Having your guitar strings tightened just right is critical to the tuning of your guitar. But how tight should guitar strings be? Can you over tighten, under tighten?
The answer isn’t as complex as you might think. Guitar strings will only come into tune when they are tightened to the correct amount.
In the guitar world we call this “string tension”. The tension of the strings is a precise measurement the manufacturer uses to ensure every string works as it should.
Most guitar strings will need between 130 and 190 in/lbs of tension. More easily put, just use a tuner and the string should fall into its correct tension once it hits it tune.
If you’re putting new strings on your guitar, or your strings are loose, you can slowly tighten them until they begin to produce a note.
Once you have enough tension for a note, start using a tuner to get it just right.
Sometimes strings can break even when they aren’t over stretched, or have too much tension.
Strings are just metal, and over time they can weaken and snap.
Some guitarists even overstretch their new strings to ensure they don’t need to continually tune during the first few jam sessions.
You can often find the correct tightness (or tension) for your exact make and model of guitar strings on the pack itself.
If it isn’t on the pack, or if you no longer have the pack the string came in, you can google it and you should be able to find your exact strings online somewhere, with a tension chart.
Otherwise, a general tension guide like the ones here will suffice, as you can’t go too wrong with this.
When talking about guitar string tension or tightness, you can really dive deep.
There are many guitarists that like to play around with tension and odd varieties of strings in order to get a certain effect or feel.
By and large, for the beginner, or average player, all you need to worry about is tightening your strings with a tuner, and you’ll hit the correct tension.
Tension is an interesting topic to look at, yes, but the average guitarist probably doesn’t know much about it, nor do they need to.
If you’re wondering how tight should guitar strings be, the answer is tight enough that it comes into tune.
If you want to geek out over tension here’s a video to get you started!