Many nylon string manufacturers offer rectified nylon options, but what's the difference?

  • Is there a difference in tone, feel, durability, or intonation?
  • If there isn't, which other differences can rectified nylon offer?

Isn't regular nylon "rect" enough? Or what is the rectification process doing to the string that makes it stand out from other types of nylon strings?


Not a complete answer, but a bit long for a comment.

In mechanics, a rectified tube has less tolerances (on its diameter for instance): the diameter alongside its length will be more uniform than a standard one. Obviously, this depends on the precision of the rectifying process…

For a string, as its oscillation frequency depends on the weight by unit of length, a string which has a more constant diameter along its length will vibrate in a more uniform way: all parts of the string will have a tendency to "resonate" at the same frequency, thus improving the tone (is that negligible, hard to say…).

  • I wonder what sort of pitch variance these diameter/weight inconsistencies can cause, in terms if cents or something. And how big those are compared to other sources of intonation problems for played notes. – piiperi Reinstate Monica Feb 8 at 11:20
  • @piiperiReinstateMonica I wonder the same thing! This could be calculated though but I have to say that I do not have the courage now… I would be that to be negligible on a standard guitar but could maybe be measured on a very stiff lab setup… – Tom Feb 8 at 12:20
  • In my experience the tone becomes less interesting but the intonation becomes more reliable. – Todd Wilcox Feb 8 at 15:10
  • Do you have any references proving that rectifying actually creates lower tolerances? I find it rather dubious that a good quality plain nylon string would have significant width fluctuations. – leftaroundabout Feb 8 at 19:00
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    @ToddWilcox That makes perfect sense; a uniform string is closer to an ideal one, so it will resonate in more "boring" ways conforming to simpler equations (or to equations at all). – Kaz Feb 8 at 20:31

Uniformity of the material in a string means that a replacement should be expected to sound exactly like the old string. When the materials are of different density, the harmonics will not be the same among strings of the nominally same size and under the same tension thus the sound should be expected to be different. The greater the difference in density, the greater the probability that the sound will not be the same as the old string. Thus greater consistency may be expected from strings made from rectified nylon as compared to the conventional nylon. This is not to say that the tone of either will be better than the other only that there can be an expectation of consistency.

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