Restringing a nylong string guitar

AAT65

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This weekend I changed the strings on my old nylon-string 3/4 scale Goldklang acoustic (inherited from my Mum).
Man what a hassle it is! Anyone who complains about changing strings on a Tele or a Strat should restring a nylon string guitar once in a while.
To start with, nylon strings don't have ballends so you need to tie a little knot. Thus is a folk rather than a classical guitar so it has bridge pins rather than having to do that figure-8 knot on to the bridge itself, but you still need a knot to engage in the slot and be held by the bridge pin. But you can't pull it tight enough by hand, you need to let the knot tighten as you tune up to pitch.
Then there are the tiny little tuning keys you can hardly get a grip on - guaranteed finger pain as you crank the strings into a semblance of concert pitch.
And then the stretching! People talk about stretching strings but for steel strings that's really minimal - it's the settling into place at the tuning peg that makes tuning drift flat when steel strings are new. But nylon strings are just one step up from elastic bands and they streeeeetch! So you think it feels about right, play the note and it's waaaay flat, and crank for another couple of minutes to pull it up an octave...

Anyway next time anyone is complaining about a string change I'm going to post a link to this rant! Now I'm going to tune up (the too strings will have gone flat, again...) and play...
 

WingedWords

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This sort of thing is available, but I'm not sure if it would help with a pin bridge. I suspect not.

You've got a good locking knot at the tuner? Like in this guide.


String winder?


I don't play as much classical guitar these days, but when it was "what I did" I used to change strings fortnightly. It's a bit of a faff, but I just devote an evening in front of the TV to it. Just became a ritual part of playing the instrument, like an oboist with their reeds. Strings should be fine after a day or two if you get stuck in, power through, and keep playing them. Yes and tuning!

I also had two guitars, so there was always one playable. The number two only got intermittent string changes.

If you want lasting entertainment of the stretchy kind, try putting Nylgut strings on a ukulele....
 
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Kandinskyesque

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I play my Godin Multiac (Nylon strings) more than any other guitar since buying it 5 years ago.

Maybe I'm a glutton for punishment, but I like the ritual every 6-8 weeks of restringing it with Extra-hard tension strings, which seem to stretch better than the lighter tension strings. Plus the snappy sound of the Extra-hard tension suits my playing style.

The first day of new strings, I just keep having to retune, then on day 2, I'll tune up a whole tone, leave the guitar for a couple of days and play something else.

When I go back to the Godin, I retune to A 440 and the stability is always consistent.
 

VintageSG

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Try maintaining a fleet of student ukuleles where the project manager insists on monthly string changes -and- insists on nasty, sproingy, stretchy, Ebay strings instead of Livingwater fluorocarbons or even Nyguts...

If you want lasting entertainment of the stretchy kind, try putting Nylgut strings on a ukulele....

Nyguts aren't in the same league of awful as cheap nylons.

All bar one of my ukuleles are fitted with Livingwater fluorocarbons. One of my tenors sounded better with Nylguts, so I refitted them.

I'm fairly adept at the 'knot and cover' tie at the bridge now ( twitch twitch... )
 

billy logan

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anticipating changing nylon strings? They could be pre-stretched for a day or two with not-excessive weights.

enough weight to equal playing pitch tension ......... could they not? like, if you didn't have 2 nylon string guitars
 

basher

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The problem is that the elasticity of the strings contributes to brightness and aliveness of your tone. By the time your strings stop stretching, they’re dead, and you have to start the whole miserable process again. Classical guitar is really just an awful instrument.
 

drmordo

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This is one of the reasons why I have not touched a classical guitar in at least 20 years.
 

Chiogtr4x

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I haven't done it in a while ( don't have a nylon string right now), but I'm the weird type that likes to change guitar strings!

Once I learned how to do on a nylon string guitar ( for me it was only 8-9 years ago) I had fun trying out various brands/tensions...
But it's been a while, need to get another nylon string guitar!
 

nojazzhere

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This weekend I changed the strings on my old nylon-string 3/4 scale Goldklang acoustic (inherited from my Mum).
Man what a hassle it is! Anyone who complains about changing strings on a Tele or a Strat should restring a nylon string guitar once in a while.
To start with, nylon strings don't have ballends so you need to tie a little knot. Thus is a folk rather than a classical guitar so it has bridge pins rather than having to do that figure-8 knot on to the bridge itself, but you still need a knot to engage in the slot and be held by the bridge pin. But you can't pull it tight enough by hand, you need to let the knot tighten as you tune up to pitch.
Then there are the tiny little tuning keys you can hardly get a grip on - guaranteed finger pain as you crank the strings into a semblance of concert pitch.
And then the stretching! People talk about stretching strings but for steel strings that's really minimal - it's the settling into place at the tuning peg that makes tuning drift flat when steel strings are new. But nylon strings are just one step up from elastic bands and they streeeeetch! So you think it feels about right, play the note and it's waaaay flat, and crank for another couple of minutes to pull it up an octave...

Anyway next time anyone is complaining about a string change I'm going to post a link to this rant! Now I'm going to tune up (the too strings will have gone flat, again...) and play...
Ernie Ball makes some nylon w/ ball ends.(#2409)
I play my Godin Multiac (Nylon strings) more than any other guitar since buying it 5 years ago.

Maybe I'm a glutton for punishment, but I like the ritual every 6-8 weeks of restringing it with Extra-hard tension strings, which seem to stretch better than the lighter tension strings. Plus the snappy sound of the Extra-hard tension suits my playing style.

The first day of new strings, I just keep having to retune, then on day 2, I'll tune up a whole tone, leave the guitar for a couple of days and play something else.

When I go back to the Godin, I retune to A 440 and the stability is always consistent.
Just last night I succumbed to my lust for a Godin nylon string guitar. I ordered the Encore model, which is the same (supposedly) as the Multiac, just minus the multi-pin synth feature. Still has the 1.9" nut width. It should arrive Friday......I can't wait. ;)
BTW.....ordered the burnt umber finish.
 
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WingedWords

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The problem is that the elasticity of the strings contributes to brightness and aliveness of your tone. By the time your strings stop stretching, they’re dead, and you have to start the whole miserable process again. Classical guitar is really just an awful instrument.
I don't think it's quite that bad! I know one or two people who manage to get by.
 

howardlo

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Over the years I have become fairly adept at changing nylon string guitars and ukes. Got my first classical guitar in 1965 while in college playing in a folk trio (the poor man’s Peter, Paul and Mary). Now have two nylon string guitars, one classical and one A/E crossover Yamaha along with three ukes (one soprano, one concert and one tenor).

I really don’t mind changing them at all. They probably aren’t for those who can’t seem to live without locking tuners and want fast string changes. I really don’t care for nylon strings with ball ends, just seems wrong somehow.
 

PhredE

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Nylon strings are a lot more work, that's for sure!

The first day of new strings, I just keep having to retune, then on day 2, I'll tune up a whole tone, leave the guitar for a couple of days and play something else.
Please be careful when tuning above standard pitch. The extra tension puts much more stress on the bridge and neck-body joint which could cause serious damage.

Edit: This thread will be a reminder for me to change strings out today sometime.
 

VintageSG

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I haven't done it in a while ( don't have a nylon string right now), but I'm the weird type that likes to change guitar strings!

You're not alone. I find it quite therapeutic, cathartic even. The procedure, the cleaning ( and if rosewood, oiling ) of the fretboard, general cleaning, checking over the tuners, addressing any fret-crown issues, apply a little graphite to the nut, and on the ukes, making the bridge knots as neat as possible.
 

PhredE

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Ernie Ball makes some nylon w/ ball ends.(#2409)

Just last night I succumbed to my lust for a Godin nylon string guitar. I ordered the Encore model, which is the same (supposedly) as the Multiac, just minus the multi-pin synth feature. Still has the 1.9" nut width. It should arrive Friday......I can't wait. ;)

Congrats on the new guitar! Don't be afraid of the bridge beads. In using those, you're not constrained to buying a certain string type and restringing time is reduced about 25-50% of the tie-over method. Plus, they help avoid damage in/around the bridge. Oh, also -- check the surface of the frets really carefully. If they aren't polished well, and when you're up to it, give them a touch up and make them as smooth as possible. It helps those unwound strings ring better and play easier.


I was poking around the Godin site and noticed they have really expanded their product line(s). They have a traditional [solid] cedar over solid rosewood back/sides, with mahogany neck and rosewood bridge model for $850 -- made in Canada too. That's a pretty good deal which is comparable to the entry level hand-built Yamahas and Kremona Sofia and Fiesta models (and a maybe a few others).
 

NWinther

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Eh??? Where is the difficult part again? Use good strings, keep your guitar in shape.
Sure if you have not done it before I get the difficult part, but they are normally not very hard to change.
 

Chiogtr4x

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You're not alone. I find it quite therapeutic, cathartic even. The procedure, the cleaning ( and if rosewood, oiling ) of the fretboard, general cleaning, checking over the tuners, addressing any fret-crown issues, apply a little graphite to the nut, and on the ukes, making the bridge knots as neat as possible.
I felt like I had learned an art, changing the strings on a nylon; finding the right strings, complimentary to my hands and guitar.

Need to get back to playing one, so rich and dynamic!

* I don't play Classical guitar, but some fingerstyle- easy pop vocal melodies/instrumentals/ acoustic blues.
The nylon string is a cool, different voice on everything for me
 

Martian

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Classical guitars are fascinating things; amazing tools that are incredibly well designed. There are so many differences, subtle and sometimes complex, in how luthiers approach the build to achieve their perceived ideal tone and maximum volume. If you can ever find a place that has good, hand made or high end models you owe it to yourself to investigate. (If they’ll let you.) Pick one up and you’ll smile. I’m serious, there’s no way not to. So light and so loud. From a design perspective as well as a musical one they are just fascinating.
As for re-stringing, retuning I guess patience helps. I’ve read interviews with concert guitarists who say they change strings every performance or two. I guess at their level they know how to conquer the tuning issues but I don’t get it.
 




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