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Old 12-26-2020, 03:22 AM
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Wrighty Wrighty is offline
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Default Steel to nylon...the transition

Happy Christmas all..

For those of you that have made the transition from steel to nylon and perhaps play both, which nylon strings have you found most suitable?

I have a few sets to try but all are medium tension - two with nylon trebles and one with carbon trebles.

My first reaction, apart from how long they take to settle, is that the tension is very low compared to what Iím used to. Would hard tension be a better transition or does this make the higher action an issue?

My action seems to be around 3.7mm low E which from what Iíve read seems about standard on the low side, but itís still quite an adjustment given how far those strings have to be pushed to fret...

Iím also keen to hear what strings people like the sound of - I have a set of EJ45 bog standard Díaddario as these seem like a benchmark all rounder. I then have (on right now) a set of Augustine red (another fairly standard string) and lastly I have a set of Savarez 540r alliance which have carbon trebles. Are there any others I should try that you really like - I appreciate a balanced tone with a focus on clarity without losing warmth.

Loving the journey so far but itís clear that the transition is not going to be as straightforward as I anticipated it might be - itís all most like two different instruments :-)
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Old 12-26-2020, 07:00 AM
NormanKliman NormanKliman is offline
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Hi Wrighty,

I used to play steel and now I play everything on nylon (I'm not a pro and never have been). I used to play with nothing but Hannabachs, mostly because of durability, and lately I've been going with Luthier. Both choices have a lot to do with availability in my area. In the past, I've gotten good results from Knoblochs and I think some kind of bronze-phosphor strings, maybe D'Addarios. Medium tension in all cases. My guitar's a custom-built flamenca and that's what I mostly play on it, but I honestly haven't noticed a difference with strings that are specifically branded for that kind of guitar.

About transitioning, it seems to me that you'd be better off getting used to what you'll be using later on.

If you're new to nylon, you've got a long road ahead of you, but I guarantee that if you steer clear of bad habits, avoid burning out on excessively difficult material and keep having fun, it'll be among the most rewarding endeavors of your life. Of course, I don't know anything about you, but nylon really is worth all the effort. Best of luck and Happy New Year!!!
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Old 12-26-2020, 07:18 AM
offkey offkey is offline
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I give my advise lightly as I am after more than a decade much of a beginner yet. That said I like low tension strings Augustine Blacks in particular. They sound great under my fingers and last quite awhile. I play steel and nylon about equally and think I would do better if I played only classical. But as I play only for pleasure I do both. It seems to me that in a thoughtless sort of way I find steel string and nylon to be two very different instruments. My hands treat them differently without conscious effort. Especially the right hand. It might be useful for you to think of them as two different instruments and not so much transition from one to another as add a second skill and see what happens. My two cents worth. Best wishes!
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Old 12-26-2020, 08:50 AM
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For carbon treble sets, Knobloch Actives CX or Hannabach Goldin (pricey) are the two best I've found. I use nylon trebles (EJ45) except for the third string, though.
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Old 12-26-2020, 09:07 AM
JParrilla JParrilla is offline
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Just switched for the first time last week. Played electric and steel acoustic on and off for 15 years. Its different but I am quickly getting adjusted. So much easier on the fingers. But definitely more subtle in getting the correct sound. They can be very sort of empty sounding if you dont pluck them right if that makes sense.. sort of plasticky. But when you do it right, its beautiful
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Old 12-26-2020, 11:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JParrilla View Post
Just switched for the first time last week. Played electric and steel acoustic on and off for 15 years. Its different but I am quickly getting adjusted. So much easier on the fingers. But definitely more subtle in getting the correct sound. They can be very sort of empty sounding if you dont pluck them right if that makes sense.. sort of plasticky. But when you do it right, its beautiful


Thatís very accurate - I lurch between being horrified and smiling at the tone I make with this thing!

There is a real subtlety and nuance to getting the sweet tone, and also avoiding falling between the strings so to speak..
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Old 12-26-2020, 11:29 AM
TBman TBman is online now
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I have D'Addario Classic XT Normal Tension on mine (since April of 2020). I have a few more sets to try out. My Cordoba had shipped with Savarez Cristal Corum in High Tension 500CJ and they were ok.
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Old 12-26-2020, 12:27 PM
AndreF AndreF is offline
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Hi Peter,
I see from your post that we have something very much in common:
Quote:
I appreciate a balanced tone with a focus on clarity without losing warmth.
It's a sentiment shared by many, but when it comes to string choice, the #1 rule is, what works for someone may or may not be right for you. Ultimately, youíll have to find your favorite through trial and experimentation. But itís definitely worth the effort.
And what works for one guitar may not for another. Fortunately, you only have one nylon. At this time.
(What is the scale length of yours btw?)
What Iíve found over the years: (and Iíve tried a lot!)
Iím a traditionalist. I think clear nylon (as opposed to any of the new novelty types) provides the warmest and clearest tone for trebles.
I also think that high or hard tension strings project and articulate tone better on Spanish style classical guitars than normal tension, for average scale lengths from 640 to 660. (Caveat: This is very subjective. Also, I learned technique on hard tension strings, so that may impact my judgement as well on what works.)
Lastly, I have yet to find a manufacturer that offers a complete set to my liking. Thatís why I mix and match basses and trebles from different sources.
(something that is very common on nylon, and not so much on steel).
In my opinion, DíAddario and Savarez are at the top of the heap for offering quality, choice and value for the money.
For a long time now, Iíve used Savarez Corum HT basses and DíAddario J46 HT clear nylons.
On one guitar though, I recently found that the new DíAddario Xtra Hard Tension Trebles (CNX-3T) worked even better in terms of clarity at no expense for warmth. (And I don't feel any appreciable difference tension wise.)
Playing both steel and nylon, I find that, generally speaking, tension is much more an issue on steel than nylon as far as what your fingers perceive.
That's why, on nylon, I usually base decisions solely on tone vs. tension. Again, that's just me. Not a rule.
Finally, you might find this article of general interest:
Luthier Martin Keith on nylon strings
Good luck in your search!
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Old 12-26-2020, 04:23 PM
lpa53 lpa53 is offline
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I play both steel and nylon and, like you, had a hard time finding the "right" strings. While it does depend on the guitar to some extent, for a long while I settled on Oasis GPX high tension strings with carbon trebles. I liked both the tension and their very good tonal transition between the wound D and carbon G. However, I've moved down to the Oasis normal tension set of late. The GPX normal is higher than most of that name, which which I like, but they make some fretting moves as bit easier than the highs, which are also higher than most highs. Both are very clear but still havea good bit of warmth. Definitely not muddy.

I did have a problem with the high tension D breaking often, but that problem seems to have gone away with the last several sets I've used.

Their only downside is that you'll likely not find them in stores.

You can hear the Oasis high tension in all of my nylon string Youtube videos , though in my latest I'm using the Oasis normal tension set.
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Last edited by lpa53; 12-26-2020 at 04:30 PM.
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Old 12-27-2020, 02:30 AM
ObiWanSymbian ObiWanSymbian is offline
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The most difficult thing to adjust is the action, which is considerably higher on a properly set up classical guitar.

On some instruments Hard Tension strings are a must. Since you've made a transition from steel strings, higher pressure required of your fingers should not be a problem.

Please, remember, that in the classical world, technique plays a greater role in tone production. Much greater than strings do.

A change in guitar position may result in a change of angle of attack that will turn your warm and mellow tone into a shallow and thin "plucking" farts;-)
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Old 12-27-2020, 04:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndreF View Post
Hi Peter,

I see from your post that we have something very much in common:



It's a sentiment shared by many, but when it comes to string choice, the #1 rule is, what works for someone may or may not be right for you. Ultimately, youíll have to find your favorite through trial and experimentation. But itís definitely worth the effort.

And what works for one guitar may not for another. Fortunately, you only have one nylon. At this time.

(What is the scale length of yours btw?)

What Iíve found over the years: (and Iíve tried a lot!)

Iím a traditionalist. I think clear nylon (as opposed to any of the new novelty types) provides the warmest and clearest tone for trebles.

I also think that high or hard tension strings project and articulate tone better on Spanish style classical guitars than normal tension, for average scale lengths from 640 to 660. (Caveat: This is very subjective. Also, I learned technique on hard tension strings, so that may impact my judgement as well on what works.)

Lastly, I have yet to find a manufacturer that offers a complete set to my liking. Thatís why I mix and match basses and trebles from different sources.

(something that is very common on nylon, and not so much on steel).

In my opinion, DíAddario and Savarez are at the top of the heap for offering quality, choice and value for the money.

For a long time now, Iíve used Savarez Corum HT basses and DíAddario J46 HT clear nylons.

On one guitar though, I recently found that the new DíAddario Xtra Hard Tension Trebles (CNX-3T) worked even better in terms of clarity at no expense for warmth. (And I don't feel any appreciable difference tension wise.)

Playing both steel and nylon, I find that, generally speaking, tension is much more an issue on steel than nylon as far as what your fingers perceive.

That's why, on nylon, I usually base decisions solely on tone vs. tension. Again, that's just me. Not a rule.

Finally, you might find this article of general interest:

Luthier Martin Keith on nylon strings

Good luck in your search!

Thanks Andre, it seems some hard tension are a good idea to try.

This issue is that with strings taking so long to settle, the testing process is more complicated!
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  #12  
Old 12-27-2020, 04:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NormanKliman View Post
Hi Wrighty,

I used to play steel and now I play everything on nylon (I'm not a pro and never have been). I used to play with nothing but Hannabachs, mostly because of durability, and lately I've been going with Luthier. Both choices have a lot to do with availability in my area. In the past, I've gotten good results from Knoblochs and I think some kind of bronze-phosphor strings, maybe D'Addarios. Medium tension in all cases. My guitar's a custom-built flamenca and that's what I mostly play on it, but I honestly haven't noticed a difference with strings that are specifically branded for that kind of guitar.

About transitioning, it seems to me that you'd be better off getting used to what you'll be using later on.

If you're new to nylon, you've got a long road ahead of you, but I guarantee that if you steer clear of bad habits, avoid burning out on excessively difficult material and keep having fun, it'll be among the most rewarding endeavors of your life. Of course, I don't know anything about you, but nylon really is worth all the effort. Best of luck and Happy New Year!!!
Thanks Norman - Im keen to try some Hannabachs as they come highly recommended.

Quote:
Originally Posted by offkey View Post
I give my advise lightly as I am after more than a decade much of a beginner yet. That said I like low tension strings Augustine Blacks in particular. They sound great under my fingers and last quite awhile. I play steel and nylon about equally and think I would do better if I played only classical. But as I play only for pleasure I do both. It seems to me that in a thoughtless sort of way I find steel string and nylon to be two very different instruments. My hands treat them differently without conscious effort. Especially the right hand. It might be useful for you to think of them as two different instruments and not so much transition from one to another as add a second skill and see what happens. My two cents worth. Best wishes!
Makes perfect sense - they are so different.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carey View Post
For carbon treble sets, Knobloch Actives CX or Hannabach Goldin (pricey) are the two best I've found. I use nylon trebles (EJ45) except for the third string, though.
Thanks for the recommendation Carey
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  #13  
Old 12-27-2020, 04:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lpa53 View Post
I play both steel and nylon and, like you, had a hard time finding the "right" strings. While it does depend on the guitar to some extent, for a long while I settled on Oasis GPX high tension strings with carbon trebles. I liked both the tension and their very good tonal transition between the wound D and carbon G. However, I've moved down to the Oasis normal tension set of late. The GPX normal is higher than most of that name, which which I like, but they make some fretting moves as bit easier than the highs, which are also higher than most highs. Both are very clear but still havea good bit of warmth. Definitely not muddy.

I did have a problem with the high tension D breaking often, but that problem seems to have gone away with the last several sets I've used.

Their only downside is that you'll likely not find them in stores.

You can hear the Oasis high tension in all of my nylon string Youtube videos , though in my latest I'm using the Oasis normal tension set.
Thanks Paul - lovely sound on your videos.
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Old 12-27-2020, 04:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ObiWanSymbian View Post
The most difficult thing to adjust is the action, which is considerably higher on a properly set up classical guitar.

On some instruments Hard Tension strings are a must. Since you've made a transition from steel strings, higher pressure required of your fingers should not be a problem.

Please, remember, that in the classical world, technique plays a greater role in tone production. Much greater than strings do.

A change in guitar position may result in a change of angle of attack that will turn your warm and mellow tone into a shallow and thin "plucking" farts;-)
No doubt that is the biggest difference in the way the guitars play and requires the biggest adjustment to left hand fingering technique.
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Old 12-27-2020, 09:31 PM
lpa53 lpa53 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wrighty View Post
Thanks Paul - lovely sound on your videos.
Glad you enjoyed them. One more thing about the Oasis strings: I've found that tune up initially faster and settle in quicker than other brands I've tried.
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