# How much overtension can I put on a guitar string before it snaps?

In relation to this question

Which strings do I need to play these notes?

I have calculated that I will have to take the highest string upto 150% of the maximum stated Newtons (I have tried calculating D-addario pl007 to pl0095, they all need 150% overtension), and the next string needs 135% overtension.

(All the other strings are around 100% of maximum tension.)

Will this automatically break the strings, or can I buy the strings and see what happens?

Is there an alternative type of string that might handle higher Newtons per linear-mass?

Thank you.

Clarification: it isn't a guitar. It looks ugly but it works.

• Just asking to break not only strings but the instrument as well! Why not search out the equivalent of a "soprano guitar" designed to produce the frequency range of interest? – Carl Witthoft Mar 18 '14 at 20:11
• @CarlWitthoft: You mean, a Ukulele? – User8773 Mar 18 '14 at 20:21
• @David ;-) Tiny Tim returns! – Carl Witthoft Mar 18 '14 at 21:10
• Hmmmm - with your picture edited in, I guess this is a home made instrument? If so, you'll probably be the one to decide whether it can cope with the tension! – Doktor Mayhem Mar 18 '14 at 22:54
• It's quite strong enough, I just don't want to waste money on strings when I should redesign the sides instead. I will recalculate string tensions to see what the new measurements will be. – Windfire Mar 18 '14 at 23:05

## 1 Answer

As Carl said, you may need to rethink your plan. The strings may cope with that much overtension.

The neck of the guitar is quite likely to be catastrophically damaged! Bent, or possibly snapped.

Just use an instrument designed for the higher range, or possibly play much higher up the neck - this may sound sarcastic, but people do make 36 fret guitars, such as the R36 Turbulence from Gary Kramer guitars:

• Not sure how well this translates to an electric guitar, but that far up the fingerboard (and past it) on an acoustic cello, I can get the notes to sound just by touching the string (as you'd normally do to get the harmonic). – Carl Witthoft Mar 18 '14 at 21:34
• Yep - natural harmonics work the same with guitar. And they can give a lovely tonal chime. – Doktor Mayhem Mar 18 '14 at 22:53
• I think I will recalculate and see if I can make the strings shorter. – Windfire Mar 18 '14 at 22:55
• @DrMayhem a guitar neck is much strong than many realise, see my answer here for a basic calculation showing a neck is over 18 times stronger than required: physics.stackexchange.com/questions/94222/… – Fergus Mar 19 '14 at 0:48
• @Fergus also, it's possible to get well over a semitone of pitch bend on a guitar without a tremolo by pushing or pulling on the neck. I saw Adam Bomb doing this in a small venue near where I live. I spoke to him about it and he said it doesn't harm the guitar. I had a little go on mine and it works, but I really don't want to make a habit of it on my precious instrument. – Level River St Mar 19 '14 at 22:04