String Tension Choices

Choice of classical guitar strings and technical issues connected with their use.
Victoria Ferrell
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String Tension Choices

Post by Victoria Ferrell » Sat Mar 10, 2018 8:27 pm

Greetings All,

I would like to know what the reasons are for selecting low, normal, or high tension strings. Are these selections related to producing a certain type of sound or volume?

Victoria
I don't want to play like other guitarists; I want to give voice to the song of my own soul.

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Ken Kim
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Re: String Tension Choices

Post by Ken Kim » Sat Mar 10, 2018 10:03 pm

BreathingSince72 wrote:
Sat Mar 10, 2018 8:27 pm
Greetings All,

I would like to know what the reasons are for selecting low, normal, or high tension strings. Are these selections related to a certain type of sound or volume?

Victoria
Basic fact is higher tension gets louder and more punch, but stiffness over your fretting fingers might make you tired sooner than expected. Many people use normal (medium) or hard (high) tension strings. Extra Hard or Low tension get used by people who have certain flavor of tone or sustain.
Higher = louder, more punch but less sustain, stiffer than lower tension.
I didn't feel huge difference over sustain. Funny thing is every string company has different standard of tensions. For example, Savarez NT string has a similar tension to Daddario HT. There are so many threads about strings when you look into luthier section.
Ken
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Lovemyguitar
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Re: String Tension Choices

Post by Lovemyguitar » Sat Mar 10, 2018 11:17 pm

I choose string tensions almost purely for feel -- not just for the fretting hand, but for the plucking hand, too. I prefer a lighter-tension feel (especially for my right/plucking hand), and I almost always use low-med tension strings. They sound just fine on my guitars (I don't perform publicly, so volume is not a priority for me. Tone is paramount!). I believe that the matter of which strings to use is entirely subjective, completely dependent on personal style and taste and use and on the nature of your instrument (some guitars sound and feel better with lower or higher tension strings, depending on how they are built), and you must find what works best for you and your guitar and your circumstances, regardless of what anybody else does (or why).
Last edited by Lovemyguitar on Sat Mar 10, 2018 11:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Scott Phillips
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Re: String Tension Choices

Post by Scott Phillips » Sat Mar 10, 2018 11:33 pm

You won’t know what you like until you try a few sets. If you want to split the difference, Labella make several medium tension sets that are on the low side of medium, you really need to look at how many lbs of tension each has. Strings by mail has tension data for a lot of their sets. What kind of guitar do you have and what is the scale length? The longer the scale, the more tension any given set will have.

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petermc61
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Re: String Tension Choices

Post by petermc61 » Sun Mar 11, 2018 4:47 am

I don’t think it’s a ‘basic fact’ at all that guitars get louder and have more punch with higher tension strings. Not only do I believe there is no conclusive evidence for this, it is contrary to my experience on a number of guitars.

Dr ToneControl
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Re: String Tension Choices

Post by Dr ToneControl » Sun Mar 11, 2018 8:29 am

do higher tension strings have more intonation problems?

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Re: String Tension Choices

Post by joachim33 » Sun Mar 11, 2018 9:06 am

BreathingSince72 wrote:
Sat Mar 10, 2018 8:27 pm
Greetings All,

I would like to know what the reasons are for selecting low, normal, or high tension strings. Are these selections related to producing a certain type of sound or volume?

Victoria
Victoria

I suggest to run a normal and high tension version of the same strings back to back, e.g. D‘Addario EJ45 and EJ46 or Savarez 510CR followed by 510CJ. This will give you an idea what different tensions do to your instrument and your current playing. I would suggest to keep each for a few weeks, depending on how much you play.

Joachim

es335
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Re: String Tension Choices

Post by es335 » Sun Mar 11, 2018 10:44 am

petermc61 wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 4:47 am
I don’t think it’s a ‘basic fact’ at all that guitars get louder and have more punch with higher tension strings. Not only do I believe there is no conclusive evidence for this, it is contrary to my experience on a number of guitars.
+1

Victoria Ferrell
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Re: String Tension Choices

Post by Victoria Ferrell » Sun Mar 11, 2018 3:43 pm

joachim33 wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 9:06 am
BreathingSince72 wrote:
Sat Mar 10, 2018 8:27 pm
Greetings All,

I would like to know what the reasons are for selecting low, normal, or high tension strings. Are these selections related to producing a certain type of sound or volume?

Victoria
Victoria

I suggest to run a normal and high tension version of the same strings back to back, e.g. D‘Addario EJ45 and EJ46 or Savarez 510CR followed by 510CJ. This will give you an idea what different tensions do to your instrument and your current playing. I would suggest to keep each for a few weeks, depending on how much you play.

Joachim
Hi Joachim,

I don’t know what strings were on the guitar when I purchased it. I have used the D’Addario strings you mentioned and recently purchased some normal tension strings by the same maker. I suspect that experimenting with strings will be yet another area of interest for me as I discover this amazing instrument. Thanks for your reply.

Victoria
I don't want to play like other guitarists; I want to give voice to the song of my own soul.

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ameriken
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Re: String Tension Choices

Post by ameriken » Sun Mar 11, 2018 4:16 pm

BreathingSince72 wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 3:43 pm

Hi Joachim,

I don’t know what strings were on the guitar when I purchased it. I have used the D’Addario strings you mentioned and recently purchased some normal tension strings by the same maker. I suspect that experimenting with strings will be yet another area of interest for me as I discover this amazing instrument. Thanks for your reply.

Victoria
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Scott Phillips
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Re: String Tension Choices

Post by Scott Phillips » Wed Mar 28, 2018 2:10 am

petermc61 wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 4:47 am
I don’t think it’s a ‘basic fact’ at all that guitars get louder and have more punch with higher tension strings. Not only do I believe there is no conclusive evidence for this, it is contrary to my experience on a number of guitars.
I second what Peter said, as I had the opposite experience with a set of Rotosound CG strings in medium tension of about 85lbs. They were louder than the Savarez 520R, which are High Tension, and with the Royal Classic Recitals, which are about the same tension as the Savarez, but labeled medium tension, at about 89-90lbs.

You might want to try a set of the Rotosound. They have a lot of volume, and are easy to vibrato. And they are less money than the D’Addario. I also think they sound better.

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Re: String Tension Choices

Post by Scott Phillips » Wed Mar 28, 2018 2:14 am

BreathingSince72 wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 3:43 pm
joachim33 wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 9:06 am
BreathingSince72 wrote:
Sat Mar 10, 2018 8:27 pm
Greetings All,

I would like to know what the reasons are for selecting low, normal, or high tension strings. Are these selections related to producing a certain type of sound or volume?

Victoria
Victoria

I suggest to run a normal and high tension version of the same strings back to back, e.g. D‘Addario EJ45 and EJ46 or Savarez 510CR followed by 510CJ. This will give you an idea what different tensions do to your instrument and your current playing. I would suggest to keep each for a few weeks, depending on how much you play.

Joachim
Hi Joachim,

I don’t know what strings were on the guitar when I purchased it. I have used the D’Addario strings you mentioned and recently purchased some normal tension strings by the same maker. I suspect that experimenting with strings will be yet another area of interest for me as I discover this amazing instrument. Thanks for your reply.

Victoria

Victoria, see the above post.

Victoria Ferrell
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Re: String Tension Choices

Post by Victoria Ferrell » Wed May 09, 2018 1:57 am

Laudiesdad69 wrote:
Wed Mar 28, 2018 2:10 am
petermc61 wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 4:47 am
I don’t think it’s a ‘basic fact’ at all that guitars get louder and have more punch with higher tension strings. Not only do I believe there is no conclusive evidence for this, it is contrary to my experience on a number of guitars.
I second what Peter said, as I had the opposite experience with a set of Rotosound CG strings in medium tension of about 85lbs. They were louder than the Savarez 520R, which are High Tension, and with the Royal Classic Recitals, which are about the same tension as the Savarez, but labeled medium tension, at about 89-90lbs.

You might want to try a set of the Rotosound. They have a lot of volume, and are easy to vibrato. And they are less money than the D’Addario. I also think they sound better.
If I can save money and get a better sound, then the Rotosound certainly sound as if they are worth a try.
I don't want to play like other guitarists; I want to give voice to the song of my own soul.

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Re: String Tension Choices

Post by Ramon Amira » Wed May 09, 2018 3:44 am

petermc61 wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 4:47 am
I don’t think it’s a ‘basic fact’ at all that guitars get louder and have more punch with higher tension strings. Not only do I believe there is no conclusive evidence for this, it is contrary to my experience on a number of guitars.
+1

It has never been my experience that high tension strings created more volume. Even if they did it couldn't be much of a difference, and would not be worth the trade-off in loss of resonance, loss of sustain, inferior slurs and ornaments, and harder work for the left hand.

I have a theory: if in fact higher tension creates more volume it is because high tension compels the player to use more force, thereby creating more volume, and if they used the same force on a low tension string they would get the same volume.

Ramon
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Re: String Tension Choices

Post by nmshu1 » Thu May 10, 2018 8:30 pm

I prefer to relatively lower tension strings such as D'Addario EJ45 and La Belle 2001 Medium Tension strings.

Especially when I play > 4 hrs every day. When I play <2 hrs every day, Savarez 500 CJ is OK.

Your left fingers can not afford high tension strings when you play > 4 hrs every day.
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