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Old 11-15-2015, 07:41 PM
Guitars+gems Guitars+gems is offline
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Default The stretching of the strings...

I changed my Breedlove's strings today, and no I didn't loop them 'cause I followed the Martin video to the letter. Well, except for the part about the bridge pins since my bridge is pinless. The part that I was doubtful about if I was doing it right was the stretching of the strings. But I must've done okay, because they're staying in tune with just minor tweaking after 90 minutes of playing pretty assertively with a 2 mm pick (because I love to be noisy). Which I just realized, I didn't drop at all! Progress! Also, yesterday I was playing Bm barre effortlessly, though I can't do it today. Must be the new strings .

Hey, it's the little things!
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Old 11-15-2015, 07:51 PM
rogthefrog rogthefrog is offline
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Steel strings don't stretch. They can settle under the pin or around the tuner post if they weren't installed snugly enough, but stretch they do not.
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Old 11-15-2015, 07:56 PM
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Originally Posted by rogthefrog View Post
Steel strings don't stretch. They can settle under the pin or around the tuner post if they weren't installed snugly enough, but stretch they do not.
Well thank you for that, because I did wonder why steel would stretch! But I figured it must be about seating them around the post correctly.
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Old 11-15-2015, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by rogthefrog View Post
Steel strings don't stretch. They can settle under the pin or around the tuner post if they weren't installed snugly enough, but stretch they do not.
Thank you for being the sensible minority. I've a graduate degree in Mechanical Engineering, taught college Mechanics and designed cable hoist lifts. I've ended up in tremendously long-winded discussions here on AGF where people have convinced themselves that the strings stretch.

However all the stresses seen are below the elastic limit of the steel string. This has been an established fact of physics for a very long time. Just to give you an indication of how long: the first book on the history of elastic theory was published in (France) in 1864. Meaning the science was hundreds and hundreds of years before that.

It's one of those situations where people have convinced themselves so strongly that they cannot accept that the immutable laws of physics don't go on vacation when they string their guitars.

Assuming the bridge pin joint is well seated, 100% of the loosening happens in the windings around the tuner post. This is a know mechanical phenomenon. Strings have been put under ANSI national standard Instron tensile testing in every single metallurgy and quality control lab of every string manufacturer in the world. The metal of the strings do not stretch. They physically cannot stretch. They have never stretched.

They can LOOSEN and people might incorrectly say "they stretch" but the strings are getting looser but not from stretching metal.
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Old 11-15-2015, 08:11 PM
Kip Carter Kip Carter is offline
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I will counter that will that that the do in my experience. That ante no settling in the pin slot son. This discussion has been waged Denise numerous times and the two sides will never agree so pick a side and be comfortable with your bias as in many other guitar issue. The reasoning is that they do initially have some give and by taking that out of the strings right away you eliminate it coming out naturally while playing or while the guitar sits and having to constantly retune it.

But others will insist it isn't the case. So we'll all have to agree to disagree I suppose. Play on.

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Old 11-15-2015, 08:52 PM
rogthefrog rogthefrog is offline
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Originally Posted by Kip Carter View Post
I will counter that will that that the do in my experience. That ante no settling in the pin slot son. This discussion has been waged Denise numerous times and the two sides will never agree so pick a side and be comfortable with your bias as in many other guitar issue. The reasoning is that they do initially have some give and by taking that out of the strings right away you eliminate it coming out naturally while playing or while the guitar sits and having to constantly retune it.

But others will insist it isn't the case. So we'll all have to agree to disagree I suppose. Play on.

Kip...
Well, there's really nothing to disagree about since this is measurable (and plenty measured) physics, as Fazool pointed out. You may believe otherwise, but you'd be wrong.
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Old 11-15-2015, 08:54 PM
rogthefrog rogthefrog is offline
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Originally Posted by Guitars+gems View Post
Well thank you for that, because I did wonder why steel would stretch! But I figured it must be about seating them around the post correctly.
Yes, that's the key. Most if not all tuning instability problems come from securing the string on the tuner incorrectly. Sounds like your method works!
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Old 11-15-2015, 09:05 PM
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Well, there's really nothing to disagree about since this is measurable (and plenty measured) physics, as Fazool pointed out. You may believe otherwise, but you'd be wrong.
Just exactly what I expected. The technique is a misnomer. The process is valid. Being a champion of the technical doesn't get to the practical purpose of the process.

You apply tension to the strings and 'that' has been termed stretching them. it is a process and it is valid process that assures that the strings are stable. Hence why I said pick your side of the argument you want to stand on but DO tension your strings!
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Old 11-15-2015, 09:29 PM
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If strings don't stretch then how am I doing a bend?
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Old 11-15-2015, 10:01 PM
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OK, I think the confusion comes largely from how technically precise people are in the use of terms.

1) The whole system loosens. When the system loosens, the free portion of the string gets longer. At the system level the system can be loosely called "stretching". The metal of the strings (steel, nickel, etc.) are not suffering permanent strain. They are not being stressed past the elastic limit into permanent plastic deformation. In a technically accurate description, the metal does not stretch, but the system loosens. Its the mechanical wrapping not the material deformation.

When a string stretches beyond its elastic limit, into the plastic region, it fails extremely rapidly if continued stressing at the same stress.

If the metal permanently stretches. It gets longer. Its is permanently strained through plastic deformation. the string gets longer. That extra material length comes from somewhere. It comes from the diameter. The string would get narrower and that material will "feed" the length change. It can't get longer for free - you can create metal - it gets longer but thinner.

OK, when thinner, if you retune it back up to pitch (same tension as before) but the diameter is thinner, the stress (per square inch) is higher because it is the same tension as before now on a thinner diameter. If it plastically deformed before, it now plastically deforms again and faster. This continues every time you retune to pitch and the string will break.


2) Bends are done by stretching the string within its elastic limits. Much below the point where the string stretches plastically and stays longer - otherwise every time you did a bend, you would detune your guitar. In this region the string is acting like a perfect spring - returning to its original state.


The string loosens. It is a physical impossibility of the string's metal to deform and stretch plastically.

I know its extremely hard when you've misunderstood something so convincingly but you are incorrect and completely not understanding the physical world if you are thinking of the strings stretching and getting longer.

Yes, absolutely the SYSTEM of the string's installation loosens. Definitely.

No, absolutely not it is a physical impossibility for the metal of the strings to get longer.
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Last edited by fazool; 11-15-2015 at 10:09 PM.
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Old 11-15-2015, 10:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kip Carter View Post
Just exactly what I expected. The technique is a misnomer. The process is valid. Being a champion of the technical doesn't get to the practical purpose of the process.

You apply tension to the strings and 'that' has been termed stretching them. it is a process and it is valid process that assures that the strings are stable. Hence why I said pick your side of the argument you want to stand on but DO tension your strings!
Yes absolutely - I agree and I think you hit the nail on the head Kip. It's a misuse of the term, perhaps. The term "stretch" has a very specific meaning (permanent strain resulting in plastic deformation beyond the elastic stress limit of the metal = string gets longer).

There are three (I think) definitions at play here:

1) people who are technically specific and only use the above understanding of "stretch" and use the term in its most literal sense.

2) people who use the term "stretch" but mean loosen, not lengthen. For all intents and purposes this is totally reasonable - its not a perfect use of the word but it conveys a meaning and is very much "good enough".

3) people who don't understand physics and use the term actually thinking the string gets longer and longer and longer until it decides to stop getting longer.

People #1 say the metal doesn't permanently stretch, but it does loosen
People #2 say the metal stretches but they really mean it loosens
People #3 say the metal does really stretch and are wrong
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Old 11-15-2015, 10:11 PM
Guitars+gems Guitars+gems is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kip Carter View Post
You apply tension to the strings and 'that' has been termed stretching them. it is a process and it is valid process that assures that the strings are stable. Hence why I said pick your side of the argument you want to stand on but DO tension your strings!
Yes, Kip I think that's it. The action is called stretching, but really it's just creating some tension on the strings in order to take up the slack. Like, the molecules of the steel itself are not moving further away from each other. The dimensions of the string aren't changing.
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Old 11-15-2015, 10:22 PM
MahoganyStrings MahoganyStrings is offline
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Originally Posted by fazool View Post
Yes absolutely - I agree and I think you hit the nail on the head Kip. It's a misuse of the term, perhaps. The term "stretch" has a very specific meaning (permanent strain resulting in plastic deformation beyond the elastic stress limit of the metal = string gets longer).

There are three (I think) definitions at play here:

1) people who are technically specific and only use the above understanding of "stretch" and use the term in its most literal sense.

2) people who use the term "stretch" but mean loosen, not lengthen. For all intents and purposes this is totally reasonable - its not a perfect use of the word but it conveys a meaning and is very much "good enough".

3) people who don't understand physics and use the term actually thinking the string gets longer and longer and longer until it decides to stop getting longer.

People #1 say the metal doesn't permanently stretch, but it does loosen
People #2 say the metal stretches but they really mean it loosens
People #3 say the metal does really stretch and are wrong
The string does get longer though as it goes through plastic deformation. Yes the diameter gets smaller, but the wire lengthens nonetheless. Depending on the alloy used (for steel it depends on the carbon content I believe), the elastic/plastic range will vary. After that it'll fracture.

Snapped a pic of a recently "popped" e string. You can see a bit of a taper, where the string was "stretched", prior to fracturing.



Now I do agree that pulling on the string will do very little for a new set of steel strings. But to say it doesn't "stretch" is completely contrary to the physical properties of steel and most metals.
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Old 11-15-2015, 10:39 PM
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The string does get longer though as it goes through plastic deformation. Yes the diameter gets smaller, but the wire lengthens nonetheless. Depending on the alloy used (for steel it depends on the carbon content I believe), the elastic/plastic range will vary. After that it'll fracture.

Snapped a pic of a recently "popped" e string. You can see a bit of a taper, where the string was "stretched", prior to fracturing.

...

Now I do agree that pulling on the string will do very little for a new set of steel strings. But to say it doesn't "stretch" is completely contrary to the physical properties of steel and most metals.

You quoted me, then said exactly what I said. Then showed a photo of exactly what I described. Then concluded by contradicting what I said.

Your photo (that narrowing region is called "necking") is a typical tensile failure, which happens beyond the elastic limit.

Of course the string stretches. This "argument" is not about whether it stretches EVER. Its about whether it is lengthening of the string that causes new strings to go flat right after installation. This argument has been going on for years on AGF and you sort of came in the middle of the conversation.

People are misusing the the "stretch". They really mean the whole system loosens, not the metal stretching plastically. And when referring to the metal stretching they go back and forth by mixing up elastic and plastic deformation.

The reason I argue about this so strongly is that this is one of those typical Internet fallacies. Someone will use the term incorrectly, someone will read it and believe something that is totally wrong. And especially if someone says it (wrong) with conviction, it sounds so convincing. That's why the Internet is the last place to get your information - you can never tell the correct from the bogus.
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Old 11-15-2015, 10:50 PM
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Do a search on this topic on AGF and you will find countless posts and people who scream "heresy" and claim decades of experience convinced them the metal is stretching.

Frustratingly, they scream their belief with conviction (and vitriol) but their beliefs defy the laws of physics, metallurgy, mechanics, engineering and basic science.

I studied a little Anthropology in undergrad school and it was an amazing thing what bogglingly wrong things people fervently believed and no rational logical scientific explanation could change their mind.
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