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12 messages

String weight chart??

10 Oct 04 - 07:42 PM (#1294012)
Subject: String weight chart??
From: McGrath of Harlow

What I'm after is a chart that tells you what would be an appropriate string to use to get any named note, with various fret board lengths.

I used to have one, copied from a specialist magazine, but I've lost it.

Fot example, I've got one guitar where it's 12 inches to the 12th freet, and another where it's ten inches, and two mountain dulcimers, one with a much shorter scale length than the other.

A chart like that would be very handy when it comes to working out odd tunings for odd instruments, and avoiding the risk of strings breaking when they are tuned up too high, buzzing when they are tuned too low. And it'd make it easier to take into account also the need to use light strings on a more fragile instrument.

So if anyone has come across anything like that...


10 Oct 04 - 08:15 PM (#1294024)
Subject: RE: String weight chart??
From: Murray MacLeod

This link here may be of some use...


11 Oct 04 - 06:08 AM (#1294172)
Subject: RE: String weight chart??
From: McGrath of Harlow

It looks as if all the information is in there, though it all seems a lot more complicated than the chart I lost. Still, it is quite complicated in itself.

Thanks Murray, that's going to be very handy. Now I can start restringing that balalaika for playing Irish music...

And digging around in that site there's some other fascinating stuff - for example a page with links to lots of graphic pictures of "pets" - the pets concerned being giant spiders and so forth... For example, this little beauty.


11 Oct 04 - 07:01 AM (#1294186)
Subject: RE: String weight chart??
From: Pete_Standing

string tension calculator


11 Oct 04 - 07:04 AM (#1294187)
Subject: RE: String weight chart??
From: Pete_Standing

another string tension calculator


11 Oct 04 - 09:39 AM (#1294226)
Subject: RE: String weight chart??
From: McGrath of Harlow

Both look pretty good too - only thing with both of them, it's never occurred to me to think much about the tension of strings in numerical terms. Obviously, too high tension and the strings (or the instrument...) would break, too low and the stings would buzz.

Any way of checking out in advance what the appropriate tensions for particular strings might be? Other than trial and error. (Maybe that's somewhere in one of those links, but I couldn't spot it.)


11 Oct 04 - 10:56 AM (#1294264)
Subject: RE: String weight chart??
From: Bill D

and a downloadable string calculator


11 Oct 04 - 05:25 PM (#1294594)
Subject: RE: String weight chart??
From: Pete_Standing

Does the balalaika have a maker's name or anything on it to identify it? If so, then try and check with the maker. You could try measuring the original strings with a micrometer (or similar) and then if you know the tuning for the instrument you could calculate the overall tension using one of the above calculators. Select your strings so that the overall tension is still the same and that the tension per string is about the same (to ensure an even balance across the bridge) and you will probably be OK. That's what I did for my bouzouki but I was also able to consult the maker (Fylde) to see if my choice was safe - you may not have that option. What ever you do, take it slowly, check the neck and bridge (if it is fixed) for signs of distress and back off immediately if there is any hint of trouble.


11 Oct 04 - 05:54 PM (#1294629)
Subject: RE: String weight chart??
From: Mark Cohen

check...for signs of distress and back off immediately if there is any hint of trouble.

Peter, that is sage advice for any number of situations. (Including dealing with a Chilean Rose Tarantula*, I imagine!)

Aloha,
Mark

*see McGrath's link above


11 Oct 04 - 06:59 PM (#1294688)
Subject: RE: String weight chart??
From: McGrath of Harlow

My balalaika is a cheap factory made one from the old USSR - I doubt if the factory still exists. In any case the tuning I'd be going probably wouldn't be for the one it originally given. (And that's just an example - I've various other instruments lyimng around and I'd like to experiment

What I'm after is a way of determining what is the tension which a particular string can reasonably be expected to accept, which would decide what string would be best for a given open note on an instrument with an unconventional scale length. I can probabaly work it out form those links, but with luck someone has done the work already, and published it on the Internet.

Not making instruments implode by overtight tuning is another consideration,of course, but I'm not into anything that drastic.

Ideally there'd be some way of knowing in advance, but I suspect that it's a matter of going carefully and slowly. I have heard stories of old instruments coming to pieces when given new strings - you'll notice that in museums of instruments they always seem to have the old ones with very loose strings. And I imagine it must sometimes happen to instrument makers when they are trying something new. What a horrible thought.


11 Oct 04 - 08:59 PM (#1294781)
Subject: RE: String weight chart??
From: Bert

I have heard stories of old instruments coming to pieces when given new strings -

Yup, my Ud lost it's head when I fitted it with new classical guitar strings and tried to tune it up a semitone (or was it more).


12 Oct 04 - 01:43 AM (#1294924)
Subject: RE: String weight chart??
From: Chris Amos

We had this thread a while back here which gives some of the theory behind the calulators.

Chris