Posted on August 1, 2022February 2, 2024 by Dale Phillips Questions: String Tension and Purity of Tone Questions: String Tension and Purity of Tone by Alan Carruth Originally published in American Lutherie #99, 2009 See also, Questions: String Tension and Pure Tone by R.M. Mottola Alan Carruth from Newport, New Hampshire writes in response to Pat Bowen’s question in AL#98 about the relationship between string tension and purity of tone: While there is some truth in the equation higher tension=purer tone, it is, as the editor said, not as simple as that. A lot depends on how you get the higher tension. When you pluck a string, it vibrates at a set of different, but related, frequencies. For ideal strings, the kind that you only find in physics books, these frequencies form a harmonic series; each one is an exact whole-number multiple of the lowest (or fundamental) pitch that the string makes. Real strings don’t do this, and that affects the way they sound. Become A Member to Continue Reading This Article This article is part of our premium web content offered to Guild members. To view this and other web articles, join the Guild of American Luthiers. Members also receive 4 annual issues of American Lutherie and get discounts on products. For details, visit the membership page. If you are already a member, login for access or contact us to setup your account.