How about =more= string tension

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by alanfc, Feb 24, 2008.

  1. alanfc

    alanfc Member

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    All search results I could find here shows discussion of loosening string tension.....but

    I love my recently acquired Les Paul (after 25+ yrs. of Strat types) but one thing I'm having trouble with is the loose tension. Made worse by our tuning down to 'D' so my voice can last 3 hrs.

    I've upped my gauge to .011's and still enjoy the guitar, except for solos. So very loose and out of control. Changing back to standard tuning is under consideration but I really love the lower tuning.

    Anything I can try besides going even heavier on the gauge? I know we can lessen the tension by top-wrapping,,, is there something I can try that will have the the opposite effect ?
    Thanks
     
  2. Freedom

    Freedom Member

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    I cant help you with that but i'll tell you what i think...

    I am a strat user (yeah, i know, longer scale, greater tension) and i tune a whole tone down (which makes the strings way loose) using 10-38's (which are loose as hell already)...

    I am used to play with this config, there are drawbacks like the boomy wound strings, the problematic intonation when you press harder than needed a string (goes sharp) or the case when you hit hard open strings (they also go sharp) but after some time i adjusted my playing, learned how to deal the probs and i am enjoying the advantages of tuning that low (sound, no need exessive strain to bend 2, 3 tones up or more and i bend all the time, i am more relaxed when playing and i am not "fighting" with the strings anymore and so forth)...

    So maybe you should just give it some time to get used to the feeling and all that...

    Good luck...
     
  3. David Collins

    David Collins Member

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    Tension is the amount of force within a string from end to end. Tension is not how much force it takes to push the string to the frets. Nothing, not breakover angle, not wrap style, not tuners, not nut, - nothing is going to change the tension except for change in pitch, length, or string mass per unit of length.

    Are you looking for a stiffer feel, and if so what are the reasons you don't want to move to heavier strings?
     
  4. jbird

    jbird Member

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    Does'nt Dunlop offer an Icon Series String, with a supposed bulked up core wire for more tension under lower tunings? Check 'em out!
     
  5. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

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    I recently swapped necks on two CS strats. Man, o man, I was trying everything to get this one strat to play with less tension. Neck angle, saddle break angle, nut height, tree angle, more rod relief, less relief etc.. It played very stiff no matter what. I didn't want to go to .009's because of the plinkiness. I like the fuller tone of .010's. But this strat played so tight and made my hand hurt so much I'd ice it at night.

    I swapped the stiff playing, 1/4 sawn maple neck with med-jumbo frets for a rosewood with small vintage frets. Even with the small frets, the guitar plays so slinky and effortless. I've handed the guitar to several people I work with and they know this guitar well. The first thing they say is how loose it feels. I used the exact same set of strings, only swapping the neck. Bridge, saddle, truss rod all stayed the same. I made no adjustments.

    Along with the softer feel, the tone is much smoother. Gone is that spikey, ice pick to the ear snap, to the tone. The looser feel gave me a silkier sound.

    The 1/4 sawn maple neck went on to the other strat, and it feels way easier too. A lot of the tension and fight is gone. This neck had so much snap, but it's now balanced and the harsh grating tone is gone. weird.

    Amazingly, again I didn't have to touch a thing. But now instead of two authentic CS strats, I have a couple nice partsocasters that both benefited from the swap.
     
  6. alanfc

    alanfc Member

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    aha thank you all-

    Yes the tailpiece is already flush with the body-- the guitar came this way (a used 1993 Standard)

    Indeed I'll have some patience for a few more months and get used to it,,, I'll be glad to do that ! The benefit for my voice with just that one step down has been amazing. =DCollins=, yes the stiffer feel in lead playing, this is what I seek. Its not a big problem, just an annoyance. I love the guitar so I will probably take the patience approach.

    Increasing string gauge/Dunlop Icons - this will be the next step, if necessary. My typical gorilla strangelhold grip and a few long songs with open chords have given me some soreness with the change to .011's.
    So .012's are a bit of concern. But not out of the question. I'm thinking more adaptation is necessary on the grip too.
     
  7. morphine

    morphine Member

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    I prefer my strings under quite some tension too... but since I'm a newbie I didn't quite get what "top-wrapping" is. Do you mean wrapping the string at the post so that it comes out from the top of the "coil" rather than the bottom?

    Also, any other tips other than thicker strings and pulling the tailpiece down? (gotta try that on my Epi LP).
     
  8. alanfc

    alanfc Member

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  9. kimock

    kimock Member

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    Not total tension, distribution of tension.
     
  10. morphine

    morphine Member

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    Ah, thanks, nice little trick. Now to find a way to make it have the opposite effect :)
     
  11. alanfc

    alanfc Member

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    I just changed back to standard tuning and .010's.
    Our songs sounded too weird in low tuning, like they we're slower. I'll deal with the vocal range thing another way. I'll just TALK all the lyrics ha ha
     

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