Quantcast

Google
Web learnclassicalguitar.com


Guitar Strings

by Jason
(Illinois)

Hi Trevor,

I just wanted to say that I greatly appreciate the efforts you have put into this website and the useful information you have shared. I am a young man who has a goal in mind... to one day create a classical guitar course for the honor and glory of God.

I was introduced to guitar when I was young, but never took it seriously or really learned much until about a year ago. Since then, I have played hymns, traditional songs and more, on several different guitars.

My first guitar, its brand name called "Crescent", is obviously very poor in quality, and was probably not the best guitar to learn on.
My sister has an acoustic model from Washburn that is excellent for bluegrass music, but NOT classical.

I have been following your beginner lessons and free lessons for a few months, and have succeeded thus far. However, I know that I am limited in my playing ability due to the type of guitar I am using.

Also, my first left-hand finger is handicapped, after an accident in a door-slam when I was about 4. The tip of the finger is shorter than all of my others and has only a thin layer of scar-tissue protecting it from the bone.

This has been difficult, and also very painful, but with God's help, I have overcome a lot of challenges in the fundamentals of guitar, and have learned a great deal while bearing the pain of metal strings on a non-classical model guitar.

I am about to purchase my first classical guitar, most likely the Rodriguez Caballero 11, and have a genuine question to ask about the right type of strings for it.

I know that you have said that strings are a personal preference to the musician, but could you help me out? I need good strings that will produce quality-sound and yet not produce to much trouble for my first finger.

I saw that you use the Hannabach high-tension strings... are those easy enough to fret? After playing on metal strings for so long, my fingers have worked up quite a callus and a lot of strength.

My little brother has some cheap D'Addario strings that I helped put on his guitar, and those are a little bit too weak and "plasticy" in my opinion. I want strings that have a better, quality, professional sound, and yet are easy to work with. Do you have any suggestions, recommendations, encouragement, advice? I would greatly appreciate it.

In Christ,
Jason

Hi Jason,

It’s great to see someone so enthusiastic about the guitar! In terms of guitar strings I’d have to say that yes, Hannabach are my favourite. They just seem to have a quality of sound that really appeals to me. Savarez are another brand I’ve used and I really like. I’ve also used the strings that Segovia used to endorse, namely: Augustine. They’re pretty good too.

Perhaps some other visitors to the site can let us know what their preferences are and why. I hope this has been of help and good luck with your playing into the future. I know you’ll enjoy it!

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

Comments for Guitar Strings

Click here to add your own comments

Choosing Classical Strings
by: Gary

Jason,

You really have to doe some trial and error work to find the strings you like best. Make notes about the strings you try, so you will be able to recall exactly what you've tried and if you liked them or not.

Be sure to record the brand and the name or product number of the set. But, it sounds like you already know what tension range you like, so that should make it easier. As for D'Addario, some well known professionals use them, and they have at least three tension ranges: normal tension, hard tension, and extra hard. Each will have its own feel and sound characteristics, but they are all pretty inexpensive, and affordable for testing.
Next, take a look at Augustine. They arrange their sets by bass string and treble tension ranges, and make it easy to pick combination sets of bass and trebles you want to try. They cost a little more than D'Adarrio, but they're still affordable if you shop around online.

La Bella is another one to consider, with normal, medium and high tension strings; but still more expensive. Savarez strings are generally more expensive, and more of a premium string for specific styles. I'd recommend trying the less expensive strings first, which are all quite good. The key is to evaluate and record your impressions of the strings you try, so you build up a data base of string knowledge, and then can begin to confidently select strings you think may be suited to your preferences.

S t r i n g s.
by: David Heap

Many years ago, about 25 when I first decided to play the Classical guitar I used Hannabach strings and yes they are a nice piece of kit but, I can no longer find an outlet that sells them and when I do find one I can not justify to myself the cost but, as I say go for them if found. If it was a £30.00 guitar cat gut would do. So do the job properly -you will not be dissapointed. After all "you do get what you pay for"

More Strings, less Glue
by: Thurston Crimp

Hi Jason,

Here from hyz's homepage

Look no further it is the Brasses Luthier 35 Concert Dark Med/Hard Ten and Hard Ten Tribes Alliance Savarez

All the best!

Thurston Crimp
thurston@artlover.com



Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Your Questions About Classical Guitar.

String Buzzing.

by German Ominetti
(Chino, CA)


Hi Trevor,

I have a question that I cannot find the answer to. When I play the first string on the 4th fret, the string buzzes, kind of a ringing bell sound.

The strange thing is that it only does it on that string and on that fret. Do you know what's the cause of that?

Also would like to thank you for all your teaching and invaluable help. Have an awesome New year.

German Ominetti

Hi German,

Thanks for the nice comments, they're really appreciated.

In terms of the string noise, there are several reasons you can get buzzing noises. One of the main ones is the "action" of the string, which is to say the distance of the string above the fret.

If the construction of the guitar is poor and the neck proportions aren't right the vibrating string will hit the neck at some point along the guitar neck when you play a note further along, as you've described above.

It could also be the metal wound strings (4,5,6) unwinding, although you said it was on the first string so it's probably not that.

You could check to see if the ends of the string (either wound in the capstan of the headstock or the other end touching the soundboard where the string is threaded through at the bridge) is vibrating against something when you play the note at the 4th fret.

Also, try to determine if it's to the left of the note on the 4th fret or to the right. You might just be able to locate just where it is buzzing.

Failing this I'd take it to a guitar repair shop and see if they can locate the problem.

Hope this helps,

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

Comments for String Buzzing.

Click here to add your own comments

buzzing of first string
by: Anonymous

German,
Also, check and see if the fret wire is coming up ever so slightly at that position. I have seen this happen before on a steel string and it sounds only at that position.

Cary

Repair Shops
by: Eric

They can always find guitar repair shops at http://www.repairmyguitar.com

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Your Questions About Classical Guitar.

playing the string versus hitting the string

by Andy
(Florida)

My teacher keeps telling me to fix my right hand tone. He says that my free stroke tone doesn't match my rest stroke tone.

He says that I am hitting the string, but I don't understand what he means. He says I should be playing the string (into the soundboard).

I am doing the 120 Guiliani RH Studies to fix that. Is there any other studies/exercises that can help that out?

Hi Andy,

There are several things you can do to improve your right-hand free stroke technique. Your fingers should depress the strings towards the soundboard (after you've caught it with your nail) and as it "swings through" the string is released and returns to its original position.

This is how both tone and volume are created and when done right produces the tone I think your teacher is talking about.

Have a look on this page for a video example of what I mean.

Additionally, I'd suggest some very important theoretical reading to give you the basis for a solid technique.

The books Classical Guitar Pedagogy by Anthony Glise and Pumping Nylon by Scott Tennant are great ones to give you the insight into the how and why of technique.

Another exercise I've used in the past for overall improvement in technique is the technical etudes by Tarrega...

I hope these are of value to you.

Trevor M.

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Your Questions About Classical Guitar.

Learning classical guitar on a steel-stringed acoustic?

by Jason
(NYC)

Hi,

I recently bought an acoustic guitar and I'm not really sure where to start. I borrowed some chord books from the library and I'm working through those, but I really want to play full-length pieces instead.

So I'm trained in classical piano, and I want to start learning classical guitar. Would that be possible on a steel-stringed acoustic?

I don't want to shell out the money for a classical guitar (having bought an acoustic), and I want to make use of what I have available. Are there any methods on learning classical guitar on a steel-stringed acoustic?

Thanks! This site rocks.

Hi Jason,

You could learn classical on an acoustic although it is not ideal for several reasons. First of all it's going to be a lot harder on your fingers (of both hands) to produce the correct sound in terms of both tone and degree of difficulty.

The strings of an acoustic guitar are of a much higher tension because of the steel strings. It is made to really be strummed with that "bright" sound and tone able to "cut" through over the top of other instruments that may accompany it, as in a band for instance.

For me it comes down to having the "right tool for the right job" as it were. Have you thought of maybe trading the guitar in or selling it outright then buying a classical? Just a thought.

I hope this was of help.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

Comments for Learning classical guitar on a steel-stringed acoustic?

Click here to add your own comments

Get a classical
by: Bent Radar

If you are going to primarily play finger style (classical or otherwise), then get a classical guitar.

I traded in an amp for a classical guitar, and I'm very glad that I did. I rarely ever play my steel string acoustic anymore.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Your Questions About Classical Guitar.

Two notes played at once on the same string

Looking at a church hymnal, I see two notes on top of one another and they are on the same string? Can you explain that?

How can you play 5th string open and 5th string 3rd fret at the same time?

Hi!

Are you sure you have the right positions on the string? Is there an alternate tuning that is required? Could it be a misprint?

It's hard to tell without seeing the example in question.

Trevor M.

Comments for Two notes played at once on the same string

Click here to add your own comments

Notes on Same String
by: Jud

You are on the right track by practicing sight reading guitar with a hymnal in front of you. The treble clef in church music is usually a simple melody, and it may be a familiar tune you already know by ear.

So it's good sight reading training. The hymnal, however, is probably written for a piano, so you'll see notes that seem to be "on top" of the same string. See if you can play the top note on an open string, and the harmony note paired with it on the lower string down.

Usually these "twin" harmony notes can be found on adjacent strings on the guitar, a few frets apart.

The problem here is that a note written for piano means only one key, "black or white," on that keyboard, but may be played in several locations on different strings up and down the guitar keyboard.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Your Questions About Classical Guitar.

How often should one change strings?

by David
(France)

Hi Trevor.

I've had the same strings on my guitar for about 15 years (I'm still using my old friend I told you about in my last post, see : "Aug 17, 2008, Is it time for my old guitar to retire?")

Do you think I ought to change the strings? How often should strings be changed? I get a slight buzzing noise when I play the open low E, could that come from the string being too old?

Hi David,

15 years wow? I can't believe they haven't turned to dust! Just kidding :))

Seriously though, I change my strings whenever they lose their "special sound". That beautiful sound of a full new string tone...vibrant, alive, "fat" even.

That means it depends on usage when I decide to change my strings. That can range for me from 1 week to several months.

Personally I wouldn't leave it any more than 3 months but I teach and play the guitar a lot (not as much as I want, mind you) and as I said, I love that vibrant new sound.

You may be different in terms of what you like so you may end up keeping yours a little longer. But15 years...yeesh! :))

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

P.S. I recall my former teacher telling me somewhere in the deep dark past that Julian Bream changes his strings for every concert (that usually means daily) he plays. I'd imaging most professional guitarists would be the same.

Comments for How often should one change strings?

Click here to add your own comments

Changing strings.
by: Nick

Since I play only for the practice and myself mainly, changing my strings once a year is quite adequate.

When I do change the strings, what really annoys me is that the strings will constantly move out of tune for the first week or two, making practice simply painful.


Done it
by: David

I changed the strings.... what a difference! they haven't yet settled so the tuning keeps slipping but the quality of the sound is just amazing. I certainly won't wait another 15 years to change my strings

Thanks
by: David

Thanks for the info. I think I'll treat the old girl to a new set of strings.
All the best,
David

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Your Questions About Classical Guitar.

Preferred Brand Of String

by Jesse A.
(Massachusetts, United States)

What brand of string do you prefer? I have used D'Addario Pro Arte Normal Tension and had good luck.

Recently I went to a guitar store where the worker told me that he would not buy any strings whose package wasn't written in French or Spanish.

Can you also shed some light on the string tensions, from what I understand concert guitarists often use higher tensions for their increased volume.

Thanks,
Jesse

Hi Jesse,

I like Hannabach Medium or high Tension myself. I've also heard that many performers use high tension for the sound quality.

Another "trick" they sometimes use when recording it to tune the guitar strings up a semitone above the normal A=440 hertz level. This is supposed to give a brighter or more lively sound to the recording.

Trevor M.

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Your Questions About Classical Guitar.

guitar strings

Is a box guitar supposed to have 6 strings or 7?? or does make a difference??

Do you mean one like this?...

http://www.cigarboxnation.com/forum/topics/diatonically-fretted-cigar-box

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Your Questions About Classical Guitar.

classical guitar steel strings

by saby
(gaithersburg)

can i still play my classical guitar after it had steel strings on it?

Hi Saby,

You probably could but I'd take it to a guitar shop to have it examined and check just to be on the safe side.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Your Questions About Classical Guitar.

String Order on a guitar

Found a beautiful classical guitar in the trash...not a mark on it in beautiful condition. It is a Yamaha C-40. It had NO STRINGS on it and it may have never been strung.

I could find no evidence it has ever been played.
So I go buy a Sevilla string set and there is no order listed their packaging on how to install the strings and in what order to install them onto the guitar.

So I am asking what order do they go...I am getting hint that they are not installed in the order of their numbering.
Ie.....28...30....32...from the bottom up....

Hi!

The order of the strings are the thickest at the top (closest to your face) and moving down in thickness to the thinest one the furthest away from your face.

Those strings are:

E - 6th string;

A - 5th string;

D - 4th string;

G - 3rd string;

B - 2nd string;

E - 1st string.

Also, this page on guitar string replacement should help.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Your Questions About Classical Guitar.

Steel string vs nylon string acoustic

by Ken
(Brandon, Fl)

I own a martin steel string guitar, but am interested in playing classical music. Do you think it would be ok to learn classical with my instrument or do you think I should invest in a new guitar beforehand?

Hi Ken,

You could, of course, learn the music on your Martin but if it were me, I'd definitely want to play on a classical.

The nylon strings are "kinder" to your fingers and it's easier to play that type of music with nylon strings.

As I'm sure you're aware, the steel strings lend themselves to more strumming and working with other instruments in a band situation as the sound "cuts through" other instruments with it's tambour and volume.

A classical is purpose built for a differnet type of music than the Martin altogether in my opinion.

Hope this is of help.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Your Questions About Classical Guitar.

guitar strings

How do you replace guitar strings?

This page should help...

Guitar Stringing

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Your Questions About Classical Guitar.

strings

by dave morgan
(england)

Which are the best strings to use for an adult(40's) beginner?

Light?

High tension?

D'addario?

Suarez?

Martin?

There are too many to choose from. I've bought a second hand Manuel Rodriguez Model b guitar,

Dave Morgan

Hi Dave,

It's really a matter of personal choice because there are many good strings to use. I like the sound I get from my Hannabach high tension strings (in the blue package). They give me the right sound and "liveliness", for want of a better term.

Perhaps some others can tell us what they use and why.

Trevor M.

Comments for strings

Click here to add your own comments

My String Choices
by: George

Trevor is correct. Strings are a personal choice. I have used many different strings over the years.

I now prefer D'Addario, either the composite EXP45 normal tension or the EJ45 Pro-Arte normal tension. Many may speak up for higher tension strings...for a louder, stronger tone.

I prefer the sweeter, normal tension...maybe it's that BossaNova sound I love. My guitar is (solid) rosewood with cedar top and mahogany neck with rosewood fingerboard, the instrument will affect how the strings sound.

Short answer...try lots of strings, tune carefully (good chromatic tuner) and listen...then pick the ones you stick with.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Your Questions About Classical Guitar.

How do you remember which note/key is for which string?

by Alex ww
(Malaysia)

Dear Sir,

I'm a new self taught beginner.

How to you remember which notes/key is for which string?

Is there a proper or the best method to read the notes and pluck the right string without refering to my self made reference guide.

Example : when I look at the notes G, then I will refer to my list for G is fret#3, string #1.


Thanks.

Alex

Hi Alex,

The notes of the musical alphabet just repeat as you move up the guitar string. For instance, the 6th "E" string obviously starts on the "E" note. The first fret is "F", 2nd fret "F" sharp, 3rd fret "G" and so on until you reach the 12th fret which is "E" again but an octave higher.

All the other strings do the same but start on a different note. They do still follow the musical alphabet though.

You can see more on this page...

I hope this helps.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Your Questions About Classical Guitar.

Guitar Strings

by Bethany
(CA)

How often should you change your guitar strings?

Hi Bethany,

It all depends on when they're worn out. I change my strings about every three months but even sooner if I do more playing.

For me. it's when the strings lose that "zing" and no longer sound vibrant. They say Julian Bream (and I suspect all professional guitarists) changes his strings for every concert. That might mean every day for weeks on end if he's on a tour.

I know that's extreme for most people and not necessary but if your strings have lost that magical sound...change 'em!

I hope this was of help.

Kind regards,
Trevor M.

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Your Questions About Classical Guitar.

String's and Capo's

by Dave McLaren
(Edinburgh, Scotland)

Hi Trevor,

Please could you let me know the best String's and capo's to use on my guitar.

Kind Regards,
Dave.

Hi Dave,

I haven't used many capo's in my time but as for strings I like using Hannabach and Savarez. You can see some here on my guitar strings page...

I hope this helps.
Kind regards,
Trevor M.

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Your Questions About Classical Guitar.

Welcome!

A Bit About Me...

Welcome to LCG! I'm Trevor Maurice, owner of this site. I hope you find inspiration in these pages to help you with  your journey of learning to play the classical guitar. You can read more of my story here...

Just in time for Christmas...

Classical Guitar
Blog Posts

Andrés Segovia Plays Bach, Sor, and Torroba in Classic Old Video

http://ow.ly/cFXg30gpd8z

Andrés Segovia: Guitar Concerto N°1, Op.99 - Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco

http://ow.ly/Z3NM30gkrmn

J. S. BACH, Prelude, Bourrée BWV 996, Narciso YEPES, 10-string guitar

http://ow.ly/bUU930gfk56

Sons de Carrillhoes, performed by Samantha C. Wells...

https://ow.ly/FjYE302IK14

* J.S. BACH, Sarabande BWV 995, Viktor VAN NIEKERK, 10-String Guitar, classical guitar...

https://ow.ly/s7yq302x2W6

 * Robert de Visee - Petit Menuet (8 string guitar)...

https://ow.ly/gXxr302izIi

Manuel Ponce - Scherzino Mexicano...

 https://ow.ly/Hhz43026ZlZ

Segovia plays Bach's Chaconne (Read along)...

https://ow.ly/ZP953026ZW8

Features

  • Classical Guitar Lessons
  • Beginner Classical Guitar Lessons
  • Classical Guitarists Bio's
  • Classical Guitar Composer Bio's
  • Classical Guitar Technique Instruction
  • Classical Guitar History Timeline
  • Tablature for Classical Guitar