Easy bends?

JamesL

Senior member
Messages
1,019
I know I've sort of brought this up before, But I didn't really get an answer...  Okay, So what exactly makes a guitar's stings bend easily?
I put the same strings on every guitar I own... But they all bend different... I'm starting to think It's the scale length.... Because the red tele I have bends the easiest with a 25.5.... However, the new Schecter C-1 I have is 25.5 and the bending is pretty stiff... and some gibsons bend really easy too! What's going on here? even my Warmoth tele is really stiff. What do I need to do to my future builds to have this "Ease of bending"?????????? :help: :rock-on:
 

Shmoopie

Senior member
Messages
1,582
are some string through? ummmmm
how many times do you wrap the string on the tuner?
some are 3 on a side, some are 6 in a line?    help me out here. 

side note, some people say that string stretch is a myth, that stings don't "break
in" they settle in the nut, and on the saddles.

enlighten us some one
 
D

DanDeTora

Guest
I don't really have an answer, just more specualtion.

My Carvin (25") is much stiffer than my Ibanez 7 string (25.5"). IMHO, scale length doesn't matter much. I think neck thickness *may* have something to do with it. My Ibanez is quite thin, where as my Carvin is thicker, like a Strat. I suppose a thinner neck is more flexible which makes bending easier? Or maybe it's the fretwire? I've found that guitars with jumbo frets are easier to bend. Less friction between fingers/fretboard sorta makes sense, I guess.

I look forward to others' thoughts on the issue as well.
 

jackthehack

Senior member
Messages
5,630
I've used mostly .009, sometimes .010 GHS Boomer sets on a wide variety of Warmoth and other guitars, and never noticed any difference based on guitar or scale length; but I've been playing a real long time, have a real strong grip and bend the hell out of them all the time.
 

stubhead

Senior member
Messages
4,669
I tend to agree with Jack - technically, a 24.75" scale should be a little easier than a 25.5" scale, but what's the difference? 0.75"? That's 3% of 25".... changing one string gauge up or down is going to make a much bigger difference. There's slight variances due to the length of strings above the nut and behind the bridge, but it's still small, as a percentage.

I think it's mostly to do with leverage, how you lock your wrist, brace your thumb and the amount of grip you can get on the strings. Bigger frets and higher action will get more of your fingertip on the string, but there's a lot of variation in fingertip shape. There's also a lot of variance in thumbs, their distance from the other fingers etc. - that's where different neck shapes can come into effect. I have a seven-string Ibanez with a wide neck and if I brace my thumb right, I can push a string up a 4th, a 5th, till it breaks... but I've been playing a long time too. I teach my students how to lock their hand and brace, but you really just have to look at it and think about what you're trying to make the string do.
 

bpmorton777

Senior member
Messages
1,651
A friend of mine has an archtop guitar not unlike this:
He claims that the strings have a different feel to them due to the way the tailpiece is set up with more sting after the bridge. I didnt get to play it much so i couldnt tell.

Brian
 

koshersteel

Senior member
Messages
190
I agree with most of what has been said but another consideration may be the size of the frets. I find that taller frets are easier to bend on because you can really dig in. The neck contour may be another factor that affects how far you can comfortably reach your hand around. Nut width may also be worth looking into as a wider spacing will give you a little (OK, very little) more room to bend the strings before adding the tension from the adjacent strings. Some people also use a lubricant on their frets to ease bending.

The best advice I can offer is to practice more and maybe use one of those hand exercisers to build up strength. Good Luck.
 

jackthehack

Senior member
Messages
5,630
I don't think length of string past the bridge or nut makes any real difference; you're stretching the string between those two point, which is why almost all breakage bending occurs at the point where the string wears against the bridge saddle
 

GoDrex

Senior member
Messages
3,619
I was looking into ways to set up a tune-o-matic bridge and stop piece, and I read that the angle from the brdige to stop piece can effect the feel of the strings. I was looking because a tech set up my guitar and I noticed the stop piece pegs were not screwed all the way down to the body and I never noticed a guitar set up like that before. I've always had it down all the way, but then again my guitars never had the extreme angle that a LP carved top will create because of the shape of the top. Supposedly the higher the angle the tighter the feel.

this is from a Stew-Mac page:

Keys to good tone
For good tone, the components should be solidly connected, and the strings should be properly “terminated” at the saddles and tailpiece. There should be sufficient downward force and string angle over the saddle to properly “note” the string — like a properly fretted note.

A good string angle from the back of the saddle to the stop tailpiece is in the range of 13-17 degrees. Some players prefer a shallower angle, sometimes players even wrap the strings over the top of the stop tailpiece (this is “reverse-wrapping” made popular by Billy Gibbons). This is a matter of finding a compromise that suits your preference; a shallow string angle makes it easier to bend strings, while a steeper angle improves the solid transfer of energy into the bridge/body. Consider the angle of a violin’s strings as they pass over the bridge to the tailpiece. Ultimately, your preference of string angle might be based on how the components feel under your playing hand.
 

JamesL

Senior member
Messages
1,019
Okay, Maybe I did leave everyone in the dark a bit.... the "easiest bending" Guitar I've ever!!!!!!! played is my red Fender Tele you've all heard about.. this is what I can say about it... It has a strat bridge, Not the vintage one.. it's a string thru.. a set neck, 6 in line tuners... umm thin neck.. slightly thinner than a standard thin... Umm I usually put 2-3 winds on the post. 1 5/8 nut width, everything's mahogany cept the flamed top.. Don't know why that matters... lol but okay.
:rock-on:
 

GoDrex

Senior member
Messages
3,619
Fender Tele with a set neck?

edit - I searched and found info on them - never heard of that before...
 

riverbluff

Senior member
Messages
733
To me it really comes down to strenght in the fingers.  I really don't notice any difference between my Gibson, Jackson, custom built LP or my Warmoth LP.  I usually play with 10s on all of them and haven't noticed a difference in string bendong on any of them.  However, when I throw a set of 9s on any of them I usually find myself going sharp on any or all bends.

BT
 

GoDrex

Senior member
Messages
3,619
I definitely find the strings on my Warmoth LP feel looser than on my Parker P-42 - same strings, same bridge - only difference is the scale. I have to concentrate a little more to keep my vibrato under control on the LP and bends go sharp more often.
 

JamesL

Senior member
Messages
1,019
GoDrex said:
I definitely find the strings on my Warmoth LP feel looser than on my Parker P-42 - same strings, same bridge - only difference is the scale. I have to concentrate a little more to keep my vibrato under control on the LP and bends go sharp more often.
Yes, that Tele is a special one!!!! especially the mahogany... So do you think it has more to do with the Scale??? That's what I was dead set on.... ut then I bought the schecter... It has the same.. so??? WTF mate?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZMwKPmsbWE
 

-CB-

Senior member
Messages
5,427
String gauge - lighter is easier
Scale - shorter is easier (less tension on strings on shorter scale)
Fret material - stainless is like buttah
Fretboard radius - high fret bends are easier (no fret out) on flatter radius
Tailpiece - string thru is harder, trapeze is easier, Bigsby is easy too (most trems are easier), also higher stop bars are easier than low stop bars
 

DiMitriR33

Senior member
Messages
604
Sir SchmoopY said:
are some string through? ummmmm
how many times do you wrap the string on the tuner?
some are 3 on a side, some are 6 in a line?    help me out here. 

side note, some people say that string stretch is a myth, that stings don't "break
in" they settle in the nut, and on the saddles.

enlighten us some one

steel absolutely does relax but not much, still definately enough to cause the strings to go flat within a short period after the strings are installed and then stabilizes, i don't have the reference material right now to give specifics but as part of the job i have been insructed on the properties of metal, the breakin effect is much more pronouced with nylon strings.

now in the case of bending a string and it goes flat then that is more a case of friction/binding as it slides over the nut. if you have a trem and you do a dive bomb the strings will go sharp when it returns.

the length of string being stretched, the tuning, the scale length, the friction, the gauge/alloy string, and the amount of leverage of your hand are what will make the diference. each of these factors has it's own factors. so it gets complicated but a bunch of small thing can add up.


fender bridges have such an extreme break angle it kinks and hardens the string at the saddle and again at the hole in the bridge plate, there isn't much string length and the kink will resist it sliding over the saddle. but not so on some tune-o-matics.

the contact area of the string with the fret and your fingers with the fret board as well as the surface finish on the frets, the fret board wood/paint, and even the hardness can change the friction so even a small change in frets shape can make a huge difference in bendability.

just before metal breaks it hits what is called the yield point, at this point it is most rigid, it doesn't want to stretch anymore. scale length might only account for 3% difference in initial tension but the change in tension will be greater for the same bend especially as you aproach the yield point. tuning has the same effect, you want a fender to fell and sound more gibsony tune down a half step and capo it.

the amount of string being bent does not affect tension directly but it affects the distance a string needs to be bent to acheive a tension. the more you bend the longer the resonating string gets and the more final tension is required for a pitch, this is really negligable. whether your brain interperates more bend as more work or less bend as more tension may vary for each individual.

the neck contour and playing position change the way your hand presses against the strings and will have a preceived effect on bendability.

that's all i can think of now





 

blue313

Senior member
Messages
2,824
Thought I'd give some background info on the C-1 since I think it bends great too.  I'm still not exactly sure why it does either  :sad:

Graphtech nut
Frets read .047" x .115" (and they've had a minor leveling once since Ive had it)
Straight radius - somewhere between a 12 and 14 (shallower back contour than a Fender AM Strat but not quite a Wizard either)
Tonepros TOM w string through angle of ~15deg
 

stubhead

Senior member
Messages
4,669
Here's a geek question (I was of course lying in bed last night having geek epiphanies):

If a string is 25", the 0.75" difference to 24.75" is 3%. If a string is 0.010" diameter, the percentage size difference to a 0.011" string is 10%. ARE THOSE EQUIVALENT THINGS TO MEASURE? - regarding tension change required to achieve a given pitch change? (Temporarily discounting the 10% length of string above the nut, string brand, fret size etc.)
 

dbw

Senior member
Messages
4,531
I don't feel like doing physics today but I'd guess the relationship isn't quite linear.  I think there's a square root in there.  Also, the calculation is much more complex for wound strings.  Fortunately string manufacturers usually give the tensions their strings require.. you should be able to ballpark it from those.
 
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