I'm looking for an accurate method to measure the tension in a guitar string, without using a sonometer setup nor by measuring the frequency.

the current method that I have in mind is to measure the force perpendicular to the string and the string's displacement, and then try to resolve the vectors (the method is explained in more detail here), but I don't think that is an accurate method for a couple of reasons:

  1. we have to consider the uncertainty of the newton meter and the ruler
  2. the propagation of uncertainty when resolving vectors makes the final uncertainty much larger
  3. even after resolving the vectors, we are calculating the tension in the bent string, not the equilibrium position.

are there any other methods I can use to measure the tension more accurately?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You can calculate an error budget for all 3 of those issues. What precision do you require from your measurement? Without expensive equipment, this seems an excellent method. $\endgroup$
    – BowlOfRed
    Commented Aug 7, 2023 at 7:46
  • $\begingroup$ I don't have a specific precision requirement, but the more precise the better I guess... but my main concern is with the third issue. Any tips on how I could calculate the error budget for that? $\endgroup$
    – Kian
    Commented Aug 8, 2023 at 6:52

1 Answer 1


You can also buy a wire tension gauge which slips on over the wire and reads out the tension directly.


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