Trying to match string tension between hardtail/trem'd guitars, and scale lengths etc
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Thread: Trying to match string tension between hardtail/trem'd guitars, and scale lengths etc

  1. #1


    Join Date: Oct 2008
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    Trying to match string tension between hardtail/trem'd guitars, and scale lengths etc

    I haven't owned a short scale guitar for any great period of time for a long time now, and since getting that Les Paul the other day, I want to put some strings on it that will match my 25.5" guitars.

    My 'standard' that I base everything around is a D'Addario 10-46 set in Eb standard. That's the sort of tension I try to match when putting a guitar in a different tuning or something. I will also use 10's in standard, but I never play in standard so that's irrelevent

    So I was about to reach for a tension calculator to see if I should go for 11's for the LP, but then it dawned on me... I always use a trem.

    Is there a noticeable tension difference between a TOM and a Floyd? Despite the shorter scale, will the tension still roughly be the same as my trem'd superstrats thanks to the non-floating bridge?
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  3. #2


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    If there's a perceivable difference I have yet to notice it. From what I understand regardless of bridge type, the tension is measured between the point of the nut and the saddle at a particular pitch. Anything beyond that is irrelevant as the string is at that pitch and it requires x about of kg to get it there. The springs of a trem simply impart an equal opposite force to that tension to keep it at a zero point.
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  4. #3


    Join Date: Oct 2008
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    That's what I thought, yeah. As you bend a string on a Floyd the springs pull back with equal tension... OK, I'll throw some 11s on that sucker

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  6. #4


    Join Date: Jun 2014
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    Rockin'.

    It's hard to explain typing but it's something to do with physics and engineering and other smart guy stuff someone like Leon or Seanbabs would explain better than I could. Something like whether it's a spring and fulcrum setup like the term or a physical object like the TOM, they're both exerting an equally opposite force to the string pull so the net affect on tension across the string is the same; zero.

    I'm sure Rockas could grace us with one of his famous scientific tests.

  7. #5


    Join Date: Oct 2008
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    I was thinking that exact same thing as I was making the thread. I though "should I?"...

  8. #6


    Join Date: Apr 2015
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    Quote Originally Posted by Version_6 View Post
    If there's a perceivable difference I have yet to notice it. From what I understand regardless of bridge type, the tension is measured between the point of the nut and the saddle at a particular pitch. Anything beyond that is irrelevant as the string is at that pitch and it requires x about of kg to get it there. The springs of a trem simply impart an equal opposite force to that tension to keep it at a zero point.
    That's exactly what my experiment shows here



    You can tune a Floyd guitar up and then bend a string and then lock the nut and bend a string again... It wont feel different

    However, I do feel there could be some difference in feel when I'm hardblocking a Floyd and having it fully floating, but I can't be too sure about it, might be placebo, but it might be real as well. Should be real, because the whole bridge itself is moving when bending

  9. #7


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    Yeah ^ but as the bridge is moving, it's lowering the pitch of the note, as you're trying to bend it UP in pitch, meaning you have to bend even further to reach the desired note, so it all equals out.

  10. #8


    Join Date: Apr 2015
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mattayus View Post
    Yeah ^ but as the bridge is moving, it's lowering the pitch of the note, as you're trying to bend it UP in pitch, meaning you have to bend even further to reach the desired note, so it all equals out.
    Yeah, that's the drawback of floating bridges. but it's not a BIG deal, small enough to make me wonder sometimes if it makes much difference or just placebo.

    10s on 25.5" and 11s on 24.75" is pretty much the standard I think, but I actually enjoyed having 10s on my previous Les Paul guitars, despite the shorter scale.

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