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Gauging up to tune down

Postby Elephone » Fri Dec 13, 2019 11:48 pm

Hi. Can anyone tell me how I might work out how to use higher gauge strings to maintain similar tension when tuning down?

For instance, if I had strings gauged:

0095, .014, .016, .025, .032 and .038. but wanted to tune down to Eb or D Standard Tuning and have the tension like it would be in E... how would I up gauge each string proportionately?

Preferably, I'd like the how rather than just the answer.

Also, is there anywhere online you can buy strings separately or choose your own set without it costing a lot more than prepacked sets?

Thanks
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Re: Gauging up to tune down

Postby zenguitar » Sat Dec 14, 2019 12:25 am

For D’Addario strings there’s an online string tension calculator...

http://www.stringtensionpro.com/

They used to have a nice tension table but they list example tensions on the main site in an info sidebar for each string set.

Tension varies according to material and construction of wound strings, so different makes will have different tensions even for what appear to be identical gauges. It would be worth exploring the nooks and crannies of other manufacturers sites to see if they offer similar information.

Continuing with the same example, the FAQ’s on the D’Addario site address custom gauge sets. Buying from a shop they make up unusual gauge sets from the individual strings. Because those are priced differently than pre-made sets it usually works out more expensive for the shop so they can’t afford to match prices.

The alternative might be to look at smaller companies who could possibly make custom sets at little or no extra cost. In the UK, Newtone strings might be worth a try...

https://newtonestrings.com/

Andy :beamup:
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Re: Gauging up to tune down

Postby Wonks » Sat Dec 14, 2019 1:50 pm

D'addario also have this formula page, if you want to calculate it yourself.

https://www.daddario.com/globalassets/p ... _13934.pdf
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Re: Gauging up to tune down

Postby Sam Spoons » Sat Dec 14, 2019 2:42 pm

That page also has a table of the mass of all their strings listed with the tension for each pitch across their useable range. The guitar string tensions are all calculated for a 25.5" scale so will be a little softer on a Gibson scale or harder on a longer scale but will give accurate comparisons if you need to build a balanced set for an alternative tuning.
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Re: Gauging up to tune down

Postby Wonks » Sat Dec 14, 2019 2:49 pm

But you will need to search round the manufacturers' sites for similar info if you don't use D'Addario strings. For a given string material e.g. nickel, steel, stainless steel etc., plain strings are normally very similar in terms of tension and mass/unit length. But wound strings can be quite different dependent on core diameter, core string shape (round/hex) winding wire diameter, round wound, ground wound, flatwound etc.
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Re: Gauging up to tune down

Postby Sam Spoons » Sat Dec 14, 2019 3:06 pm

True, I do seem to remember working out the range of variation in a serious nerd attack a while ago but can't remember what I concluded. If you can't find the numbers for your own brand referring to similar D'Addarios (say Bronze round wounds if you use Bronze round wounds, Nickel flat wound for Nickel flats etc) should get you within a couple of precent so it's still a useful resource. It's a .pdf too so you could download it for convenient future reference.
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Re: Gauging up to tune down

Postby zenguitar » Sat Dec 14, 2019 3:19 pm

I knew that pdf was somewhere on the D’Addario site :headbang: :headbang:

Thanks Wonks :thumbup:

Andy :beamup:
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Re: Gauging up to tune down

Postby ManFromGlass » Sun Dec 15, 2019 2:28 pm

I recently had to tune my acoustic down to open C. The strings were medium weight. I didn’t notice any ill effects. In retrospect if intonation was off I couldn’t tell as I was using a slide. There was no buzzing from strings now too close to the neck so perhaps I was just lucky.
Not a very scientific approach but it got the job done. The sound of the guitar really seemed to come alive tuned lower too. It was gorgeous and rich.
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Re: Gauging up to tune down

Postby Sam Spoons » Sun Dec 15, 2019 3:15 pm

I had a my Japanese copy D45 set up with 12's and changed to 13's so I could tune it down a full step to D. Sounded good but the lower tuning just didn't work for me (it disoriented me in some way, even though I don't have anywhere near perfect pitch). Tuning it back up to standard tuning with the 13's was a revelation, I've never heard it sound so good, the whole guitar seemed to come to life......
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