Comparing strings

Choice of classical guitar strings and technical issues connected with their use.
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Contreras
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Comparing strings

Post by Contreras » Fri Jan 20, 2017 1:16 pm

This seems like an obvious idea :idea: , but it's only just occurred to me ... maybe I'm a bit slow.

It's hard to remember qualia, such as the qualities of a string, and to compare them in one's mind when one has taken one off and put another on. So how about putting them both on at once? Say stringing another G in the D position .... obviously you couldn´t play a regular piece, but you could make a direct and meaningfull comparison.

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souldier
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Re: Comparing strings

Post by souldier » Fri Jan 20, 2017 1:29 pm

Hearing single strings could help distinguish the power, sustain, and tone of strings across different brands but I think the challenge here is that strings make a collective impression and the only way to truly test a string is to play them together in a piece. In the end it is how the strings perform in the actual music, rather than as single notes.
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petermc61
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Re: Comparing strings

Post by petermc61 » Fri Jan 20, 2017 9:42 pm

I could imagine doing that if I wanted to compare two G strings, or maybe two top e. However, I play music to compare strings and this would make it quite hard.

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Michael.N.
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Re: Comparing strings

Post by Michael.N. » Sat Jan 21, 2017 10:15 pm

Contreras wrote:This seems like an obvious idea :idea: , but it's only just occurred to me ... maybe I'm a bit slow.

It's hard to remember qualia, such as the qualities of a string, and to compare them in one's mind when one has taken one off and put another on. So how about putting them both on at once? Say stringing another G in the D position .... obviously you couldn´t play a regular piece, but you could make a direct and meaningfull comparison.

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I've done that a few times. Seems the logical thing to do because the lapse between playing each string is just a second or even less. As a comparison it's as good as you are ever going to get. I've even swapped their positions. It's just a bit time consuming, especially if you wish to compare all 6 strings. I can't say I've ever done that, just the outer E's.
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ashworth
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Re: Comparing strings

Post by ashworth » Sat Jan 21, 2017 10:43 pm

Seems a good idea, if tedious. I remember that in Sharon Isbin's book, she relates comparing high e strings by putting 6 on at once.
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Laudiesdad69
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Re: Comparing strings

Post by Laudiesdad69 » Sat Feb 11, 2017 4:58 am

ashworth wrote:Seems a good idea, if tedious. I remember that in Sharon Isbin's book, she relates comparing high e strings by putting 6 on at once.
Will be meeting her at a local music store on Monday. If I get the chance I will ask her more about this. Should be interesting.

Pede
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Re: Comparing strings

Post by Pede » Sun Mar 26, 2017 5:08 pm

I once put 6 different e strings on my guitar, like Sharon Isbin mentioned.
I doubt it was a good comparison because I thought the strings sounded different on the bas side of the guitar than the treble side. I did switch also. Maybe this is due to the difference in bracingpattern above and under. Could this be possible?
Actually they sounded better on the bass side...
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Beowulf
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Re: Comparing strings

Post by Beowulf » Sun Mar 26, 2017 8:40 pm

Pede wrote:I once put 6 different e strings on my guitar, like Sharon Isbin mentioned.
I doubt it was a good comparison because I thought the strings sounded different on the bas side of the guitar than the treble side. I did switch also. Maybe this is due to the difference in bracingpattern above and under. Could this be possible?
Actually they sounded better on the bass side...
6 e Strings will definitely sound different from bass to treble: bracing structure beneath the string, different action height (saddle shape) and transferring string vibrations to the top at a different position on the soundboard. These variations will also alter the fundamental/harmonics relationship.
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astro64
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Re: Comparing strings

Post by astro64 » Sun Mar 26, 2017 8:59 pm

The biggest difference would be that the string might only play in tune on the actual first string position, if your saddle is compensated individually for each string. Saddle height and resulting torque might play a role too. But the whole top is excited by each string so it is not a given a first string on the 6th string position would sound very different. If you really want to test that, put 6 identical E strings on the instrument and experiment away. Assuming there are no intonation issues.... It would be best to have someone else play the guitar so you don't know which string is being played to avoid any bias in assuming the top E on the bass side will sound different.

es335
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Re: Comparing strings

Post by es335 » Mon Mar 27, 2017 10:08 am

That's probably a reasonable approach to compare tension, feel, playability, intonation and perhaps even the basic sound characteristic to some extend. But as everything is interrelated here, this will give only a very vague idea of how a string will sound in an full string set. :wink:

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georgemarousi
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Re: Comparing strings

Post by georgemarousi » Mon Mar 27, 2017 12:40 pm

+1 to the fact that depending on the bracing of the top of the guitar, usually the bass side has different characteristics ( for example; top's thickness, the bass side splitted bracings, etc ) to better vibrate there for the basses.. so bass sounds better as we approach the low E. :)

What I usually do is to change just a couple of the bass strings and try to feel the difference .. it's also a very good idea to have new strings of all the sets, or the "old vs new" brightness would be confusing.

( same principles when comparing treble strigns, respectively )

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