What is the earliest we know wire-strung instruments to have existed? I was reading about gut strings, nylon strings, wire strings used on guitar, and wanted to know, but couldn't find the answer where I thought I might.

  • 1
    One thing is certain: wire strings existed before nylon did.
    – phoog
    Aug 10, 2023 at 7:27

2 Answers 2


From Wikipedia: Piano wire:

The oldest record of wire being made for musical instruments is from Augsburg in 1351.

This is based on Alfred Dolge's book Pianos and Their Makers: A Comprehensive History of the Development of the Piano from the Monochord to the Concert Grand Player Piano (1911), in which he writes:

Records tell us that iron wire for musical instruments was drawn from Augsburg as early as 1351. (page 123, Google books)

  • Any mention elsewhere of first use on guitars, lutes, violins, etc? Aug 9, 2023 at 13:33

An early wire strung instrument that helped promote using metal strings on guitars was the X braced Martin guitar. From Guitar .com "X-bracing was considered unsubtle by most guitar makers in Europe at the time, who favoured a fan bracing pattern, but Martin broadly stuck with it, and it would eventually prove a masterstroke. As the guitar became more popular as the 20th century dawned, so did the demand for more volume, which led to the introduction of metal strings instead of the traditional catgut."

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