Strings... Low-Medium-Hard?

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

Post by btb » Tue Apr 11, 2006 2:37 pm

I like hard or extra hard tension.. mostly for the fatter tone they offer and my right hand finds them less "bendy" and more controlled. I have a flamenco style guitar though... not sure if I would still like the harder tension on a classical guitar - a lot of it depends on the guitars own personality.


Post by Lebayer » Tue Apr 11, 2006 6:52 pm

Be guided, in part, by how your hands feel. Also, not all high tension strings are of similar dimension. I used Savarez High Tension on one guitar and quickly changed back because my left hand was sore and swollen. Those strings are stiffer than the J44 D'Addario's, which are listed as Extra Hard Tension. The loss of volume with lower tension strings seemed to be caused partly by the required adjustment in right hand technique. If I strike as hard with med tension (J45 D'Addario) as I do when playing J44's, the sound quality deteriorates and I feel like I'm over-driving the strings.

Personally, I prefer the sound of higher tension strings but ALWAYS protect your left hand!


Post by zk2q7x » Mon Apr 17, 2006 5:55 pm

I'm a beginner so I lack experience with different varieties of strings.

I have a simple question. A lot of you like the hard tension over the normal tension strings because there is more control for RH plucking, and more volume, etc. Would using normal strings and plucking closer to the bridge achieve similar control and/or volume?

I currently use hard tension, but I may try normal for a bit and see how it goes.


Post by mlfly » Mon May 01, 2006 2:40 am

I guess I have to eat a little bit of crow here so pass the mustard. I've been using medium tension for quite a bit of time and put them on my new guitar, which is about 4 months old now. After reading this thread and posting my feelings in early March, I put some hard tension strings on and tried them out. After about a month, I find it time to change strings and so I recently did that again. My wife and others have been asking me why my playing is so much stronger and clearer (their words). Certainly my playing improves each month and my guitar is opening up (Cedar top so it's not a 10 year wait) but even so, I believe the strings are part of the answer. We'll see how I feel down the road but for the moment, I'm keeping hard tension strung up.


Post by dantou » Mon May 01, 2006 8:31 pm

Being a fan for the last two years of high tension strings, I now think that you can be more expressive with normal or medium tension strings. As some other guitarists have said on this thread, I prefer the sweeter tone produced and the greater variations in colour and dynamics.

In my opinion, high tension strings may sound louder to the player but not necesserely to the listener.


Post by island_au_jus » Tue May 02, 2006 3:35 am

I use hard tension or extra hard tension, but I've never even thought of using low or medium. Possibly it's because good strings are so expensive where I am that I am afraid of wasting my money on something that doesn't work for me.


Post by Chrisalchin » Sun May 14, 2006 3:20 am

ive just switched to savarez normal tension, as i got a free set when i bought my yammy. and i have to say to me they feel terrible. the dont tune as easily as hard tension, harmonics are not as pronounced and my guitar genuinly feels slower, i feel restrained now, i cant exceute snappy LH techniques as easily now. barre chords are easier... but so what? how many songs consit souly of prominant barre chords? if i were playing country music or punk music on a cg then definatly normal tension would be the way to go. but strangly enuough i play classical music on my classical guitar and for me its a no go.


Post by Carnbo » Sun May 14, 2006 2:44 pm

This is a theory that I read in an old Classical guitar Mag although it was put in to practice by the author of the article.
Fit a set of normal tension strings.
Tune them up to a tone higher and check the guitar for responsiveness - harmonics etc.
Tune them down up to a tone low and again check how the guitar responds.
Fit high low or normal tension strings according to the best response for example, if the best response was with the strings tuned down then fit low tensions.
The theory says that there is an optimum state of equilibrium between the stiffness and response of the top and the tension in the strings and this is an attempt to find that.
I was lucky in that when I started playing you only got strings no tension varieties so nobody knew they had a problem,
I suppose as a result I have always used normal tension.


Post by Jacob » Sun Jun 04, 2006 4:34 am

Okay this may sound weird, but, I'ved changed my strings about 4 times now for the past 3 and a half weeks or so that I'ved had my 1st ever Classical guitar! I don't throw the previous strings though, I just put them back in the packs. I'ved played steel strings for about 4 years now and I didn't expect the Nylon/Classical guitar relationship to be o soo temperamental!! The first week was D'Addarios Extrahards (silver) and these were very good strings, they have alot of after tones but the bass strings were surprisingly loose & soft for hard tensions and actually rattled for my 3mm action (12th fret). Five days later I put a set of Savarez HT extrahards (silver) and the treble strings were just too stiff, like steel strings almost,but, I like the bass strings. Five to six days later I switched to D'Addarios normal (Gold alloy) and these were just to soft and but I very much liked the bass strings, very deep. Now, 5days later, I put on La Bella extrahard (silver) and these are just right, the bass strings are very tight and responsive and don't rattle for my low action settings and the trebles are very similar to D'Addarios (esp. the after tones given off after plucking).

So, right now, I really like the La Bella and D'Addarios (both on extra hard tension). Both are very similar except for the softer bass strings from D'Addarios for the same gauge type (I'm thinking about combining the La Bella tight sounding bass strings with the very sonurous D'Addarios Trebles strings). But, I have to say that there is really something about D'Addario treble strings, they seem to echo more even after fretting a note. In about a month, I'm gonna try some EXP "composites" (rumored to feel and sound more like gutstrings). Then again, I still have Augustines to try and I can't wait to try Hannabach Golden Treble Carbons. So, it's gonna take a while, this whole Classical-strings stuff is starting to be more of a scientific musical research!LOL!

I know, "I'am" a nerd :shock: , I got these weird researching habits from taking too much Bio-Chem classes in the past! :lol: !


Post by Fingernail » Sun Jun 04, 2006 10:16 am

extra hard silver special from Hannabach, the best strings for my guitar.


Post by beaup » Mon Jun 26, 2006 1:37 pm

I never tried anything but hard tension, but i would guess lower tension are for those with less expereince and weaker hands. Personally i won't use anything less than extra hard tension, as i love to attack the strings and it gives more control. That being said try it for yourself and find out maybe you might like less tension. I remeber i had a similar experience with electric guitar as i had always played with heavy nines or light tens, and then one day i read that malmsteen was using eights, which i had never even seen, so went to music store and they had one pair lol, well lets just say those strings were fun for one day, broke two strings in two hours lol


Post by Chrisalchin » Tue Jun 27, 2006 1:13 am

wow.... im suprised an electric pickup can even detect an 8 guage string... on my strats i run 13-64 guage, and on my les paul jr i use 12-56... i never break strings, they die b4 they break.... my guitar tech has suggested i try piano strings lol...


Post by beaup » Thu Jun 29, 2006 1:02 pm

Yeah chris, If you ever feel like a laugh pick up some eights truly a unique experience, mind you malmsteen plays heavier gauges on low e etc. Wow 13's, your crazy man lol, i can't stand anything more than 10, used to use 11's in my metal days, but these days blue steel 10's get er done for me. If you do pick up eights and you are on a floating tremolo you are going to have to tweak the bridge, which is why my strings broke so fast, because i didn't lol


Re: just changed strings!

Post by angelique » Sun Aug 13, 2006 2:50 pm

dave williamson wrote: By the way, I always save my old treble strings for fishing line! I tie them at the end to stop big fish biting through the line, they are excellent, and the fish don't usually care if they are hard tension medium or whatever.
:P that's a goodie


Post by gorannil » Wed Aug 16, 2006 8:11 am

Alhambra say they use:

Extra High Tension strings
(D’Addario Pro Arte Extra High Tension)

( -->
FAQs -->
Strings -->
Which kind of strings are installed on my guitar?

I suppose they mean Pro Arté EJ44.

My guitar is an Alhambra. And I suspect my strings
soon will wear out.

I like my current strings = Pro Arté EJ44???

But what is the difference between these and Pro Arté EJ46.
Most people seems to use EJ46.

/Goran Sweden

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