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Thread: String Tension Calculations

  1. #1
    Registered User Bunnyf's Avatar
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    Default String Tension Calculations

    I'm looking for strings for my "new" old tenor guitar. It's a '36, so I want to keep the tension low and use cgda tuning. I will probably tune down 1/2 step.

    My question is this..I read that you want to select gauges that will keep the tension balanced across the strings but then when I look at various sets or recommended gauges, I see that the tension is much higher on the d and a. Same thing when I enter string gauges into D'add string gauge tension calculator. So, does "balanced" not mean equal tension? What am I missing?

  2. #2
    Registered User fox's Avatar
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    Default Re: String Tension Calculations

    Even tension is a good place to start and works really well on most 23 scale instruments, maybe many tenor guitar sets are made up from six string sets and utilise the most common string gauges available.
    Also the actual guitar model, make and age can play a part, it might not be a good idea to stress a vintage guitar but a modern guitar like the Blueridge is said to be safe with upto 95-100lb total tension .

    We measure the scale from the nut to the 12th fret then double that measurement (or from nut to saddle is normally accurate enough )
    CGDA is easy on the shorter scales like 21 but can be problematic on anything longer than 23.

  3. #3
    Registered User Bunnyf's Avatar
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    Default Re: String Tension Calculations

    My confusion is that sets like D'add J66, for ex. are 10, 14, 22, 32 (a commonly recommended light set) has tension 23, 19, 14, 12, respectively. So, what am I not understanding when they say you are looking for even, balanced tension across the fretboard? Other string gauge recommendations and sets have similarly disparate tensions.

  4. #4
    Registered User fox's Avatar
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    Default Re: String Tension Calculations

    22 will be around 23lb 32 will be around 20lb
    My recommended would be 9 14 20 32 all around 20lb based on a 23” scale

  5. #5
    Registered User Bunnyf's Avatar
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    Default Re: String Tension Calculations

    Quote Originally Posted by fox View Post
    22 will be around 23lb 32 will be around 20lb
    My recommended would be 9 14 20 32 all around 20lb based on a 23” scale
    what's weird is that I got those of 14 and 12 for the 22 and 32 right off the product description, and something similar when i used the string tension calculator.

  6. #6
    Tinkerer Huck's Avatar
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    Default Re: String Tension Calculations

    String Note Gauge Tension
    1 A 4 0.0100 in. 23.52 lbs
    2 D 4 0.0140 in. 20.53 lbs
    3 G 3 0.0220 in. 20.08 lbs
    4 C 3 0.0320 in. 18.73 lbs

    Directly from the String Tension Pro website.

    Going down to a 9 will give you, as fox told you, about 20 lbs balanced across the fretboard.

  7. #7
    Tinkerer Huck's Avatar
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    Default Re: String Tension Calculations

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bunnyf View Post
    what's weird is that I got those of 14 and 12 for the 22 and 32 right off the product description, and something similar when i used the string tension calculator.

  8. #8
    Registered User Bunnyf's Avatar
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    Default Re: String Tension Calculations

    Quote Originally Posted by Huck View Post
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	d_addario_ej66_tenor_guitar_strings_details.jpg 
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    on just strings, it didn't show back of pack, just described content, this is what threw me offClick image for larger version. 

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    thanks for the correct info

    i used D'add website calculator and also got weirdly low t for the bass strings, but maybe i made a boo-boo. thanks for the correct info!

  9. #9
    Tinkerer Huck's Avatar
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    Default Re: String Tension Calculations

    I saw the Just Strings info and figured that is where you got your numbers.

    I love Just Strings as you can buy singles in almost any size.

    The more you use D'Addario's string calculator - the easier it becomes. Change some variables and start without basing it on their product, etc. It will eventually come to you. It was awkward for me at first. Also, different calculators will vary slightly.

    Good luck with the new Kalamazoo tenor!

    Huck

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  11. #10
    Tinkerer Huck's Avatar
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    Default Re: String Tension Calculations

    Quote Originally Posted by Bunnyf View Post
    I will probably tune down 1/2 step.
    The EJ66s will work for BF#C#G# but the 32W might be floppy. You'd probably be better off with a 34.

    Gauge. Tension
    0.0100 in. 20.95 lbs
    0.0140 in. 18.29 lbs
    0.0220 in. 17.89 lbs
    0.0340 in. 18.57 lbs

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