The relationship between string gauge and volume?

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slowlearner
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The relationship between string gauge and volume?

Post by slowlearner » Sun Mar 17, 2013 10:34 pm

My main acoustic guitar is strung with 13s but it struck me the other day that maybe I'm over doing it.

Is there a sort of relationship between string gauge and the volume of a guitar? Because I remember reading something a while back that said that lighter strings can actually help the top to work better because it's under slightly less tension. Is there any truth to this?

Thought?
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Allen
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Re: The relationship between string gauge and volume?

Post by Allen » Mon Mar 18, 2013 6:44 am

In my experience, it would depend on how you've braced the top, designed the instrument, style of playing.....well, just about everything you could think off really.

Try different sets to see what works best for that particular instrument.
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Trevor Gore
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Re: The relationship between string gauge and volume?

Post by Trevor Gore » Mon Mar 18, 2013 9:13 am

I've never had a guitar "lock up" under string tension. That implies that the top has somehow got stiffer. I measure the same resonant frequencies of the main top modes irrespective of tuning, which implies that the top stiffness doesn't change with string tension, or the resonant frequencies would have changed.

The string force driving the vibrations of the top are proportional to string tension - more tension, more drive force, more volume. The tension in a string at a given frequency is proportional to its mass per unit length, which itself is proportional to its cross sectional area (diameter squared) for a given material and that is why heavier strings are louder if plucked to the same displacement.

There's no doubt, though, that a guitar can feel entirely different with different gauges of string, which will affect how you play it and consequently the sound, including the volume, not necessarily as above if the extra tension means that you don't pluck it as far.

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Re: The relationship between string gauge and volume?

Post by EricDownunder » Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:45 am

On another slant, I have a steel string acoustic dread style guitar made in China and cheap Copley USA, NOT Copley Australia spruce top mahogany back and sides, it's interesting to note the volume changes dramatically with a change in humidify this would sujest the volume is more to do with the design and bracing than the strings. It's amasing the amount of difference sometimes, the dryer the conditions the louder it gets, odd, my other acoustics don't do it!
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Dominic
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Re: The relationship between string gauge and volume?

Post by Dominic » Sun Mar 24, 2013 2:33 am

Hey Eric, you are correct that overall design influences overall volume. So comparing the volume of one guitar to another you would look at design factors. But on a particular guitar, ceteris paribus, heaver strings are....well....heavier. After that the answer drops out from those basic formula.
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Re: The relationship between string gauge and volume?

Post by Bruce McC » Sun Mar 24, 2013 11:14 am

Dominic wrote:ceteris paribus
.............. is that a tone wood ?
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Kim
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Re: The relationship between string gauge and volume?

Post by Kim » Sun Mar 24, 2013 12:31 pm

I worked on an 18-35 focused resort island for a time and had a plywood topped beater as a party guitar. Still have it in fact, it's a Suzuki SSS and was used for general jamm'in, as a pillow, and even a weapon if required.

Tonally it had everything stacked up against it with ply top, and 'twin' pickgaurds, and being black with white plastic bindings, it looks like the acoustic guitar Batman would choose if he played. Now that guitar sounded as flat as a biscuit until it was loaded with 13's. Then, just as long as you'd had at least half a skin full and were digg'in the pick in just short of break'in the "G", it would open up and cut though just about anything when out in the open air unplugged...ahh them were the days. 8)
Suzuki_SSS.jpg
:D

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Kim

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