Strings... Low-Medium-Hard?

Choice of classical guitar strings and technical issues connected with their use.
Ingy O' Nghan

Strings... Low-Medium-Hard?

Postby Ingy O' Nghan » Thu Sep 15, 2005 5:56 am

I don't know why, but my teachers keep on insisting me to use Hard Tension for strings.

I know they sound full. But I haven't tried Low Tension before. What are they for and what advantages can I get if I use Low or Medium tension? :D


Postby Azalais » Thu Sep 22, 2005 3:05 am

Hmmm this could become a book all by itself!! I'll attempt a little bit of theory, and share the results of some very recent practical experiments that I have been doing... (trying different thickness fishing line on a new baroque guitar I'm building... while I'm waiting for my new gut strings to arrive)

Let me write this up with some examples... I'll post it later...


The simple answer is that your guitar may be a bit stiff (or new), and may also need the extra tension to set the top vibrating to its full potential. Lower tension strings tend to accentuate the bass frequencies, higher tension strings accentuate the clarity of treble frequencies. It may need more treble and/or less bass. For an antique guitar with a thin top, and fragile glue joints, you would probably be safer with low tension strings. Low tension strings sound more mellow (less plinky, more floppy and bassy). They require noticably less finger pressure, but have less clarity and projection.


Postby Marie-Claire » Thu Sep 22, 2005 8:02 am

Hello Ingy O'Nghan

I have two guitars. I use hard tension on one, medium tension on the other. I tried lots of strings on both of them, before I found out which ones were the best both for me and the guitar. I think this choice depends of your guitar, and your playing style.



Postby faben2005 » Thu Sep 22, 2005 11:42 am

i agree its about both guitar and your picking style

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Postby Florentin Tise » Wed Sep 28, 2005 7:13 pm

I prefer mediums or even lights

my left hand is very happy with that

I think the right hand would be happier with hard tension, but it's not going to happen :)

I heard Julian Bream once in an interview in Chicago say that he never uses hard tension strings.

And I know that David Russell used hard tension most of the time.

It is a matter of personal choice.
"It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop."


Postby anathem » Sat Oct 01, 2005 1:39 pm

i use extra hard tension strings they work great for me and help the left hand technique by making your fingers they have a better sound from my point of view than normal tension ones

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Postby hav » Sat Oct 01, 2005 2:00 pm

Assuming your teacher is well experienced - I suggest you just do what (s)he suggests - take it on faith that maybe (s)he knows what (s)he's talking about and just do it. It could well be that the plan is to get your hands in shape more quickly.

You have years to experiment with different strings.


Postby CameronNelson » Fri Oct 07, 2005 5:31 pm

high tension all the way! i've expirimented with medium, but seriously, does anyone really use low tension strings?


Postby anathem » Fri Oct 07, 2005 5:33 pm

is there even such a thing? i've seen medium as the lowest tension..and who would use such strings? what tension would they be per string? anyway..


Postby unforgiven » Sat Oct 08, 2005 5:35 am

My instructor also recommended High tension strings. I only used what came on my guitar for a short time so I'm not sure which is the best for me.


hard or medium tension strings

Postby kevinb » Mon Oct 17, 2005 1:19 pm

I've been using hard tension strings for many years now, mainly because they gave me a lot more volume and a 'fuller' sound. Now I am using amplification on my guitar I thought that I would try the medium again. They are easier to play, especially full bars higher up the neck, but I have lost a lot of volume and a little tone.

Not sure whether I'll replace these with hard or medium next time...


Postby ClassicalGuitar » Mon Oct 17, 2005 5:44 pm

Normal and hard tension 8) (thank god we don't have to deal with gauges as in case of electric guitar :lol: )

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Postby Michael » Tue Oct 18, 2005 11:54 am

ClassicalGuitar wrote:Normal and hard tension 8) (thank god we don't have to deal with gauges as in case of electric guitar :lol: )

Rahul, I agree with you, but I also think that most electric guitars play reasonably well with whatever strings are used, heavy, light, super slinkys, etc.

It depends what electric sound you want.

With classical guitars, I feel that they are different beasties. They can be very temperamental and sensitive to what nylon strings are used.

I am amazed at how bad mine can sound with one manufacturer's high tension strings, and how good with another's.
Yet, it would seem that the strings appear identical in construction.
All the good music has already been written by people with wigs and stuff.
(Frank Zappa)


Postby tesicb » Sat Oct 22, 2005 11:57 pm

I think that it is much more about player's preference.
Usually those who have "weaker" hands use medium, cause you need to get the sound right first, and then think about extracting power and quality.

Paul Penney

Postby Paul Penney » Tue Oct 25, 2005 3:15 am

I prefer hard myself. They allow me to have more control over what im doing.

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