How high can I tune my guitar strings

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by Stringking40, Mar 3, 2015.

  1. Stringking40

    Stringking40 Member

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    String tension is one of those things I find to be fascinating about instruments. How high can I tune a set of PB martin sps 12-53 on a 25.5 scale length without risking breakage. How far should a string be from breaking tension? Are we talking 50%?
     
  2. CreamTele2

    CreamTele2 Member

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    I wouldnt worry about the string breaking, I'd worry about that stress on the neck
     
  3. kimock

    kimock Member

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    Pretty sure all our musical instrument wire breaks around the same frequency, somewhere around G, G#, A.
    You're probably safe up a whole step with that set of 12's, unless you're really thrashing the thing.

    Individually you could get the low E, A, and probably D up more than a whole step, but I doubt the G string would get past Bb.
    I'm guessing a 15 or 16 B string, that should be good to at least F, F# maybe.
    The 12 might make it to G, might not.

    I've gotten a D'Addario 52 up to C and thrashed it, and my normal heavy set on a Strat is a set of 11's starting with the B string for the high E with a 62 on the bottom, so you could say a set of 11's will go up a fourth with the exception of the high E.
    You might be able to get those 12's up a minor third, but I'm guessing a whole step would be as far as you could go safely.

    Re: "how far should a string be from breaking tension?" , that depends what you're trying to do with it.
    For intonation purposes, the tighter the better, like piano strings.
    On guitar, it's normally just a playability issue.
    If you like to bend em, the looser the better.
     
  4. charmonder

    charmonder Member

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    I think more experienced members can chime in about this but what I have found from experimenting with alternate tuning is that you don't want to increase tension too much, what ended up happening to one of my guitars is not the neck, but the tuners themselves ended up breaking. You'd think the strings would break before the tuners but I was tuning the low E up to G and it destroyed the tuner. E to G was a really dumb idea I'll be the first to admit it, I was 17 (super high all the time) and it was a guitar I never used, lesson learned

    If you really want to dedicate a guitar to an alternate tuning, do the math and plan out alternate string gauges. It's not that expensive if you can buy string by string.
     
  5. Nota

    Nota Member

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    My friend and I wrote a song in high school that we had to tune the G string up to A. We performed it live a couple of times, and it broke like half the time.

    Every guitarist knows "the face" you make when tuning up like that :)
     
  6. ERGExplorer

    ERGExplorer Member

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    It's actually around G#4 for all plain normal plain unwound steel strrings. The thicker it is, the stronger it is, but it requires more tension to get to G#4. The thinner it is, the less tension it takes to get to G#4, but the weaker the string is.

    The wound strings will break at whatever tension the plain core would normally break at G#4.

    You can measure your cores and then do some cross-indexing on the D'Addario String Tension Chart, which you can easily find through Google.

    Funny... there was a recent member over another forum named String Master, same post count, who in answer to why he wanted to know the breaking point on a baritone instrument (before people invested time and effort in doing the math), answered, "Because I want to know," and then started getting on people's cases for not just doing the work for him. Funny coincidence, that.

    I'm not asking why you want to know, since you now have enough information to start investing some time in deriving your answers. Good luck!

    It was interesting to see the other topic where you increased the tension on a cello string by more than 25%, far outside of any cello, and then asked if cello strings are prone to snapping... without ever making the connection between the snapping and you increasing the tension by so much. :roll

    They're not my instruments, so I have no emotional investment in you snapping the neck or breaking the tuners. I do hope that you wouldn't do that to an instrument you don't own, though, like a rental or a school instrument, though. That would suck to be someone else who counted on such an instrument, only to have it destroyed by someone who just didn't care about the instrument(s) or the program to which the instrument(s) actually belong.
     
  7. Stringking40

    Stringking40 Member

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  8. ERGExplorer

    ERGExplorer Member

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    Oh, so that video shows someone tuning up until their strings break.

    Well, not worth my time doing the work for you, but you now have the information to figure it out on your own.

    • do a web search for the string tension chart
    • get the string tension chart
    • find the core diameter for each wound string
    • find the tension for that core string to break at G#4
    • find the equivalent tension for the wound string
    • the pitch at that tension is your breaking tension
    Since you now have the resources, there's nothing stopping you from investing time and energy into your answer.


    I'm assuming the answer matters to you, and so you'll do so. Even if the question doesn't matter that much to you, it matters even less to me, so I'm not going to invest the time in finding out the core diameters and doing the chart look up.

    Be sure to post back once you've put in the work. It will be neat if it turns out you actually cared enough to do the research.

    Incidentally, this is the same answer String Master was given on another forum. His response was to delete the question rather than invest his own time and energy. I'm hoping you'll be different.
     
  9. Stringking40

    Stringking40 Member

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    I will look in to it. I thought the video was interesting. I'm glad not to be alone in this.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2015
  10. Stringking40

    Stringking40 Member

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    D'Addario EJ16 acoustic phosphor bronze light acoustic:
    12 steel
    16 steel
    24 wound = 14 core + 5 winding
    32 wound = 16 core + 8 winding
    42 wound = 17 core + 12.5 winding
    53 wound = 18 core + 17.5 winding
    Taken from http://www.carvinbbs.com/viewtopic.php?t=32615&sid=80aa322a5ba2f5884f63a3b8d8398774

    The low E will snap around D. The core is an 18
    The A will snap at an F. The core is a 17.
    The D will break at an A. The core is a 16
    The G will snap around C. The core is a 14.

    http://liutaiomottola.com/formulae/tension.htm Here is the Calc I used.

    http://www.daddario.com/upload/tension_chart_13934.pdf Here is the chart I used.
     
  11. ERGExplorer

    ERGExplorer Member

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    And now you not only know when the strings will break, but have experience in how to tackle such a problem.

    Well done.

    If you posted the tension at which those breaks occur, or of the tension and pitches just below the breaking point, that might help someone who decides to push their instrument as far as possible. I have no interest in doing that to one of my instruments, but it would be grist for the mill when someone wonders how much tension one could theoretically put on the strings, and if the upper limits could damage or twist the neck.

    I think you should also post your results at SSO.

    Cheers!
     
  12. ArtDecade

    ArtDecade Member

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    All of his posts at SSO were taken down because he spammed the daylights out of that site.
     
  13. ellis dee

    ellis dee Member

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    there is only one way to find out for sure

    get out your tuner, not just any tuner
    :roll
    "it must be a turbo tuner"
    no other tuner will do.......... let us know the results
     
  14. NewDr.P

    NewDr.P Member

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    as high as you want, youre the string king.

    40.
     
  15. wilddogmoon

    wilddogmoon Supporting Member

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    Let's please not feed the troll. Every single post he has spammed us with is about breaking strings and offer nothing constructive. His infantile obsession with putting too much tension on guitar strings, cello strings and probably shoestrings is tiresome.

    I have seen many posts from him on other forums with the same MO. Tiresome, and best to ignore...
     
  16. Stringking40

    Stringking40 Member

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    I'm not here to troll. You should avoid making judgement of others.

    I want to thank others for their help. I found my answers. Problem solved.
     
  17. ERGExplorer

    ERGExplorer Member

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    But here's the difference: Stringking40 finally did the research and the work, and posted results. That's a difference from past behavior, if one assumes he's the same guy as over at SSO.

    I actually encouraged the SSO member to do the work, and I had just assumed that the OP had deleted the topic, since he wasn't getting something for nothing. I don't know if it was a mod action or on the part of the poster.

    Anyway, I dislike it greatly when people don't make the effort, or if they even rant about others not making the effort on their behalf when they don't. Unlike the guy who has started a few topics about how many milliseconds delay are introduced by various choruses, even though he has the tools and knowledge now to figure it out, Stringking40 finally followed through. I always think it worth encouraging continuation of such behavior. It makes the person more valuable to the forum, including the newbies to come later.

    edit: Ninja'd.
     
  18. kimock

    kimock Member

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    Might want to actually break some strings for the cause.
    Some of those numbers seem close, some not so real world. .
     
  19. Stringking40

    Stringking40 Member

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    Another thing I discovered. String cores vary from brand to brand. Breaking tension varies from brand to brand, though not by much. There are so many things to consider when thinking about the point the string will snap at. The material,nickel,bronze phosphor Bronze and So On. The string could be round wound or flat wound. We must also taken in to account the age of the string. Breaking tension is not always consistent.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2015
  20. ERGExplorer

    ERGExplorer Member

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    The winding material has no bearing whatsoever on the breaking point of the steel wire at the core. It doesn't augment or decrease the strength of that core wire. The winding only adds mass to the string, so the string as a whole remains as flexible as the core wire.

    A wire/rod of .060 diameter would be too stiff to use as a string, for example.

    Is that something you read? If so, disregard the source entirely. It's wrong, and there's no telling what other mistakes it has embedded in it.
     

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