Gauge 14 question - guitar durability

Discussion in 'Acoustic Instruments' started by Josh Jimenez, May 30, 2015.

  1. Josh Jimenez

    Josh Jimenez Member

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    Good day tgp! I have a thomson hummingbird copy that currently has 12 gauge strings on it. Im tuned to e standard. I plan to drop it to D standard and was hoping to have it set up for 14 gauge strings. However, my friend has warned me against going to 14's right away; even if I tune a whole step lower, it might be a too big jump from 12s. He suggested that I try 13's first. Is that true? It'd save me a set of strings and a few weeks if I go for 14's right away. I'd also like to note that the area around the bridge has been in a permanent bulge since I got the guitar. It has since been setup, but the bulge remains. Is that gonna be a problem? Thanks!
     
  2. lamenlovinit

    lamenlovinit Member

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    There are numerous ways, charts, tables you can find on the internet to calculate string tension. Just type string tension calculator guitar Some must compensate for drop tunings. I personally wouldn't go over 13 on any guitar I have feelings for, unless it's a quality resonator.

    Depending on your financial situation, I would actually recommend saving up for a baritone. If you check Ebay right now, you'll find a ton of them from alvarez listed at $299 with a "make an offer" option. So I'm assuming something in the $250 range could bring one home. $250 is still $250, bit considering that not long ago baritones were custom only, it's pretty mind blowing! I have a baritone, and it's an amazing option. You can easily tune down to C with any scale length Baritone. I tune down B to B with mine. And with Open G, D, or DADGAD, it's quite a growling beast.
     
  3. Seorie

    Seorie Member

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    know your gauges / scale length and tensions, it takes a little work - but then YOU'LL know without relying on hearsay.
    What gauge is recommended for your guitar ?
    Below is a calculator, which you can input scale length and pitch (note) you’ll be able to work out the suitable gauges from that.
    On my 25.4 and 25.5 s/l guitars I use a 13-56 gauge set and tune in alternative tunings (down).

    http://www.mcdonaldstrings.com/stringxxiii.html
     
  4. Josh Jimenez

    Josh Jimenez Member

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    You guys think that even on D standard, gauge 14 strings could potentially damage the guitar? It holds well with 12's on E standard. :)
     
  5. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    I checked out a .012-.053 set in standard and compared to a .014-.059 set tuned down one step using stringtensionpro.com.

    In summary:

    String Note Gauge Tension
    1 E 4 0.0120 in. 23.36 lbs
    2 B 3 0.0160 in. 23.31 lbs
    3 G 3 0.0240 in. 30.06 lbs
    4 D 3 0.0320 in. 29.93 lbs
    5 A 2 0.0420 in. 28.93 lbs
    6 E 2 0.0530 in. 24.95 lbs

    vs.

    0.0140 in. 25.24 lbs
    0.0180 in. 23.41 lbs
    0.0270 in. 30.21 lbs
    0.0390 in. 34.87 lbs
    0.0490 in. 30.56 lbs
    0.0590 in. 24.62 lbs

    Eyeballing the differences, you'd be adding about 8 lbs of tension.
     
  6. lamenlovinit

    lamenlovinit Member

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    What we think is irrelevant. We're saying you can do the math and find out for sure.

    Bryan T has done most the math for you. So what you should do now is go online, compute a set of medium strings, and compare the increase in tension between standard tuned medium strings, and the detuned 14s. You should do it yourself.

    Be aware that just because YOU know it has 14s on it, doesn't mean everybody else will. A friend may pick up your guitar, and tune it to standard without your knowing, and put it back in the case. It happens to us baritone guitar players all the time. You have to watch everybody who goes near your guitar.

    So if it isn't worth your effort to do the math, just get 13s. You can get a pack for $4 and find out if they are good enough for you.
     
  7. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    interesting how the low E, B and G don't really change while the other three get a little or even a lot tighter.

    i'd suggest the 13s as well, or at most taking a 13s set and swapping in the low E, G and B from the 14s set.
     

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