Put on new strings, need guitar adjustment?

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arthurnum
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Put on new strings, need guitar adjustment?

Post by arthurnum » July 7th, 2018, 2:56 am

Hi! I have chip squier bullet fender stratocaster with 0.08 strings preset.
Recently, I switched to 0.10 strings and met a problem.
When I play a bend with the same high amplitude as I played with 0.08 strings I get only half-step tone.
I heard it might require a complex guitar adjustment. Other suggestion is to give up and drop the tune.
What do you think?

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NoteBoat
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Re: Put on new strings, need guitar adjustment?

Post by NoteBoat » July 7th, 2018, 4:16 pm

When you changed gauges, you changed the string tension.

The pitch of a vibrating string depends on three things: it's length, it's tension, and it's mass. The length part didn't change - your scale length is still 25.5 inches - but you've changed the string mass considerably. If your strings are the same composition (which I'm guessing is likely) you've increased the diameter by 25%.... and that means a cross section of the string has gone from a circumference of about .05" to about .076", an increase of about 35%.

Since you've just given the diameter of the high E, that's gone from 10.23 pounds of tension to 16.37 pounds. So the first problem is that your finger has to overcome 60% more tension. That means when you bend the string with the same force it's not going to bend nearly as far.

The second issue is that all of the strings have changed in diameter. Let's say your .008 set was 8-11-14-22-30-38 with a plain G and nickel steel windings. You had about 78.23 pounds of tension on the neck. And now you're using 10-13-17-26-36-46 with the same composition. Now you have 108.68 pounds of tension on the neck. That's about 39% more tension on the whole neck. The geometry is kind of complicated, but it's about the same as if you'd hung a couple of bowling balls on the ends of the strings. (Your high E went up 60%, but the set as a whole went up under 40% because the windings add some mass while adding less tension - it's the string core, which is thinnner, that supports the tension)

That's all pulling the peghead forward (towards the face of the guitar), which makes your action slightly higher. The way to compenste for that is to bend the neck backwards a bit. Your guitar has a handy device for doing that - it's the double-acting truss rod mounted under the fretboard. The little channel you see right above the nut on your guitar is for accessing that truss rod to make adjustments.

I'd encourage you to have someone else make the adjustment - preferably a trained luthier. If you break the truss rod, it's not a DIY repair.

If you're going to keep playing with the thicker strings, you might also want them to take a bit of material off the nut slots, too... but it won't be much (1-2/1000ths of an inch in each slot).

So yes, adjustment will help. But no matter what you do, it's going to be harder to bend heavier strings..... because physics.
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arthurnum
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Posts: 2
Joined: July 7th, 2018, 2:43 am

Re: Put on new strings, need guitar adjustment?

Post by arthurnum » July 9th, 2018, 1:02 am

This is amazing!
I think it have to be placed to the top of FAQ.

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