same tension as 54 in B (or A when dropped), so you don't really need to go any higher than 60 if 54 is what feels good to you on B1. The 19 is a wound string, if you don't want that or if Ernie Ball doesn't make a 19 gauge wound string, then get 17 or 18 plain string, but not any lower, and if you get 18 then up the 13.5 string to 14 to keep things balanced.

    10 13.5 17 26 34 46 60
    10 14 18 26 34 46 60

    Between those two, if it were me I'd prefer the second (10 14 18 etc..) one, because it's more balanced than the first. However the original one I put with the 10 13.5 and the wound 19 string would be the most balanced, but if you can't get a wound 19 or don't want a wound 3rd string, then the 10 14 18 26 34 46 60 set is the second most balanced one IMO. The 10 13.5 17 26 34 46 60 should only be chosen if you REALLY want the tension lighter on the higher pitched strings even at the cost of the tension taking a relatively big jump up from the 3rd to 4th strings (the 17 and 26 gauge respectively).

    I used this website to calculate the tensions: https://rodrigocfd.github.io/string-tension-calc/
    it had a graph that I used to see how balanced it looked, so if you want to see it too just punch in the gauges I recommended into the calculator on that site and it'll show you the tensions visually on a graph to see how they relate for yourself.

    Hope this helps! :wavey:
     
  12. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear

    Messages:
    10,825
    Likes Received:
    1,400
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2009
    Location:
    Southend-on-Sea, Essex, U.K
    I'd string and set up for the midground tuning. That being ADG#C#F#A#D#, like so;
    len 25.5
    a1 .070 danw == 18.2#
    d2 .052 danw == 17.47#
    g2# .038 danw == 19.23#
    c3# .028 danw == 18.98#
    f3# .017 dapl == 14.76#
    a3# .013 dapl == 13.7#
    d4# .010 dapl == 14.45#

    Resulting in:
    len 25.5
    a1 .070 danw == 18.2# / b1 .070 danw == 22.93#
    e2 .052 danw == 22.01#
    a2 .038 danw == 21.58#
    d3 .028 danw == 21.3#
    g3 .017 dapl == 16.57#
    b3 .013 dapl == 15.38#
    e4 .010 dapl == 16.21#
    len 25.5
    g1 .070 danw == 14.45#
    c2 .052 danw == 13.87#
    g2 .038 danw == 17.13#
    c3 .028 danw == 16.91#
    f3 .017 dapl == 13.15#
    a3 .013 dapl == 12.21#
    d4 .010 dapl == 12.87#

    These all look pretty good to me, and no harm will come to your neck from imbalance, there's nothing too extreme going on here. The trebles are neither super loose nor super tight in either tuning either which is good for your bending.

    You can get this set custom from stringjoy which I highly recommend. Or just buy a 10-46 6 string set, a single 52 and 70 - it'll do.
     
  13. RyanIbanezMan

    RyanIbanezMan SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2018
    Thanks guys, very helpful :)

    I've decided to go the middle ground and get some GHS boomers - 10 13 17 26 36 46 60. I'll mostly be playing at standard tuning so I don't want to go extreme just for the sake of versatility, but a little more tension would be nice so that I can drop a tone at least without it getting silly. If I do decide to stay a tone down more permanently, I'll go for the 70 set.
     
    EverDream likes this.
  14. DJ-Seven

    DJ-Seven SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2018
    Hey guys I’m guessing this would be the best place for this question.
    Iv recently built my 7 string back up and want to try a new tuning I want to go down to F at the bottom very much like Northlane now I know that josh from the band uses a custom set 12-82 which I would like to try anyone know the rest of the string gauges that may be used or come across a set that will do this. I have a 27” scale neck and normally I would use an 8 string set n ditch the lightest string but I’d like to get a balanced nice feeling set and iv never really looked into a custom set before.

    Thanks
     
  15. Masoo2

    Masoo2 SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    797
    Likes Received:
    107
    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2014
    Location:
    NC, USA
    It's safe to assume the actual gauges are 12-60, that would logically pair with the thicker 82. That's a pretty common Drop A# setup which is what Northlane uses for most of their stuff (with the low F). I personally would prefer 12-56 + 74/76, but that's just me.
     
  16. DJ-Seven

    DJ-Seven SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2018
    Thanks for the info man I’ll do some more digging
     
  17. WintermintP

    WintermintP Lead/Rhythm Guitar, One Minute Winter

    Messages:
    163
    Likes Received:
    21
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2017
    Location:
    London, Ontario, Canada
    @bostjan

    Sigh...

    Hi... er...

    So I've been playing my 7-string guitar for a while, with the D Activator 7 set. While I'm not complaining about the pickups, there is another problem that I'm currently facing.

    The bottom 70-gauge string...

    Yea...

    For some reason, even the gauges that I currently have just had to be too flabby for me to navigate around.

    My bottom bass string is too flabby as well...

    I just heard that instrument stores should carry 160-gauge strings for the bass. Should I look into those? The other four strings on my current bass is fine but the bottom string is just too annoyingly flabby to the point I'm going to need a heavier gauge. Just a little bit of a reminder: I've recently switched to the Ibanez SR405EQM with the blue finish that has the 55-110 gauge and the 145 on the bottom.

    I'm going to need heavier gauges on the guitar as well. The top three strings feel fine, and the 4th, 5th, and 6th strings don't feel all that much flabby either, but the bottom 70 just feels too flabby to the point I'm going to need something heavier than that. Any suggestions?

    WintermintP
     
  18. WintermintP

    WintermintP Lead/Rhythm Guitar, One Minute Winter

    Messages:
    163
    Likes Received:
    21
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2017
    Location:
    London, Ontario, Canada
    Context for the post because I couldn't get to the editing phase in time.

    Again, I'm playing in Drop G tuning (Jackson JS32-7 with the D Activator 7 set), and PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF THE HIGH HEAVENS do NOT tell me to get out of that tuning. I hear enough of that from Discord chats.

    WintermintP
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2018
  19. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

    Messages:
    14,714
    Likes Received:
    2,647
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2005
    Location:
    St. Johnsbury, VT USA
    So... I'm confused. It sounds like you are saying you have a .070" for your low string and you want to replace it with a 0.160"? I think one is a guitar string and the other is a bass string.

    Low G on a guitar is no big deal, but you'll want something with an extended scale length. If you are rocking a Jackson with a 26.5" scale, then that should do, although it honestly would sound just a little brighter and tighter on a longer scale guitar, but you aren't tuning down to uncharted territory there. A 0.070" would be what I would recommend as a first guess. If it's too little tension, try something thicker or something with a heavier core or something with denser winds. There's really not much more you can do to get better tension than that.

    Low G on a bass, though, is a big deal. I know we've been through this before, but you keep asking, and the laws of physics, unfortunately, are staying the same. If you tune lower than A on bass, I always recommend an extended scale length. The reason I do that, is because the lowest notes on a bass are going to sound like crap on a short scale bass tuned that low, and there are a half dozen reasons why:

    1. If the string itself is too loose, no pickup is going to be able to make it sound good.
    2. If the string is too thick, the harmonic content of the vibration will no longer match the harmonic overtone series within the discretion of human hearing, which makes the note sound bad. Again, no matter how great your pickups or electronics are, there is not a way that those devices can correct the problem.
    3. There is a sweet spot for string gauge, dependent on scale length and tuning, but the shorter the scale and the lower the tuning, the smaller the sweet spot gets until it disappears. You cannot arbitrarily tune down any instrument at any scale length simply by using thicker strings and still expect a playable string with a bright tone.


    So, to address your issue with the guitar, I'd try a 0.074". If it sounds worse than your .070", then I'm afraid you might be left without any other options than to a) tune up, b) settle for a lighter gauge than what feels best, or c) get another guitar with a longer neck.

    To address your bass, keep in mind that the bass you are using is not extended scale, like your guitar, so you will have to be more aggressive. Throw some big ol' kalium strings on there and hope for the best. Keep in mind that it might sound less-than-beefy live, but still sound great in the mix, and keep an open mind to working around the challenges you will face. Kalium makes a 0.174" that would give you about 40 pounds of tension at 34", but it's about $24 USD. I can't comment on how your pickups will handle that much string, but it probably won't be exceptionally great. If you don't like the sound of it, which I think is quite likely, it will likely be due to concerns I have with your setup that are not easily remedied. But maybe you'll like it, so it'd probably be worth a shot. Are you just doing this for recording, or do you need an amp and speaker cabinet for bass, too? If you need a rig, then you'll need to be even more careful selecting a cab that can handle such low frequencies without breaking up. fEarful cab kits seem to be all the rage when it comes to this sort of thing, but I like using an 18" sub with a 410 cab and a crossover with two amps, to keep the low notes from sucking the power out of everything else.

    At any rate, for drop G on bass, I still recommend a >35" scale with some decent electronics geared more toward sub-contra frequencies. It's doable at 34", but only with a lot of experimentation to get around issues and limitations you're bound to have just for the fact that you are trying to take an instrument that was never intended to be tuned nearly that low and tune lower than pretty much everyone else is doing. I mean, there are reasons why you don't find bass players tuning lower than G# or even A most of the time, unless they are spending a lot of money on fancy gadgets to get them sounding decent tuned that low. Really a 39.55" Knuckle/Quake bass with a fEarful cab and a decent amp is going to cost you $3-4k CAD or so, at least, but will give you tons of options for tuning super low. I think that you don't need to go that far, but I do think that you are going to need a $1500-2000 CAD setup, to say the least, to get a usable live sound for bass in drop G, by the time you get everything you need to make sure no one component bottlenecks the quality of your tone. If you are just recording, then none of this conversation really matters. Just tune what you have to whichever tuning is comfortable, then pitch shift down to G from there.
     
  20. WintermintP

    WintermintP Lead/Rhythm Guitar, One Minute Winter

    Messages:
    163
    Likes Received:
    21
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2017
    Location:
    London, Ontario, Canada
    Sorry! I was talking about two different instruments at the same time! >.<

    The JS32-7 has a 70-gauge string that's too light for me, so I'm thinking of moving it up to about 76 or something along those lines.

    The SR405EQM has a 145-gauge string that's too light for me, so I'm considering to replace that with a 160-gauge string.

    So... a larger-scale bass is in order huh... Okay, I'll look into it... T.T

    WintermintP
     

Share This Page