Chinese classical guitar strings??

Choice of classical guitar strings and technical issues connected with their use.
stringsection
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Chinese classical guitar strings??

Post by stringsection » Sat May 06, 2017 11:50 am

I expect there are many forum members who wouldn't even consider fitting Chinese made strings to their instruments and up until a few weeks ago I would be included but ....... at Frankfurt Musikmesse 2017, long established Chinese guitar string maker Alice were selling their latest 'Professional Series' AC138 & AC139 classical guitar strings.
The AC138 have crystal nylon trebles and the AC139 have titanium nylon trebles, both come in either normal or high tension, so four types and all use basses wound with silver plated bronze alloy rather than the more conventional copper. I purchased a set of each at around £6.50 per set (less than half the price of my favorite Savarez ARJ500 strings).
I have fitted and 'played in' a set of the AC139-H (titanium trebles, high tension) to my Juan Hernandez 'Romance' guitar and must say that I am more than pleasantly surprised, in fact amazed! The basses are strong and resonant, not at all muddy and the titanium trebles produce great clarity.
I will report back in due course when I have tried the other sets but first impressions are more than favorable.

Just to re-cap, here are the part numbers:-

AC138-N (normal tension, crystal nylon trebles)
AC138-H (high tension, crystal nylon trebles)
AC139-N (normal tension, titanium nylon trebles)
AC139-H (high tension, titanium nylon trebles)
Last edited by stringsection on Mon May 08, 2017 8:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

Laudiesdad69
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Re: Chinese classical guitar strings??

Post by Laudiesdad69 » Sat May 06, 2017 2:49 pm

I tried the Alice A106 set. They were terrible. Dead on arrival. They were the worst CG strings I have ever tried. They had a wet cardboard sound. The basses were thuddy and the trebles had no projection whatsoever. I was amazed at just how bad these strings sounded, especially since there are so many good Chinese guitars on the market.

simonm
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Re: Chinese classical guitar strings??

Post by simonm » Sat May 06, 2017 9:30 pm

Laudiesdad69 wrote:
Sat May 06, 2017 2:49 pm
I tried the Alice A106 set. They were terrible …
Not really comparing like with like. The A106 can be had for as little as $1.67 a set with free shipping. Whereas even if you buy 10 sets of the AC138 they will set you back $8 per set - more like 10-12 if you get a single set.

@ Ian. Thanks for drawing attention to these. I will have a look at some point.

@ Laudiesdad69 Curiously I might also have a look at the 106 because there are some occasions when really cheap strings can be useful, as for example when doing fretwork which is going to damage the strings.

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petermc61
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Re: Chinese classical guitar strings??

Post by petermc61 » Sat May 06, 2017 11:31 pm

I found a set of AC-109N on the Bay for about US$5/set including delivery. I ordered a set out of curiosity. (The listing actually said 6 sets, but I am presuming that's an error).

stringsection
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Re: Chinese classical guitar strings??

Post by stringsection » Mon May 08, 2017 8:51 am

Laudiesdad69 wrote:
Sat May 06, 2017 2:49 pm
I tried the Alice A106 set. They were terrible. Dead on arrival. They were the worst CG strings I have ever tried. They had a wet cardboard sound. The basses were thuddy and the trebles had no projection whatsoever. I was amazed at just how bad these strings sounded, especially since there are so many good Chinese guitars on the market.
At less than £2.00 a set I wouldn't expect any performance level from Alice A106 strings, so not a fair comparison to the A138 and A139 strings that are four times the price. Try a set of A139-H and discover for yourself just how far Alice have come in competing with established western brands.

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georgemarousi
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Re: Chinese classical guitar strings??

Post by georgemarousi » Mon May 08, 2017 10:13 am

Just ordered a set of:
AC139-N

I am curious .. but have to wait a couple of weeks at least !
I will post my impressions here :D
--Classicals--
Paulino Bernabe Especial 2009
Ramirez 1A 1980
Alhambra Luthier india 2012
Juan Martinez nr 55 (the return @2014)
Yamaha cg 110 (as a kid @88)
--
student again since 2015, to my degree @..? - God bless!

Laudiesdad69
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Re: Chinese classical guitar strings??

Post by Laudiesdad69 » Mon May 08, 2017 10:59 pm

georgemarousi wrote:
Mon May 08, 2017 10:13 am
Just ordered a set of:
AC139-N

I am curious .. but have to wait a couple of weeks at least !
I will post my impressions here :D
Try them on the 1A and see how they sound...and let us know. Apparently the ones that I got are bottom of the barrel and sell for as little as $3.00 a pack (A106) on Fleabay. I didn't buy them, they came (2sets) with a left-handed, 3/4 Chinese classical guitar for my wife to learn on. I tried them as they were free.

nmshu1
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Re: Chinese classical guitar strings??

Post by nmshu1 » Mon May 08, 2017 11:06 pm

I mainly use D'Addario, La Bella, Augustine, Savarez...for my many guitars...
Otto Vowinkel Concert 650, Juan Hernandez Torres 640,
German V. Rubio Concert 635, Kenny Hill Performance 630,
Córdoba C9 650, Sweet Tone 640

Laudiesdad69
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Re: Chinese classical guitar strings??

Post by Laudiesdad69 » Sun May 14, 2017 5:48 am

nmshu1 wrote:
Mon May 08, 2017 11:06 pm
I mainly use D'Addario, La Bella, Augustine, Savarez...for my many guitars...
Yeah your guitars are nice. I wouldn't string up the guitars in your signature block with Alice either. But I am considering trying a set, but am unsure. They are $6.50 a set if you buy 12 sets on the Big River site, but they are $9.49 a set on another site. What concerns me is that they are Bronze wound. If I am not mistaken, bronze is harder than plain ole' copper. I would rather wear out strings than use something that could potentially wear my frets faster.

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petermc61
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Re: Chinese classical guitar strings??

Post by petermc61 » Sun May 14, 2017 6:21 am

Laudiesdad69 wrote:
Sun May 14, 2017 5:48 am
nmshu1 wrote:
Mon May 08, 2017 11:06 pm
I mainly use D'Addario, La Bella, Augustine, Savarez...for my many guitars...
Yeah your guitars are nice. I wouldn't string up the guitars in your signature block with Alice either. But I am considering trying a set, but am unsure. They are $6.50 a set if you buy 12 sets on the Big River site, but they are $9.49 a set on another site. What concerns me is that they are Bronze wound. If I am not mistaken, bronze is harder than plain ole' copper. I would rather wear out strings than use something that could potentially wear my frets faster.
I rather doubt you would be able to discern any difference in fret wear. The Aranjuez Suave LT strings are silver plated phosphor bronze, as are many types of acoustic guitar strings.

Laudiesdad69
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Re: Chinese classical guitar strings??

Post by Laudiesdad69 » Sun May 14, 2017 6:26 am

petermc61 wrote:
Sun May 14, 2017 6:21 am
Laudiesdad69 wrote:
Sun May 14, 2017 5:48 am
nmshu1 wrote:
Mon May 08, 2017 11:06 pm
I mainly use D'Addario, La Bella, Augustine, Savarez...for my many guitars...
Yeah your guitars are nice. I wouldn't string up the guitars in your signature block with Alice either. But I am considering trying a set, but am unsure. They are $6.50 a set if you buy 12 sets on the Big River site, but they are $9.49 a set on another site. What concerns me is that they are Bronze wound. If I am not mistaken, bronze is harder than plain ole' copper. I would rather wear out strings than use something that could potentially wear my frets faster.
I rather doubt you would be able to discern any difference in fret wear. The Aranjuez Suave LT strings are silver plated phosphor bronze, as are many types of acoustic guitar strings.
Good to know Peter. I guess I always thought that just cheaper brands used bronze. Please let us know what you think when you try them.

nmshu1
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Re: Chinese classical guitar strings??

Post by nmshu1 » Sun May 14, 2017 5:33 pm

Laudiesdad69 wrote:
Sun May 14, 2017 5:48 am
nmshu1 wrote:
Mon May 08, 2017 11:06 pm
I mainly use D'Addario, La Bella, Augustine, Savarez...for my many guitars...
Yeah your guitars are nice. I wouldn't string up the guitars in your signature block with Alice either. But I am considering trying a set, but am unsure. They are $6.50 a set if you buy 12 sets on the Big River site, but they are $9.49 a set on another site. What concerns me is that they are Bronze wound. If I am not mistaken, bronze is harder than plain ole' copper. I would rather wear out strings than use something that could potentially wear my frets faster.
To update frets is not a big issue. It can be neglected...
Otto Vowinkel Concert 650, Juan Hernandez Torres 640,
German V. Rubio Concert 635, Kenny Hill Performance 630,
Córdoba C9 650, Sweet Tone 640

Torrescaster
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Re: Chinese classical guitar strings??

Post by Torrescaster » Mon May 22, 2017 5:16 am

Ive been curious about these, but have been so disappointed by the cheap Alice 106 strings, that I've been reluctant to give them a try.

My question is how do these higher end Chinese strings stack up to (say) the more common D'Addario Pro-Arte or Savarez strings? With coated basses and titanium trebles these "should" last longer, but they don't seem much cheaper up front.

Laudiesdad69
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Re: Chinese classical guitar strings??

Post by Laudiesdad69 » Wed May 24, 2017 1:34 am

Torrescaster wrote:
Mon May 22, 2017 5:16 am
Ive been curious about these, but have been so disappointed by the cheap Alice 106 strings, that I've been reluctant to give them a try.

My question is how do these higher end Chinese strings stack up to (say) the more common D'Addario Pro-Arte or Savarez strings? With coated basses and titanium trebles these "should" last longer, but they don't seem much cheaper up front.
I know what you mean. I was so horrified by how bad the Alice 106 were that I have been reluctant to even pony up £6.50 for a set to try them. They got rave reviews from those who have purchased them.
I even had a bad dream about the Alice 106 strings. In the dream I was on a deserted island, with one guitar. A plane flies over and sees me, guitar in tow. The plane returns hours later and drops a crate onto the beach. In the crate are thousands of sets of Alice 106 guitar strings. Thanks pilots. Some steaks would have been nice, even an MRE.
The meaning of the dream? Either I was going to be there a long time, or at least I could re-string everyday and hasten the plane's return. Weird I know.

Torrescaster
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Re: Chinese classical guitar strings??

Post by Torrescaster » Mon May 29, 2017 3:38 pm

Laudiesdad69 wrote:
Wed May 24, 2017 1:34 am
I even had a bad dream about the Alice 106 strings. In the dream I was on a deserted island, with one guitar. A plane flies over and sees me, guitar in tow. The plane returns hours later and drops a crate onto the beach. In the crate are thousands of sets of Alice 106 guitar strings. Thanks pilots. Some steaks would have been nice, even an MRE.
The meaning of the dream? Either I was going to be there a long time, or at least I could re-string everyday and hasten the plane's return. Weird I know.
You could knot together the trebles and use them as fishing line. I'm pretty sure they ARE fishing line, so that wouldn't be a stretch!

Seriously, these are lousy, but at under $2/pack what can you really expect? Its hard to get too worked up over them.

For what its worth the Alice 138s are $9 shipped from that E-auction site, and you can get three packs shipped for $18. That's not bad. The high tension AC-139s run as little as $6.10 shipped. That's cheap enough that sooner or later, I'll probably try a pack. I'd do it now, if I didn't have a bunch of other packs in my queue waiting to try.

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