Do different string brands have different tensions?

Discussion in 'Gear & Equipment' started by littlebadboy, Jul 7, 2021.

  1. littlebadboy

    littlebadboy SS.org Regular

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    After playing around with the tension calculators of Kalium, Stringjoy, and Curt Mangan's, I noticed that they have different results for the same gauges. Does each brand have different string tensions?
     
  2. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    Yes. Different materials and winding patterns means different amounts of elasticity.
     
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  3. littlebadboy

    littlebadboy SS.org Regular

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    Thanks! So... which tension calculator do I use for Ernie Ball?
     
  4. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    This is 100% true. Tension is independent of elasticity, though.

    How precise do you need to be? D'Addario's string tension calculator is probably close enough. If that's not the case, you will need to know the unit weight of the strings (mass per unit length), then you can simply use the formula that gives tension as:
    T [N] = 4 L² f² µ

    T is the tension in Newtons, L is the length of the string from the nut to the saddle in meters, f is the frequency in Hz, and µ is the unit mass of the string in kg/m.
     
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  5. Lorcan Ward

    Lorcan Ward 7slinger

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    They do but nothing drastic. Like a 44 of one brand won’t feel like a 46 of another.
     
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  6. Necky379

    Necky379 SS.org Regular

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    I think the string core has a lot to do with it, round vs hex, large diameter vs small diameter. I noticed it when I switched to GHS from Ernie Ball, the GHS’s have more give with that same gauge. I’m assuming this is because the packs I buy have round cores. If I want a lot of tension I buy DR DDT’s and I think those are hex, super stiff strings. Someone please correct me if I’m off.
     
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  7. littlebadboy

    littlebadboy SS.org Regular

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    I really like Ernie Ball Slinky sets. So, I was trying to look for equivalent string gauges if I find comfort playing 9s on drop D to drop C or B on the same scale length guitar.
     
  8. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    For plain strings, you should go up about 18%, so 9s should go up to 11s for the same tension. Thicker strings also feel stiffer, as well as higher tension, and the stiffness makes the perceived tension feel stronger, so you might get away with similar feel from 10s, even.
    Wound strings work a little differently, but since we don't know the core diameter or other important things for calculations, I'd recommend using the published data for similar brands and then set aside a couple of bucks to replace a string here or there with a different gauge if it feels wrong.
     
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  9. littlebadboy

    littlebadboy SS.org Regular

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    Thanks so much! I will experiment around with 11s and 10s then.
     
  10. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    Man, just so much this.

    I know I say it a bunch, but sometimes you just gotta give a bunch of different strings a go. Calculators and written descriptions of strings are cool and all, but you just have to play with stuff in the real world sometimes.
     
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  11. BrutalRob

    BrutalRob SS.org Regular

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    Curt Mangan has different Core/Wrap Ratios than Daddario. Usually a thicker core on many strings so you will have a stiffer feel and thicker sound with Mangan for same gauges.
     
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