Need E4 string for 500 mm length.

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mollwollfumble
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Need E4 string for 500 mm length.

Post by mollwollfumble » Fri Jun 15, 2018 11:09 am

Need help finding an E string for the instrument I'm making. That's the E4 that is the highest string on a guitar, an octave below the highest string on a violin.

I'm making a stringed instrument best described as unique. It's a hybrid of viola and guitar. It looks like a giant viola, is bowed like a viola, is held on straps like a guitar and has a guitar headstock. It's the size of a 1/8 cello and has a 500 mm scale length. If that weren't weird enough, it's made mostly of polyester and has a steel rod running the full length to take the string tension. It's almost transparent.

This is the first musical instrument that I've made, and my first post. Perfect sound quality is not expected.

It's tuned like a tenor viola - G, D, A, E, an octave below the violin. The G, D and A strings were no trouble, I used ones from a 1/4 cello. I tried making the E string by shortening a 4/4 cello A string but couldn't get the pitch high enough for a tension under 20 kg.

Question 1. Are guitar strings OK for a bowed instrument? (Obviously not round-wound)

Question 2. There are literally dozens of different types of guitar strings. Which type, eg. acoustic, electric, bass, acoustic-electric, classical? Which weight? Light or extra-light?

Question 3. Which pitch? 500 mm scale length is shorter than almost all guitars so I could either shorten an E string and reduce the tension or shorten a B string and increase the tension?

Not wanting to be fussy, but a tension close to 10 kg would be much better than a tension close to 20 kg.

On other words. Help!
Please.
mollwollfumble

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kiwigeo
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Re: Need E4 string for 500 mm length.

Post by kiwigeo » Fri Jun 15, 2018 12:26 pm

For calculating string tensions try here: http://daddario.com/DAstringtensionguid ... 62b60b1caf

From what I know of violin strings the upper strings are plain steel so I don't see why a plain steel guitar string shouldn't work.
Martin

mollwollfumble
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Re: Need E4 string for 500 mm length.

Post by mollwollfumble » Fri Jun 15, 2018 1:05 pm

Oh, wow, that's a wonderful start. I've downloaded that pdf and will work through it. 500 mm is 19.7 inches, which isn't even remotely like any of the instruments on that list (being half way between a mandola and a mandocello).

The top A string on a cello also looks (to me) to be plain steel. So if I can figure out which guitar string is plain steel then that ought to suffice.

So, using that pdf I can probably find exactly what I need.

mollwollfumble
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Re: Need E4 string for 500 mm length.

Post by mollwollfumble » Fri Jun 15, 2018 2:07 pm

From that pdf, it looks like what I want is a D'Addario, Acoustic or Electric guitar, plain steel lock twist PL016 with a unit weight of .00005671 lb/in.

Does that look in the right ballpark?

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kiwigeo
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Re: Need E4 string for 500 mm length.

Post by kiwigeo » Fri Jun 15, 2018 2:16 pm

If the pitch and tension match what youre after then it should work. You can check tension and pitch using the formulas included in the pdf
mollwollfumble wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 2:07 pm
From that pdf, it looks like what I want is a D'Addario, Acoustic or Electric guitar, plain steel lock twist PL016 with a unit weight of .00005671 lb/in.

Does that look in the right ballpark?
Martin

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Mark McLean
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Re: Need E4 string for 500 mm length.

Post by Mark McLean » Sun Jun 17, 2018 7:42 pm

Another thing you will probably find useful is Graham McDonald's universal string tension calculator. You can use it for all kinds of instruments of different scale lengths. For example, his preset values for a mandola will be pretty close to what you want. But you can set any custom values that you choose.
http://www.mcdonaldstrings.com/stringxxiii.html

jeffhigh
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Re: Need E4 string for 500 mm length.

Post by jeffhigh » Mon Jun 18, 2018 8:51 am

If you really need to get down to 10lbs tension, then a 16 is going to be too thick
A standard guitar scale is 650mm more or less so a 500 scale length would end up midway between the 4th and 5th fret.
5th fret on the second B string is E, so selecting a guitar B string with a 10lb tension will get you very close.
Most guitar sets are selected to give much higher tensions, probably a 10 or 11 guage would work rather than the 16. a bit of trial and error would be best, single strings are available for a few dollars no need to buy a set.

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