String manufacturers offer polished strings that reduce the finger noise and are great for recording. Sometimes strings that don't have polished versions are polished "by hand" by string distributors, charging a bonus. These strings play awesome, but tend to be on the expensive side of things. If you play a lot and change strings often, it starts to add up soon!

I wouldn't mind polishing the strings myself, but I have no idea of how or what tools I might need, or if it's feasible for a person that is completely inexperienced with that kind of tools.

So, is there a safe way to do it? Safe for the string, in the sense that it'll keep intonation or otherwise not deteriorate it too much. How do you polish guitar strings?

  • Can't see how polishing will affect intonation, but if it did, it's easy enough to recalibrate.
    – Tim
    Commented Nov 10, 2019 at 15:01
  • @Tim String's intonation depends a lot on constant symmetry through all the length. By polishing, you are removing parts of the string, if this removal is not applied evenly, the string ends up being of different sizes at different places, inevitably affecting intonation. This type of intonation issues, among others, are not possible to calibrate for. Commented Nov 10, 2019 at 15:35
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    Yes, that's understood. So the only proper way to polish would be to ensure it is done the same all along the string. Not easy. Simpler with tapewound.
    – Tim
    Commented Nov 10, 2019 at 15:49

1 Answer 1


This seems like two questions in one.

The intonation on a classical guitar is always going to be somewhat approximate as the saddle can be considered 'one size fits all' or 'set and forget' at best; you can't alter the individual string lengths on a classical guitar.

Polishing will change the diameter of the bass strings slightly (assuming you only polish out the basses). Some people seem to use 1000 grit sandpaper or other mild abrasive paper to polish the strings to cut down on finger noise.

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