My Own Guitar String Diary

Choice of classical guitar strings and technical issues connected with their use.
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Oleo
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My Own Guitar String Diary

Post by Oleo » Wed Sep 26, 2018 9:14 am

Following the idea of ​​the user Cristopher Langley here:

I've decided to also make a small diary with the string tests that I've been doing, in case they can help and guide someone.

The tests are oriented towards flamenco guitars, although I don't play strictly flamenco, but rather an evolution of the gallant style mixed with flamenco, the typical folkloric style of Spain and other jazz and classical tendencies.

It all started with a topic here, asking for concrete advice. I also want to thank everyone who helped me, especially petermc61, who has been especially successful in his suggestions. This is my small way of showing my gratitude, describing in detail the results of the successive tests I've been doing since then.

Prologue:

I had tried D'Addario strings and later Savarez 520R, which I liked and had used for some time... But a new 660mm scale "Flamenca Negra" guitar had made me rethink about the strings... That guitar came with Knobloch Strings Double Silver Nylon QZ 450KAQ, and I had no other previous reference for that guitar.

-----

First, I made an orderly summary of the tests I had already described:

HANNABACH 825MT "Pure Gold"

The 1st set that I tested is a Hannabach 825mt - which I ordered by mistake instead of 815mt -, on a 660mm Brazilian Rosewood & Spruce "flamenca negra".

Verdict:

- I'm really impressed with this set: Trebles are sweet and expressive, basses are warm and beautiful. I find the set excellently balanced, with a soft and elegant "dark mood".

The feel (touch) is excellent as well as extremely pleasant & comfortable to play: The distribution of tension and thickness of the strings is fabulous.

Later ** UPDATE of the Hannabach 825MT "Pure Gold" set review:

After the first few days, the sound of the strings has settled on the guitar even more. I've been making some recordings and the result is excellent.


LA BELLA 900-B on a "flamenca blanca" guitar (cypress & spruce), 650mm

Trebles are correct: nothing special, but nothing wrong. They are a bit wide for my taste, but they combine properly with basses.

- These polished basses are interesting; they remind me the strings of an electric bass... That kind of sonority and "touch". They are warm.

These basses don't make noises and are very comfortable to play, defining notes very well... But they aren't the most suitable ones for flamenco, IMO. They lack something in rasgueados, alzapúa or with the typical flamenco thumb technique... It is missing that little "quejido" of the strings, something characteristic of flamenco sound and interpretation. I don't like it being too present, but always a little.

However, the set seems interesting to me for jazzy passages, for example. So I'll leave this set on another guitar for this purpose... But not on this one.

***Update: I have only found this set useful in a Yamaha "Silent Guitar" with piezo-electric system, because polished basses are almost indispensable in this case.

------

AQUILA ALABASTRO 19C on a "flamenca blanca" guitar (cypress & spruce), 650mm


These strings have pleasantly surprised me. Definitely, they are different... And at the same time, they have a feel very similar to rectified nylon, simply better (without unwanted noises).


The strings fit quickly: Shortly after putting them on, and my guitar was already shining. They produce a beautiful clear and bright sound, in no case overbright. The dynamic response is fine and the set is very well balanced.


So, I'm really enjoying the Aquila Alabastro set; these are excellent and totally recommended strings, and they have a lot of personality. (...)

Wonderful Strings. "

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Oleo
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Re: My Own Guitar String Diary

Post by Oleo » Wed Sep 26, 2018 9:16 am

Now, I continue describing the following tests:


SAVAREZ NEW CRISTAL CANTIGA HIGH TENSION 510CJ on a 650mm "Flamenca Blanca" (cypress + spruce).


I enjoyed the Cantiga Basses (more on this later), but not the trebles: Too "bright" for my taste.

The strings are somewhat tight, but comfortable to play..

Projection & Final Score: Well... Bright sound.... It's not what I'm looking for, nor according to my taste; Usually I prefer nylons for its expressiveness, but in this case, I'm left with Savarez carbons (more on this later).


KNOBLOCH STRINGS DOUBLE SILVER NYLON QZ 450KAQ on a 650mm "Flamenca Blanca" (cypress + spruce).

I had another set and decided to give them another chance, so I put them in the "Flamenca Blanca" and now I know that I didn't like anything...

- Sound: I would describe it as "just bright without body, neither definition nor elegance"; an unbalanced, oozing mess of brilliance.

- Projection & Action: I didn't like anything. The strings were very uncomfortable for me; without bass projection - coupled with low volume - I had to play too loud and completely lost the dynamic range.

In addition to having to play hard, the strings sounded more and more bright, with less body.


In all respects, I prefer the previous strings Savarez 510CJ (which I really didn't like) to these Knobloch Strings.


(To be continued...)

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petermc61
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Re: My Own Guitar String Diary

Post by petermc61 » Wed Sep 26, 2018 12:39 pm

Glad to be of assistance.

I hope I haven’t passed on my string obsession to you.

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Christopher Langley
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Re: My Own Guitar String Diary

Post by Christopher Langley » Wed Sep 26, 2018 2:32 pm

Welcome to the madness. Haha!

Wait until you start second guessing your impressions. Haha.
Cordoba CP110: RC Recital RL50 MT: Flesh

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Oleo
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Re: My Own Guitar String Diary

Post by Oleo » Thu Sep 27, 2018 9:55 am

petermc61 wrote:
Wed Sep 26, 2018 12:39 pm
Glad to be of assistance.

I hope I haven’t passed on my string obsession to you.
Hahaha.... Nooooo... :D I think..! (...) Well... Maybe..??? :chaud:
Christopher Langley wrote:
Wed Sep 26, 2018 2:32 pm
Welcome to the madness. Haha!

Wait until you start second guessing your impressions. Haha.
Haha ... Now it seems unthinkable that I've been using the same set of strings (Savarez 520R) for so many years! :shock:

Greetings,

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Oleo
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Re: My Own Guitar String Diary

Post by Oleo » Thu Sep 27, 2018 9:59 am

AUGUSTINE CLASSIC BLUE on another 650mm "Flamenca Blanca" (cypress + spruce).

Well I wanted to reinforce the "bass body" on this guitar, so I decided to mount a set with more tension in basses than in trebles.

* The truth is that these strings impressed me ... Finally, the true and genuine sound that I had in my head!

- Basses: Excellent sound and projection. In addition, they maintain their expressiveness in a wide dynamic range, despite being hard tension strings.

- Trebles: What to say? For me, this is "the real thing": All you expect from a great "traditional" nylon, is here.

Fabulous Strings. I'll try more combinations, like Red Basses and Imperial Trebles.

- AND I have to say that I think the way to choose Augustine Strings is excellent: All possible combinations in preconfigured sets...

That is truly great!

(To be continued...)

oc chuck
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Re: My Own Guitar String Diary

Post by oc chuck » Thu Sep 27, 2018 5:53 pm

Excellent thread, it's like a cliffhanger, I can't wait to see
what comes next....

I've long settled on a few different strings, but with all the new strings
over the past 10 years or so, I may start again. :shock:

Saving notes is a great idea.

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Oleo
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Re: My Own Guitar String Diary

Post by Oleo » Sun Sep 30, 2018 6:09 am

oc chuck wrote:
Thu Sep 27, 2018 5:53 pm
Excellent thread, it's like a cliffhanger, I can't wait to see
what comes next....

I've long settled on a few different strings, but with all the new strings
over the past 10 years or so, I may start again. :shock:

Saving notes is a great idea.

Thanks, I'm glad you like it. :D

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Oleo
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Re: My Own Guitar String Diary

Post by Oleo » Sun Sep 30, 2018 6:55 am

HANNABACH GOLDIN 725 MHT on a 650mm "Flamenca Blanca" (cypress + spruce).


Encouraged by the excellent result of the Hannabach 825MT strings, I wanted to do an experiment that was in my head:

One of my flamenco guitars - a "white" one - is quite bright, with a very nice tone in trebles/mid-trebles. I thought that, instead of reinforcing it in basses, I could enhance the timbre and sustain in trebles, and use that kind of sound wich can be ideal for certain things.

So, I mount the string set and this is the result:

- As a first impression, the tension is the strings is remarkable. However, I found them very comfortable to play. They project well, with greater sustain in trebles; I could verify with this set that carbon strings is a step in the right direction for what I want to achieve with this guitar.

BUT the truth is that these strings have disappointed me... Firstly, in the sound: "Opaque" and "dull" are adjectives that come to mind (for strings with a mid-bright dominant tone).

Second and especially: Due to serious intonation problems in the fourth string... Serious enough to be unusable (you can't play with something that sounds out of tune from the eighth fret).

I want to believe that it's an isolated case, a strange mistake ... But even so, I don't find it acceptable for a string set that cost 30€. In no case.

Also, taking into account that there are cheaper carbon strings IMO probably quite better in all aspects (more on this later)... And without intonation problems.

Therefore, highly disappointing strings. With the excellence of it's 825 MT "Pure Gold" set, I expected much more from Hannabach with this one.

*Read the update with another guitar later.

(To be continued).
Last edited by Oleo on Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Oleo
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Re: My Own Guitar String Diary

Post by Oleo » Wed Oct 03, 2018 9:08 pm

SAVAREZ ALLIANCE CANTIGA HIGH TENSION 510AJ on a 650mm "Flamenca Blanca" (cypress + spruce).

I have to say that I've always been skeptical about these Alliance strings: They are often described as very bright, loud, thin and stiff ... Qualities that have never interested me, really.

On the other hand, I know that they also have great success and popularity among a lot of concert guitarists ... And now I know why.

... Not to walk with half measures, I decided to start as we say here in Spain: "por la brava" (translation would be, approximately: "like a brave!"): directly with hard tension. :mrgreen:

My impressions:

- First, after tuning the strings and playing a couple of chords, I was surprised by the enormous amount of projection and sound.

As a curiosity, my wife came to the room and asked me about those strings ... And I change strings and guitars constantly and she doesn't even notice. TBH, I have to say that the overall sound improvement over the previous string set (Hannabach Goldin 725) was no less than huge.

In addition to the projection and volume, I was surprised by the timbre, body and sustain of the sound: What can I say? Well... This set really works like a charm.

... Now we can analyze other aspects of these strings, tastes, even sensations... But there is no doubt that they're very, very good. Among the best. IMHO, these Alliance strings are the true success of Savarez (New Crystal ones are nothing remarkable), talking about trebles.

More impressions:

Being high tension strings, I am very surprised by the great dynamic range and possible nuances... Yes, the tension is a bit high, but I can play comfortably and fluidly. It's also true that my hands are quite strong.

Alliance strings enhance resonance, sustain and harmonics of trebles, but in a nice and natural way. The balance with Cantigas (which also provide a considerable body on bass) is perfect.

Conclusions:

When you select a string set, IMO you can basically aim at two targets:

1. Mellow, sweet, deep, expressive tone... And all the other desirable properties.
2. Vivid, bright, rich, expansive tone... And everything else.


This set is clearly "type 2", and even thought I prefer "type 1", these strings are really good and seductive... Especially, if they make good synergy with your guitar. Well, I think a Flamenco "blanca" guitar makes an excellent pair with this set.

The best thing about having several guitars, is that you can achieve different sounds wich each of them; so this one stays with these strings.

Now, I will try the other tensions (510 AR, 510 ARJ) to use what works best with this guitar.

(To be continued...)
Last edited by Oleo on Sun Oct 21, 2018 3:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Oleo
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Re: My Own Guitar String Diary

Post by Oleo » Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:01 am

HANNABACH GOLDIN 725 MHT on another 650mm "Flamenca Blanca" (cypress + spruce).

When I bought the Hannabach Goldin 725 set, I ordered two units, so I had one more to try. I installed the strings on another guitar and this is the result:

The first and most important thing is that the intonation on all the strings is correct, as it should be. Good.

This guitar has a completely different sound to the other one (well, for a flamenco guitar...), and I 've also verified that on it, these strings perform better: Bright and clean-like-piano sound, without that feeling of opacity - on certain frequencies - as happened with the other guitar. Here the tension is harder and although I can play perfectly, it seems a bit inappropriate for rasgueados (because the sound is too aggressive for my taste). Now, this guitar resonates in mid-trebles with a very bright character, but it's fine.

Conclusions:

As we know, the strings offer different - although generally similar - results on different guitars. In this case, the effect is remarkable.

The "white" flamencas guitars are designed to have fast attack and vivid brightness, so this type of strings (fluorocarbon) suits them well.

Speaking of carbons, I consider the Savarez Alliance strings better in all aspects than the Goldins, but for specific cases this Hannabach set can be chosen.

On the other hand, I mainly prefer nylon strings, especially for a "black" flamenca guitar or a classical one.

(To be continued...)

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Oleo
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Re: My Own Guitar String Diary

Post by Oleo » Wed Nov 21, 2018 10:13 pm

SAVAREZ ALLIANCE CANTIGA PREMIUM MIXED TENSION 510ARJP on a 660mm Flamenca Negra Guitar (Brazilian Rosewood + Spruce)

As soon as I had the chance, I wanted to try the new Savarez Cantiga Premium basses. So I did it, with Alliance trebles.

I got the 510ARJP set (mixed tensión) to replace the Hannabach Pure Gold 525 MT.

Certainly, I had enough reasons to choose a mixed tension set:

1 - Cantiga Premium Hard Tension Basses are around +/- 7 kg. of tension, exactly like Hannabach 525 MT ones. I feel comfortable with that tension.

2 - Red Alliance trebles (Normal Tension) already have higher tension than Savarez New Cristal Hard Tension strings. Some numbers:

- Red Alliance E string has practically 8 kg. , which in a long scale guitar (660mm) increases even more.
- B and G strings have almost 6 kg. It's a bit loose, but fluorocarbon has a higher dynamic range than nylon, so it should not be a problem, and the average tension of the set is balanced.

3 - Fluorocarbon strings are brighter than nylon ones; reducing the tension of the trebles, should reduce it's proportion in the resulting sound mix.

The test:

- Red Alliance trebles are really comfortable to play. For my taste a little loose, but they have an excellent dynamic range, from the softest nuances to fortissimo notes:

- Nylon strings collapse with the highest intensities, producing a characteristic sound that annoys me... And that forces me to never play too loud any note. That doesn't happen with fluorocarbon strings.


I really like the sound of the mixed set in my "Black" flamenco guitar ... And now it's where the new Cantiga Premium strings come into play: I have to say that I find them especially balanced for Alliance trebles; the combination sounds really powerful ... At least in a serious flamenco guitar.

These new basses look like Cantiga strings ... But they are different, they have a different feel and they sound different. They are warmer, richer and easier to play.

The durability seems to be excellent: I have had them for almost a month and they look and sound new.

Compared with the Hannabach 825MT Pure Gold Basses, Cantiga Premium strings have more body and at the same time they are more soft and brighter.

Hannabach 825MT basses sound warmer and vintage; they really defend themselves well against such new strings, but their sound is completely different.

Conclusions:

I really liked this set and I'm going to use it in the future, without a doubt. I find these new Savarez basses a real improvement over Cantiga ones,
and a perfect combination with Alliance trebles:

- When I need a more modern, lively, agile and dynamic tone, I will use these strings.

... And for the most lyrical pieces, I will continue with Hannabach 825MT Pure Gold.

Dave Stott
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Re: My Own Guitar String Diary

Post by Dave Stott » Wed Nov 21, 2018 11:11 pm

I'm really interested in trying the new Premium strings, Especially if the bass strings last longer. I'm not a fan of high tension strings, but I love the Cantiga Normal bass strings on my spruce & rosewood guitars.

One issue with the Alliance treble strings that I've experienced is that the 1st string tends to be a bit "pingy" sounding on my guitars. My recent pairing has been Cantiga normal Bass with Oasis GPX normal Carbons. The Oasis strings seem to be less "pingy"
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Oleo
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Re: My Own Guitar String Diary

Post by Oleo » Thu Nov 22, 2018 3:55 pm

Dave Stott wrote:
Wed Nov 21, 2018 11:11 pm
One issue with the Alliance treble strings that I've experienced is that the 1st string tends to be a bit "pingy" sounding on my guitars.
No "pingy" sound for me, here... :roll: I think that in this topic, the type of pulsation probably influences more than anything else.

For example: IMHO, fluorocarbon strings require a more determined "touch", with a greater portion of fingertip during the attack.

... Otherwise, if there is too much nail or it is too long and/or thin, effectively, Alliance strings may sound "pingy". :D

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Oleo
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Re: My Own Guitar String Diary

Post by Oleo » Mon Mar 04, 2019 10:19 pm

SAVAREZ ALLIANCE CANTIGA PREMIUM HIGH TENSION 510AJP on a 660mm Flamenca Negra Guitar (Brazilian Rosewood + Spruce)


Well... It's time to update my review of the Alliance trebles:

- During the last weeks I've been testing them intensely on my guitars until I reach a clear and definitive conclusion. And in one aspect, I was wrong...

The fact is that there is a huge difference between Alliance MT trebles and HT ones; I could almost say that they perform completely differently:

- Savarez Alliance MT trebles are thin strings, with a mainly sharp sound; they are great, but a little strange... And they have a quite different feel than nylon.

For my taste, they are soft tension strings even on my 660mm guitar; their playability is good and they're comfortable and easy to play... But not my "cup of tea".

- In contrast, Savarez Alliance HT trebles are thicker and have a soft, more nylon-like feel. Its tension is perfect, and its response and sonority, unequaled. IMO, there is almost a "quantum leap" between them. As simple as that... :D

With respect to the Cantiga Premium strings, I've been comparing them with the Cantiga ones (which were already great strings), and I decidedly prefer the new Cantiga Premium Basses: Better sound, better durability and better synergy with Alliance trebles.

So this set, is undoubtedly one of my top three (the first, currently :wink: ).

Greetings,

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