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

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

  1. WillyTheMLGPro

    WillyTheMLGPro SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    61
    Likes Received:
    79
    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2018
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    48 for C# from a 9 string? O_O
     
  2. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear

    Messages:
    11,900
    Likes Received:
    2,691
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2009
    Location:
    Yorkshire, U.K
    Oh, I assumed it was standard octave :D
    Perhaps something like this then?
    len 27.7
    c1# .105 danw == 17.21#
    a1 .064 danw == 18.03#
    e2 .046 danw == 20.63#
    a2 .032 danw == 18.61#
    d3 .024 danw == 18.61#
    g3b .018 danw == 16.91#
    Assuming you then meant the 10-52 in E standard on 25.5, but I wouldn't suggest trying to go that tight on the bottom of a 27.7 in C# as it would need something like a 120 which is just going to be super muddy. So I've gone with a more typical 'middle heavy' set here that tapers off the tension more like a 46 E than 52 at the bottom for some brightness.

    The Ernie Ball 9 string set skipping the 80 is a nice solution for you that gets you extremely close to this suggestion but with a 16 plain on top (which is a good alternative to an 18 wound, if you aren't opposed to having a single plain string on the guitar which I never enjoyed). I'd grab that for ease and tweak from there to taste.
     
    WillyTheMLGPro likes this.
  3. WillyTheMLGPro

    WillyTheMLGPro SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    61
    Likes Received:
    79
    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2018
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    Awesome! Now you just need to make Bass strings for me to buy :D
     
    Winspear likes this.
  4. Fluence of Shred

    Fluence of Shred SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    99
    Likes Received:
    34
    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2020
    What does the 9th string sound like? Is it like a guitar, or would someone think it is actually a bass instead? That string sounds so much for a guitar.
     
  5. gomes

    gomes SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2006
    Location:
    Portugal
    Could someone help me figure out which string gauge should I purchase if I want to get my el-cheapo jackson 7s tuned to F-C-G-C-F-A-D. I have looked at youtube videos and program to work it out but still largely confused. Please, halp!

    https://www.jacksonguitars.com/gear/shape/dinky/js-series-dinky-js22-7/2910132568

    Copying the specs:

    Neck Material Maple
    Neck Construction Bolt-On with Graphite Reinforcement and Scarf Joint
    Scale Length 26.5" (673 mm)
    Fingerboard Radius 12"-16" Compound Radius (304.8 mm to 406.4 mm)
    Fingerboard Material Amaranth
    Number of Frets 24
    Fret Size Jumbo
    Nut Material Black Plastic
    Nut Width 1.875" (47.6 mm)
    Position Inlays Pearloid Piranha Tooth (Small Sharkfin)
    Truss Rod Nut Truss Rod Adjustment at Nut
    Truss Rod Wrench Yes
    Headstock Jackson® 3x4 AT-1 (3 Over/4 Under)
    Neck Plate Jackson®
     
  6. FItzVJ

    FItzVJ SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    2
    Joined:
    May 24, 2020
    Location:
    France
    Hi guys, looking for the right gauge for Bb standard on a 25.5" RG7...
    Knowing that I like the feeling of 9-46 in E std on my 6 string RG, that would give me something like 9.5-48 for approximately the same tension in Eb. But what about the gauge for the last string (Bb) ? Would the Ernie Ball 2730 set (010 - 013 - 017 - 030 - 042 - 052 - 062) could fit ? It would be nice to have tighter low strings but not so tight high strings.

    Also : is it possible to mix various trem spring strengths ? For example 2 standard springs + one heavy spring (instead of 4 standard springs) ?

    Thanks !
     
  7. Nedavine

    Nedavine SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    14
    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2016
    Location:
    Tokyo
    I just bought a Schecter SLS Elite C-7
    Checking the site on the string guage they used form the factory and its a bit odd.

    They say:
    Ernie Ball 7-String (.009/.011/.016/.026/.036/.046/.062)

    62 seems like a huge jump from 46. Was gonna grab the regular 009-54. Is this likelya typo or just a custom guage? The guitars a 26.5 scale length.
     
  8. The Mirror

    The Mirror SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    648
    Likes Received:
    300
    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2013
    Location:
    Münster, Germany
    Balance-wise that set is all over the place, but not for the low .062. That one is actually rather fitting with the .046 E-string having 19.8 lbs of tension and the .062 B-String having 20.7 lbs.

    A .054 would be a disaster, losing almost 25% of tension in comparison to the E-String.

    Nah, the weird stuff is going on at the top strings. Tension would be: 15.6, drop to 13.1, rise to 17.4. Whoever decided on that has got to have weird preferences.

    A perfectly balanced set if you prefer .009 for the high E would be: .009/.012/.015/.026w/.036/.048/.062, which translates to 15.6/15.6/15.3/21.6w/21.9/21.6/20.7 lbs in tension.

    There is a reason why I think that 99% of all the premade string sets suck and I switched to custom gauges years ago. The premade Earnie Ball .009 7-string set is a trainwreck with only the low E, A and D strings being balanced.

    The only sets that I can somewhat work with are the Daddario .010 7 string sets, but even then you have a slight drop in tension from the E to the B string (.046 to .059) so I always get a .62 or .64 for the B instead.

    I have no idea why most of the big string companies can't seem to get a simple tension calculator to make their sets.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2020
    Nedavine likes this.
  9. The Mirror

    The Mirror SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    648
    Likes Received:
    300
    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2013
    Location:
    Münster, Germany
    Personal disclaimer: Almost all pre-made sets suck tension-wise.

    If you like 9-46 in E and want to go for a premade set for Eb, get yourself a 10-48 set and add a single 64 for the B string. That way you'll get ~18lbs of tension on both the Eb- and the Bb- string, which would be almost exactly the same as a 46 for the standard E-string you use atm. A 62 is fine as well, losing ~1 lbs of tension in comparison to the E string.

    The Earnie Ball set you mentioned is rather horrible on the wound bottom strings (the top are absolutely fine) being all over the place with (D-A-E-B) 23.4, 25.1, 20.7 and 17.1 lbs in tension.

    My recommendation (especially if you want some tighter strings at the bottom while keeping the top as you know it):

    .0095/.013/.016/.028w/.038/.050/.068, which translates to:

    14.3/15.1/14.4/20.7w/20.4/19.5/19.4 lbs in tension

    As my disclaimer already said: No way you'll find that with the big companies, as almost all pre-made sets suck.

    To the spring stuff:

    Which type of tremolo do you use? I can't speak for Floyds (never had one, never will) but for the regular / PRS tremolo type I wouldn't recommend it. Use the same strenghts and balance it out.
     
  10. Nedavine

    Nedavine SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    14
    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2016
    Location:
    Tokyo
    thanks for the reply. The guitar arrived today. Got it second hand so can’t tell if it’s been restrung but string tension is incredibly light across the whole guitar. Mad fret buzz too though I think that’s also a separate issue. Think I would definitely like more tension accords the board
     
  11. binz

    binz SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    262
    Likes Received:
    191
    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2017
    Location:
    Barcelona
    Is there a simple (approximate) formula to calculate the tension given the tuning and scale length that works for most manufacturers or do you guys always use these tools on websites?

    Or asked differently: _how_ do you get the tensions posted here?
     
  12. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear

    Messages:
    11,900
    Likes Received:
    2,691
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2009
    Location:
    Yorkshire, U.K
    No, you need the string weight which is programmed into the calculators.
    You can however translate between tunings, gauges, and scale lengths, using a simple formula without even knowing the tension.
    Each semitone is a ~6% change in gauge/scale length requirement for equal tension. To tune down a semitone, go up 6% (means pretty much moving from 9s to 9.5s, 10s to 10.5s etc).
    This equates to roughly 1.33x size increase for every 5 semitones, 1.5x for 7 semitones, and 2x per octave.
    For example if you know you like the feel of a 46 E, you can estimate a 61 B, 69 A, or 92 drop E.
    You can adjust gauge at the same ratio as scale length. For example if you like a 46 E on 25.5" you might like a 46 * (25.5/28) = 42 E on 28".

    It's approximate but good enough for all practical purposes - though can't be used across the wound to plain transition. The calculator on my site uses all of the above methods.
     
    binz likes this.
  13. Metropolis

    Metropolis SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    1,839
    Likes Received:
    1,790
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2010
    Location:
    Vantaa, Finland
    I feel that normal scale seven strings don't ever have perfect tension across the strings. I've got now 9-46 + 62 set on 25,5" Ibanez, and 62 sounds very boomy on standard B tuning. Getting something between 56-60 usually fixes that, but I didn't have anyhting else at the moment I got this guitar. On 26,5" you could go even lighter to even out the differences, 9-42 set and something between 56-60 for example.
     
  14. georg_f

    georg_f SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    443
    Likes Received:
    177
    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2009
    Location:
    Vienna
    Not sure if this was ever discussed, but does anybody have any clue why the big string brands aren't selling sets for drop tunings (where only the lowest string is thicker than usual)?
    They all just offer these "light on top, beefy at the bottom" string sets, which have all 3 lower strings thicker than usual. But when playing in e.g. Drop D you would only down tune the lowest string.

    Leaving you only the following choices:
    Get a regular string gauge and accept the slightly flubby lowest string.
    Or get a "light/heavy" set with an alright lowest string, but too thick A and D string.

    What is the lesser evil that most people prefer?
    I usually just get the regular string set.


    PS: Ok, I'm aware that they sell exactly that at https://www.winspearinstrumental.com/ but I think it's weird that the big brands aren't offering that option.
     
    Winspear likes this.
  15. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

    Messages:
    16,252
    Likes Received:
    4,892
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2005
    Location:
    St. Johnsbury, VT USA
    If 90% of people play in some form of standard tuning (including Eb, standard D standard, Db standard, C standard, B standard, etc.), then they probably don't have enough incentive. Beyond that, there's the stereotype of most drop-d players being newer and less knowledgeable about gear.

    I have been tuning my sevens in standard with drop A (and one other guitar the same, but a whole step down) consistently for about 3-4 years now (I've been playing for over 25 years), and I love it, but, I also haven't bought a "set" of strings for my own guitars for probably 15 years now, opting instead for single strings.

    Also, if you look at the typical big brand name set, the tensions are all weird anyway.
     
    georg_f likes this.
  16. Spaced Out Ace

    Spaced Out Ace 0 0 1 0 0 6 5 0 3\

    Messages:
    7,192
    Likes Received:
    3,460
    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2010
    Location:
    Washington
    9-12-15-24-32-42 and 10-13-16-26-36-46 works well for E and Eb.
     
  17. ixlramp

    ixlramp SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    2,753
    Likes Received:
    1,490
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2007
    Location:
    UK
    These big names usually sell pre-packaged sets. There is commercial pressure to minimise the number of pre-packaged sets because each costs money to produce. Also, physical guitar shops have little shelf space and do not want 100 different sets.
    Drop tuners are in a minority so pre-packaging such sets is not commercially viable.

    Smaller, more specialist string sellers often put sets together by hand from singles (Winspear, Kalium etc.) and often sell by mail order, so the number of different sets can be unlimited at no extra cost to them or the customer. This is the future of string selling.
    Forcing people to use a particular combination of gauges is insane when you think it through, the gauges are almost always slightly wrong for everyone. We only accept it because we are used to it. I have not bought a pre-packaged set for 25 years, none are the way i need them to be.
     
    georg_f and Winspear like this.
  18. georg_f

    georg_f SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    443
    Likes Received:
    177
    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2009
    Location:
    Vienna
    @bostjan:
    I think when Nu Metal was a thing, using a drop D tuning got a bad rep. Back then it meant that you can only play simple Linkin Park riffs or that you're a one finger guitarist.

    But I think nowadays drop tunings are quite respected.

    @ixlramp:
    Regarding shop shelf space: Well, if it was up to me, then I'd get rid of the "skinny top/heavy bottom" sets and replace them with standard sets with just the lowest string being thicker, for drop tunings.


    Alright, so you're both fans of getting custom sets.
    I agree, the string tensions of the big brands are weird indeed.


    What's also weird is that Ernie Ball themselves are recommending their "skinny top/heavy bottom" set for drop D:
    http://blog.ernieball.com/strings/what-string-gauges-should-you-be-playing/
     
    Decimater1 likes this.
  19. ixlramp

    ixlramp SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    2,753
    Likes Received:
    1,490
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2007
    Location:
    UK
    Saves them money to recommend one existing set for 2 uses, unlikely this is good technical advice.
     
  20. NoodleFace

    NoodleFace Delicious Noodles

    Messages:
    608
    Likes Received:
    380
    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2007
    Location:
    Somerset, MA
    Looking for recommendations on a string set.

    I was using 10-59 d'addario on my 7 string in B (25.5 scale). I need to drop to A standard but want to keep the same tension. Using calculators it seems like I need an 11-62/64 set. Only real set I can find is the NYXL set but I really don't like spending $15 every time I need new strings.

    Are there any other comparable options? Stringjoy is roughly the same price. I see some cobalts from EB that are close, but almost the same price.

    Open to new string brands I may not have tried as well.
     

Share This Page