#1
What are the differences in feel, tone, etc? How can I know what type of strings are curently on my guitar? Will putting on a different tension cause changes to my guitar (i.e. will the guitar need a setup?)? Can my guitar get damaged?

Thx.
Last edited by manubro1 at Apr 13, 2011,
#2
Good Question. Most of us think in terms of steel string guitars and unless you're familiar with nylon strings, you may jump to conclusions. It is true that the thicker the string, the more the sound will resonate. This is true for nylon as well. Not to such a degree though. Because they're nylon, the resonation factor is already limited in comparison to steel strings. I buy Heavy guage strings...for another reason.
Nylon has alot of give. if you hit a string hard, it will bend and flop. Heavy tension will minimize this. I often play Nylon with a pick too, and only heavy guage can offer some resistance to a pick's hit. It is way different than steel.
On the upside, you shouldn't have to adjust your neck's truss rod when changing guages of Nylon Strings...there is not alot of pressure put on the neck by Nylon. Alot of Classical or Classical Style Guitars designed for Nylon, do not even have a truss rod because the pressure is not put on the neck as it is with steel. The whole guitar is built differently. The bridge is not designed either for alot of pressure. I worked in a Music Store for awhile, and I've seen Nylon Guitars come in where the bridge was nearly pulled right out of the body because someone had put steel strings on it. Big mistake.
All in all, you have to find what guage will work for you. Nylon strings are much thicker than steel, so it is largely an issue of how the strings feel when you personally play them, and the sound they offer for your particular style. Thicker strings will always resonate better. But Nylon is very user friendly at any guage.
#3
I should add that the difference between the guages are much like the differences between steel guages...thin strings to thicker. But there is little resistance against the fret fingers and the pick hand with nylon, at any guage. They are thick strings, period, but their playability at even the heaviest guage is much more forgiving than steel.
#4
Quote by YGS2011
Good Question. Most of us think in terms of steel string guitars and unless you're familiar with nylon strings, you may jump to conclusions. It is true that the thicker the string, the more the sound will resonate. This is true for nylon as well. Not to such a degree though. Because they're nylon, the resonation factor is already limited in comparison to steel strings. I buy Heavy guage strings...for another reason.
Nylon has alot of give. if you hit a string hard, it will bend and flop. Heavy tension will minimize this. I often play Nylon with a pick too, and only heavy guage can offer some resistance to a pick's hit. It is way different than steel.
On the upside, you shouldn't have to adjust your neck's truss rod when changing guages of Nylon Strings...there is not alot of pressure put on the neck by Nylon. Alot of Classical or Classical Style Guitars designed for Nylon, do not even have a truss rod because the pressure is not put on the neck as it is with steel. The whole guitar is built differently. The bridge is not designed either for alot of pressure. I worked in a Music Store for awhile, and I've seen Nylon Guitars come in where the bridge was nearly pulled right out of the body because someone had put steel strings on it. Big mistake.
All in all, you have to find what guage will work for you. Nylon strings are much thicker than steel, so it is largely an issue of how the strings feel when you personally play them, and the sound they offer for your particular style. Thicker strings will always resonate better. But Nylon is very user friendly at any guage.

would my guitar require a neck adjustment if I go from, say, a low tension set to a high tension?
#5
Quote by YGS2011
Thicker strings will always resonate better. But Nylon is very user friendly at any guage.



Not quite, depending on the guitar, a certain tension will have more resonance (I'm speaking of nylon strings here).

Depending on the build of the guitar, a higher tension set of strings will resonate more than a set that is designed to be lower tension.

If you take a lattice braced classical guitar for example, they tend to have the most resonance with low-medium to medium tension strings and they tend to sound quite dull with high tension strings.

A traditional guitar (the kind TS is most likely to have) will probably sound better with medium tension strings and probably poop out with the low and high ones.

A fan braced guitar is probably your best bet with high tension strings but still, for playing classical guitar, I find high tension strings dull and very flat sounding.


@TS No, you wouldn't require a neck adjustment from switching between the tensions but take care not to buy strings which are too high in tension as some guitars are not made to take high tension strings but that's unlikely. My guitar for example can't take high tension strings because the top is very thin and there's virtually no laminate, making high tension strings a very bad idea.