String Tension Choices

Choice of classical guitar strings and technical issues connected with their use.
oc chuck
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Re: String Tension Choices

Post by oc chuck » Thu May 10, 2018 10:44 pm

ameriken wrote:
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.

Just be careful, string experimentation can become its own neverending quest for the elusive holy grail. :)
Mostly I play with medium tension basses and high tension trebles.
I think high tension trebles give a thicker tone.
Mostly rest stroke with thumb.
Also A = 436 or A = 432.
Only took me about 6 years to figure this out. :oops: :cry: :lol: :shock:

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Re: String Tension Choices

Post by Intune » Sat May 12, 2018 11:26 am

In my own experience I've found that higher tension treble strings are generally less likely to buzz, as they make a narrower excursion (right word?) when struck by the fingers and are less likely to foul on a nearby fret top. Therefore they might prove useful in a buzzing situation -- or if you want to lower the action on the treble side. Also, scale length plays a part in string tension choices. Short scale length guitars -- say 640mm and below -- might need higher tension strings to achieve the same "feel'' and performance as medium tensions on a 650 mm guitar. Conversely, long scale guitars might require lower tension strings to avoid the feel of taut cables when tuned up to concert pitch. Lastly, there are no universal standards among manufacturers as to what constitutes low, medium, and high tension, and one company's "medium" tension strings might be close to another company's "high" tension in terms of actual pounds of pressure exerted by the strings. Sometimes the companies don't publish these figures, and the savvy player needs to do a bit of his own research to compare different brands. In other words, it can be a jungle out there. But after a period of trial and error experimentation on a particular guitar, most players settle on a tension that balances good sound and performance with acceptable finger fatigue.
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Re: String Tension Choices

Post by Keith » Sun May 13, 2018 8:55 am

Below is a link to SBM about strings with additional links at the bottom of their page.

It seems there are 1001 threads about string tension and maybe it would make sense for Delcamp to place a sticky in this forum. Intune made some good points especially about scale length. It is a matter of physics and not some old guitarist tale (as compared to an old housewife tale) that a string will feel less taut at concert pitch with a shorter scale. The difference may be a couple of percentage points (more the shorter the scale) and not necessarily significant for the player. ... cs-19.html
be true to the one you love but have many flings with different guitars

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Re: String Tension Choices

Post by MessyTendon » Mon May 14, 2018 12:41 am

Low tension and higher action is a good trade off...High tension and higher action...well it sounds powerful but hurts.

I think it's important to consider lower tension strings perform better with a slightly higher action. Less buzzing but still quite easy on the hands.

True a higher tension requires more force...but a lower tension should be compensated at the saddle and least I think that's the case. By compensated I don't mean pitch but string height.

I prefer higher action with low tension...though currently I'm riding high tension on relatively high action that is above 4.5 at the bass and well above 3.5 at the treble.

It is a personal preference, but I believe that a reduced tension with an increase in action really makes the playing experience quite a bit more an treble response is easier to control...and lower action with high tension isn't much easier to play and it introduces unnecessary stress to the hands.

If you have great technique and well refined nails, high tension or low tension probably won't matter so much.

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Re: String Tension Choices

Post by Chuah Hui Hsien » Mon Dec 24, 2018 4:56 am


The guitar scale length in relation to the strings action also play a crucial part to selecting the right tension.

Each guitar is unique in their own ways. You got to experiment with a few types, until they sound right and feel right under your fingers.

Sometimes you may like the tone and projection that a certain brand/tension produced, but you don't like the feel,or vice versa.

That's the fun of selecting strings for our guitars!
2017 Karel Dedain Spruce/Maple (Torres) 64cm
1998 Yamaha GD 10, Spruce/IRW 65cm
1988 Alhambra AL 8, Cedar/IRW 65cm

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