The classical guitar is one of the oldest stringed instruments, which is highly popular to this day. The traditional sound of a classical guitar is familiar to everyone: despite the rich history of making such guitars, today the spectrum of their sound is quite narrow due to the conservative views of classical guitar music and flamenco performers.
However, one of the elements still allows you to change the sound of such an instrument - today there are hundreds of types of strings for classical guitar on the market, each of which has its own unique characteristics. This article will help you figure out which classical guitar strings are best for certain styles and techniques.
The most important thing is to decide on the type of strings. Most musicians are still absolutely convinced that only nylon strings can be used on classical instruments. However, this is far from the case: the possibilities for experimenting with sound on classical guitars are much wider. But first things first.
Gut strings were among the first in the history of guitar music to be produced - they were widespread at the dawn of classical guitar production and were made mainly from the intestinal fibers of animals, most often sheep. By the way, such strings are quite popular today, but mainly among famous musicians and lovers of the classical conservative approach to music. Distinctive features of intestinal strings are their not very pleasant smell and very low resistance to wear. These strings are usually very expensive and are available only to well-known concert musicians, who usually use them once, then take them off and throw them away.
Synthetic (nylon) strings became widespread in the early 40s of the last century thanks to the engineers at Augustine. They appeared as a result of the rapid development of the chemical and medical industry during the Second World War: for many years large industrial countries have been looking for an opportunity to produce the cheapest and most affordable materials for medical and other areas. One of these materials is nylon thread.
Three thin strings represent a monolithic line, and three bass strings are a plexus of several monolithic ones, which is covered with a metal winding. Usually, copper wire acts as a winding, which goes through the silvering process. Contrary to popular rumors, silvered strings do not sound differently from traditional strings. Plating with silver allows you to achieve a more attractive appearance of the strings, as well as protect the musician's fingers from staining after contact with the copper winding. Copper winding is the softest and cheapest, more wear-resistant and expensive options: nickel silver (an alloy of copper, nickel and zinc), phosphor bronze and brass. These alloys make the strings more resistant to mechanical stress and corrosion, while making the instrument sound softer and smoother.
Reinforced (carbon) nylon strings - were invented in the 90s by Japanese engineers. Of course, this modified nylon alloy has nothing to do with carbon - however, it does have a higher density - about 1.4 times higher than standard nylon. These properties allow manufacturers to produce thinner strings at the same string tension and weight.
Carbon strings for classical guitar sound brighter and more energetic, but they also cost a little more. The lifespan of carbon strings is not much higher compared to classic nylon strings.
Syntal strings for classical guitar are an innovative development, the advantages of which are the combination of the positive properties of steel and synthetic fibers (synthal = synthetics + steel). Soft to the touch, bright enough to sound, wear out a little slower than traditional nylon kits.
Performers who play classical guitars often pay attention not to the gauge of the strings, but to their tension. Today the following tension classification is used:
Usually, the tension should be chosen based on subjective preference, but it should be borne in mind that higher tension usually produces a louder and more powerful sound.
The history of the production of strings for classical guitar goes back more than one hundred years. And some of the brands presented in our online store have existed since the time when this tool was just beginning to become popular. When choosing quality carbon and nylon strings, we recommend you pay attention to the products of brands such as Savarez, La Bella, D'Addario, Augustine, Hannabach, Thomastik, etc.
Still have questions? Contact us in any convenient way and get a free consultation before buying strings for classical guitar. We have been in the music market for almost 10 years and can easily find the best set of strings for you!