What has more tension?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by JDJ, Jul 20, 2006.

  1. JDJ

    JDJ Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,536
    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2002
    Location:
    NC
    A 25.5 inch scale with 10s in standard concert-pitch tuning

    OR

    A 25 inch scale with 11s in standard concert-pitch tuning?

    My fingers tell me it's the former. Anybody know?
     
  2. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Member

    Messages:
    1,624
    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2003
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
  3. Clorenzo

    Clorenzo Member

    Messages:
    1,940
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2004
    Location:
    Munich / Madrid
    +1. It's not the same figures but I remember using those formulas to work out that, for a fixed string gauge, the difference in tension between 24.75" and 25.5" is about 6%, while for a fixed scale, the difference in tension between 9s and 10s is about 22%, so you can more or less extrapolate.
     
  4. scottlr

    scottlr Member

    Messages:
    22,677
    Joined:
    May 14, 2006
    Location:
    Born & raised in Texas; stranded in Iowa
    I have to admit that I have never paid any attention to what scale neck I had on any particular guitar. The only scale I ever had that I didn't get along with was a Ric 325 with the 3/4 size scale.
    One thing I DO notice, though, is that 10s on my Gretsch 6120 feel like 9s, where they feel like 10s on all of my other guitars. For awhile, I put 11s on it, just cuz I could. The string path seem longer on the Gretsch because of the Bigsby. Is that why? Longer equals less tension?
     
  5. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

    Messages:
    13,080
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2002
    Location:
    Scotland
    Exactly. Even though the actual tension (tuned to pitch) is the same - assuming the same string gauge and scale length - a guitar with a lot of extra string length at either end will feel looser to play, because when you bend or even just press down to the frets, the extra length stretches too and the string feels slacker - but equally you have to move the string a lot further to get the same change in pitch. A trem system makes the guitar feel even looser since as you bend, the trem moves as well. So a guitar with a long string path and a Bigsby will feel WAY looser than something like a Les Paul, even with the same scale length.
     
  6. JDJ

    JDJ Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,536
    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2002
    Location:
    NC
    So, in I-didn't-do-so-well-in-math-and-science terms, why does my Thorn, with a 25 inch scale, a 10 to 14 inch compound radius, and 11s feel easier to bend than my EJ Strat with a 25.5 inch scale, a 12 inch radius, and 10s?

    Other than Ron's guitar comes with extra mojo... because that's what seems intuitive to me.:D
     
  7. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Member

    Messages:
    1,624
    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2003
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    I'd say the compound radius and a super setup have much to do with it as well.
     
  8. Don A

    Don A Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    4,730
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2004
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Tall, well dressed frets, high action and extra relief will all make a guitar feel easier to bend on.
     
  9. philtone

    philtone Member

    Messages:
    83
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2003
    Location:
    baltimore, hon
    Here is an interesting applet for string tension and gauge:
    http://www.pacificsites.net/~dog/StringTensionApplet.html

    I can't vouch for it's accuracy as I have no way to quantify results to compare, but given it's origins, I assume this applet to be reasonably accurate when using common sense as the applet's description advises.
     

Share This Page