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String tension

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by ponce, Oct 21, 2020.

  1. ponce

    ponce Tele-Afflicted

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    Do some electric guitar string brands differ in tension while being the same gauge? I usually buy Super Slinkys 10 - 46 and today I put a set of Dunlop Billy Gibbons 10 - 46's. I don't know if that's due to them being new and smooth but I seem to need to apply more power to bend them and to avoid slipping. Maybe I just had kept the previous dull and rusty ones for too long, which probably provide more grip.
    I know in the classical guitar world it's common to have at least 3 different tension grades but couldn't find anything online about electrics.
    I kind of like the feel at the moment, Dunlop ones are just opposite of flabby, just have to adjust my left hand a bit. Again, I just might be surprised of a fresh set of strings feel after a longer period.:rolleyes:
     
  2. Mr. Lumbergh

    Mr. Lumbergh Poster Extraordinaire

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    Some of them use stiffer materials such as different or varying amounts of things like nickel that are alloyed into the steel, some have larger cores which is what really bears the entirety of the string tension, some of them have cores that are a different design and have a hexagonal cross-section instead of a round one, and older strings that are already stretched will feel different. These can all have effects.
     
  3. Texas Special

    Texas Special Tele-Meister

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    They do have different tensions. OR! They just feel different. I love my Dr Tite Fits, they 'feel' like they have less tension. But they are probably the same as the equivalent set from other brands. They are just different.
     
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  4. guitfiddles

    guitfiddles TDPRI Member

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    They do have different tensions between brands. It shouldn’t be a lot but can be noticed. I just changed a set and the new ones feel WAY stiffer than the last set I had on.
     
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  5. ponce

    ponce Tele-Afflicted

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    I always felt strings were the starting point of so called guitar 'tone' quality. But even cables are more discussed.
     
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  6. TwangBrain

    TwangBrain Tele-Meister

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    A D'addario standard set of .010s feels dramatically different (to me) than an identically guaged set of standard EB slinkys...I prefer the D'addarios. I also really like EB Cobalt slinkys...they feel as though they're a bit stiffer than the standard sets as well.
     
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  7. ponce

    ponce Tele-Afflicted

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    So, there is something about it. Probably gonna have to tighten the truss rod a bit in a couple of days, in that case.
     
  8. TwangBrain

    TwangBrain Tele-Meister

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    Yeah...my favorite tele has a big stiff neck, and I use D'addario .010-.049 set w/ a wound 3rd. I don't really do much string bending, so the wound 3rd helps to keep the tuning more stable during play.
     
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  9. ponce

    ponce Tele-Afflicted

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    I used to buy strings based on what was available and how I liked the packaging design:D Just had to be the right gauge. I thought I didn't like Fenders, liked Gibsons, got bored by D'Addario all in one bag system. Elixir's were so aggressive on my frets that got dented super fast when using them. And then I got in a Super Slinky rut for a couple of years for no particular reason.
     
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  10. TwangBrain

    TwangBrain Tele-Meister

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    Ha! I still get EB Cobalt for a couple of my whammy-equipped guitars...I stick to affordable and available too...except a couple of archtop boxes, which I perfume with thomastic-enfield flats only...ah, the pretense, lol.
     
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  11. ponce

    ponce Tele-Afflicted

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    I've been practicing some keyboard lately and my guitar gathered dust for a couple of days. Today I went to put new strings on my guitar for our bands first rehearsal since March. In addition to the pandemic, our singer broke a leg badly on a bike and was out of the game for months. I thought how rudimentary instrument guitar was compared to the keys. After taking the old strings off, cleaning the fretboard, I put the new ones, tuned and bang! Overtones galore.
     
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  12. TwangBrain

    TwangBrain Tele-Meister

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    I feel that way about my suitcase celeste.
     
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  13. ponce

    ponce Tele-Afflicted

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    Gotta look those up
     
  14. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    .

    Guitar scale length changes tension even using the same brand and gauge of strings.
    9s on a Tele feel like 10s on a LP.

    .
     
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  15. ponce

    ponce Tele-Afflicted

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    That's one thing too I never thought about. Thanks
     
  16. Sparky2

    Sparky2 Friend of Leo's

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    MOM spelled backwards is still MOM.

    But if you turn MOM upside down, it's WOW.

    ;)
     
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  17. ben smith

    ben smith Tele-Afflicted

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    rotosound tens feel a lot lighter than any other brand so yeah
     
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  18. Tommyd55

    Tommyd55 Tele-Holic

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    Last edited: Oct 22, 2020
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  19. TimTam

    TimTam Tele-Holic

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    Music wire (ASTM A228) that all brands are believed to use for their plain strings has standardized mechanical properties ...
    http://www.matweb.com/search/datasheettext.aspx?matguid=4bcaab41d4eb43b3824d9de31c2c6849

    String tension is entirely due to scale length, tuned frequency, and string mass per unit length (known since the 1700s). The last factor is length-wise density, and analogous to gauge. So same gauge/tuning/scale length will have the same tension. Proving otherwise would be (1) easy technically and (2) a considerable commercial advantage for a string vendor. So the fact that no manufacturer claims their same-gauge strings to have lower tension (let alone provides any evidence for that) should tell you something.
    http://www.noyceguitars.com/Technotes/Articles/T3.html

    Playing feel, particularly when bending, also brings in string stiffness (force required per unit length change; inverse of compliance), which is additionally influenced by such things as the guitar's geometry/setup.
    https://www.liutaiomottola.com/myth/perception.htm

    Any coatings on the strings can also affect the feel, although few plain strings have any special coatings. And the 'different metal' sets usually only differ for the wound strings. You will see for example that different metal types of D'Addarios mostly use the same 'PL' prefix plain strings.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2020
  20. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Roundcore strings (i.e. GHS,Pyramid,some DR sets,Curt Magnan etc.) will always be looser feeling than Hexcore ones (i.e. D Addario,EB).

    We are talking about the WOUND strings of course all plain strings are virtually the same.
     
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