Has anybody ever put together an "Equal Tension" string set?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Groundloop, Nov 21, 2005.

  1. Groundloop


    Jun 21, 2005
    By which I mean, that all the strings, when tuned to pitch, have a roughly equal tension across the neck.

    I'm thinking of putting the following gauges on my 5 string:
    The highest tension on any string is 35.3 lbs. The lowest is 33.7 lbs.

    Tension measurements are from D'Addario.

    Any thoughts?
  2. Daleb


    Aug 23, 2005
    This is a frequent topic of conversation at extendedrangebassist.com :cool:

    Getting an equal tension set over 7+ strings can be quite challenging. :eek:

    There are a number of different schools of thought on this...what feels best? what sounds best?

    A lot of it comes down to your own personal tastes and playing style. ;)
  3. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    Do they have equal flexibility? ;)
  4. Groundloop


    Jun 21, 2005
    That's one of the other factors that was floating around when I first started to ponder this. The root question is "How do string companies determine what gauges go in a set?".

    Relative volume between strings?
    Subjective feel/flexibility?
    Or, more likely, some hybrid of these, and other factors.

    I'm going to try my "Equal Tension" set (sometime in the near future), and report back. In the meantime, I hope to get some feedback from other players, especially folk playing 6 or more strings.
  5. Pneuma


    Feb 14, 2004
  6. how do you calculate string tension? I always wondered why string companies didn't make thicker high strings and thinner low strings to make string tension equal :rollno:
  7. sounds good to me...I wonder if it'll sound good to you (when you hear it)
  8. I agree with this concept, actually...lower notes have a longer node of vibration and as a result, the amplitude would be larger under the same tension...

    when it comes to string vibrations, amplitude = volume.

    hence, given equal tension, the lower the note the more amplitude...this doesn't necessarily = more perceived volume, however as it takes more sound energy to generate the same amount of sound pressure (air movement) and hence, perceived volume.
  9. Where on the D'Addario website did you get these tension measurements? Also, .130 seems way too thick. your thickness goes up by increments of .15 , but then jumps .35 . I would like to know what the specific tension on each string is.
  10. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    I can't think of a bigger exercise in futility than trying to match tensions. First off, you'll pay much more than just buying a full set. Second, in my humble opinion (apparently you have to add that when you're stating your opinion or people on here will bite your head off because they can't tell just from the statement that it's an opinion), I think diameter makes a much greater difference than tension. I would freak out if I had to jump from a .095 to a .130.
  11. Groundloop


    Jun 21, 2005
    The tension chart is here.

    I never said that string companies (or indeed, players) should put sets together based on equal tension, I merely asked if anybody had, and what the results were.

    JimmyM. An excercise is only futile if you don't learn anything from the experience. If I put togeteher an equal tension set, and find out that I don't like the feel or sound,well, I've learned something. As for the expense, buying single strings will cost me about $50 CDN. I'm sure a lot of us here have spent more than that at our local pub in an evening.
  12. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    NE ND
    I have debated this as well. While I love my DR HighBeams (45's) I wonder about doing an "equal tension" experiment as well.
  13. 7flat5


    Nov 28, 2003
    Upstate NY
    Easy with the eye-rolling. Because this is exactly backwards. You would have to make thicker low strings and thinner high strings to equalize tension. Generally, G strings tend to be the highest-tension in the set. And here are all kinds of people complaining about differences in gauge feeling wrong.
  14. DavePlaysBass


    Mar 31, 2004
    DA XLs 34" scale are as follows:

    45-G-42.8 lbs.
    65-D-51.3 lbs.
    85-A-48.4 lbs.
    105-E-40.3 lbs.
    130-B-34.5 lbs.

    The interesting thing on the G string is a drop to a 40 drops the tension to 33.7 lbs. The resolution of G string tension is pretty coarse with the standard gauges.

    IME I prefer a 45-65-80 (42.8) -100 (36.5) -130 set for a more even feel. The 85 and 105 A and E are noticably harder to play for me. Not sure if it's the thickness or the tension. I also do not like 40 (33.7) and 60 (42.9) G and D strings. They seem "anemic" and difficult to set up without a lot of buzzing. So IME, I would say I prefer lower tension on the thicker strings but YMMV. I have contemplated a custom set of 45-60-80-105 but have never spent the money.

  15. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    I suppose you're right about that, and I guess it IS in the name of science.