Riddle me this black magic with string tension

the-trooper

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Two guitars
Strat and superstrat

What's same:
Both same scale length
Both same strings (Elixir 009)
Both with fixed bridge (trem blocked on strat both ways)
Both same bridge type (strat type with through body)
Both non locking nut
Both normal non locking tuners

What's different
Strat has smaller fingerboard radius
Superstrat has frets double the size
Strat has much higher action

The issue, strings on strat feel much slinkier than on superstrat, like, you have to apply less force when bending on the same string on the same fret to the same pitch.

How and why? Superstrat has flatter fretboard, bigger frets, and notably lower action. By all accounts it should be the one easier to play.
 
This is just an educated guess, as I think about the mechanics of fretting a note, but I'm picturing that when a string is pressed down to a fret, your finger pushes the string down to the fret, and slightly beyond, so even though the contact of 2 curved items at 90 degrees to each other (a string crossing a fret) would only be a point, because of this slight extra pressure of the string below the plane of the tops of the frets, the string bends around the curve of the fret ever so slightly, that you get a bit more contact area between the string and a fret with a larger radius, than one with a smaller radius, resulting in slightly more friction.
 
I’m wondering if the much higher action on the Strat lets you more easily get the string right in the meat of your fingers which in turn makes it FEEL like it’s slinkier, but it’s more that it’s just easier to bend with better grip like that.
 
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I bet you a ham sandwich the neck relief is different between the two.

Give the truss rod a TINY tweak to introduce some relief, I mean like an 1/8th of a turn. Doing it with the strings tuned to pitch, you should only drop in pitch a few cents, a 1/4 step at the most. I’m running on practically no sleep right now and my brain isn’t coming up with words good, but if you think of it like a bow from a bow and arrow, not a compound bow but like one of the cheaper fiberglass or wooden bows where you have to attach the cord by pulling the ends of the bow together and releasing them puts the tension on the chord. As you pull those ends of the bow together, the tension reduces on the cord.

A few weeks ago I wanted to tweak the action on one of my Strats, it was almost too easy to play and I wanted to lower the action a pinch at the same time, so I tightened the truss rod. Tuned it back up and realized I went just a bit too far, the action is perfect but the tension is now much tighter than I’d prefer it, so next string change the neck is coming off and I’ll put it back where it was and use the saddles to get the action where I want it.
 
This is just an educated guess, as I think about the mechanics of fretting a note, but I'm picturing that when a string is pressed down to a fret, your finger pushes the string down to the fret, and slightly beyond, so even though the contact of 2 curved items at 90 degrees to each other (a string crossing a fret) would only be a point, because of this slight extra pressure of the string below the plane of the tops of the frets, the string bends around the curve of the fret ever so slightly, that you get a bit more contact area between the string and a fret with a larger radius, than one with a smaller radius, resulting in slightly more friction.
You mean like this? Arbitrary 183 being larger value than 79. Maaaaybe? Not sure if such small difference is so clearly perceptible to humans, but it is a possibility. Both guitars standard nickel frets btw. Both polished to mirror shine.

Frets.jpg



I’m wondering if the much higher action on the Strat lets you more easily get the string right in the meat of your fingers which in turn makes it FEEL like it’s slinkier, but it’s more than it’s just easier to behind with better grip like that.
This actually sounds most plausible :D

I bet you a ham sandwich the neck relief is different between the two.
And you would be correct! Superstrat being all-round a better guitar allows for a straighter neck, i.e. it has less relief. It's just, it's perfectly set up as is, not sure I want to mess with it on the off chance that could be it. Maybe one day, or on the next string change :)
 
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And you would be correct! Superstrat being all-round a better guitar allows for a straighter neck, i.e. it has less relief. It's just, it's perfectly set up as is, not sure I want to mess with it on the off chance that could be it. Maybe one day, or on the next string change :)

Season 2 Dancing GIF by The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air


The fortunate thing is that you won’t have to adjust the action too much to compensate, it’s almost relative in terms of how much of a turn of the wrench you need to make; IE- 1/8th of a turn on the truss rod will generally only require about an 1/8th of a turn on the saddles to get things back to where they were before.

I’m the same way, though, I’ll generally put off any setup changes until the strings die and need to be changed, especially with my current Strats with the truss rod adjustment requiring a neck removal.
 
I'm not sure honestly. My Ibanez AZ felt stiffer than my Charvel DK even though they both had the same scale length, neck wood, locking tuners, 2 point tremolo, etc. I even ran 8's on it for a little bit because 9's were a bit stiff. Now I've got 9.5's and trying to adjust.
 
Two guitars
Strat and superstrat

What's same:
Both same scale length
Both same strings (Elixir 009)
Both with fixed bridge (trem blocked on strat both ways)
Both same bridge type (strat type with through body)
Both non locking nut
Both normal non locking tuners

What's different
Strat has smaller fingerboard radius
Superstrat has frets double the size
Strat has much higher action

The issue, strings on strat feel much slinkier than on superstrat, like, you have to apply less force when bending on the same string on the same fret to the same pitch.

How and why? Superstrat has flatter fretboard, bigger frets, and notably lower action. By all accounts it should be the one easier to play.
This comes up all the time.

String tension is the tension pulling along the active length of the string - with the same scale length, same string, same pitch on two different instruments it will be the same.

String tension has an impact on how hard/easy it is to deflect a string laterally, but it is not the only thing that impacts this. break angle at nut and bridge, friction at nut bridge, relative length of string behind nut and bridge, etc., will all impact the "slinkiness" that one feels in bending. I forget the term the engineers use for the force required to deflect a cable in tension, but there is a term of art for it and I'm sure there are some equations that one can use to calculate it.
 
The difference is how much of the string length outside of the scale is active.the string is anchored between two points and it all plays a part. The easier it can move ( low brake angles on nut and bridge) the more you feel it’s effect.
 
And you would be correct! Superstrat being all-round a better guitar allows for a straighter neck, i.e. it has less relief. It's just, it's perfectly set up as is, not sure I want to mess with it on the off chance that could be it. Maybe one day, or on the next string change :)

That is why it is called SuperStrat. Strats are for nostalgics and collectors. But we still like them :D
Lets Go Waiting GIF by Hunter Preston
 
Fret hight and action are huge but what I said above is relevant to two Guitars with the same fret size ,relief ,action and scale.
 
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