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String Tension

Q: How come the same brand, gauge, and type of strings feel stiffer or less stiff on different guitars?

A: There are a number of factors that determine the tension of the strings and how they feel on a given guitar or bass:

  • String gauge
  • String materials
  • The ratio between string core and wrap
  • Scale length
  • The break angle of the string at the nut and the bridge
  • Amount of neck relief
  • Action

Our friends at D’Addario have a very useful chart on their site that covers the tensions for a wide array of strings of various types. It’s a big help if you want to maintain the same tension when using alternate tunings, for example.

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