Comparing string tensions

Choice of classical guitar strings and technical issues connected with their use.
Brandon Walker
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Comparing string tensions

Post by Brandon Walker » Sat Jan 13, 2018 11:04 pm

Hello guys,

After getting fed up of having no standard definition for 'normal' tension strings, I decided to take a look at what info was available online, but comparing figures from memory didn't feel very meaningful. So I put together a chart comparing string tensions, sorted in order of increasing total tension. I hope it's useful.

I apologise if I've made any slip-ups with the arithmetic; I did re-check some of the figures, since it's interesting, for example, that Alabastro 'light' tension are ranked higher tension that either D'Addario EJ44 or La Bella 2001 'super high' tension.

Also, Hannabach quote tension measurements at the start of their catalogue which are then applied to all of the product lines (logical and precise German engineering, perhaps?).

The list is still fairly small, and I know there's no substitute for actually trying the strings out on your guitar to see if they work out or not, but hopefully this will be helpful for reference.

I do not use D'Addario strings, but since apparently a great many people do, I've put the quoted tension measurements for some of them as a vanilla marker.

I will add other brands and product lines when I get time.

String Tension Comparison Jan 18-page-001.jpg
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petermc61
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Re: Comparing string tensions

Post by petermc61 » Sat Jan 13, 2018 11:11 pm

Thanks Brandon. Did you check whether manufacturers were quoting tensions for 650 or other scale lengths (I seem to recall at least one uses 655mm) and adjust back to a standard?

Brandon Walker
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Re: Comparing string tensions

Post by Brandon Walker » Sat Jan 13, 2018 11:16 pm

As far as I saw, 650mm was the standard. If it wasn’t there (or I didn’t see it), I assumed it was 650.

JohnB
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Re: Comparing string tensions

Post by JohnB » Sun Jan 14, 2018 12:07 am

Very interesting.

Just one point - your tensions are shown as kg/daN, but there is a (admittedly small) difference between the two measures - 1kg = 0.980665daN. For example, I think Hannabach tensions are given in daN so you would have to divide their figures by 0.980665 to convert them to kg.
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guitarrista
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Re: Comparing string tensions

Post by guitarrista » Sun Jan 14, 2018 12:58 am

Brandon Walker wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 11:16 pm
As far as I saw, 650mm was the standard. If it wasn’t there (or I didn’t see it), I assumed it was 650.
Good chart! You also have to normalize all tensions to one standard scale length - say 650mm.
D 'Addario uses 647.7mm(*); Hannabach uses 650; La Bella uses 655 for scale length. In order to normalize to 650mm for all , you have to multiply D'Addario's tension by 1.007, and La Bella's by 0.985. Unfortunately I don't know the scale lengths for the other manufacturers.

Also you have to separately multiply Hannabach's tension by 1.019716 to convert them to the same units of kg force as the others. (that's the same as dividing them by 0.980665 as suggested above).

(*) Their actual standard is 25.5 inches. Converted to mm that is 647.7mm.
Last edited by guitarrista on Sun Jan 14, 2018 9:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Scott Phillips
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Re: Comparing string tensions

Post by Scott Phillips » Sun Jan 14, 2018 3:41 am

I learn so much from you today Guitarrista.

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guitarrista
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Re: Comparing string tensions

Post by guitarrista » Sun Jan 14, 2018 4:43 am

aww shucks! thanks buddy, glad I can contribute something :discussion:
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es335
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Re: Comparing string tensions

Post by es335 » Sun Jan 14, 2018 11:10 am

Brandon Walker wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 11:04 pm
... Also, Hannabach quote tension measurements at the start of their catalogue which are then applied to all of the product lines (logical and precise German engineering, perhaps?)...
I‘m afraid it’s neither of the two. Hannabach‘s average tension chart at the beginning of their catalogue applies to the 815 and probably the 810 series as well. That’s what Hannabach replied on a request some times ago. Particularly their Carbon trebles do have much higher tension than given in their classification chart.

Their only set provided with a distinct tension chart are Hannabach Exclusive!

Anyway thanks a lot for this very helpful work! :D

BTW I would like to draw your attention to the difference between trebeles and basses of Hannabach LT and SLT which is remarkable 0.1 kg resp. 0.2 kg and thus almost perfectly balanced where only Aquila Alabastro LT comes close! :wink:

Brandon Walker
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Re: Comparing string tensions

Post by Brandon Walker » Sun Jan 14, 2018 5:30 pm

Ok everyone - here is the graph, redrawn as per all of your helpful facts and observations. Tension in Kg and for scale length 650mm, as far as I know.

The relative tension of La Bella makes a bit more sense to me now.
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JohnB
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Re: Comparing string tensions

Post by JohnB » Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:06 pm

Thank you, the chart is very interesting indeed.
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guitarrista
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Re: Comparing string tensions

Post by guitarrista » Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:53 pm

Interesting - so the Pyramid string sets stand out as the most unbalanced treble-to-bass tensions. Some of the others are almost dead-on 50/50 ratio between bass and treble tensions. But overall it does not seem very consistent. Perhaps some of this is because of how the sets are combined and named. Going from MT to HT does not actually mean both treble and bass components increased in tension - frequently it is just the basses: See e.g. Hannabach HT vs. SHT; La Bella MT vs. MHT; Pyramid Sterling Silver MT vs. HT.

Ha - maybe it would be fun to do two other charts then - one just for unique bass tensions, the other just for unique treble tensions - ordered by tension. Some of these would map to more then one string set, so all three charts would be used together or you can make an excel table showing all the sets with the same treble tension or bass tension.
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Brandon Walker
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Re: Comparing string tensions

Post by Brandon Walker » Sun Jan 14, 2018 7:03 pm

As per request 1... :D
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es335
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Re: Comparing string tensions

Post by es335 » Sun Jan 14, 2018 7:06 pm

Pyramid is using the same Nylon treble set (0.7/0.8/1.0 mm) for all their Double Silver ans Sterling Silver sets which is similar to Augustin and their Classics, Imperial or Regal trebles! :wink:

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joachim33
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Re: Comparing string tensions

Post by joachim33 » Sun Jan 14, 2018 8:06 pm

JohnB wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 12:07 am
Very interesting.

Just one point - your tensions are shown as kg/daN, but there is a (admittedly small) difference between the two measures - 1kg = 0.980665daN. For example, I think Hannabach tensions are given in daN so you would have to divide their figures by 0.980665 to convert them to kg.
The Hannabach data I have is in kg not in Newton. The packs (I have seen 815mt and 815lt, a large Germany based retailer starting with T offers scans of some of their packs on the web) have slightly different data from the catalog. I am not sure what actually holds. Their official website is under maintenance for months, so you can’t get the catalog any longer.

One has to be careful with Savarez data. For the same trebles they quote different values in connection with connection with Corum and Cantiga. I assume the Cantiga data (newer are correct). Also for the 540 CR, CJ and CRJ you can find images on the web that quote the Corum values and others that have the Cantiga values. The pack of 540 CR I am currently using (bought in August 2017) has the Cantiga values for the trebles and even lower tension values for the bass strings than Cantiga and much lower than on their website for the 540 (classic HT) basses. The values for a 540CR set are actually comparable to the EJ45. The best explanation I have is that Savarez changed (more or less quietly) their products recently (last few years) to lower tension values. If you search the archives you find more discussion on the Savarez tension value mess. It was discussed before.

On the side: I like my 540CR set. Very nice bass strings. Still have to see how durable they are.

astro64
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Re: Comparing string tensions

Post by astro64 » Sun Jan 14, 2018 9:26 pm

guitarrista wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 12:58 am

Also you have to separately multiply Hannabach's tension by 1.09716 to convert them to the same units of kg force as the others. (that's the same as dividing them by 0.980665 as suggested above).
Typo? Dividing by 0.980665 is equivalent to multiplying by 1.0197.

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