Gut strings - baby steps

Choice of classical guitar strings and technical issues connected with their use.
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Re: Gut strings - baby steps

Post by larryguitar » Wed May 24, 2017 1:00 pm

RobMacKillop wrote:
Wed May 24, 2017 5:45 am
Indeed, gut is, or was, a living thing, influenced by environmental conditions - add acid rain to the number of contributory factors. I think Mimmo Perufo has written extensively on the history of gut strings.

But gut is not the only thing that has changed. Wood is different, as are we, both physically and psychologically. Guitars are constructed differently, and technique has changed.

I've never believed that what I do is authentic in any historical way, rather I play the way I do because I like the sound of gut and flesh, feeling it has something special about it.
You raise a good point, which is that things change over time and that it is impossible to recreate the conditions under which something was created in the distant past.

All of us start with what we are born with as our base assumption. I read an article about this with regards to the environment. If you could speak with your great-great-great grandfather he would tell you that the trees were bigger back then and that the fish were bigger too, because both were not harvested as quickly. We have a hard time believing that because it's not what we see in the world today.

Rob, your playing is full of joy, as I could see in your duet videos with the Terz guitars. That's enough for me, you play any way you want to. During last week's lesson, my teacher was joking that he was going to sandpaper the finger pads on his left hand so that he could get a quieter sound than that produced by calloused fingertips. ;-)

I like the sound with nails and I like the sound without, I just like the sound of the guitar. I wish nails would grow in overnight, for then I would be able to have it both ways. It strikes me that nails are also dead things, I'm not sure you could ever say they were living, though.

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Re: Gut strings - baby steps

Post by eno » Wed May 24, 2017 2:22 pm

Some time ago I switched from CG to lute and then after a few years switched back to CG but I fell in love with ethereal sound of gut strings (as opposed to nylgut that I never liked). So I played CG with gut stings (and no nails) for a while and was fascinated with the sound, I thought I will never switch to nylon again, but after a year or so I did switch back and now I play on nylon again (with short nails). I'm thinking of putting gut again on one of my guitars but the problem is that when played with nails (even very short ones that I use) they do not sound as good as without nails and they wear out very quickly (while, as Bob rightly said, without nails thay can last for a few months easily).

Another problem is to find a good guitar that would sound right with gut strings. The problem is that you never know until you put the strings on so you can't try a guitar with nylon at a luthier or a store and then decide that you might like it when it is stringed with nylon.
Paulino Bernabe 'India' 2001
Takamine C136S 1976
Masaru Kohno No.6 1967
Mitsuru Tamura No.800 1972
Rokutaro Nakade 1967, 1962

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Re: Gut strings - baby steps

Post by larryguitar » Thu May 25, 2017 10:05 am

Oh boy, help me find that ethereal sound that comes when playing on gut, and I mean that sincerely. Is that sound unavailable to me because I'll be playing with nails? What if I polish to grit 6000? 12000?

By the way, if you want to order eight and ten foot lengths of gut strings, just Google for Bow Brand harp strings and send them a note from the contact page. They'll get back to you right away and ship your strings quickly. Lovely people.

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Re: Gut strings - baby steps

Post by RobMacKillop » Thu May 25, 2017 10:16 am

Hey, Larry, thanks for your nice comments a couple of posts ago. I always enjoy guitar playing, you'd have to be really crazy to keep doing it if you didn't enjoy it. Though, there are moments...

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