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Why do some of my guitar feel "slinkier" on the strings while other feel "tense?"

james...

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,801
I noticed this today after playing like 5 of my instruments back to back to back.
Obviously I need to preface this by stating the string gauge and scale length on all of them was the same.

My Ernie Ball Luke felt very very loose and easy to bend. My G&L Asat felt really stiff. My Kiesel and my MJT Telecaster felt in between.

I found myself gravitating to the Luke just because I got this feeling that the strings were just less tense on it. Like you aren't "fighting" the guitar so much... This is such a weird phenomenon. What is going on here?
 

cap10kirk

Member
Messages
8,542
A guitar with a vibrato will feel slinkier than a hardtail since the vibrato has some give to it...bend a string and you can see it move. Neck angle and setup will affect it too.
 

27sauce

Member
Messages
36,373
So a sharper bridge angle would do what?
And a sharper neck ankle would do what?
A sharper angle at either will be stiffer.

Check out any LP top wrapping thread. Everyone talks about how slinky it feels, “11’s feel like 10’s...” it’s because they’ve virtually eliminated the break angle over the bridge.
 

Presc

Member
Messages
1,389
Vibrato-equipped guitars definitely feel slinkier - as you bend, the bridge pulls up along with you, providing some give versus a fixed setup where the bridge remains rooted.

Fret size and fretboard radius will also impact how easy bending feels.
 

VaughnC

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
17,933
While there are a few factors that play into the perceived bent string tension, in my experience a lot of it is what Mother nature did to the neck wood itself...some pieces of wood just have more natural flex to them than others, even from the same tree. Also, the Strats I've noticed that had the stiffer string feel also tended to have tight trussrods. So, the tighter the trussrod needs to be to get proper relief, the stiffer the strings feel when you bend them sideways.

Played a lot of Strats in my day and their string tension is inconsistent even with the same exact specs. And the loosest Strat I've ever played belonged to a friend and the trussrod had practically no tension at all at proper relief and the strings felt 2 gauges lighter! The light bulb went off that day and as I fooled with Strats over the years, I noticed a trussrod tightness/string tension pattern forming and thinking "That's interesting"!
 

Voodoo Soul Blues

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,210
I have a classic 60’s Strat with a blocked trem and a Robert Cray (hardtail).
Both guitars were setup by the same luthier with the same strings.
Both guitars have the same fret wire size (I changed the frets on the classic).
The classic strat is much easier, “slinkier” to play than the Robert Cray.
I assumed it was the difference in fretboard radius or the fact that the Robert Cray has the strings going through the actual body?
It is a significant difference which makes me prefer the classic series in almost every situation.
 

Tony Done

Member
Messages
6,705
I'm personally not convinced about string break angles, but action height and neck profile seem to be factors, especially with heavier acoustic strings.
 

Billinder33

Member
Messages
1,943
IMO, neck scale is the biggest one determining tension.

But probably neck shape is the next big one.... some necks are just easier to play than others. Obviously this varies player to player.

Fretboard radius can also have an impact. Flatter/wider 'should' be a little slinkier than thinner/rounder.
 

Guppie

Member
Messages
1,207
A guitar with a vibrato will feel slinkier than a hardtail since the vibrato has some give to it...bend a string and you can see it move. Neck angle and setup will affect it too.
My SG with bigsby feels stiffer than my wraparound bride Vox SSC55
 

Tri7/5

Member
Messages
1,523
It's everything, literally. Pulsation and tension is a major topic in the classical and flamenco guitar worlds. You can play a guitar that's a 650mm scale and it can be quite taunt with a strong and hard pulsation then pickup a 660mm that is completely loose feeling. You would think it would be the other way around but not always is that the case. The wood stiffness, bracing, neck, action etc. all plays in.
 

Dr.Twang!

Wrangler, twangler, participle dangler
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,022
IMHO It’s all in the relief....008/.010 @ 7th fret or so, checked with string fretted at 1 & 15....setup nearly flat will decrease force required to move string overcenter to fretboard.
 

AndrewSimon

Member
Messages
2,384
The length of the string before the bridge and after nut comes into play as well.
Regardless of scale when you bend the total length of the strings gets stretched. (not only the portion between the nut and the bridge)
When you top wrap a Les Paul you not only change the breaking angle but also enlarge the total string length.


:)
 

cap10kirk

Member
Messages
8,542
My SG with bigsby feels stiffer than my wraparound bride Vox SSC55
Yeah, but a Bigsby isn't anywhere near as sensitive as other vibratos. I can go from standard to drop D on my Junior with a Bigsby and not affect the other strings. Slightly bend one string on something like a Strat or the EBMM Luke the OP has though, and it throws off everything else. Because of that, my Strat is no stiffer than my Junior, despite the Strat having a longer scale and the same strings.
 




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