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I've put my classical instrument down for a few years, to focus on period instruments. Now I'm playing the modern instrument again -- the strings are in sad shape! Before I buy new strings... Are there any recent developments in strings that I should know about? I was using Hannabach Blues. Has anything better come out?

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The D'Addario company has developed some new ideas.

One is a coating applied to the wound strings (similar to the Elixir brand, but for nylon-string classical and not for steel-string acoustic or electric). These three wound strings in the set last longer because they are mostly impervious to oil and dirt from the fingers. D'Addario calls their coated strings the "EXP Coated" line.

The other D'Addario innovation is a new "composite" formulation for the unwound G string to make it sound more like the wound strings. These are found in their Pro-Arte Composite line. Not everybody likes the sound or the feel of these strings.

The Aquila company sells "Nylgut" strings, which are a proprietary synthetic nylon string that is designed to sound more like traditional sheep gut strings (sheep gut is what all classical guitarists used before the 1960s when modern nylon strings were invented). Nylgut strings are very popular for ukuleles but they also have sets for classical guitar.

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There's a great horror story by Helena Blavatsky about the world's second-best violinist (second only to Paganini). In order to summon new depths of music, he fashions strings from his own teacher's guts (willingly donated for the gruesome purpose). –  luser droog Nov 6 '13 at 5:55

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