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The Fifths Tuning Club

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by ~M.o.M~, Apr 14, 2013.

  1. ixlramp


    Jan 25, 2005
    Where you write 'mass per unit length' (also called unit weight), you actually mean 'string structure density', the 2 are very different things. But other than that i agree, which is why i wrote 'approximate' everywhere. The rule still works quite well if you don't have the unit weight data for a certain brand of strings and they don't offer tension data or a tension calculator.
  2. bitwo


    Jun 28, 2019
    Thank you. That factor 1.5 as rule of thumb is very helpful and mostly correct.

    The frequency of a vibrating string depends on the velocity of wave propagation (beside other properties). The velocity of wave propagation depends on the material properties of the string -- namely, it's linear mass density = mass/unit length.

    'string structure density' sounds better but I would not know how I would get that as a number into a formula for frequency calculation?

    I wrote "I argue that with a diameter of 0.08/2 mm or more no e-bass player will be happy?". Out of the context I could not remeber the meaning myself. Sorry, unexplained that is mysterious.

    Connect it with the given information: "one calculates for 7,3 kg/16 lbs a Diameter of about 2 mm/ 0.0763"." Related to the usual tension of a bass string of about 40-50 pounds it becomes obvious that "no e-bass player will be happy?". Simply because it is much to sloppy!
  3. ixlramp


    Jan 25, 2005
    When talking about proportionality, the actual values of constants don't need to be known, just knowing they are constant allows us to state 'X is proportional to Y' or 'A : B is the same ratio as C : D'.

    What i mean by 'string structure density' is simply the scientific 'density' of the entire string structure: mass / volume.
    For 1 inch of string we know the mass from 'unit weight', and the volume is 1 * PI * (gauge / 2) ^ 2.
    string structure density = unitweight / (PI * (gauge / 2) ^ 2)
    In units 'pounds per cubic inch'.

    For a plain steel string this 'string structure density' equals the density of the steel used, so is always precisely constant.

    For a wound string this 'string structure density' is the average density of the whole structure taking the air gaps into account. So it does vary a little according to core size, number of wrap layers, gauges of wrap wire. Due to the air gaps it will be lower than the density of the materials used.


    For completeness, the frequency ratio of a fourth interval is very close to 4:3.
    The frequency ratio of an octave is of course precisely 2:1.
  4. bitwo


    Jun 28, 2019
    Thank you for the formulas!
  5. Shanannigan


    Feb 25, 2011
    So Kalium recently updated their website. It seems like they no longer have the string calculator available on the new site, or at least I can't find it. I emailed them asking about it a while ago but haven't received any response.
  6. bitwo


    Jun 28, 2019
  7. JES

    JES Supporting Member

    Weird. In other news, I've been messing around with a 5ths tuning on a NS-Stick (8-string touch style bass). Super cool, though open voicings certainly sound different than more closed ones!
    coyoteboy likes this.
  8. ixlramp


    Jan 25, 2005
    The Kalium tension calculator was part of the old shop, which has just been retired. Skip mentioned that a new calculator (with a few minor errors fixed) will be added.
    However, there is a good new Kalium tension calculator, seemingly independent or semi-independent, here String Tension Calculator

    I'm interested in what your specific tuning is.
  9. JES

    JES Supporting Member

    Keep in mind you don’t really play below the 2nd fret but low to high it’s:
  10. ixlramp


    Jan 25, 2005
    Thanks. That's the Guitar Craft / Trey Gunn / Warr Guitars / Touch Guitars 8 string tuning, fifths plus a minor third plus a major second.
    I have recently been investigating the history of that tuning.

    For a single region tap guitar i really like the idea of 7 strings in all-fifths, covering a similar range but going 2 semitones lower, low to high:
    Ab Eb Bb F C G D
    The Ab0 being 3 semitones below bass guitar B (lowest tappable pitch Bb0).
    The D4 is the highest possible pitch on a 34" scale and is 2 semitones below guitar top E.
    2 hands placed beside each other on the fretboard covers the required 7 frets. I consider fifths a tuning that has found its ideal place on single region tap guitars.
  11. JES

    JES Supporting Member

    The narrower intervals up top are nice for chords, and because it’s high up the closer intervals sound good. As if yet I haven’t needed a low Bb but I’m sure if I had it....

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