1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

Issues with D'Addario Tension Guide/Chart

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by matante, Mar 28, 2015.

  1. matante


    Nov 3, 2003
    Los Angeles
    In trying to put together a balanced set Chromes by buying single strings, I'm finding discrepancies between the tensions listed in the official tension guide and the tensions listed in the Chromes section of the D'Addario website. I'm considering going with either 40-55-70-95 or maybe 40-55-75-100. I notice that in reading some posts about balanced Chromes, people are choosing their strings based on the numbers given in the tension guide, but those numbers might be inaccurate.

    The website gives the following tensions in pounds:

    .040 = 37.8
    .055 = ?
    .070 = ?
    .075 = 42.6
    .095 = 36.2
    .100 = 40.3

    The tension guide gives the following numbers:

    .040 = 37.6
    .055 = 36.6
    .070 = ?
    .075 = 36.4
    .095 = 35.2
    .100 = 38.4

    While the numbers aren't terribly different, they are different, and I'd like to know which set is accurate. The difference regarding the .075 string is considerable. Also, the chart does not tell us the tension of a .070 string when tuned to A, but it does give us a tension of 107.3 lbs if tuned up to G. That makes no sense.

    I was going to send D'Addario an email but they want you to give them your full name, full address, blood type, and social security number if you email them, so I thought to post here in hopes that Jason or a D'Addario rep will see this thread and answer my question.

    Thanks in advance.

    The tensions listed on the website for the 5-string long scale set incorrectly match those of the super long scale set.
  2. Root 5

    Root 5

    Nov 25, 2001
    Canada, eh!
    I don't have any explanation for the discrepancies. Are you comparing long scale against super long scale?
  3. Based on a bit of research I've done in the past, I would start with 40-55-75-100 for the Chromes. I generally find the 70A a little too weak for most sets, and also, 100E tends to balance better with the 40G.

    For the D'A XL Nickel rounds, I like their balanced tension set, 45-60-80-107, so at least in my mind, 75A and 100E make better sense than 70A and 95E.

    Sorry I don't have the exact numbers to fill in the blanks for you. Being a numbers guy myself, I know this is driving you crazy. ;)
  4. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    D'Addario used to have an on-line comprehensive pdf of the tensions of their strings. But it is obsolete. When I asked about it a couple of years ago, they told me they were putting together an updated comprehensive pdf, but they have not.

    I have also found numerous typographical errors, switched lines, and other inconsistencies in their online pop-up "family tension" screens. As you, I have also found a lack of information for models and single gauges that are not incorporated into sets, and I have to extrapolate a probable tension, which is not good.

    At this point, I have settled on strings on my instruments, and I'm not actively on a string safari. Otherwise, I'd be all over D'Addario: they pioneered the publishing of tension specs, and now they are only doing it half-way, or with all the mistakes I found, should I say half - @$$&% !
    michael_t likes this.
  5. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Commercial User

    Jul 28, 2006
    LA California
    The Brains: FretNation.com
    They changed how they calculate the tension. Changing the one digit resulted in slightly different tension numbers. They have an updated listing on their website somewhere. Both are correct just slightly differ depending on how the math was done. Just use one of them and not the other.
  6. Hey, here's something I've always wondered about...

    When we talk about "tension charts" published by a few of the manufacturers, all the numbers we see are mathematically calculated, correct?

    How about a device that can measure the physical tension of a string simply by tuning it to a specific pitch on a scale length that can be varied, etc.? Does such a thing exist in the real world?
  7. ixlramp


    Jan 25, 2005
    > Also, the chart does not tell us the tension of a .070 string when tuned to A, but it does give us a tension of 107.3 lbs if tuned up to G.

    That G is in the octave above, hence the extreme and unreachable tension, i agree not the best designed chart.
    An octave up always exactly quadruples the tension so you can take the higher value and divide by 4.
    You can use the unit weight value in the formula given to calculate the tensions not shown in the chart.
    I have also found mistakes in the website pop-up info, so i recommend sticking with the pdf, it's always worked well for me.

    I would go 40 55 75 100, that's the usual equal tensions set of gauges, a rough 4:3 ratio of adjacent gauges.
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2015
  8. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Commercial User

    Jul 28, 2006
    LA California
    The Brains: FretNation.com
    They calculate it based on the weight of a particular length of string. Depending on the formula the total tension is slightly effected.
  9. matante


    Nov 3, 2003
    Los Angeles
    No. They're all long scale numbers.

    If we go based on the tension chart only, the most balanced set is 40-55-75-100, but if you go with a 95, you get this gentle increase in tension from low to high and the E and A strings are a closer match. Thank you for feeling my pain.

    The pdf is still on their website. That's where I found it.

    Thanks for this. The thing is if you look at the numbers in the first post, they're not consistent. The tension guide seems to give slightly lower tensions on most of the strings, but the .075 tension is way off, so that tells us there's a miscalculation somewhere.

    Thanks. I know 40-100 is what people usually recommend here, but going by the chart, there's an argument to be made for the 95 as well. We'll see...
  10. So, would this be the "obsolete" one you're referring to?

    D'Addario Tension Guide
  11. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Commercial User

    Jul 28, 2006
    LA California
    The Brains: FretNation.com
    Not obsolete, but will differ slightly from their new tension info based on different calculations for a new web app they have
  12. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    Most times the 40-100 set is 40-60-80-100, not -55-75-. And D'Addario does quote tensions in the same strings at short, medium and extra-long as well as standard long. Right now on their "family tension" chart the tension for the 5-string set is quoted the same for both the regular long and extra long. You know that just can't be, and it is obviously a typo from someone uploading off hard copy and inadvertently repeated a line.
  13. TapyTap


    Apr 26, 2005
    Matante, insert the unit weight data from the D'Addario tension guide into the following calculator and discover the string tension for any pitch/string length you care to experiment with: String Tension
  14. I've got a set of .040 .055 .075 .100. since last summer. Very nice balanced tension!
    michael_t likes this.
  15. ChrisHooker


    Jul 29, 2012
    Maryville, TN
    Here's a link to D'addario's newtensions calculator, based on a revised method to calculate unit weights.
    String Tension Pro

    Perhaps using this instead of the old pdf guide will give you numbers that correspond.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.