View Full Version : Not a ukulele question but..

09-24-2009, 04:21 PM
I figured I would ask anyway since some of you started on guitars. What is the tension on an electric guitar compared to a ukulele or a classical guitar? I know acoustic steal strings tend to have more tension that an electric guitar but I figured I would ask...

09-24-2009, 04:27 PM
Don't know about electrics, but I've always heard the tension on a steel string acoustic is 3x that of a classical.

09-24-2009, 04:33 PM
I started playing on an electric. Acoustic guitar strings hurt my fingers. There is relatively little tension on electrics. So no hurting. I'd say maybe 2/3 or same tension as an ukulele.

09-24-2009, 04:35 PM
acoustic 6 string is about
125 for silk&steels
160 for light strings
over 200 for heavies

classicals are 85ish

ukes are about 50

09-24-2009, 04:37 PM
A ballpark answer after a few minutes on Google told me that electric guitar strings are typically lower tension and are around 13-15 lbs *per string* That last part is important to remember. By comparison, an acoustic steel string guitar might be 20-25 lbs. Classicals come in much lighter at less than half of their steel counterparts so let's say 8-10 lbs per string.

These numbers are multiplied by six to give you the overall tension over six strings.

Now, let's talk Uke. Only four strings, and pretty light tension, let's say around 5-7 lbs each string.

That's a total of 20-30 lbs of total tension compared to Classical at 50-80, Steel string acoustic at 120-180 lbs, and electric guitar a bit lower at 75-90 lbs.

These are just general numbers. I haven't factored in scale length or string thickness. There are online charts and calculators to help you pick the right string for your instrument, string type, string diameter, and desired tension.

Here's a really good page from Daddario that explains string tension. They pretty much just focus on steel strings in this document.


This one's a bit more comprehensive:


I see cornfedgroove has also answered as I'm typing this. His numbers are pretty much what I expected to hear.

09-24-2009, 04:40 PM
About mid way down


Soprano about 21lb
Concert about 33lb
Tenor about 39lb

09-24-2009, 05:55 PM
Awesome! Thanks guys!

09-24-2009, 11:00 PM
These are light D'Addario strings:

PL009 E 0.009 in./0.23 mm gauge, 13.1 lbs./5.94 kg tension
PL011 B 0.011 in./0.28 mm gauge, 11.0 lbs./4.99 kg tension
PL016 G 0.016 in./0.41 mm gauge, 14.7 lbs./6.67 kg tension
NW026 D 0.026 in./0.66 mm gauge, 18.4 lbs./8.34 kg tension
NW036 A 0.036 in./0.91 mm gauge, 19.5 lbs./8.84 kg tension
NW046 E 0.046 in./1.17 mm gauge, 17.5 lbs./7.94 kg tension (http://www.zzounds.com/item--DADEXL125)

No wonder the neck needs trussing.

09-25-2009, 04:52 AM
Try a string tension calculator like this one. http://www.mcdonaldstrings.com/stringxxiii.html You can put in the scale and the size of string to get the tension. I believe it is for steel string only, but haven't really looked through the list of instruments.