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Thread: String gauges for GDAE on electric tenor

  1. #1
    Registered User Nathan Kellstadt's Avatar
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    May 2006
    upstate, ny

    Default String gauges for GDAE on electric tenor

    I'm trying to figure out what gauge strings people use on a 23 inch scale electric tenor, since I'm going to need to build a set from single strings. There's plenty of info to be found for acoustics, but I haven't found a lot of information on electrics. For the record, I have gone through all 56 pages of threads in the tenor forum to try and find this information. There's not much there, and there's not a specific consensus. I'd like to see what folks are using these days, specifically for GDAE (octave mandolin) tuning on a 23 inch scale. I guess I'm kind of doing a poll. Thanks.
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  2. #2
    Registered User fox's Avatar
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    Feb 2014
    Guernsey... small island just off the coast of France

    Default Re: String gauges for GDAE on electric tenor

    You might have more luck searching using google and just adding mandolin cafe to your search.

    Anyway much of what is written about acoustic tenor string gauges will still apply.
    The main difference is most folk prefer a plain A.
    Also it depends on your playing style but 11p 17p 28w 42w will get you started with a light feel or if you like bending strings....
    12p 18p 30w 45w for a more firm feel.
    Depending on the actual guitar you could possibly go with much thicker strings if that suits your style.

  3. #3

    Default Re: String gauges for GDAE on electric tenor

    I run 46 32 22 12 on my archtop electric, but am interested in going lighter since I don't play it nearly as hard as my acoustics.

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  4. #4

    Default Re: String gauges for GDAE on electric tenor

    To me its about starting with a string tension you like and then adjusting for string balance as needed.

    If you want to bend, go lighter, if not, heavier may be your thing.

    I lean towards the light side, so run 15 lbs per string, very bendable on my 18" scale. On a longer scale a little more tension could work.

    Same (15 lb) tension on 23" scale is 10.5-16-26-40 PS top two, NPS bottom two.
    NPS - wound Nickel Plated Steel.
    PS = plain steel

    Run that up to 20 lbs and you get 12-18-30-46 (2 PS and 2 NPS) (or use 20 if NPS for the A string).

    Then tune the string gauges to taste to balance strings. PS or NPS on the A is the big choice IMHO, I find a PS A much stronger with a pickup than a wound A of similar tension.

    I like to bend, and use one finger BB-King-style vibrato, and find 20 lbs is a bit high for me, so I run 15 lb gauges, although as scale length increases more tension is more tolerable.

    You just have to try it. I put 12 lb gauges on a 20" acoustic tenor once, and it was too light, marvelously easy to play though. I have the 15 lb set sitting on my table, but haven't put them on yet..
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