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String break angle is the angle a string makes where it bends over a nut or a bridge. The string break angle is a factor of bridge height, neck pitch, tailpiece height, action or a combination of these (Siminoff, 122).
Conversely, string tension is the amount of compressive force placed on an instrument from the tailpiece to the peghead.
Total string load is the result of the string tension of all strings. Many string makers (today) provide string tension information for each string when it is tuned to pitch.
String tension should be considered when selecting the guages for a set of strings with the goal of using similar tensions for each string on a fixed bridge instrument.
On a movable-bridge instrument, lighter guages should be selected for strings that rest over posts or feet. Heavier guaged strings are selected to go over spaces or arches to improve the string -to- string balance