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  1. #1

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    I need new strings for an old classical guitar. It's not an expensive model, and I'm not a real classical player. No concerts in my future!

    But it is a nice guitar that sounds pretty good, or else I wouldn't have purchased it.

    I don't know anything about classical guitars, except I like a brighter tone, and since I don't have fingernails to pick with, I need all the help I can get!
    And if it sounds better, I will be inspired to play it more.

    I seem to remember something about high tension strings vs. regular tension???

    Any help is appreciated

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  3. #2

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    My preference is Hannabach 815 HT (for high tension).

  4. #3

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    Saverez are real good. For less money D'Addario will do.

  5. #4

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    I like the D'Addario Pro-Arte with bronze wound bass strings. The real reason is I hate how the silver plate wears off the copper wounds long before I feel like changing strings..... I'd try normal and hard tension in a less expensive string to see what happens when the top is driven harder, I like normal tension on most guitars, especially those with pickups.

  6. #5

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    Jimmy, playing classical guitar without nails has been going on since the instrument was invented. Sor and Tárrega preferred it that way, and me too, so much so I created a website which discusses playing classical without nails:

    rmclassicalguitar

    You will find there a page devoted to strings, and other pages on players and technique. Any questions, just ask.

  7. #6

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    https://aquilacorde.com/en/shop/mode...itar/alchemia/

    I can highly recommend Aquila. The Alchemia is the set I prefer. It sounds quite different from nylon, without the dreaded G string dullness. Bright, dynamic and long-sustaining, very good for vibrato. The only downside is that they take a while to play their best, the first days the trebles may squeal a bit. But after a week, they're the best strings I've ever used.

  8. #7

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    It's really subjective, you have to try a few until you find what you like. The scale of your guitar affects the tension too. I've just been using D'Addarios because I'm a cheapskate. I used to use Savarez because the trebles have a more realistic gut feel, but now too much $. Another thing to consider: Savarez makes a nylon *wound* G string.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Sound
    It's really subjective, you have to try a few until you find what you like. The scale of your guitar affects the tension too. I've just been using D'Addarios because I'm a cheapskate. I used to use Savarez because the trebles have a more realistic gut feel, but now too much $. Another thing to consider: Savarez makes a nylon *wound* G string.
    I do like the Savarez best myself, but they are not always easy to find (I know. I should plan ahead). The D'Addario's are always available locally and so I sometimes use them.

  10. #9

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  11. #10

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    I like Savarez but have used D’Addarios too. I don’t want high tension.

    But I am just a student/amateur player. Rob should be a great source for you.

    juststrings.com has been a great source for me over the years, but I have slowed down since lockdown started, so don’t have any feedback that is current.

    happy hunting.

  12. #11

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    Worth trying lightly polished strings - D’addario and others offer them. The basses are smoother than typical CG strings which reduces squeaks quite a bit, there is a tradeoff for a duller sound, but depending on the guitar can be worth it

  13. #12

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    Jimmy, I like the normal tension Aquila Alabastro strings: Aquila Alabastro Normal Tension Classical Guitar Strings 19C, Full Set. The trebles are a synthetic gut called Nygut and I believe the wound strings have a Nylgut core. What I like about them is that the treble strings have a little bit of grip on their surface which makes them easier to play without nails. The Nylgut takes a while to stretch out, but they will finally settle in within one to two weeks. I feel the treble strings are bright enough but not too bright, so you will have to judge for yourself. Here's a review of the various Aquila classical guitar strings, including the Alabastros: Review: Aquila Classical Guitar Strings | This is Classical Guitar. BTW, Strings by Mail is running a sale on them at $7.03 a set, regularly $7.99. So, they aren't too expensive to try out.

  14. #13

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    It's going to depend on the sound you're after, and the repertoire you'll be playing.

    I use a probably eclectic mix:
    - Aquila Rubino trebles. Those are nylgut loaded with some kind of bronze powder. That makes them heavier so they can be made thinner which is a good thing. Despite the metal they're warm sounding, and they sing.
    - GHS 2100W D and A. Those are high-tension, phosphor-bronze wound. They have the horrible PB twang when brand new but then develop a beautiful warm tone that matches much better with the Rubino trebles than the wound strings Aquila make for them. Curiously I can't stand the warm, humid bathroom character PB gives on my jumbo, I'm guessing the nylon core filters that out.
    - A high-tension brass-wound (80/20) low E, currently from the Galli Aureum set (but the d'Addario EJ33 folk one is pretty good too). PB low E strings sound dead too quickly, this one sounds livelier to high enough up the fretboard.

    Of course this means I rarely replace all strings as a set, and I wouldn't be doing this if esp. the wound strings are all (very) long-lived. I just replaced the D and A that were probably over a year old. Not because of wear or intonation problems, not even because they had gone uselessly dull. Instead, they had gone slack enough that esp. the A string started striking the neighbouring strings when played hard a bit away from the saddle - kind of weird if you think you're playing a melody on the A string and just hear the open low E

  15. #14

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    I use La Bella Hard Tension strings with wound (Nylon-on-nylon) 1st and 2nd strings. They look a little funny - like spaghetti - but feel great and sound divine. The windings provide a much stronger fingertip interface that plain nylons that facilitates vibrato effects.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Eisele
    Jimmy, I like the normal tension Aquila Alabastro strings: Aquila Alabastro Normal Tension Classical Guitar Strings 19C, Full Set. The trebles are a synthetic gut called Nygut and I believe the wound strings have a Nylgut core. What I like about them is that the treble strings have a little bit of grip on their surface which makes them easier to play without nails. The Nylgut takes a while to stretch out, but they will finally settle in within one to two weeks. I feel the treble strings are bright enough but not too bright, so you will have to judge for yourself. Here's a review of the various Aquila classical guitar strings, including the Alabastros: Review: Aquila Classical Guitar Strings | This is Classical Guitar. BTW, Strings by Mail is running a sale on them at $7.03 a set, regularly $7.99. So, they aren't too expensive to try out.
    I just ordered a set from Strings by Mail, and after reading the review in TICG, I ordered a set of the Zafiro too, but the Alabastro is on backorder.
    Just picked up my classical guitar, and after three years, the strings are shot, but the guitar still has a sweet tone. Its a Brazilian from 1981 (lots of rosewood).

    Thanks for the info guys. JM

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Eisele
    Jimmy, I like the normal tension Aquila Alabastro strings: Aquila Alabastro Normal Tension Classical Guitar Strings 19C, Full Set. The trebles are a synthetic gut called Nygut and I believe the wound strings have a Nylgut core. What I like about them is that the treble strings have a little bit of grip on their surface which makes them easier to play without nails. The Nylgut takes a while to stretch out, but they will finally settle in within one to two weeks. I feel the treble strings are bright enough but not too bright, so you will have to judge for yourself. Here's a review of the various Aquila classical guitar strings, including the Alabastros: Review: Aquila Classical Guitar Strings | This is Classical Guitar. BTW, Strings by Mail is running a sale on them at $7.03 a set, regularly $7.99. So, they aren't too expensive to try out.
    I must try a set of Alabastro. I currently have the Aquila Zaffiro plant based nylon set on my guitar and i like the sound and i don't have long nails most of the time. I think I like them maybe more than the Aquila Rubino's I had on before that - the rubinos are slightly higher tension but have that sinister blood red colour that looks a little dramatic! i've only tried one set of each so now is a good time to try a third option. Before that i used to use Luthier L-20 or Aranjuez 200 which were low tension but recommended for flamenco which i was attempting at the time - with little success!

  18. #17

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    So, three weeks later and the new strings are on, stretching, and I am at work practicing. I installed the Zafiro set. They sound great, but, the 1st string goes flat as I play up the neck. At the 12th fret, it is way off. I never had this problem before.

    Is it the string or the guitar? Damn, it's always something. But at least i can practice my finger excercises

  19. #18

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    The advice, comments etc from Stringsbymail particularly for classical strings cant be beat IMHO. They can get real creative at helping put together odd combinations and selling you those (not making you buy different 4 sets and throwing most away)
    Ive tried most of the Aquila strings over the past couple years on and off mainly because the owner is very active on the classical guitar forum… seems like a solid dude. But ive never really enjoyed them. Currently (for about 8-9 months) its Hannabach 815 trebles on top of the Savarrz Cantiga Premium.
    No matter what trebles you use do try the Cantiga Premium basses, i find them quite satisfying. IMHO
    (on a 2014 240mm Antonio Marin-Montero, Spruce top, Brazilian back sides. Take that, SITES!)

  20. #19

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    i was pretty satisfied with RC strings recitals were an economic start.

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy Mack
    So, three weeks later and the new strings are on, stretching, and I am at work practicing. I installed the Zafiro set. They sound great, but, the 1st string goes flat as I play up the neck. At the 12th fret, it is way off. I never had this problem before.

    Is it the string or the guitar? Damn, it's always something. But at least i can practice my finger excercises
    I have never tried the Zafiro set. I'm sorry to hear about the first string going flat. You might want to reach out to Strings by Mail or with Mimmo who owns Aquila: https://aquilacorde.com/en/contacts/. Perhaps he would have some insights as to what is happening. I would second the Savarez Cantiga basses and also the Cristal trebles. Available through Strings by Mail.

  22. #21

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    In agreement with EarlBro. The RC sets are quite nice and punch above their price point. Definitely worth a try!

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy Mack
    the new strings are on, stretching, and I am at work practicing. I installed the Zafiro set. They sound great, but, the 1st string goes flat as I play up the neck. At the 12th fret, it is way off. I never had this problem before.

    Is it the string or the guitar?
    How long have they been on, and has the problem been getting worse or less with stretching?

    You could wait until the string has stabilised or you could take the E1 off immediately, swap head and tail and reinstall it that way. If it's really the string the problem either goes away or moves to a different fret.
    Or try a different set. Aquila strings are great for the most part, but AFAIK they don't rectify any of their strings and they run their own extruders. Being a small producer with a very high output volume that could mean there's a bit more variability in string diameter and/or density than you might expect. That would definitely explain a recurrent (minor but annoying) issue I am having with one of their strings.