Symmetric vs asymmetric bass strings?

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
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ameriken
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Symmetric vs asymmetric bass strings?

Post by ameriken » Sun Feb 11, 2018 4:55 pm

I was searching YT on Aquila strings and flamenco guitarist Ruben Diaz comes up. Then I saw he had a video on 'symmetric vs asymmetric' bass strings...aka reversing the where the E and D are placed on the tuners. Is this a load of crap or something that actually makes sense?

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Michael.N.
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Re: Symmetric vs asymmetric bass strings?

Post by Michael.N. » Sun Feb 11, 2018 6:56 pm

Get that blindfold of his and I'll guarantee you that no one will be able to hear the difference.
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Beowulf
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Re: Symmetric vs asymmetric bass strings?

Post by Beowulf » Sun Feb 11, 2018 7:17 pm

The only change I can see would be in the break angle from the nut to the roller. The E string would have a decreased break angle and the D string an increased break angle. Would that make any difference...perhaps? I do know that when Yamaha developed the GC71 with the advice of Segovia, he recommended a reduced head angle (around 9° similar to his 1937 Hauser). Yamaha implemented this design change on the GC71 and the more recent GC82S. The result was a milder tone. So...perhaps the change to "symmetric" would alter the tonality of the E and D strings. Sounds like an experiment waiting to happen...
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gjo
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Re: Symmetric vs asymmetric bass strings?

Post by gjo » Sun Feb 11, 2018 7:21 pm

Just do as you like.

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ameriken
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Re: Symmetric vs asymmetric bass strings?

Post by ameriken » Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:04 pm

I was wondering if it could have any adverse effects on the neck.
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souldier
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Re: Symmetric vs asymmetric bass strings?

Post by souldier » Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:13 pm

I've heard there is rational in having the thicker strings being longer in the same way that piano strings go from long to short, where as the guitar all the strings are the same length which is supposedly not ideal. Some luthiers try to replicate this by making the frets/bridge at an angle rather than perfectly straight so that the bass side is a slightly longer scale than the treble side. The problem in this video is I don't think it matters how you string the guitar since the length of the string is determined by the nut rather than by which roller you tie the string to.

In any case, I don't know if having these differences in string length would really yield an real difference beyond placebo. Only way to really know is to try yourself, and even then the difference has the substantial enough to be attributed to the change.
ameriken wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:04 pm
I was wondering if it could have any adverse effects on the neck.
There will be zero adverse affects on the neck.
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Michael.N.
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Re: Symmetric vs asymmetric bass strings?

Post by Michael.N. » Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:29 pm

If this was referring to a violin they would call it the after-length, except the after-length on a violin is between the bridge and the tail piece. They are more concerned with the overall length and not the differences between the after-lengths of each individual string. The lengths are all the same. So perhaps we should call it the after-length except ours refers to the string portion that lies between the nut and the roller.
After all that I'm still not convinced it makes one jot of difference.
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Beowulf
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Re: Symmetric vs asymmetric bass strings?

Post by Beowulf » Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:44 pm

ameriken wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:04 pm
I was wondering if it could have any adverse effects on the neck.
Nope...a very slight change change in the tension at the slots of the two rollers involved, but you would get that kind of variation from different sets of bass strings.
1971 Yamaha GC-10 (Hideyuki Ezaki)
2017 Yamaha GC82S (Akio Naniki/Naohiro Kawashima)

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Cloth Ears
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Re: Symmetric vs asymmetric bass strings?

Post by Cloth Ears » Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:48 pm

Do yourself a favour and ignore anything Ruben Diaz says, he was wisely banned from foroflamenco.com

As for your actual question, I offer no opinion.

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Re: Symmetric vs asymmetric bass strings?

Post by Alan Carruth » Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:06 pm

There should not be any change in tension; that's a function of the vibrating length of the string, all else equal, and the afterlength is not part of the sounding length of the string.

It could make some difference in intonation, providing the string slides easily through the nut slot. As you depress the string the tension rises, and the pitch shifts up a bit. The amount the tension rises depends on the material and coonstruction of the string, the distance you push it down, and how long the string is, so the afterlength can come in to that. In theory a longer afterlength would reduce the tension change and give better intonation, or, at least, reduce the needed compensation at the bridge.

Making the vibrating length of the lower strings longer can help, but it's a little roundabout. Back in the Olde Days before overspun strings the onlly way to get a decent low note was to use a long string, and you saw archlutes that were six feet long to get the low drones to work. Then somebody came up with the idea of adding mass to the string to drop the pitch by winding wire around it. When properly done this works pretty well, and the string makers have had a long time to figure out how to get it right. Still, it is uaully better to use the longest string you can for low notes.

An electric guitar maker, Ralph Novax, was thin=ing about another aspect of string behavior, the 'zip tone', when he came up with the idea of 'fannned frets'. He toook out a patent and a trade mark, before somebody pointed out to him that they'd made orpharions like that a few hundred years back. His idea worked in the way he wanted, and it has been copied ever since, although it's often called 'multi-scale' in defference to his trademark. It turns out that the string on the Classical guitar that has a 'zip tone' problem is usually the D string, but changing the after length won't help with that.

In short, it strikes me as a solution looking for a problem.

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guitarrista
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Re: Symmetric vs asymmetric bass strings?

Post by guitarrista » Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:18 pm

souldier wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:13 pm
I've heard there is rational in having the thicker strings being longer in the same way that piano strings go from long to short, where as the guitar all the strings are the same length which is supposedly not ideal.
This feature on a piano is to address a different issue - that of inharmonicity - i.e. deviation of the real string from being perfectly elastic. [Bass] piano strings are much thicker and are made of steel, so pianos have a much bigger problem with stiffness/inharmonicity than classical guitars. On the bass side making the string longer reduces inharmonicity.
Last edited by guitarrista on Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Beowulf
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Re: Symmetric vs asymmetric bass strings?

Post by Beowulf » Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:21 pm

By tension change, I simply meant that the E and D strings have different tensions and that by using "symmetric" stringing, that difference would swap rollers.
1971 Yamaha GC-10 (Hideyuki Ezaki)
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James Lister
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Re: Symmetric vs asymmetric bass strings?

Post by James Lister » Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:09 am

Complete nonsense.
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Beowulf
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Re: Symmetric vs asymmetric bass strings?

Post by Beowulf » Mon Feb 12, 2018 4:09 pm

James Lister wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:09 am
Complete nonsense.
What exactly is "complete nonsense"?
1971 Yamaha GC-10 (Hideyuki Ezaki)
2017 Yamaha GC82S (Akio Naniki/Naohiro Kawashima)

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Re: Symmetric vs asymmetric bass strings?

Post by simonm » Mon Feb 12, 2018 4:31 pm

I think we can all go off and buy lottery tickets …
A unanimous opinion here - it might be a while before we see that again. :lol: :lol:

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