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View Full Version : Total String Tension for a Baritone?



bigsciota
09-16-2017, 05:02 AM
I've strung my bari GDAE using classical guitar strings, but I think the total tension (around 60lbs) might be too high. I've read a few figures in the mid-50s for total tension that a baritone should have, so I'm building a custom set that will end up at around 55-56lbs (13-14lbs a string). Is that within the acceptable range?

Booli
09-16-2017, 06:16 AM
I've strung my bari GDAE using classical guitar strings, but I think the total tension (around 60lbs) might be too high. I've read a few figures in the mid-50s for total tension that a baritone should have, so I'm building a custom set that will end up at around 55-56lbs (13-14lbs a string). Is that within the acceptable range?

IMHO, Yes that should be fine, with ONE caveat - you have to watch the bridge for rotation toward the soundhole. A lightly built uke MAY NOT be able to handle the extra tension without damage.

A tad bit of dishing betw the bridge and soundhole is ok, but too much is dangerous. If there's is dishing betw the bridge and soundhole, there will be proportiional 'bellying' on the opposite side of the bridge.

If you cannot see with the naked eye you can use the edge of a ruler to see how much gap is below the ruler and the top and see how much the top is deflected from the bridge rotation. This is easy to see if you put the edge of the ruler across the lower bout, behind the bridge, and if there is bellying, the ruler will rock across the high-point of the belly.

A little belly is OK, a lot of belly, I'd either remove/detune the strings, or lower the overall tuning by 2-3 semitones, which should reduce the string tension anywhere from 8-12 lbs overall for all 4 strings....

You can build custom sets and get the tensions from the D'Addario online String Tension Pro here:

http://stringtensionpro.com/Home

Lots of fiddling is possible once you square away the starting point. I use this ALL the time.

You will ALSO find some info about fifths tunings and strings for same via following this link (https://goo.gl/WF8wa8)

bigsciota
09-16-2017, 10:50 AM
Am I correct, though, that normal string tension on a bari adds up to somewhere in the mid-50s? I've seen that a few times on the web, although I've also seen some string sets that come out lower than that, in the 40s.

Booli
09-16-2017, 11:08 AM
Am I correct, though, that normal string tension on a bari adds up to somewhere in the mid-50s? I've seen that a few times on the web, although I've also seen some string sets that come out lower than that, in the 40s.

40lbs total string tension on a bari would likely be all unwound strings like the Worth BB set, and is really floppy, but Yes I think in the 50-60lbs range is ok, as evident by the following from D'Addario:

ej65b:
http://daddario.com/resources/jdcdad/images/products/da_prod_ej65b_detail2_1.jpg

ej99b:
http://daddario.com/resources/jdcdad/images/products/da_prod_ej99b_detail2_1.jpg

ej87b:
http://daddario.com/resources/jdcdad/images/products/da_prod_ej87b_detail2_1.jpg

nyltech:
http://daddario.com/resources/jdcdad/images/products/da_prod_ej88b_detail2_1.jpg

Booli
09-16-2017, 11:18 AM
cont. from previous post...


ej53b:
http://daddario.com/resources/jdcdad/images/products/da_prod_ej53b_detail2_1.jpg

Titchtheclown
09-16-2017, 01:55 PM
A baritone uke has a scale length around 19 inches. A classical guitar has a scale length of around 26 inches. Putting a classical guitar string set on a baritone uke in the same positions, i.e. the classical E string on the bari E position will probably result in lower rather than higher tension.

Booli
09-16-2017, 02:32 PM
A baritone uke has a scale length around 19 inches. A classical guitar has a scale length of around 26 inches. Putting a classical guitar string set on a baritone uke in the same positions, i.e. the classical E string on the bari E position will probably result in lower rather than higher tension.

If tuning DGBE you are correct, but if tuning in fifths, either CGDA mandola, or GDAE octave mandolin, there are completely different string gages to get proper intonation other than possibly the E string (which on baritone uke, usually a classical guitar 'B' string or one of similar gage)

less tension on shorter scale will give really crappy intonation, and ideally in FIFTHS tunings, you will need about 15 lbs of tensions PER STRING, otherwise with less string tension, just forget intonation after the 3rd fret, it's gonna be at least 10-15 cents sharp.

bigsciota
09-16-2017, 03:44 PM
A baritone uke has a scale length around 19 inches. A classical guitar has a scale length of around 26 inches. Putting a classical guitar string set on a baritone uke in the same positions, i.e. the classical E string on the bari E position will probably result in lower rather than higher tension.

I'm tuning GDAE, not the standard DGBE, so I'm currently using the E, A, D, and B strings of a classical guitar. These are not ideal, and as I've stated have a tension of around 60lbs, so I am ordering a set of different strings from Juststrings.com that I have figured out myself using the string tension calculator on D'Addario's site. The set will run around 55lbs of tension, so I just wanted to make sure I won't be damaging my uke. I don't want to go too low tension-wise, given the intonation issues and floppy strings that can result, so I've set everything around 14lbs.