Strings... Low-Medium-Hard?

Choice of classical guitar strings and technical issues connected with their use.
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rojarosguitar
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Re:

Post by rojarosguitar » Thu May 18, 2017 8:25 am

John O wrote:
Mon Sep 04, 2006 11:13 pm
My builder (Stenzel) recommeds medium tension, which I followed for a while, but lately I've been using high tension (various brands) with no problems. High tension seems a bit louder to me.
Stenzel recommends medium tension not because high tension would be a problem (his guitars certainly aren't underbuilt) but because the sound of medium tension strings is more nuanceful than that of high tension string.
There simply is no 'one-size-fits-all'-solution to that, one has to find out what suits one's own preferences on a given instrument...

As to the volume perceived by the player that's a tricky one. Your perception of 'louder' doesn't necesserily goes together with that of a distant listener, because that's an issue of projection. But higher tension strings tend to have lower high frequency content relatively to lower frequencies than lower tension strings, and that could negatively influence projection; but again, it all depends on too many factors to be overly generalized.
Music is a big continent with different landscapes and corners. Some of them I do visit frequently, some from time to time and some I know from hearsay only ...

nmshu1
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Re: Strings... Low-Medium-Hard?

Post by nmshu1 » Sat Jun 10, 2017 9:41 pm

Beowulf wrote:
Thu May 18, 2017 1:22 am
nmshu1 wrote:
Wed May 17, 2017 7:08 pm
I totally agree with Julian Bream (not to use high tension strings).

I used various strings from D'Addario, Labella, Augustine, Savarez, Hannabach...
I always try to use the lowest tension strings if possible...
I prefer to D'Addario EXP45, La Bella 2001 medium tension and light tension as well as pure silver green medium tension.

I also prefer to small scale guitars such as 640/630.

The only problem is: can not play very quickly sometimes. At such situation, sometimes I have to use high tension strings for very special repertoire...
It does depend on the action height and the soundboard response of your guitar. Some soundboards are not driven well with low or high tension strings. As well the higher string tension will recover more quickly from a playing impulse and return to "base" more rapidly. This might account for your experience when playing at higher speeds. I have noted the same in my playing.
When you select strings, it depends on 4 things:
1. Your guitar. (To have good sound, some excellent cheaper guitars have to use HT/EHT...like my Córdoba C9s.)
2. Your playing preference.
3. Your playing repertoire. (Some need to play very, very fast, HT/EHT have big advantages.)
4. Your playing time/day. (If you play >4 hours/day, your LH can not afford HT/EHT.)

Here most people use excellent cheaper guitars, it is reasonable that they use HT/EHT strings to keep excellent sound...

To reach 10,000 hrs exercises, it is almost impossible to use HT/EHT for daily exercises...
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630mm
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Re: Strings... Low-Medium-Hard?

Post by 630mm » Wed Jun 14, 2017 7:37 pm

It seems like a lot of folks have mentioned that in their experience, low tension strings lack sonic richness, brightness or power. In my experience, this should not be the case provided that the:

- top can be driven adequately using low tension strings
- action is of a sufficient height to allow enough energy to be put into the strings
- low tension strings are of good quality (I think many try EJ43s due to accessibility, where I think Augustine, La Bella and Galli LTs are superior in brightness and richness)

In my opinion, the fullest sound will usually come through installing the lightest gauge (thinnest) nylon strings that the top stiffness and action will allow.

I often use high tension but it is usually due to a failing of the guitar's setup or responsiveness.
2017 Benito Huipe "Bouchet" Spruce 655mm
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nmshu1
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Re: Strings... Low-Medium-Hard?

Post by nmshu1 » Thu Jun 15, 2017 4:26 am

630mm wrote:
Wed Jun 14, 2017 7:37 pm
It seems like a lot of folks have mentioned that in their experience, low tension strings lack sonic richness, brightness or power. In my experience, this should not be the case provided that the:

- top can be driven adequately using low tension strings
- action is of a sufficient height to allow enough energy to be put into the strings
- low tension strings are of good quality (I think many try EJ43s due to accessibility, where I think Augustine, La Bella and Galli LTs are superior in brightness and richness)

In my opinion, the fullest sound will usually come through installing the lightest gauge (thinnest) nylon strings that the top stiffness and action will allow.

I often use high tension but it is usually due to a failing of the guitar's setup or responsiveness.
Most cheape excellent guitars with low tension strings are lack of sonic richness, brightness...
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630mm
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Re: Strings... Low-Medium-Hard?

Post by 630mm » Fri Jun 16, 2017 2:25 am

I think that most of the cheaper? excellent guitars are probably overbuilt and need HT to get the soundboard moving.
2017 Benito Huipe "Bouchet" Spruce 655mm
2015 Francisco Navarro Concert Cedar 630mm
1977 Yamaha GC-5S Cedar 658mm
1972 Yamaha GC-6D Ezo Spruce 662mm

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Re: Strings... Low-Medium-Hard?

Post by nmshu1 » Fri Jun 16, 2017 8:35 am

630mm wrote:
Fri Jun 16, 2017 2:25 am
I think that most of the cheaper? excellent guitars are probably overbuilt and need HT to get the soundboard moving.
En, most of cheaper excellent guitars like Córdoba C9/C10/C12 need HT/EHT to get the soundboard driven.....easy to make. Extremely responsive soundboard is very difficult and complicated to make...so very expensive...
Otto Vowinkel Concert
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petermc61
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Re: Strings... Low-Medium-Hard?

Post by petermc61 » Fri Jun 16, 2017 9:55 am

nmshu1 wrote:
Fri Jun 16, 2017 8:35 am
630mm wrote:
Fri Jun 16, 2017 2:25 am
I think that most of the cheaper? excellent guitars are probably overbuilt and need HT to get the soundboard moving.
En, most of cheaper excellent guitars like Córdoba C9/C10/C12 need HT/EHT to get the soundboard driven.....easy to make. Extremely responsive soundboard is very difficult and complicated to make...so very expensive...
I don't quite understand why a higher static tension would 'drive the soundboard better'. I thought driving the soundboard related to transferring the vibrational energy of the strings. Perhaps you could explain your thinking.

Thanks
Peter

630mm
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Re: Strings... Low-Medium-Hard?

Post by 630mm » Fri Jun 16, 2017 5:12 pm

When I first get a guitar I'll put on a higher saddle giving me around 5mm on the bass side provided that this doesn't move the string height more than 12-13mm off the top at the bridge. Then I'll shim the nut to give plenty of clearance if needed. Next I'll put on something like Galli LT Nylons which are my baseline strings and play using a range of dynamics and color. Very often, on newer factory guitars the trebles will be pingy, especially the lower tension g and b strings. On these guitars, when I move up in tension, this pingyness and lack of volume improves. If I tune the g up to g# it will also improve the sound. However, the fretted g# at standard tuning would usually still sound pingy and lack volume. On some guitars this may mean going all the way up in tension to an Alliance carbon or even a Seaguar 100lb g. The Seagar 100lb g is something like 60-70% more tension than the g provided in most NT nylon sets. On my vintage guitars, higher end or luthier guitars, I don't have to do this as often and a low tension g and b are often adequate to make a nice, rich sound.

My best guess at what is going on is the treble strings may be losing energy by moving on top of the saddle, or through other vibration in the string that is not efficiently transmitted through the bridge. I think the wound strings and the e are generally less affected due to the silver windings or in the case of the e, the contact pressure at the saddle is greater due to higher tension and smaller string diameter.
2017 Benito Huipe "Bouchet" Spruce 655mm
2015 Francisco Navarro Concert Cedar 630mm
1977 Yamaha GC-5S Cedar 658mm
1972 Yamaha GC-6D Ezo Spruce 662mm

630mm
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Re: Strings... Low-Medium-Hard?

Post by 630mm » Fri Jun 16, 2017 6:05 pm

I imagine the soundboard acting like a spring, with the saddle being one edge of the spring. If the spring rate is too high, the strings will not adequately deflect the spring in an up and down direction when struck. This energy will go elsewhere by moving on top of the saddle, causing the strings to momentarily sweep at a much larger amplitude etc. From guitar to guitar, provided the break angle, string height, string tension, thickness and stiffness, saddle width and or surface polish level are roughly the same, it seems most likely to me that the top stiffness or resistance to up and down movement is the most likely explanation/culprit in this behavior. It also seems to follow that moving the spring toward the optimal working range through applying more downward force at the bridge through string tension would get the top moving resulting in more efficient use of energy in the strings.
2017 Benito Huipe "Bouchet" Spruce 655mm
2015 Francisco Navarro Concert Cedar 630mm
1977 Yamaha GC-5S Cedar 658mm
1972 Yamaha GC-6D Ezo Spruce 662mm

Flapjack
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Re: Strings... Low-Medium-Hard?

Post by Flapjack » Fri Jun 16, 2017 11:34 pm

nmshu1 wrote:
Fri Jun 16, 2017 8:35 am
630mm wrote:
Fri Jun 16, 2017 2:25 am
I think that most of the cheaper? excellent guitars are probably overbuilt and need HT to get the soundboard moving.
En, most of cheaper excellent guitars like Córdoba C9/C10/C12 need HT/EHT to get the soundboard driven.....easy to make. Extremely responsive soundboard is very difficult and complicated to make...so very expensive...
I own a C9 and have tried various tension strings. I am not sure the higher tension strings make the guitar louder. I don't think the higher tension strings I have tried sound better either (obviously a subjective comment). For example, I have tried Savarez 500CJ (HT) and Savarez 500CR (NT) and found the NT set to be just as loud and more colorful/musical sounding (sorry, don't know what words to use) with better vibrato and more sustain. Just my experience/perception...

nmshu1
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Re: Strings... Low-Medium-Hard?

Post by nmshu1 » Sat Jun 17, 2017 2:57 am

Flapjack wrote:
Fri Jun 16, 2017 11:34 pm
nmshu1 wrote:
Fri Jun 16, 2017 8:35 am
630mm wrote:
Fri Jun 16, 2017 2:25 am
I think that most of the cheaper? excellent guitars are probably overbuilt and need HT to get the soundboard moving.
En, most of cheaper excellent guitars like Córdoba C9/C10/C12 need HT/EHT to get the soundboard driven.....easy to make. Extremely responsive soundboard is very difficult and complicated to make...so very expensive...
I own a C9 and have tried various tension strings. I am not sure the higher tension strings make the guitar louder. I don't think the higher tension strings I have tried sound better either (obviously a subjective comment). For example, I have tried Savarez 500CJ (HT) and Savarez 500CR (NT) and found the NT set to be just as loud and more colorful/musical sounding (sorry, don't know what words to use) with better vibrato and more sustain. Just my experience/perception...
About Córdoba C9: It is very good to use Savarez 500 CJ. And 500 CR is very good too because its tension value is still very high compared to D'Addario EJ 45. I tried various kinds of different strings... When you use D'Addario EJ45, you will understand my words...
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nmshu1
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Re: Strings... Low-Medium-Hard?

Post by nmshu1 » Sat Jun 17, 2017 3:03 am

petermc61 wrote:
Fri Jun 16, 2017 9:55 am
nmshu1 wrote:
Fri Jun 16, 2017 8:35 am
630mm wrote:
Fri Jun 16, 2017 2:25 am
I think that most of the cheaper? excellent guitars are probably overbuilt and need HT to get the soundboard moving.
En, most of cheaper excellent guitars like Córdoba C9/C10/C12 need HT/EHT to get the soundboard driven.....easy to make. Extremely responsive soundboard is very difficult and complicated to make...so very expensive...
I don't quite understand why a higher static tension would 'drive the soundboard better'. I thought driving the soundboard related to transferring the vibrational energy of the strings. Perhaps you could explain your thinking.

Thanks
Peter
It is my experience about Córdoba C9 compared to Otto Vowinkel and German V. Rubio... It is not explanation. It is practical results. About Córdoba C9: excellent sound with Savarez 500CJ, poor sound with D'Addario EJ45!
Otto Vowinkel Concert
German V. Rubio Concert

Flapjack
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Re: Strings... Low-Medium-Hard?

Post by Flapjack » Sat Jun 17, 2017 3:27 pm

nmshu1 wrote:
Sat Jun 17, 2017 3:03 am
petermc61 wrote:
Fri Jun 16, 2017 9:55 am
nmshu1 wrote:
Fri Jun 16, 2017 8:35 am


En, most of cheaper excellent guitars like Córdoba C9/C10/C12 need HT/EHT to get the soundboard driven.....easy to make. Extremely responsive soundboard is very difficult and complicated to make...so very expensive...
I don't quite understand why a higher static tension would 'drive the soundboard better'. I thought driving the soundboard related to transferring the vibrational energy of the strings. Perhaps you could explain your thinking.

Thanks
Peter
It is my experience about Córdoba C9 compared to Otto Vowinkel and German V. Rubio... It is not explanation. It is practical results. About Córdoba C9: excellent sound with Savarez 500CJ, poor sound with D'Addario EJ45!
EJ 45 are the next strings I plan to try. I already have them and will put them on when my current strings wear out. I have already tried EJ 44, which are the highest tension pro arte nylon set, and thought they sounded dull compared to the two Savarez sets and La Bella 2001 Hard tension set, which is about the same tension as EJ 45. The La Bella 2001 and Savarez 500CR are my favorites so far (prefer Corum basses to the La Bella 2001 Hard Tension, but like the La Bella 2001 trebles better than the Cristal). The Cristal trebles in both sets sound nice, but the high E string in both the 500CJ and 500CR sets sound a bit cold/thin/pingy to me.

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Re: Strings... Low-Medium-Hard?

Post by petermc61 » Sat Jun 17, 2017 9:51 pm

Flapjack wrote:
Sat Jun 17, 2017 3:27 pm
nmshu1 wrote:
Sat Jun 17, 2017 3:03 am
petermc61 wrote:
Fri Jun 16, 2017 9:55 am


I don't quite understand why a higher static tension would 'drive the soundboard better'. I thought driving the soundboard related to transferring the vibrational energy of the strings. Perhaps you could explain your thinking.

Thanks
Peter
It is my experience about Córdoba C9 compared to Otto Vowinkel and German V. Rubio... It is not explanation. It is practical results. About Córdoba C9: excellent sound with Savarez 500CJ, poor sound with D'Addario EJ45!
EJ 45 are the next strings I plan to try. I already have them and will put them on when my current strings wear out. I have already tried EJ 44, which are the highest tension pro arte nylon set, and thought they sounded dull compared to the two Savarez sets and La Bella 2001 Hard tension set, which is about the same tension as EJ 45. The La Bella 2001 and Savarez 500CR are my favorites so far (prefer Corum basses to the La Bella 2001 Hard Tension, but like the La Bella 2001 trebles better than the Cristal). The Cristal trebles in both sets sound nice, but the high E string in both the 500CJ and 500CR sets sound a bit cold/thin/pingy to me.
If you found EJ44 dull prepare yourself for dull again on EJ45. Augustine, Aranjuez, Mari, Pyramid, Ramirez to name just a few are making far more interesting and musical strings in my view.

Flapjack
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Re: Strings... Low-Medium-Hard?

Post by Flapjack » Sat Jun 17, 2017 10:06 pm

petermc61 wrote:
Sat Jun 17, 2017 9:51 pm
Flapjack wrote:
Sat Jun 17, 2017 3:27 pm
nmshu1 wrote:
Sat Jun 17, 2017 3:03 am


It is my experience about Córdoba C9 compared to Otto Vowinkel and German V. Rubio... It is not explanation. It is practical results. About Córdoba C9: excellent sound with Savarez 500CJ, poor sound with D'Addario EJ45!
EJ 45 are the next strings I plan to try. I already have them and will put them on when my current strings wear out. I have already tried EJ 44, which are the highest tension pro arte nylon set, and thought they sounded dull compared to the two Savarez sets and La Bella 2001 Hard tension set, which is about the same tension as EJ 45. The La Bella 2001 and Savarez 500CR are my favorites so far (prefer Corum basses to the La Bella 2001 Hard Tension, but like the La Bella 2001 trebles better than the Cristal). The Cristal trebles in both sets sound nice, but the high E string in both the 500CJ and 500CR sets sound a bit cold/thin/pingy to me.
If you found EJ44 dull prepare yourself for dull again on EJ45. Augustine, Aranjuez, Mari, Pyramid, Ramirez to name just a few are making far more interesting and musical strings in my view.
Not to worry. I am mentally prepared. :D I thought I needed to try the EJ 45 since so many rave about them. I think I will try an Augustine Imperial Red set after the EJ 45. I am also tempted to try a set of La Bella Extra Hard tension since I liked the trebles so much in the Hard set (same trebles as Extra Hard). The Extra Hard set has higher tension low E and A strings than the Hard set, the rest of the strings are the same. If they provide a bit more punch than the basses on the Hard set they just might meet my needs.

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