Join date: 2007-12-16
Location: Galveston, TX
|Subject: String Diameter Basics Tue Aug 17, 2010 7:18 pm|| |
The reasoning used in choosing the strings for the T-40's lies in my approaching Dr. Hotsma, Dean of Physics at MIT, in 1976. My first goal in both the the T-60 & T-40 string choice was to have a set that balanced the pull of the strings about the centerline of the necks. This hadn't been approached in the guitar industry and we planned to use it as a selling point for the Peavey "Gliders" string sets.
This was a valid endeavor, but was not necessary for the T-series necks, which were strong enough to use any gauge, no matter now unmatched they were. I deduced that the characteristic most-discernible by bass players was the flexibility of the string. The common mis-conception about strings is, that the greater the diameter of the string, the less flexible the string will be. That is fairly true within a manufacturer's string line, but has been derived from a much greater depth than that. String tension could be juggled by changing the mass of the strings; the tension-to-mass ratio determining the frequency of the tuning to a given scale length. The most common choice of string gauge was the "feel" of the string by the player.
Since music wire and spring wire are synonymous, strings are predominately made with the same core wire and only vary in the wire used for the winding. Slightly different alloys are used for acoustic windings, and you have to stay within the same genre when comparing strings in general.
Strings of the same gauge, made by different manufacturers can vary greatly in flexibility, yet their diameter can be the same.The difference in flexibility is due to the different diameter of core wire, which also affects the necessary diameter to achieve the desired outside diameter. A .105" diameter string can be made with a core wire of .075" diameter and windings of .015" diameter; or .050" core wire and .0275" diameter wire. The core wire diameter predominately causes the rigidity of the string. In engineering, to prove a point, you take things to extremes to make the point more visible. Imagine a .105" string with a core of .100" diameter and winding of .0025" diameter. That would rip your bridge out, as it would take so much tension to reach pitch, that something would have to give. (Coat hanger wire is in the .085" range, so imagine its stiffness if pulled tight enough to give an E in the right octave).
Different metals used to plate the winding wire give the string manufacturers some room to attach tricky names to make their strings more appealing. However, I understand that D'Addario makes almost all of the string-winding machines available, so winding methods are all quite similar.