Barrios and "steel strings"

Choice of classical guitar strings and technical issues connected with their use.
Posts: 7414
Joined: Sat Jun 27, 2009 10:22 am
Location: Germany, Würzburg. Spain, IB

Barrios and "steel strings"

Post by simonm » Tue Dec 05, 2017 4:37 pm

I was listening to glassy's new Barrios transcription (viewtopic.php?f=117&t=116309) and went off on a tangent.

Many articles about Barrios mention that he used steel strings. I suppose it would be more accurate just to say "metal" strings. It was of course in the pre-nylon days. What were the 1920's "new fangled steel strings " like? Similar to the modern day Dr Thomastik strings?

I have never investigated the history of strings so I am completely ignorant in that respect. The strings must have been lower tension than what we find on modern "steel string" guitars.

Can anyone fill in the details about early "steel strings" on guitars of the Barrios Era?



p.s. My "tangent" also found this book review. ... n-barrios/ The author (Nicola Barker) of the book advises listening to Barrios while reading the book.

Amateur luthier
Posts: 1538
Joined: Fri Jun 19, 2015 1:33 am

Re: Barrios and "steel strings"

Post by MessyTendon » Fri Dec 08, 2017 4:05 pm

Nobody really knows. Scot Trembly posted with uncertainty and he knows his old instruments. He seemed to mention that he played a bit of both.

Now those thomastik strings...I say give them a try because they are fabulous. Taking a seven fan braced classical and making it have the sparkle of a steel string. It's lovely, but if you want a pure classical sound you just won't get any of that.

However if your feeling the urge to do string bends the thomastik will do it unlike nylon.

The thomastik spiro core is a steel/tape wound string...all of the strings are wound, they are pricey, but the manufacturing process is totally different as are the materials. It's like like some other premium brand. It actually is a well respected and premium string of completely different design.

It's my understanding that the John Pearse strings are identical to the more expensive KR sets. Good luck.

In the 1920's the spirocore design didn't exist.

Return to “Classical Guitar Strings”