String Gauge Calculation

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by JACink, Feb 5, 2018.

  1. JACink

    JACink

    Mar 9, 2011
    Spain
    First off, I apologize that this is not bass related!

    I have a small guitar, 19.5" scale, that I would like to tune to BEADGC (but an octave above bass), although I would be ok even with regular guitar tuning.

    I have tried various string calculators on line but each one gives me a different result, one tells me that I need 0.100 for all four bottom strings. However, as I have no experience with guitar strings (except for randomly buying a pack now and again), I am sure that it is user error.

    I am ok with not so tight strings as long as they are not so floppy that they are unplayable. I am also ok with retuning, this is only for practice while on an upcoming trip, as long as it is not every 3 notes ;)
     
  2. ixlramp

    ixlramp Guest

    Jan 25, 2005
    I guess you want a guitar type tension? (like a .042 E on 25.5" scale).
    .100 for the 4 lowest is an error yes.
     
  3. JACink

    JACink

    Mar 9, 2011
    Spain
    Yes. Any tension that is playable is fine. I don't want to over do it as the neck doesn't have a truss rod.
     
  4. JACink

    JACink

    Mar 9, 2011
    Spain
    Well, I ordered 10-46 set. I will give them a go and take it from there.
     
  5. lz4005

    lz4005

    Oct 22, 2013
    You can probably tune those B to C, but it will be 2 octaves above bass, not one.
     
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  6. ixlramp

    ixlramp Guest

    Jan 25, 2005
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  7. JACink

    JACink

    Mar 9, 2011
    Spain
    Thanks @lz4005 adn @ixlramp

    My biggest worry about going so big is the tension on the neck (it doesn't have a truss rod).

    I thought about using old bass strings first to see what the result is, maybe discarding the thinnest 2 or 3 from the guitar set and replacing with D and G string from bass.

    a .100 does worry me though.
     
  8. lz4005

    lz4005

    Oct 22, 2013
    If it's only for practice, use the strings you ordered and find a tuning that results in a tension you're comfortable with.
    As long as the intervals between strings are the same you'll just be practicing in a different key.
     
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  9. JACink

    JACink

    Mar 9, 2011
    Spain
    That is also a very good alternative.

    The only reason I am thinking of taking this guitar is because it fits inside my suitcase.
     
  10. HaphAsSard

    HaphAsSard

    Dec 1, 2013
    Italia
    So one, not two octaves below 6-string bass standard B0 to c2? Try these (the lowest 6 of course):
    Ernie Ball 2628 9-String Super Slinky Nickel plated steel Guitar Electric
    Tensions should be around those of a heavy acoustic guitar bronze set, or a light bass guitar roundwound one.
     
  11. HaphAsSard

    HaphAsSard

    Dec 1, 2013
    Italia
    Oh, I missed this post. Well, nevermind then.
    Or, you could try another 9-string set with a lower gauge, like the La Bella HRS-90, or the lowest strings from a bajo sexto set (the low E tends to be a .092 on those).
    What instrument is it by the way? a Mahalo UNG30 guitalele by chance?
     
  12. JACink

    JACink

    Mar 9, 2011
    Spain
    Thanks for the input @HaphAsSard!

    I just tried some old bass strings, the largest that will fit through the bridge is the D string (a 65 I believe).

    With the 65 tuned to E and the 45 (I think) tuned to A, it seems playable enough. I will try using the guitar strings to make up the other 4. There is no way that I will be able to get this tuned BEADG without changing the bridge, and if I did that, I would throw a 4 string bass bridge on there.

    Nothing as exotic as that I'm afraid. It is a lefty harley benton that I bought for my son when he was about 3 (he's 15 now). He opened it, said wow, and that was the end of his musical career :D
     
  13. ixlramp

    ixlramp Guest

    Jan 25, 2005
    The suggestion of .100 was for the same tension as .042-.009 on a normal electric guitar in standard tuning, my suggestion of a bass VI set would be even lower tension.
    Anyway, i wouldn't bother with a child's guitar with no truss rod, how about a compact headless like a Steinberger Spirit tuned to BEADGC?
     
  14. JACink

    JACink

    Mar 9, 2011
    Spain
    Thanks, but on this trip I'm afraid it is this guitar or my ukulele (which is acoustic, so that is not a good choice for silent practice in the early hours of the morning ;) ).
     
  15. HaphAsSard

    HaphAsSard

    Dec 1, 2013
    Italia
    If you end up using a bass bridge and tuning (one) octave-up BEAD in the future my recommendations stand: the lowest strings from those 9-string sets should do the trick.
    An electric then? (I thought it might be a 1/4 classical but your mention of using a bass bridge, and no mention of the bridge itself being from an ABG, makes me doubt it.)
    What's the width at nut (a topic close to your own heart :D)? I take it you're not put off by a narrow spacing (which I assume to be the case if it's not a guitarlele we're talking about).