best strings for a lattice braced smallman style guitar?

Choice of classical guitar strings and technical issues connected with their use.
Mickey_C
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best strings for a lattice braced smallman style guitar?

Post by Mickey_C » Fri Sep 11, 2015 7:39 pm

Can somebody recommend strings for a lattice braced smallman style guitar?

What strings are being used most by the "lattice braced guitar" players?

ChristianSchwengeler
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Re: best strings for a lattice braced smallman style guitar?

Post by ChristianSchwengeler » Sat Sep 12, 2015 9:04 am

If you have this kind of instrument you may try something which softens a bit the rather harsh sound. If you use carbon strings the sound gets even brighter and harsher and this might be too much. Augustine regal with red basses or imperial with the red basses is a good option and cheap - or even the regular Augustin red set. Just my thoughts. For the trebles Regal is the highest tension, imperial a bit lower and the regular are normal. The quality of the trebles of regal is best as it resists well against the nails while the other two get worn out and scratched quicker. Even augustine black regular set may work fine on this instrument, you don't need so much tension as the instrument itself is allready very defined and bright.

Mickey_C
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Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2015 6:58 pm
Location: Sedona, AZ

Re: best strings for a lattice braced smallman style guitar?

Post by Mickey_C » Sat Sep 12, 2015 5:56 pm

ChristianSchwengeler wrote:If you have this kind of instrument you may try something which softens a bit the rather harsh sound. If you use carbon strings the sound gets even brighter and harsher and this might be too much.
Thank you!

I tried what I had on hand yesterday - La Bella 2001 Pro Series, and EJ46C D'Addario Composites.

The La Bella were very harsh sounding on the trebles, being a bright string. They were also very unbalanced - the difference between the B and high E was ridiculous, it jumped from bright guitar to harsh banjo. I couldn't take it, so immediately went to the D'Addario's.

The EJ46C are actually very balanced and while on the bright side they do sound good (not harsh) but the squeaks are pretty bad. After noticing that I searched online, and was surprised to see John Williams made the same comment, and said that's why he uses the EJ46LP (lightly polished composite basses), so I ordered the bass set to try that out.
ChristianSchwengeler wrote:Augustine regal with red basses or imperial with the red basses is a good option and cheap - or even the regular Augustin red set. Just my thoughts. For the trebles Regal is the highest tension, imperial a bit lower and the regular are normal. The quality of the trebles of regal is best as it resists well against the nails while the other two get worn out and scratched quicker. Even augustine black regular set may work fine on this instrument, you don't need so much tension as the instrument itself is allready very defined and bright.
Looking at the Augustine string chart...

Image

Red Imperial is is the medium tension basses and high tension trebles? How does their tension compare to D'Aaddario's designation of Normal/Hard/Extra Hard?

I don't see any polished strings on their site... are they unnecessary with the Augustine (do they squeak less)? I haven't tried their strings for years, though I remember putting the black set on my daughter's student guitar.

ChristianSchwengeler
Luthier
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Location: Lisbon Portugal

Re: best strings for a lattice braced smallman style guitar?

Post by ChristianSchwengeler » Sat Sep 12, 2015 7:39 pm

Mickey_C wrote: Thank you!

I tried what I had on hand yesterday - La Bella 2001 Pro Series, and EJ46C D'Addario Composites.

The La Bella were very harsh sounding on the trebles, being a bright string. They were also very unbalanced - the difference between the B and high E was ridiculous, it jumped from bright guitar to harsh banjo. I couldn't take it, so immediately went to the D'Addario's.

The EJ46C are actually very balanced and while on the bright side they do sound good (not harsh) but the squeaks are pretty bad. After noticing that I searched online, and was surprised to see John Williams made the same comment, and said that's why he uses the EJ46LP (lightly polished composite basses), so I ordered the bass set to try that out.

Image

Red Imperial is is the medium tension basses and high tension trebles? How does their tension compare to D'Aaddario's designation of Normal/Hard/Extra Hard?

I don't see any polished strings on their site... are they unnecessary with the Augustine (do they squeak less)? I haven't tried their strings for years, though I remember putting the black set on my daughter's student guitar.
The Augustine blue basses corresponds to D'Addario extra hard, red Augustine to D'Addario hard, and black Augustine to D'Addario medium.
The regular Augustine trebles are normal tension and nice sounding. You can also try D'Addario EJ45, which is medium/low tension. I think Augustine don't have polished basses. Polished basses are very expensive and I have heard people saying that there is no argument to use them as it feels and sounds just like old strings. A lot of brands have a big tension difference to the first string which can result in unbalance if you have a very resonant instrument. Some brands go up to 11,5 kg for the first which is huge. I guess Augustine black regular or EJ45 D'addario is worth a try on your guitar. The D'addario trebles can have a plastic sound on some instruments but probably not on yours.

Mickey_C
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Re: best strings for a lattice braced smallman style guitar?

Post by Mickey_C » Sat Sep 12, 2015 8:54 pm

ChristianSchwengeler wrote:
The Augustine blue basses corresponds to D'Addario extra hard, red Augustine to D'Addario hard, and black Augustine to D'Addario medium.
The regular Augustine trebles are normal tension and nice sounding. You can also try D'Addario EJ45, which is medium/low tension. I think Augustine don't have polished basses. Polished basses are very expensive and I have heard people saying that there is no argument to use them as it feels and sounds just like old strings. A lot of brands have a big tension difference to the first string which can result in unbalance if you have a very resonant instrument. Some brands go up to 11,5 kg for the first which is huge. I guess Augustine black regular or EJ45 D'addario is worth a try on your guitar. The D'addario trebles can have a plastic sound on some instruments but probably not on yours.
Thanks for the tension comparison - that helps a lot!

Know much about D'Addario trebles? Are they always the same trebles, just different tensions and packed with different bass strings? I see distinctions like "rectified" or "Titanium" and I am completely confused.

I've stuck with Savarez strings for soooooo long because I actually understand their designations, they don't seem to obfuscate that. My only problem with them is the infinite stretch period and the terrible G string intionation problems. That and I think they're overpriced for what they are. However I do seem to end up with the blue alliance on many guitars, despite my misgivings.

IMHO every string set I've tried to date makes some kind of compromise; there aren't any perfect strings. Somebody (smarter than me) needs to throw out the book on guitar strings, re-examine the instrument, and starting from ground zero engineer idealized strings.

ChristianSchwengeler
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Re: best strings for a lattice braced smallman style guitar?

Post by ChristianSchwengeler » Sat Sep 12, 2015 11:21 pm

Mickey_C wrote:
ChristianSchwengeler wrote:
The Augustine blue basses corresponds to D'Addario extra hard, red Augustine to D'Addario hard, and black Augustine to D'Addario medium.
The regular Augustine trebles are normal tension and nice sounding. You can also try D'Addario EJ45, which is medium/low tension. I think Augustine don't have polished basses. Polished basses are very expensive and I have heard people saying that there is no argument to use them as it feels and sounds just like old strings. A lot of brands have a big tension difference to the first string which can result in unbalance if you have a very resonant instrument. Some brands go up to 11,5 kg for the first which is huge. I guess Augustine black regular or EJ45 D'addario is worth a try on your guitar. The D'addario trebles can have a plastic sound on some instruments but probably not on yours.
Thanks for the tension comparison - that helps a lot!

Know much about D'Addario trebles? Are they always the same trebles, just different tensions and packed with different bass strings? I see distinctions like "rectified" or "Titanium" and I am completely confused.

I've stuck with Savarez strings for soooooo long because I actually understand their designations, they don't seem to obfuscate that. My only problem with them is the infinite stretch period and the terrible G string intionation problems. That and I think they're overpriced for what they are. However I do seem to end up with the blue alliance on many guitars, despite my misgivings.

IMHO every string set I've tried to date makes some kind of compromise; there aren't any perfect strings. Somebody (smarter than me) needs to throw out the book on guitar strings, re-examine the instrument, and starting from ground zero engineer idealized strings.
D'Addario trebles have unlike Augustine and as all other brands all different treble tensions for the different sets. There have been threads on the forum about string tension and I will include a link or two. I would really recommend you regular nylon strings for your instrument. Savarez have intonation problems on their carbon trebles. I use Pyramid flurocarbon and they are perfect and less bright than Savarez aliance.

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=90638&hilit=string+tensions
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=90638&hilit=string+tensions

http://daddario.com/upload/tension_chart_13934.pdf

Mickey_C
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Re: best strings for a lattice braced smallman style guitar?

Post by Mickey_C » Tue Sep 15, 2015 5:13 pm

I found out that Navarro ships this guitar with Savarez Cantiga Alliance high tension strings.

ChristianSchwengeler
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Re: best strings for a lattice braced smallman style guitar?

Post by ChristianSchwengeler » Tue Sep 15, 2015 5:46 pm

Mickey_C wrote:I found out that Navarro ships this guitar with Savarez Cantiga Alliance high tension strings.
Ok. These are the carbon high tension strings from Savaraz - about the brightest strings that you can put on a guitar beside steel strings. The term cantiga is refering to the basses only.

Mickey_C
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Re: best strings for a lattice braced smallman style guitar?

Post by Mickey_C » Wed Sep 16, 2015 3:22 pm

ChristianSchwengeler wrote:
Mickey_C wrote:I found out that Navarro ships this guitar with Savarez Cantiga Alliance high tension strings.
Ok. These are the carbon high tension strings from Savaraz - about the brightest strings that you can put on a guitar beside steel strings. The term cantiga is refering to the basses only.
I tried the alliance high tension trebles - and actually they are not all pingy and harsh like the la bella medium tension trebles nor do they exhibit the plastic overtones like the d'addario trebles; they sound good, definitely usable. They are still a bit on the bright side, and they are a little-bit thin, but they do have good tone, so I at least have a starting point that works. I could live with this tone (in fact good enough that I played the Navarro smallman this time until the wee morning, instead of the Cervantes rodriguez). I am not having intonation issues with the trebles, another issue I was having with the d'addario G.

The trebles balance good with the D'Addario composite basses. The basses are just a little brash sounding. I am guessing the cantiga basses are not that much different. I'd like to try lower tension overall, but I worry about buzzing and diminished projection. TBH I am glad to be on a stringset that at least works. If I could have anything it would be a fuller tone.

So as it sounds now, the first acceptable set I've discovered is the D'addario hard tension composite (unpolished) basses with the Savarez Alliance high tension trebles.

Since I couldn't find the cantiga locally I got the Savarez alliance HT, and I'll try the basses from that set next, though I expect them to be muddy on this guitar.

Mickey_C
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Re: best strings for a lattice braced smallman style guitar?

Post by Mickey_C » Sun Sep 20, 2015 5:37 am

I got the cantiga alliance red today in the mail, and put them on the navarro smallman. It sounds great, I am really digging it, now. I played it pretty much all day. I think this setup will last me a long time...

6strings

Re: best strings for a lattice braced smallman style guitar?

Post by 6strings » Sun Oct 11, 2015 10:49 pm

On my Van Löben Sells lattice I have been using Daddarios j45s - plain standard nylons, and I am still amazed how beutifull and even that thing sounds. Despite that I am lately got more into hard core fan-braces spanish guitars, I still love that little guitar. I get really thick and beautifull trebles out of those strings in my opinion so I have always come back to vanilla j45s :).

AlanK

Re: best strings for a lattice braced smallman style guitar?

Post by AlanK » Thu Oct 15, 2015 9:31 am

Hi mickey_C,
I have had a Philp (1990) that has been played by me for a couple of decades as well as fairly regularly by a friend who is a concert performer. (Eugene Philp made Smallman style guitars under Greg Smallman's tutelage until Eugene's premature death in the late nineties). Eugene always recommended the D'Addario J45 (medium tension) strings - he advised against high tension since it could compromise the very thin top of Smallman type lattice braced guitars. The J45 produces a good balanced sound. I did try the Savarez Alliance - the basses were ok for a couple of weeks but seemed to go dead after that. However, I found the Alliance trebles to be rather thin sounding and lacking in sustain compared to the J45's. More recently, I have put a set of Alliance Corum onto the guitar and have been pretty impressed with the sound, as well as the lasting quality of the basses - they seem to hold their tone and depth much longer than the Alliance basses. My concert performing friend now uses the Corum exclusively on the Philp.
Hope this helps.
Cheers,
Alan

6strings

Re: best strings for a lattice braced smallman style guitar?

Post by 6strings » Wed Oct 21, 2015 4:21 am

I use Corum basses on my Ramirez and I am quite amazed with quality. They sound is quite sharp and steady almost as one could step on them, but ramirez is different kind of beast than a lattice guitar. I don't use them on lattice for somae issue as Alan mentions - the top is so very thin, but I might give it a try once.

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David Schramm
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Re: best strings for a lattice braced smallman style guitar?

Post by David Schramm » Wed Jan 11, 2017 1:00 am

I prefer D'Addario Normal tension J45 on my lattice guitars. I build my lattice guitars in the same style as Smallman. BTW Eugene and I were friends and shared ideas on lattice construction.

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David Schramm

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