4 month old unplayed strings vs brand new strings

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

4 month old unplayed strings vs brand new strings

Post by EvanTaucher » Fri May 18, 2012 3:54 am

Hey guys, so a buddy of mine and I got into a discussion about strings and how their tone deteriorates over time. Obviously, playing the strings wears them down a lot faster, but my question is, What would the tonal difference be between:

Situation #1 : Restring guitar with a fresh pack of strings. Play the guitar for 5 minutes, set it back down in the case and don't play again for 4 months. Pick the guitar back up.
VS.
Situation #2 : Restring guitar with a fresh pack of strings. Play it.

Would the sound be all that different, or would the 4 month old set of strings sound a lot worse despite the fact that they have hardly been played?
Thanks!

User avatar
David Norton
Posts: 3948
Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2008 4:12 pm
Location: Salt Lake City, UT, USA

Re: 4 month old unplayed strings vs brand new strings

Post by David Norton » Fri May 18, 2012 3:58 am

It depends a lot on the humidity. In a dry climate, not much change. In a humid climate, the 4 monthers will likely have deteriorated somewhat.
David Norton
Salt Lake City, UT

EvanTaucher

Re: 4 month old unplayed strings vs brand new strings

Post by EvanTaucher » Fri May 18, 2012 4:03 am

Hmm interesting. Well Florida Humidity will do right? :P.
So even inside of a case you believe there would be significant deterioration in a humid climate?

Tom
Posts: 1352
Joined: Fri Sep 11, 2009 11:40 am

Re: 4 month old unplayed strings vs brand new strings

Post by Tom » Fri May 18, 2012 1:42 pm

I think common sense on Physics tells us that even without playing it, the strings being put on tension after 4 months will deteriorate on quality because of fatigue.

KevinW

Re: 4 month old unplayed strings vs brand new strings

Post by KevinW » Fri May 18, 2012 5:35 pm

Hi Evan,

The treble strings are pretty much inert so should be undamaged and perfectly settled from sitting four months (especially if you were to tune them up a couple times during the period). They would sound much better than freshly stretched trebles. The wound strings, however, would suffer some degree of corrosion from humidity and the moisture/oils left from the 5 min of playing but would also be nicely settled. Overall I think Guitar #1 would sound better.

EvanTaucher

Re: 4 month old unplayed strings vs brand new strings

Post by EvanTaucher » Fri May 18, 2012 11:11 pm

Interesting! Thank you!

sgreen

Re: 4 month old unplayed strings vs brand new strings

Post by sgreen » Mon May 21, 2012 6:13 am

Tom wrote:I think common sense on Physics tells us that even without playing it, the strings being put on tension after 4 months will deteriorate on quality because of fatigue.
It is a good point. However, if say by accident you overshoot by few notes that pitch you are tuning the string too, does this string automatically become damaged? I mean, it is still like new, never been played, yet it should be fatigued like no other.

-sgreen

pvg

Re: 4 month old unplayed strings vs brand new strings

Post by pvg » Tue May 22, 2012 3:38 pm

My reaction to this is, "What does it matter?"
Guitar strings are a cyclic process; ya know, you put them on, you play them, they wear out, and you replace them. They are constantly changing, whether you play them or not.
They're not that expensive and replacing strings periodically is understood from the start- it's just routine maintenance.
I see no point in obsessing over something like this; you can't measure or prove any of it anyway. If your 4 month old unplayed strings sound and feel okay, go ahead and play them. When they wear out replace them... :roll:
pvg

User avatar
dng
Posts: 799
Joined: Fri Oct 01, 2010 11:32 pm
Location: Orange County, Ca.

Re: 4 month old unplayed strings vs brand new strings

Post by dng » Tue May 22, 2012 3:51 pm

I see no point in obsessing over something like this
I agree completely..

BTW, it seems to me the the classical guitar is an instrument that everything can be fussed about.. and the list is a long one...

from the beginning of the construction - choice of wood - going thru bracing style - to scale length - to brand of of strings - to angle of attack of the right hand - nails.. etc etc.. and many more..

I wonder if there is such an instrument that has so much thing to fuss about as a classical guitar... anyone knows?

:D
"Nothing is more beautiful than a guitar, save perhaps two.”
-Frederic Chopin

User avatar
CG-phile
Posts: 631
Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 11:58 pm
Location: Florida, USA

Re: 4 month old unplayed strings vs brand new strings

Post by CG-phile » Fri May 25, 2012 6:59 pm

dng wrote:I wonder if there is such an instrument that has so much thing to fuss about as a classical guitar... anyone knows?
The classical guitar is known to be very temperamental, however, I believe many classical guitarists tend to be every bit as fussy. :D
"Classical guitar... my escape from everyday technocentrism!"

jazztubes

4 month old unplayed strings vs brand new strings

Post by jazztubes » Mon May 28, 2012 1:11 pm

I don't think it's the guitars fault, it's forumitis...too many bored fingers making too many obsessive statements about Angels dancing on pin heads. I see the same thing on car forums, camera forums, audio forums (who arguably are the worst!) and classical organ forums. Now the pipe organ, that is an instrument with a lot more parts to fuss over than our guitars.
Time on forum=lost practice)))

Chimensch

Re: 4 month old unplayed strings vs brand new strings

Post by Chimensch » Mon May 28, 2012 1:50 pm

I think woodwind players obsess about their reeds even more than guitar players obsess about strings. I remember buying boxes of ten reeds for my clarinet just to find two that were usable.

jazztubes

4 month old unplayed strings vs brand new strings

Post by jazztubes » Tue May 29, 2012 2:33 pm

Dude!!! I did that too!!! VanDorens in high school....did you also sight the reeds to look for ones with no large veins? Did you have an end trimmer?)))
Sorry for the diversion. :)
I have a LeBlanc Double L - interested?)))

nmarti31
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Apr 12, 2016 4:09 am

Re: 4 month old unplayed strings vs brand new strings

Post by nmarti31 » Sun Apr 02, 2017 8:27 pm

I know this thread has basically died, but I just want to give my two cents about this.

Essentially, I bought a really nice guitar from a dealer who kept his instruments in proper humidity and in its case (basically just taking good care of his instruments). He put new strings on it and put the guitar up for sale about a year and a half before I bought it, without having played the guitar at all since he changed them. I received the guitar and was hugely disappointed in the sound of the basses. Really dull and thuddy, even though the instrument was really resonant. I changed the strings the next day and couldn't believe the difference. The new strings sounded sooooo much better.

User avatar
Erik Zurcher
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 15160
Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2005 8:38 pm
Location: The Hague, Netherlands

Re: 4 month old unplayed strings vs brand new strings

Post by Erik Zurcher » Sun Apr 02, 2017 8:40 pm

The nylon strings won't deteriorate, but the wound strings will oxidize.
Reedition Domingo Esteso by Conde Hermanos 2004; Kenny Hill, model Barcelona 2001
"While you try to master classical guitar, prepare for a slave's life: the guitar will forever be your master and you its slave".

Return to “Classical Guitar Strings”