How Tight are Those Strings? What Scale Length Should You Use? - USTC Can Help You Figure it Out! I discovered the Universal String Tension Calculator program (see link above) for Windows by Doug Dieter on the web and have found it very useful. He makes some pretty impressive instruments; you can check them out at Using the scale length, tuning, and string weight, USTC will calculate the tension for each string on your guitar. You can save the settings for future reference. When string tension is too high, strings break to easily; when string tension is too low, intonation becomes a problem and heavier weight strings are needed. USTC is invaluable in matching scale length, tunings, and string weights. Did you realize that 4 (or 3) strings you take from the 6 in a standard guitar set may not be giving you the best intonation and sound possible for your instrument? I discoved this first hand on my first instrument, a DGAD tuned 22" scale length instrument. The first four strings of a standard acoustic set sounded terrible because the string tension was not high enough. As the result of setup problems, mistakes, and broken strings, I ended up using strings 1,2,4,5 and finally got acceptable intonation, I improved the intonation further by stretching the scale length to 24" on the next instrument to increase the string tension. I will be using custom weights on the next instrument I finish and expect to further improve the intonation. A good source for individual strings is Have fun Doug

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