Hot answers tagged

49

When you lower the pitch by releasing tension, there might be slack in the gears in the tuning machines, which might make the string go below the intended pitch. By going further down and approaching the target note from below, there will be force applied to the gears and when you've reached the correct pitch the gears have less potential to move. So your ...


40

They are all nylon strings, but the bass strings have a thin layer of wound metal over a nylon core. All nylon string sets are like that, it's perfectly normal. Buy any standard classical guitar strings you like for replacement strings.


32

Learning the guitar as a beginner has many inherent challenges from the very start. For one, you are asking the new guitar student to teach their brain how to tell their fingers to contort in very strange and unnatural ways that they have never before even remotely contemplated. And the finger strength needed for many chords has not been developed yet. ...


28

Partly due to the thicker string gauge, but also because you will be plucking the string closer to its middle point (if your pick or R.H. finger/thumb plucks in the same place.) This excites fewer of the upper harmonics of the string, giving a mellower sound. In classical guitar music you are often asked to play closer to the middle of the string to produce ...


28

The best-written summary I could find of this was on Wikipedia. Technical preliminaries (you can skip this if you don't care) All chordophones (musical instruments based on vibrating strings) can be analyzed using the same physics model of a string under tension that is fixed on both ends. The model is slightly simplified and differs from reality in two ...


24

The thicker the string, the more tension it needs, to produce the same note. Sound Thicker, tighter strings, have a more "focussed" sound. They reach their resonant frequency more quickly, because the extra tension leaves them less scope to flap around. Thicker, tighter strings, plucked the same distance, are louder, because they contain more energy. ...


22

As Jomiddnz points out, there's pizzicato. You could also bow one string and pluck another at the same time. But if you want both notes played with the bow, and don't want the bow to catch the strings in between, the only way is by playing on the top and bottom strings with the bow under the strings. Here's an example (OK, the only example I've found): the ...


21

I would like to point out that you NEED to have nylon strings on a classical acoustic guitar. Attempting to put regular metal strings on it will damage or destroy it due to the much larger tension by those strings.


19

There seems to be a general agreement among the answers here that strings go through several distinct phases: New. Bright, Crisp, Harsh. However you describe it, new strings have more top-end. Worn-in. Like a broken-in pair of shoes, they don't cut your ankles anymore, but they still feel "pretty new". Seasoned. They've lost the "newness", but they're not ...


19

While I've read several different sources recommending not removing all the strings at once, I've never read a good reason why not, and I've always restrung by removing all the strings first. The main reason is exactly as you say: to be able to clean and condition everything under the strings. I clean the fretboard and body area, oil the fretboard, and even ...


19

To add to these great answers, I only have one suggestion - climbers chalk Moisture in the hands leads to blisters. Chalk alleviates moisture build up in the hands and helps to build callouses. Some notable guitar players who use chalk before every show: Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, John Mayer, etc. Chalk is a great when you haven't played in a while and don't ...


19

As a bowmaker, I'd like to expand upon Carl's answer. The question of the scales seems to be answered by microphotographs of bow hair, which show all the scales to be gone once the hair is played in, and thus to play no role in grippiness. All I can add is that it is a complex issue. My tendency is to reverse half the hair in violin family instruments, ...


17

Technically speaking two notes with the same pitch have the same frequency as the fundamental. However this does not explain why two notes of the same frequency also called unisons, sound different on strings of different diameters or lengths or both. The guitar and the entire orchestra string family as you may know have numerous unisons (unlike the piano). ...


16

I think the main reason why people dissuade from taking off all strings is historical: on violin-family instruments as well as many archtop guitars, the bridge is not fixed on the instrument at all. It just stands freely on the top surface – normally held in place by the strings. But if you take the strings off, the bridge will fall, and you need to be ...


16

First, I agree with the question, when talking about nylon-stringed guitars - in nearly a half-century of playing classical and flamenco instruments, I find that the D string, the poor thing, breaking more frequently than any the others (other answers and comments are probably based on steel-stringed experience). I've asked luthiers, and even one of the D'...


16

There is a shortcut, yes. The secret is to practice smart. I used to tell my students there is a difference between practicing and playing; between cleaning up all the difficulties and going into the small details, and playing just for fun or for others. The more time you spend in cleaning grey zones, being careful with sound quality, with fast exercises (...


15

I have played for many, many years. I have never been comfortable with heavy gauge strings and, a couple decades ago, put some light electrics on an old acoustic I had. Was there a noticeable difference? Only to my ear because I was familiar with the guitar. The volume lessened a little and tone was more trebly. That's it. The guitar was more playable and ...


15

Not knowing what the action is like on your guitar, it's difficult. You need to make the action - the distance between the strings and the fretboard - as low as possible, so the strings don't need pressing far.But not so close that they buzz. Also, you may well be pressing TOO hard, it shouldn't be necessary to squeeze too much, just enough to stop fret ...


15

Check the intonation. The bridge/saddles may need moving, so that the 12th fret harmonic is exactly the same note as the fretted 12th. As an extra check, capo on 1st fret, and hear the 13th fret harmonic is the same as the fretted 13th.


15

Not too hard to find some strong opinions from skilled luthiers. Here's what DavidFinck wrote in a blogpost. That’s a great question. Every hank I have received is knotted at the root end. The tips of the hair are identifiable because they taper to a point (they usually darken towards the tip as well). There are two premises for making a choice of ...


14

Practice, practice, practice. Callouses do not form otherwise. Play until you can't bear it any more. Do this every day. Just get it over with. It will pay off in the end, I promise. In the meantime, there are ways of maximizing your practice time while your fingers develop into battle-hardened. Play lower strings more often. Note these are thicker ...


14

How often you should change guitar strings depends on how often you play, the chemistry of the oils in your fingers, and your personal preferences for budget, comfort, and tone. I like to put new strings on a guitar after about a month of play, assuming about two hours of playing time a day. I have a personal preference for newer strings that sound new and ...


13

IMO frequently broken strings indicate a mechanical problem. I never break strings and I haven'tt broken one for maybe 30 years. Causes include: Too-sharp edge on nut or saddle. burr or sharp edge on a tuning post, or the hole though same. Nut slots cut too wide (or maybe you installed lighter strings) allowing the string too much side-to-side movement. ...


13

From this and your other questions, it seems you're confused about pitch, tension, string gauge and tone. Pitch is a function of: the gauge of the string (thinner = higher pitch) the tension of the string (more tension = higher pitch) the length of the string (shorter = higher pitch) Let's assume the length of your instrument is fixed and not something ...


13

With a top E, there are a number of things which could do this, but the most likely if this is your first time stringing the instrument is that you damaged the string on installing it - for example if it slipped at all when you were tightening the tuning pegs you may have the part of the string that was on the edge of the peg now between the peg and nut - ...


12

Generally, certainly from my own experience, string gauge is up to a player's preference, using what they think gives either the best tone, or is easier to play. However, despite this, various trends and consistencies have emerged between string gauges and musical style. I've listed some examples of this below; Rock: more often than not you will find that ...


12

The simple answer is to leave it to the experts. Strings are sold in packs, with a sensibly chosen set of gauges, for most common instrument configurations, whether you have a 4 or 5 string bass guitar, a 6 or 12 string guitar, a mandolin, or whatever. Even if you don't want to buy a full set, you can look at the gauges supplied in a set, and buy an ...


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