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Why this guitar has 'looser' strings

#1 User is offline   livemusic 

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Posted 18 January 2019 - 05:58 AM

My '56 Gibson Country Western... when I play fingerstyle, the strings just seem to 'give' more... not as tight as other dreadnaughts? Those of you who know guitars, any idea why? The scale appears to be identical to my J45 and the string spacing is close to the same at the bridge. The J45 is actually very slightly wider. Same 13-56 string gauge, both tuned down 1/2 step. But I think the CW has Martin Lifespan strings and the J45 has DR Sunbeams on it. But I can pick up any of my other guitars and the CW still feels looser, regardless of string type.
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1956 Country Western, natural
1968 J-50, natural
1992 J-30, all-mahogany
1993 Gospel, sunburst
1994 Gospel 100th Anniversary, natural
1995 Gospel w/Gibson Accuvoice pickup, natural
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#2 User is offline   62burst 

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Posted 18 January 2019 - 06:11 AM

The string tension that the entire set of strings places on the guitar will vary depending on the diameter of the core and the windings on the wound strings, which can vary depending on the manufacturer.

Also- measure the action height at the 12th fret… you may find that your Country Western is lower.
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#3 User is offline   OldCowboy 

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Posted 18 January 2019 - 07:03 AM

Something I've noticed as well. My '51 SJ plays like butter and the feel of 'looser' strings, although I'd never thought of it that way, applies as well. That's a phenomenon I've noticed with other SJ & CW models of similar vintage, and that's where it becomes more perplexing. Or interesting, rather. There are enough folks on the forum with early '50s examples of both to generate some good responses....
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#4 User is offline   E-minor7 

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Posted 18 January 2019 - 08:35 AM

Have to keep in mind these short slopes are looser than fx your long-scale guitars.

Really like the feel here - one of, but not the only reason I'm half a step down.
You just can't keep coincidences down. .
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#5 User is offline   countrybluespicker 

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Posted 18 January 2019 - 11:32 AM

My BK is tuned down half a step, with custom light gauge strings Elixirs. Very "loose" feel - love it! Bare fingers, no picks ever, so it doesn't ever seem 'overdriven'.

This post has been edited by countrybluespicker: 18 January 2019 - 11:34 AM

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#6 User is offline   Jinder 

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Posted 18 January 2019 - 05:53 PM

There is a theory with electric guitars that the steeper the break angle over the saddle, the more "tight" a guitar feels.

I've never understood why-it makes very little sense in terms of physics-but I've found that in terms of feel, it seems to be true.

My SJ200 and '41 Reissue SJ100 are good examples of this...both are set up very similarly, but the SJ100 has a taller saddle than the 200 as it has a very slightly steeper neck angle. Both wear D'Addario EXP 12-53 80/20 strings, and whilst they both play beautifully, the 200 feels noticeably more "loose" under the hand.
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#7 User is offline   Leonard McCoy 

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Posted 19 January 2019 - 05:04 AM

In my mind, the "slinkiness" of the strings on a guitar has something to do with string gauge, the scale of the guitar, and how much downward force is being exerted on the two contact points of the strings with the guitar (breaking angle on nut and saddle).

This post has been edited by Leonard McCoy: 19 January 2019 - 05:06 AM

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#8 User is offline   E-minor7 

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Posted 19 January 2019 - 05:47 AM

View PostLeonard McCoy, on 19 January 2019 - 05:04 AM, said:

In my mind, the "slinkiness" of the strings on a guitar has something to do with string gauge, the scale of the guitar, and how much downward force is being exerted on the two contact points of the strings with the guitar (breaking angle on nut and saddle).

Agree, , , and the last point continues Jinders post.
I'm willing to follow the theory. Why shouldn't break-angle-pressure influence the feel.
Bound to do so after the same logic as the sound/loudness aspect.

For that reason I'm not especially keen on steep saddle-angles.
I dig the looseness, , , besides volume doesn't always bring out the best voice of a guitar.
You just can't keep coincidences down. .
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#9 User is offline   zombywoof 

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Posted 19 January 2019 - 07:43 AM

The shorter the scale the looser the strings feel. Heavier gauge strings increase the tension while, as noted, strings wound on a hex core exert more tension than those wound on a round core. I tend to go with 12s wound on a round core.
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