Question on Tension

Choice of classical guitar strings and technical issues connected with their use.
James Even
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2018 3:08 pm

Question on Tension

Post by James Even » Tue Dec 04, 2018 11:29 pm

I have had my Esteve Model 8 Cedar top for about a week and a half now and have played it so much that I am getting close to needing a string change...

Ok wait, that is not entirely honest... :|

...more like after a week and a half of heavy playing mixed with reading forum posts here on the many options and recommendations for strings, I am already wanting to do a string change... :lol:

Being new to the classical guitar world, I am excited at the idea of finding my "grail" string set for this guitar - of course, any recommendations in that regard would be welcome and appreciated :wink: - but before I head out too far into the string world to experiment...

I wrote Esteve and the rep said that this model guitar originally had EJ46's on it so if the manufacturer string choice practices are the same as with steel string guitars, I am figuring she is designed to be played with strings around the 90 lb range for tonal reasons as well as to keep from bending things.

My question is, how far above that can I go and still be safe? And if so, by how much before I should worry? Is it a rule of thumb "+/- 5lbs of the ideal" sort of thing or is it an experimental, put on the progressively higher tensions until the soundboard chokes sort of adventure?

I am asking mostly because I do not already have a preference for a tension yet and would rather not even look at strings in weight ranges my guitar will not be able to handle...

...well, that and in my excitement to start experimenting, I already bought a set of Savarez 510AJ strings before I figured out that not all high tensions are alike. The set weighs in at about 94 lbs. total. Will that extra 4 lbs cause a problem and I should just return it for the red set and move on or will a halfway decent guitar be able to handle just about any tension classical string set you throw at it?

Thank you in advance!

James

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souldier
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Re: Question on Tension

Post by souldier » Wed Dec 05, 2018 2:07 am

You're definitely over worrying/thinking about this. A properly built guitar will easily handle a wide range of tensions. Chances are the only reasons Esteve uses the EJ46's as standard is because they are cheap, reliable and widely available. Feel free to experiment. As long as you're not doing something dumb like putting steel strings on a classical guitar, you should be safe. I've owned several guitars and have used very low to extremely high tension, and have never had damage occur as a result.

On another note, Savarez Carbon trebles will require more tension to bring them up to pitch compared to nylon, so you'll definitely feel the difference. They are also more likely to slip at the tie block. So be sure to use a cardboard protector for the sound board, and put an extra loop on the trebles. Definitely do not over tune them to avoid the risk of snapping them.
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James Even
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2018 3:08 pm

Re: Question on Tension

Post by James Even » Wed Dec 05, 2018 1:45 pm

Thank you for the reply, it is pretty much what I thought given there are no other posts asking about this, but you are absolutely right, I am the king of overthinking/worrying so I had to post the question anyway, haha!

Also, thank you for the advice on stringing this set - I will keep that in mind when I go to put them on and tune them up. I may start with a lower tension string for my first go at changing strings and try the Savarez after I have had the experience.

Thank you again!

James

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