2 (same) guitars. Same everything. Identical. Different tension??

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by ruger9, Feb 14, 2020 at 7:24 AM.

  1. ruger9

    ruger9 Member

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    I searched the threads, but didn't find one that quite matched this: EVERYTHING is the same....

    Same guitars (Fender teles)
    same scale length
    same fretboard radius
    same bridges
    same neck relief
    same action
    same strings/gauge
    ...I did have one refretted with slightly bigger frets recently, but this issue was apparent BEFORE that

    ...yet one feels slightly stiffer than the other.... I realize there's not really a consensus on this (so I guess nobody KNOWS), but since I'm dealing with 2 identical situations... what gives??? The only thing I haven't measured/accounted for is neck angle... but these are 2 factory Fender teles, I assume the neck angle is the same, since everything is done with jigs.
     
  2. Jabby92

    Jabby92 Member

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    One must have the truss rod set differently than the other. Not sure how you're measuring it, but if the tension feels different than physically something is different with the neck relief/tension across the neck. No other explanation really, especially if everything else is the same.
     
  3. ruger9

    ruger9 Member

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    truss rod = relief. The necks have the same relief, measured thusly:

    capo on the 1st fret, hold the string down on the 22nd fret, take a measurement at the 9th fret.
     
  4. Frater B

    Frater B Silver Supporting Member

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    Truss rod tension?
    Flat grain vs quartered grain neck?

    they might have the same relief however the tension on one could be more to achieve that relief.
     
  5. The_Bell

    The_Bell Member

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    Are they the same exact model? Same string trees (number and location)?

    Edit: have both been intonated properly (i.e. break angle behind saddle same)?
     
  6. ruger9

    ruger9 Member

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    Not the exact same models, but both "regular" teles, with 22-fret necks.

    string trees: ok, this is interesting. One neck has a string tree only on the B&E strings (the Am.Std. string tree), the other was upgraded (not by me) to TWO Graphteck string trees... which includes one on the D&G strings. Interesting... now I'll have to take those 2 strings out, and see if it changes the tension.

    Break angle: they are both intonated, but the one with the HIGHER tension has a LESSER break angle at the saddles. The lower-tension one breaks at almost 90 degrees... the higher-tension one less than that... 75 degrees maybe?
     
  7. CaptNasty

    CaptNasty Member

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    How the nut is cut can effect perceived tension. One guitar could have the nut cut higher.

    Bridge height could also effect perceived tension.

    Variations in fret height and fret leveling could effect perceived tension.

    Variations in neck cut could effect perceived tension (you realize there is variance in supposedly identical guitars, right?).

    Finally your brain. From day to day, hour to hour, minute to minute, your brain could cause you to perceive the exact same instrument differently.

    EDIT: the discussion above of strings trees is worth seriously considering. Changing the beak angle of the string over the nut could definitely impact perceived tension. It could also be multiple factors acting in unison that causes the difference in perceived tension.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2020 at 8:33 AM
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  8. ruger9

    ruger9 Member

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    re: "perceived"... I don't think this is a perception thing. My hand actually gets more tired playing the higher-tension guitar; that's actually why I'm asking the question. Both necks are Modern C profile.

    re: "brain".. the tension difference is there, second-to-second... I continually A/B the guitars.... the time difference is whatever time it takes to put one down and pick the other one up.
     
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  9. CaptNasty

    CaptNasty Member

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    The tension you experience is absolutely perceived. You experience the tension differently than I would, or any one else. The experience you have is unique to you, thus making it perceived tension. Perfect feel for me might be too tight for you.

    I am not disputing what you are experiencing is real. It could be mechanical, physiological, even psychological.

    I find it bizarre when people come to a forum asking for help then start rejecting viable contributions.

    You seem to have decided the type of issue you are willing to accept as a potential answer to your question. You might be right or you might be wrong. Discounting things without considering them as an alternative biases your result. By eliminating possibilities out of hand, you could potentially lead yourself to false positives or false negatives which skew your outcome.

    But, got it. I will bow out. Sounds like you got this... which leaves me wondering about the need for this post at all.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2020 at 9:22 AM
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  10. The_Bell

    The_Bell Member

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    It is called perceived because the tension in the unfretted string is identical when tuned to pitch at the same scale. The different perception is the catenary bending stiffness of the string. @CaptNasty was using accepted nomenclature for this topic.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2020 at 9:03 AM
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  11. The_Bell

    The_Bell Member

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    Either of those could contribute to a different string feel at various locations on the fretboard. A really easy thing to do is pop all of the strings out of the trees, tune back up - and compare. Regarding bridge: That seems backwards (because top loaders in general have a looser feel), so perhaps that is not the culprit.
     
  12. snakestretcher

    snakestretcher Member

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    When we're discussing something as infinitely variable as wood, there can be no such thing as two identical pieces. If it feels right it is right-but there's no guarantee that the next one off the production line will feel the same.
     
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  13. korus

    korus Member

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    @ruger9
    When fretted string elongates. While elongating it moves at contact points. Stiffer guitar has greater friction at contact points. Contact points are:

    1. nut
    2. saddle

    and
    3. optional string tree
    4. bridge plate hole (regilar, non top loader Tele)

    Hence, when you reduce friction at contact points you will make it less stiff. Compare dents/slots on nut and bridge of both guitars. Different persons doing the setup can make them differently, causing the difference in stiffness.

    Q: measure height of strings above pickguard on both guitars, 1st and 6th string. Is it greater on stiffer guitar?
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2020 at 9:49 AM
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  14. J Factor

    J Factor Member

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    Different pieces of wood have different stiffnesses. I bet, even at the same relief, one has a slightly lower neck stiffness, and therefore flexes more as you play, feeling a bit slinkier.
     
  15. deadbeat son

    deadbeat son Supporting Member

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    have you tried swapping necks between the two guitars to see if the tension issues follow?
     
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  16. Jabby92

    Jabby92 Member

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    Correct, but physically, the truss rod does impact the string tension and 'feel' depending on how its set. Thats literally what its there for, to counter-act string tension so the strings don't warp the guitar neck. If its set too tight or too loose, the guitar will play bad.
     
  17. MkIII Renegade

    MkIII Renegade Member

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    :worried
     
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  18. jrockbridge

    jrockbridge Member

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    I would think the most obvious culprit for the difference in perceived stiffness would be the different fret wire between the two guitars. But, you did say it was like that before the fret wire change.

    Measure the action at every fret position of both guitars. My guess is that you will find the two guitars have some different values at some fret positions. If that turns out to be the case, the bow in the neck is probably different between the two guitars. It's difficult to get two guitar necks adjusted identical where the bow is exactly the same on both necks because of differences in wood. You can adjust the bow with the truss rod to get them closer to the same but any change in the truss rod will require changing the saddle height and redoing the saddles for proper intonation. If it turns out that every fret position measures identical on both guitars, you could try another strategy.

    If one guitar has a perceived stiffness, a smaller string gauge could help it feel more loose. Of course, the change will require adjusting the truss rod to get the action and intonation back to par. Or you could put slightly heavier strings on the guitar that has the perceived loose feel. Again, a slight truss rod adjustment would be needed to get the guitar back to the par measurements. If you don't like this strategy, you could go another way.

    When a guitar has a higher action, it will have more perceived stiffness. And, obviously, lower action can make it feel more loose. You, could simply lower the action slightly on the guitar that feels stiff and then redo the intonation. Or you could raise the action slightly on the guitar the feel loose and then redo the intonation at the bridge saddles.
     
  19. Bertiman

    Bertiman Supporting Member

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    I'd look to the string string trees as there is your first discernible difference that can have a very real effect. After that, I'd look to the neck angle as it is a measurable item that could also have an effect. Any stiffness differences of the necks MAY be a cause and you can test it by plugging into a tuner, let the low e ring and bend the high e, without striking it, at the 12th fret a 1.5 steps and watch how detuned the low e goes. Repeat on the other guitar. The one that detunes less, IN THEORY could feel more stiff.
     
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  20. Boris Bubbanov

    Boris Bubbanov Member

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    No, Jabby is right.

    Two different pieces of wood, with different predispositions to take a certain shape. The first requires very little help from the truss rod to meet the specifications you have selected. The second neck requires a lot more.

    Think about two little schoolboys, same height and etc and in fact they're cousins. One boy needs very little guidance, to behave himself and always have his homework done. The other boy is also smart, but he just marches to the beat of a different drum and so he's climbing the tree in the school yard, and his uniform is covered in mud. He needs much more discipline than his cousin, to perform the same way in school. Or should we celebrate the way this boy behaves and make the best use we can of his free spirit?

    We're so funny, with all our precise measurements of the height of the string over a fret and etc. But who here compares the amount of inch pounds they need to make a change to their truss rod? That's my point.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2020 at 10:32 AM
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