Jason@FretNation

I had a customer ask me a question about string tension in pounds today.  He asked to compare the tension between two string sets in pounds.  So the only way to do that is to go by the manufacturers published numbers.

The sets were:

GHS Precision Flats 5-String M3050-5 .045 .065 .085 .105 .126
D'Addario Chromes 5-String ECB81-5 .045 .065 .080 .100 .132

The tricky part is... D'Addario as tension numbers published that are awfully high and they didn't used to be and they certinaly don't feel that way!  A couple of years ago, D'Addario implemented a new tension calculator on their website.  This must have changed how they calculate tension.  While the string formula did not change the tension numbers sure did!  Here is an example:

Published tension numbers are not really the best thing to go by. D'Addario recently changed how they calculate the tension numbers and I believe they are wrong. 

Gauge = Tension Number In pounds

ECB81-5 Current Published Numbers:  These are the numbers they currently publish.
.045 = 59.77
.065 = 65.73
.080 = 53.28
.100 = 45.17
.132 = 43.41

.065 is a normal string gauge.  Most strings won't even handle being tuned up to 65 pounds of tension.  If one did, it would barely be playable at all!  Most strings would snap at this tension!  Those who have played this set will say it is not that high of a tension string. 

ECB81-5 Previously Published Numbers:  These are the numbers they used to publish before publishing the above.  Note the strings did not change at all...

.045 = 45.7
.065 = 52.0
.080 = 43.7
.100 = 38.4
.132 = 35.9

So as you can see, the strings did not change, yet the numbers changed DRASTICALLY. The currently published numbers I believe are incorrect. 

Here are the GHS Numbers.  Assuming the GHS numbers are correct (as I believe they are) the "Previously Published" numbers by D'Addario are what is more accurate. 

GHS M3050-5

.045 = 41.5
.065 = 50.7
.085 = 51.2
.105 = 41.2
.126 = 34.4

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Hey Jason, I found your article to be very interesting. I enjoy trying different brands and styles of strings, and appreciate the information you provide. I have heard that different string manufacturers rate their strings in different ways, making comparisons difficult. Your article demonstrates and confirms it. Thank you.
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