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Question- String tension
From: Mark Humphrey
Sent: Tuesday, August 31, 2004 2:36 PM
Subject: String tension
I'm attempting something that most say is inadvisable. But, I think it can be done.
I have a beautiful 1960 Martin 00-28G which is fan braced for gut or nylon strings.
I bought it for the incredible Brazilian Rosewood back and sides. I'm a flat top
acoustic player, and I don't care for the feel (or sound) of nylon strings.
So, I want to put very light gauge silk and steel strings on it and tune down a
whole step. The tension lbs. on this 25.5" scale guitar tuned to concert pitch is
122.2 lbs. for these strings. A typical set of classical hard tension strings pull
at 90 tension lbs. It seems to me, by tuning down one whole step, I would bring
the tension of the silk and steels very near, or maybe even below, 90 tension lbs.
There must be some way to calculate exactly what the tension lbs. would be under
the above described circumstances.
I appreciate any advice/direction/opinion/etc. you may be able to offer.
Ricks Answer to - String tension
From: Rick Andrews
To: Mark Humphrey
Sent: Thursday, September 02, 2004 2:24 AM
Subject: Re: String tension
Well I must say you have done your research very well and you know what you are
There is no doubt in my mind the string tension will be less than that of the classical
strings if you tune down the one octave as you said. Those light guage strings will be
limp as a fresh wet noodle, and you talk about easy to play, you should have very little
resistance at all.
I love your idea about this. I have been toying around with some new ideas myself very
similar and I already know there are some awesome tone ranges droping down in tuning.
Of course this will effect the resonation of the Martin top but I think you will pick up
some fantastic bass tones in that box by doing this.
As far as string tension on the neck goes, if anything you may see the neck bow backward
the opposite direction beause I am sure in my mind the tension will be less and the rod
will take over a little, but you can always adjust and allow for what becomes necessary.
I think it is a terrific idea and no problem on the tension. Let me know how it works out.
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