Tuning Hard and Normal Tension Strings

Choice of classical guitar strings and technical issues connected with their use.
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Regulus
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Tuning Hard and Normal Tension Strings

Post by Regulus » Mon Jan 29, 2018 11:02 pm

Hi.

I'm new to the nylon string and have an observation that has me puzzled.
My first nylon string guitar ( a solid top cheapy) had, over the course of our brief association, a set of normal tension Pro Arte and a set of Flamenco Pro Arte strings installed.
I found that after a time the wound strings settled in and would maintain a semblance of tuning, while the nylon strings (1/2/3) needed regular attention.
Now with a new guitar (though I don't think this is the cause) that came strung with a set of Savarez, whose type and model etc., is indeterminate, but whose tension is notably high, I find the reverse. The unwound strings have settled nicely and require only monitoring, and maybe a touch-up, but the wound strings are very flat every time I pick it up.
I have stretched them 3 times by lifting them significantly clear of the fretboard, as I would steel strings on my other guitars when re-stringing, and yet they go on stretching and going flat hour to hour. I have in the past week since purchasing the instrument, played it for around 25 hours, and it's a bit annoying to have it going flat in the bass as I play.
Q: Is this the nature of Savarez strings, or a standard outcome of high tension over normal.
I like the response of the bass strings, but find the unwound strings need a bit of pressure to activate them. They aren't as sensitive to touch as the Pro Arte normals were, and the sustain isn't as good either.
I think I will try a mixed set from Augustine next of High Tension wound, and Normal unwound.
Meanwhile, if someone here can unravel what seems an odd thing to me about the difference I have experienced between the Normal and High tension tuning of these sets, I would be grateful.

Cheers - Trevor

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prawnheed
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Re: Tuning Hard and Normal Tension Strings

Post by prawnheed » Mon Jan 29, 2018 11:40 pm

It might be the strings themselves, but as with any strings the way that you have strung the guitar might be the culprit. Loose windings on the tuning pegs and/or slack in the wraps at the bridge can take a long time to work out.

In general though, nylon strings are much less stable than steel strings and you'll have to get used to tuning as you play.

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ameriken
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Re: Tuning Hard and Normal Tension Strings

Post by ameriken » Mon Jan 29, 2018 11:53 pm

Regulus wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 11:02 pm

Meanwhile, if someone here can unravel what seems an odd thing to me about the difference I have experienced between the Normal and High tension tuning of these sets, I would be grateful.
"unravel"...not a good word to use when discussing strings. :)

But I agree with prawnheed about getting used to it.
Last Pro Arte set I put on was still going flat by the 2nd week. Just takes a while for them to settle in. Even if you watch professionals on youtube or in concert you can often see them tuning up a string or two that went flat in the middle of a piece.

Nature of the beast.
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astro64
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Re: Tuning Hard and Normal Tension Strings

Post by astro64 » Tue Jan 30, 2018 12:20 am

Your Savarez trebles might be Alliance strings which are "carbon" trebles (a clue would be that they are thinner than normal nylon trebles). Those are not temperature sensitive so once stabilized will keep their tuning pretty good. Some basses do seem to settle quicker into stable tuning than others. They will eventually. But in general for nylon string guitar, assume you must tweak the tuning at least once every 15 to 30 min no matter what. And if you pick up the guitar, in the first five minutes the trebles will go out again due to your hands heating them up. Every performer will tune between pieces or at least once every 10 min, they have to.

Rognvald
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Re: Tuning Hard and Normal Tension Strings

Post by Rognvald » Tue Jan 30, 2018 12:28 am

Regulus,
In a multitude of ways, the Classical Guitar is an imperfect instrument: variable string intonation problems, uncertain expansion/contraction of the wood(s), the variability of sound related to humidity issues during performance, the uncertain longevity of strings and the list goes on . . . however, mastery of the instrument is directly related to your own personal journey of discovery and therein lies the magic. Good luck on your journey. Playing again...Rognvald
"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra

soltirefa
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Re: Tuning Hard and Normal Tension Strings

Post by soltirefa » Tue Jan 30, 2018 12:45 am

The difference may be due to the different type of strings. Here's a copy and paste from Greg Byers' website.

I set the intonation for medium to hard tension nylon strings. Savarez Alliance, and Hannabach or Hense "carbons" will be slightly overcompensated with my normal setup, though you may not notice a difference. If you are in love with these strings, let me know in advance and I will make the appropriate adjustments to nut and saddle intonation.

Laudiesdad69
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Re: Tuning Hard and Normal Tension Strings

Post by Laudiesdad69 » Tue Jan 30, 2018 2:31 am

You don’t want to pre stretch your strings like you may have done on a steel string guitar. Nylon strings that are over tuned or stretched by pulling on the strings can stretch unevenly across the length, causing intonation problems. Just tune them up, and keep re tuning them until the strings settle. Even the wound strings in a nylon set can have a nylon core.

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ameriken
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Re: Tuning Hard and Normal Tension Strings

Post by ameriken » Tue Jan 30, 2018 2:48 am

Yet string pulling is exactly how Aquila suggests you install THEIR strings (especially the nylgut)


[media]https://youtu.be/Id4Yaf6QrUE[/media]
Last edited by ameriken on Tue Jan 30, 2018 2:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Lovemyguitar
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Re: Tuning Hard and Normal Tension Strings

Post by Lovemyguitar » Tue Jan 30, 2018 2:57 am

Regulus wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 11:02 pm
...I have stretched them 3 times by lifting them significantly clear of the fretboard, as I would steel strings on my other guitars when re-stringing...

Assuming that you mean that you pull the strings up after you've tied them on, I would not recommend doing this! A classical guitar is much more lightly built than a steel string, and to stretch the strings in this manner while they are attached to the guitar (if that is, in fact, what you are doing), it could greatly increase the tension and put a lot of strain on the bridge/top of the guitar, and you really do not want that.

The best thing to do, right after you've put new strings on, is to tune them up an additional half-step (unless you're playing -- if so, do it when you're finished playing), and over the next 2 or 3 days or so, just tune up that extra half step each time after you've finished playing. They'll settle in fairly quickly that way.

Of course, as others have said, they will always require a bit of tuning, it is just the way it is with nylon strings. Enjoy your guitar!

Lovemyguitar
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Re: Tuning Hard and Normal Tension Strings

Post by Lovemyguitar » Tue Jan 30, 2018 3:08 am

ameriken wrote:
Tue Jan 30, 2018 2:48 am
Yet string pulling is exactly how Aquila suggests you install THEIR strings (especially the nylgut)

Gasp! It pains me to watch him yank on the strings like that. I'd never do that to my guitar!

Bill B
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Re: Tuning Hard and Normal Tension Strings

Post by Bill B » Tue Jan 30, 2018 3:47 am

I stretch them like in the video. never had a problem.
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ElRay
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Re: Tuning Hard and Normal Tension Strings

Post by ElRay » Tue Jan 30, 2018 5:36 am

Lovemyguitar wrote:
Tue Jan 30, 2018 2:57 am
... The best thing to do, right after you've put new strings on, is to tune them up an additional half-step (unless you're playing -- if so, do it when you're finished playing), and over the next 2 or 3 days or so, just tune up that extra half step each time after you've finished playing. ...
I'll add another vote for this method. When I install new strings, it's always "at the end of the day" and I tune them all 1/2 step high. Then, each day, when I'm done, I'll re-tune 1/2-step high and leave it that way overnight. They'll settle in fairly quickly and still be a bit sharp the next day.

The only real disadvantage is that you have to plan ahead and allow ~3 days before any recitals, etc.

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joachim33
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Re: Tuning Hard and Normal Tension Strings

Post by joachim33 » Tue Jan 30, 2018 3:24 pm

Trevor

That doesn't sound normal to me. I have played Savarez strings mostly in the past year, that includes their Corum (500), Cantiga (510) and Classic HT (540) basses. Corum and Cantiga I perceived as reasonably stable, the Classic HT were slightly less so. The Corum and Cantiga typically required a bit of touch up on a daily basis, but not during a 1h to 1.5h practise session. I have issues with the New Cristal trebbles (and to a much smaller externd the Classic HT basses) going up during practise. This seems a reasonably common issue due to the string warming up.

After using the strings for 6 weeks to 3 month, I can notice that the fret marks on the bass strings for 1st and 2nd fret are distributed over a length of a few millimeters - not more than 5 ( about 1/5 inch). That is how much the string stretched over the entire period of several weeks.

I am wondering whether your stings are slipping, though that is way more common and easier to achieve for the trebles than the basses.

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Regulus
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Re: Tuning Hard and Normal Tension Strings

Post by Regulus » Wed Jan 31, 2018 1:54 am

Thank you all for your responses.
It seems that I just have to learn to manage them differently to the way I am accustomed to doing on the steel string guitars.
A point was raised about how the guitar is strung (prawnheed), and I looked again at this. They are the manufacturers own stringing method and seem quite stable. The string is folded back under the first wrap and on the tuning peg so it is secured quite well. I have to learn the technique of stinging these slippery strings too :-)

The idea of tuning high is a good one, and I will be doing that in future rather than using the stretch method I am used to. It's just a little frustrating compared to the steels, where I can bring them to a point of staying tuned withing a few minutes of re-stringing. But, this is the nature of the beast, so...
Just odd to me that it was on the wound side with the Savarez. I do like the 'feel' and sound of these wound strings though, and I will try therm with a normal tension 1/2/3 this week and see how that sounds.
Thanks again for your help in this.
Trevor

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robin loops
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Re: Tuning Hard and Normal Tension Strings

Post by robin loops » Wed Jan 31, 2018 2:17 am

You don't have to yank on the strings. Push with the thumb on one side while pushing with the forefinger (seems weird to use that term here) on the other side of the string. You can apply gentle and controlled pressure this way. It only requires a tiny bit of pressure to assist the string settling in. You don't want to apply anwhere near the same pressure you would on a steel string (as has been mentioned). This also has the advantage of not displacing the string and pulling upwards on the bridge.
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