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  • Which exactly affects more on the sound of the guitar? is it the guitar body? or the string?

  • How much the sound improves if I use good string on an old guitar?

I know it really depends on the condition of the guitar, but assuming the guitar is in good condition(it really is) how much the sounds is going to improve, if I use a high profile string on a guitar, on which I've using low grade string for a long time. The new string is D'Addario 0.010-0.50 string set.

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Given that the best guitars are somewhere around 1000 times more expensive than the best strings, one would really hope that the sound is determined most by the body. –  Matthew Read Dec 1 '11 at 19:10
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In my experience bad (or old) strings can make a good guitar sound bad, but good strings can't make a bad guitar sound good. –  Charles 2 days ago

4 Answers 4

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On an electric guitar, the construction of the body is of limited importance. At the high end of the market, people worry about the tonal qualities of various kinds of wood, but for the most part, we worry about an electric guitar body being as rigid as possible, and the pickups are where most of the character comes from.

On an acoustic guitar, the construction of the guitar itself has the most impact on its sound. You are hearing the vibration of the sound board, so what's important is the frequencies that are absorbed or reinforced by the way the body vibrates, and the way the bridge transmits vibration from the string to the body.

You can put great strings on a bad acoustic guitar, and it will still sound bad.

How do you know a guitar is good quality? Use your ears. If you can't hear the difference, the difference isn't important!

However, one rule of thumb is that plywood is the mark of a cheap guitar. You can recognise plywood by looking at the sound hole -- you can see the layers. You get a significant step up in tone from a solid wood sound board.

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Definitely the construction of the guitar, the type of wood used, how joints are finished and the stiffening in the soundboard have the most dramatic impact on the sound produced.

You can tweak the sound a little by using different strings, but only marginally, whereas using a different guitar can produce a totally different tone.

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I think this question invites a bit too much personal subjectivity to have a definitive answer.

Your definition of "MORE IMPACT" has either a short term or long term timeframe.

If it is a short timeframe, then NEW STRINGS do have an immediate and recognisable impact on sound because all new strings are bright and clear.

HOWEVER,

On a longer or more permanent time frame, the body of a guitar is what gives its timbre. When I say body, I am going to include all of its parts as it's the wood that gives the tonal character due to the way the sound resonates against it.

To me, if you had 2 guitars of the same make one with old strings and one with new - the sound difference is marginal. But if you get 4 guitars, 2 same but fitted with old/new strings, eg. Maton Acoustic Guitar; compared to 2 Martins also with new/old strings... you will still be able to tell the two guitar makes/brands apart because of their tonal characteristics. This will be more discernible as the new strings get worn in and lose their brightness.

Therefore, I would argue that BODY has MORE IMPACT ON SOUND.

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The most dramatic improvement that you'll see with strings is between old strings and new (especially with nylon string guitars). The trebles always take a little longer to break in, but the difference in the basses is immediate, and always a treat - they are brighter and stronger, and more fun!

But changing from cheaper strings to more expensive strings will only make much difference if the guitar itself is of good quality - if the guitar is not capable of stronger treble sounds, for example, putting better quality strings on it won't make much difference, in my experience.

You should experiment with different tensions of the same quality string, in any case - a given guitar might respond better to less (or more) tension.

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"But changing from cheaper strings to more expensive strings will only make much difference if the guitar itself is of good quality" - How to know if a guitar if of good quality or bad? –  iamcreasy Dec 1 '11 at 7:33
    
"You should experiment with different tensions of the same quality string, in any case - a given guitar might respond better to less (or more) tension." - I've always thought I should always play with standard tuning and tension(E3, A3, D4, B4, G4, E5) Am I wrong? –  iamcreasy Dec 1 '11 at 7:35
    
@iamcreasy Nylon strings are sold in different tensions. There is normal, hard, extra hard, etc. It is analogous to gauge in steel strings. You tune them both to EADGBE, but with the hard or extra hard strings there will be more tension. If you can physically handle the tension, it is generally advised to get hard strings for more tone and projection. –  Charles yesterday

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