A guitar speaks through its strings.
You may lack an amplifier, or the pickups can malfunction.
However, if you have healthy strings, then you can still do wonders with the instrument.
And talking about strings, it is a bit of a surprise how long they are.
So it is worth asking a question: are all of them the exact length?
Strings are the same length when taken out from the package. However, once you install them on the guitar, the length changes due to changes in the saddle and the distance of the tuning pegs.
Now, stick with us!
Discover more about the string’s length and its importance for the instrument.
Are all guitar strings the same length out of the box?
Generally, guitar strings coming out of the package are the same length.
They come from the factory with an equal length, but this balance is affected when you put the strings on the guitar.
Also, length varies according to the string’s model and brand. It is not as if there was a universal length that applies to every string.
Compare different brands, and you’ll notice that the numbers change.
But, all in all, if you buy a six-strings pack, expect them to be initially the same length.
How is string length measured once they are on a guitar?
The string’s length is evaluated from one extreme to the other. More specifically, from the nut to the saddle.
However, measuring them that way means that the string’s length will almost be the same. Except for a minor change due to the bridge saddle, but we’ll talk about it later.
If, on the contrary, you measure the strings from the saddle to the tunning machine, you’ll notice they don’t share the same length at all.
Do strings have different lengths when installed?
As we mentioned, installed strings have different lengths, but you’ll notice it if you measure from the tuning pegs to the saddle.
One last thing to consider is that sometimes, strings need to be cut.
For example, suppose you install the whole set on your guitar. You immediately discover some ‘extra’ parts of the strings dangling from the machine head.
Those extra parts could feel uncomfortable to you, and you’ll need to get rid of them.
In that case, you would logically be reducing the strings’ length too, which would make them different.
Why do bridge saddles adjust string length slightly?
There is a slight change in the length due to an increase in intonation.
Consider that it’s just the length of the string between the saddle and the nut change intonation.
By adjusting the bridge saddle (in order to increase the length of the string), the tension in the string increases accordingly, and so does the pitch of the different notes across the fingerboard.
Also, other changes like the saddle’s height affect the sound. However, they do not interfere with the length.
What would happen if all strings were effectively the same length?
If all strings were the same length, when measuring from the bridge saddle to the nut, not much would happen really.
Probably you would find some slight issues with their intonation across the fretboard.
That’s why most bridges let you adjust saddle position to correct these problems.
However, the real important factor regarding length is the scale length, which ultimately affects string tension, string action, and fret spacing.
If all strings were equal in length, you would still change the sound by adjusting or decreasing the tension, in order to get to the tuning you want to get.
All in all, what plays a major role in sound is the difference in thickness, not length.
If the guitar has six strings with, let’s say, the exact same gauge and thickness in all of them, then that would signify a drastic change in sound.
Hope you have found this information useful.
Now, stop measuring the strings’ length with the tape meter. Instead, go and play with your instrument.
Hello there, my name is Ramiro and I’ve been playing guitar for almost 20 years. I’m obsessed with everything gear-related and I thought it might be worth sharing it. From guitars, pedals, amps, and synths to studio gear and production tips, I hope you find what I post here useful, and I’ll try my best to keep it entertaining also.