String Tension Curiosity

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by jbear, Jan 19, 2015.

  1. jbear

    jbear Supporting Member

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    So...I have quite a few guitars of all types, brands, scale lengths, etc. I have noticed (particularly with my Gibson's) that certain guitars fret and bend easily while others...not so much. I generally use Daddario 10's unless it's an archtop.
    So...why would that be and...can I affect it?
    Thanks for the conversation!
     
  2. AaeCee

    AaeCee Member

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    Scale length, break angles, set up, and a variety of other physical property minutiae (bridge location, string attachment, etc.) are all collectively contributing factors. It can be especially confusing when two otherwise identical guitars can still feel and play differently.
     
  3. swiveltung

    swiveltung Member

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    The angle of the string from the bridge to the sop tail can effect this. Raise the stop tail up and the string bends easier.
    Some guitars actually have adjustable tailpieces for this effect. The Gibson Howard Roberts for one.... each "finger" on the tailpiece can be adjusted. I was quite surprised when I had one of those how much the effect is... before that I thought it was mostly BS.
     
  4. GCDEF

    GCDEF Supporting Member

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    Scale length, action, neck radius, fret height.
     
  5. jbear

    jbear Supporting Member

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    I messed around with one of the LP's ...raising the stoptail...I couldn't get it right unless I screwed it down tight...also took out some relief. There are so many variables. Five other LP's...much lighter tension...just trying to put it all together.
    All good points being made and I appreciate it!
     
  6. billyguitar

    billyguitar Member

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    Relief would be the most important spec to check, IMO.
     
  7. Trea

    Trea Member

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    Relief and break angle over the saddles will make the biggest difference in feel, IMO.
     
  8. davebc

    davebc Member

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    :agree

    And it's all adjustable except for scale length.
    I've urned problem children guitars into farrari playing ax's with just a little time and tlc!
     
  9. davebc

    davebc Member

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    :aok
     
  10. Cal Webway

    Cal Webway Member

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  11. texasdw

    texasdw Gold Supporting Member

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    Subtle differences in the depth of the nut slots (or really the height of the string at the nut) can make a drastic difference in playability. Part of a good setup obviously.
     
  12. kimock

    kimock Member

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    Yeah, I don't know if it's a great conclusion they come to, but most of the set up is good.
    I disagree with their interpretation of feel vs dead length tho.
    More dead length means you have to deflect the string farther from rest to arrive at a target pitch.
    I don't get how that's "smoother". .

    I get the less down-angle = less friction, makes the string easier to bend if maybe a little harder to locate, but overall I found the link a little confusing.

    Maybe I read it wrong if anybody wants to hop in and 'splain.
     
  13. HayekFan

    HayekFan Member

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    You have to deflect the string further but it will build up resistance to your push more gradually. I could see that giving a smoother feel, maybe.

    I'm a skeptic on the break angle affecting the feel though, at least when it comes to the bridge break angle on Gibsons. There's not enough string length between bridge and tailpiece to matter IMO. Even with zero friction at the bridge the extra length would only add a small amount of elasticity. Next time I restring my LP I'm going to top wrap and see if I can tell a difference.
     
  14. Twangcat

    Twangcat Member

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    After some time spent reading about top loading bridges I recently changed a Tele over from string through bridge to top loader bridge and also used a top loader bridge on a new partscaster. I didn't notice the more slinky touch and easier bending right away, but after a few hours on each guitar I am now appreciating those characteristics. Both are 25.5" scale, set up with D'Addario 9s, brass saddles.
     

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