Mixed String Tension

Choice of classical guitar strings and technical issues connected with their use.
Rognvald
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Mixed String Tension

Post by Rognvald » Tue Jan 09, 2018 2:39 pm

Will mixed string tensions between Basses and Trebles negatively affect the neck/structure of the guitar? I am using High Tension trebles and Medium tension basses. Thanks, Rognvald
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rojarosguitar
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Re: Mixed String Tension

Post by rojarosguitar » Tue Jan 09, 2018 3:01 pm

Don't think so, if the guitar is not built too lightly. If it is, it will exhibit some problems even with strings that are not mixed, IMHO
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Beowulf
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Re: Mixed String Tension

Post by Beowulf » Tue Jan 09, 2018 3:27 pm

What is the difference between the average string tension of the treble and bass strings? Depending on the brand, there may not be a great deal of difference.
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guitarrista
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Re: Mixed String Tension

Post by guitarrista » Tue Jan 09, 2018 4:01 pm

rojarosguitar wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 3:01 pm
Don't think so, if the guitar is not built too lightly. If it is, it will exhibit some problems even with strings that are not mixed, IMHO
To add, since rarely if ever are treble and bass tensions balanced exactly on the same string set, every guitar has had to withstand that same type of imbalance (treble side pulling slightly more than bass, or vice versa). Seems like neck/structure warping has not been a problem.
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Rognvald
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Re: Mixed String Tension

Post by Rognvald » Thu Jan 11, 2018 4:10 pm

Thanks to Rojaro, Beowulf and Guitarrista, for your replies. I have played NT strings since the 90's but recently, after returning to music after a long hiatus, realize that I get better overall clarity and easier fingering in the upper register, and cleaner octave harmonics when using HT trebles. Perhaps others have also experienced this difference. Thanks again. Playing again . . .Rognvald
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MessyTendon
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Re: Mixed String Tension

Post by MessyTendon » Thu Jan 11, 2018 4:53 pm

Mixed tension is the best :) I'm using low tension basses with higher tension gut strings...great sound.

Jack Douglas
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Re: Mixed String Tension

Post by Jack Douglas » Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:26 pm

High tension basses and g string and normal tension b and e is a winning combination on my guitar.
Hauser III 2014 spruce

oc chuck
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Re: Mixed String Tension

Post by oc chuck » Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:03 am

Jack Douglas wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:26 pm
High tension basses and g string and normal tension b and e is a winning combination on my guitar.
I string my guitars with MT basses and 'g string
with HT 'b and 'e.

Your way is weird! :shock:

Jack Douglas
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Re: Mixed String Tension

Post by Jack Douglas » Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:32 am

oc chuck wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:03 am
Jack Douglas wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:26 pm
High tension basses and g string and normal tension b and e is a winning combination on my guitar.
I string my guitars with MT basses and 'g string
with HT 'b and 'e.

Your way is weird! :shock:
Yes, it is a bit odd. Let me explain. My guitar is relatively new in that I got it New about a year ago. The action was very high, 5.2 bass and 4.2 treble, and I engaged a known and skilled Luthier to replace the saddle. He noted that the grain of the spruce top on the bass side of the top indicated that it was a bit stiffer than the treble side and suggested installing Hard tension basses and a g string to help open up the guitar. I’ve always used something similar to your method, MT basses, and HT g, b, e.
I had tried all normal tension and all Hard tension and the MT basses, HT trebles on the Hauser, but when he installed the HT basses and g string and normal tension b and e the difference was absolute magic.
As the guitar gets more played in I will try the med tension basses again, but stick to normal tension trebles.
I hope this explains better my odd approach to string selection and that the qualities of the individual top must be considered when choosing string tensions.
Hauser III 2014 spruce

oc chuck
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Re: Mixed String Tension

Post by oc chuck » Mon Jan 15, 2018 4:15 am

Jack Douglas wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:32 am
oc chuck wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:03 am
Jack Douglas wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:26 pm
High tension basses and g string and normal tension b and e is a winning combination on my guitar.
I string my guitars with MT basses and 'g string
with HT 'b and 'e.

Your way is weird! :shock:
Yes, it is a bit odd. Let me explain........

Yes, it is a bit odd. Probably a combination of the guitar, the way we play
and what appeals to our ears. As you see, I like to bring out the trebles a little more.

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joachim33
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Re: Mixed String Tension

Post by joachim33 » Tue Jan 16, 2018 7:25 am

oc chuck wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:03 am
Jack Douglas wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:26 pm
High tension basses and g string and normal tension b and e is a winning combination on my guitar.
I string my guitars with MT basses and 'g string
with HT 'b and 'e.

Your way is weird! :shock:
Such things as Jack is doing seem quite common. In most lines Savarez offers normal tension strings (red or R) and high tension (coloured blue or yellow, named J for the French jaune=yellow). For their sets they typically offer normal (named R), high (named J) and mixed (named RJ) tension packages. The mixed sets are high tension basses with normal tension trebles, which isn’t far off what Jack is doing.

If there wasn’t a decent demand of this way of mixed tension, Savarez wouldn’t pack it like that and dealers/distributors wouldn’t stock it. Having said that mixed sets are slightly more difficult to source.

oc chuck
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Re: Mixed String Tension

Post by oc chuck » Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:20 pm

Jack Douglas wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:32 am
oc chuck wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:03 am
Jack Douglas wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:26 pm
High tension basses and g string and normal tension b and e is a winning combination on my guitar.
I string my guitars with MT basses and 'g string
with HT 'b and 'e.

Your way is weird! :shock:
Just to be clear, it WAS a joke as I do the same
thing, only opposite..... :)

Michael Propsom
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Re: Mixed String Tension

Post by Michael Propsom » Wed Jan 17, 2018 10:45 pm

Jack Douglas wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:32 am
oc chuck wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:03 am
Jack Douglas wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:26 pm
High tension basses and g string and normal tension b and e is a winning combination on my guitar.
I string my guitars with MT basses and 'g string
with HT 'b and 'e.

Your way is weird! :shock:
Yes, it is a bit odd. Let me explain. My guitar is relatively new in that I got it New about a year ago. The action was very high, 5.2 bass and 4.2 treble, and I engaged a known and skilled Luthier to replace the saddle. He noted that the grain of the spruce top on the bass side of the top indicated that it was a bit stiffer than the treble side and suggested installing Hard tension basses and a g string to help open up the guitar. I’ve always used something similar to your method, MT basses, and HT g, b, e.
I had tried all normal tension and all Hard tension and the MT basses, HT trebles on the Hauser, but when he installed the HT basses and g string and normal tension b and e the difference was absolute magic.
As the guitar gets more played in I will try the med tension basses again, but stick to normal tension trebles.
I hope this explains better my odd approach to string selection and that the qualities of the individual top must be considered when choosing string tensions.
Hmmm. Jack Douglas, I don't want to get into a huge debate over this, but I have to take issue with your luthier's claim that he could tell by looking at your top that the bass side is stiffer than the treble side. It's been my experience (and the experience every maker I've talked with concerning this topic) that one cannot visually determine a top's stiffness by its visual properties. Just one example: About ten years ago I purchased three dozen Sitka tops that a sawyer harvested from the same log. Every top was almost identical visually, same grain count, same amount of silk. All had exceptional longitudinal stiffness. Across the grain some were extremely stiff, others moderately so. They went on my steel string instruments. Still others were so flexible that I've used them very successfully on my classicals. And I've found this to be true with other top woods. I've seen top sets with tight grain that were extremely stiff, and others that were "floppy". And I've seen top sets with wide grain that exhibited the same variation.

Now, I don't take issue with the fact that you've achieved a more pleasing sound by mixing string tensions; I switched out the medium tension G, for a high tension one on my recent hybrid nylon string, and found a noticeable improvement in the overall balance.

Jack Douglas
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Re: Mixed String Tension

Post by Jack Douglas » Thu Jan 18, 2018 12:37 am

Michael Propsom wrote:
Wed Jan 17, 2018 10:45 pm
Jack Douglas wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:32 am
oc chuck wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:03 am


I string my guitars with MT basses and 'g string
with HT 'b and 'e.

Your way is weird! :shock:
Yes, it is a bit odd. Let me explain. My guitar is relatively new in that I got it New about a year ago. The action was very high, 5.2 bass and 4.2 treble, and I engaged a known and skilled Luthier to replace the saddle. He noted that the grain of the spruce top on the bass side of the top indicated that it was a bit stiffer than the treble side and suggested installing Hard tension basses and a g string to help open up the guitar. I’ve always used something similar to your method, MT basses, and HT g, b, e.
I had tried all normal tension and all Hard tension and the MT basses, HT trebles on the Hauser, but when he installed the HT basses and g string and normal tension b and e the difference was absolute magic.
As the guitar gets more played in I will try the med tension basses again, but stick to normal tension trebles.
I hope this explains better my odd approach to string selection and that the qualities of the individual top must be considered when choosing string tensions.
Hmmm. Jack Douglas, I don't want to get into a huge debate over this, but I have to take issue with your luthier's claim that he could tell by looking at your top that the bass side is stiffer than the treble side. It's been my experience (and the experience every maker I've talked with concerning this topic) that one cannot visually determine a top's stiffness by its visual properties. Just one example: About ten years ago I purchased three dozen Sitka tops that a sawyer harvested from the same log. Every top was almost identical visually, same grain count, same amount of silk. All had exceptional longitudinal stiffness. Across the grain some were extremely stiff, others moderately so. They went on my steel string instruments. Still others were so flexible that I've used them very successfully on my classicals. And I've found this to be true with other top woods. I've seen top sets with tight grain that were extremely stiff, and others that were "floppy". And I've seen top sets with wide grain that exhibited the same variation.

Now, I don't take issue with the fact that you've achieved a more pleasing sound by mixing string tensions; I switched out the medium tension G, for a high tension one on my recent hybrid nylon string, and found a noticeable improvement in the overall balance.
Hi Michael,

You caught me! I was concentrating on my string selection and less so on what my Luthier friend, Doug, actually did. First of all he had on a previous occasion swapped out the existing bone saddle and spent most of his time getting the action set correctly and then adjusting the intonation. He did this not long after I acquired the guitar. He is very familiar with Hauser guitars (partial restoration of a Hauser II recently) and also familiar with me having worked on a number of other guitars I’ve owned over the years. Before I left that day he said I might consider replacing the nut with the same material as the saddle. He didn’t change any strings the day he worked on the saddle, but committed that the guitar was quite young and it would develop as I played it.
My teacher at the time asked me what tension strings I had on it and at the time it was normal tension. He said I ought to put Hard tension strings on and they would help the guitar open up.
Several months later I got the nut blank and went back to get that installed. This time he examined the interior of the guitar, measured the top thickness in several places, and asked what string brand and tension I was using. I had installed Hard tension strings that my former teacher suggested. As Doug played and listened after he installed the new nut and re-adjusted the intonation he said he thought something didn’t sound right and it was likely the strings. I had a couple of packs of both normal and high tension Hauser Strings with me so he replaced the a and d Hard tension basses,saying he thought they were dead, with two new ones, left in place the existing Hard tension g, then took off the Hard tension b replaced it with a normal tension , then swapped out the Hard tension e with a normal tension e. When he retuned the guitar he said I think your top is such that it needs the Hard tension basses to drive the top, but the Hard tension trebles overpower it. He said that this may well change when the guitar has been played in a year or so, but for now I ought to use this string tension mix.
So, my statement above was an oversimplification of what was stated about the top, but the end result was quite audible when this string tension combination was installed.
Thanks for your very observant reading of my previous post.
Jack
Hauser III 2014 spruce

Rognvald
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Re: Mixed String Tension

Post by Rognvald » Thu Jan 18, 2018 2:57 pm

The interesting aspect of this discussion is that string selection can apparently help a guitar bloom and that a quality wood instrument will continue to change over the years and, perhaps as some luthiers suggest, ultimately reflect the personality of the player when played. This is the "magic" that cannot be quantified when buying a CG. Playing again . . . Rognvald
"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra

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