Restringing a nylong string guitar

Chiogtr4x

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Once they stretch tho it is nice that they stay in tune and last a long time.

There are also quite a few different tensions and from soft noodle to pretty firm.

Nothing like nylon string tone.

I know I asked this years ago ( here), but don't remember what the census was?

Is it a good or bad idea to tune>stretch>tune ( repeat) the strings on a nylon string guitar when first putting on new strings? ( the way I do with a steel string)

Or better to just deal with strings going out of tune & retune..., until strings settle in, on their own?
- as I did not know better, I did in the same manner as my steel string guitars.
I think I read doing things the 'steel string way' could cause diameter inconsistencies along strings' length= intonation along frets issues?
Just curious

I don't have a nylon string guitar now, to try out, but looking to get one soon/ this year...
Thanks!
 

dspellman1

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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...
Quitcher whining! Lord, I get string change whining on one side from the people who have no idea how to set up a Floyd quickly and from the other side from people who can't string a nylon string guitar. Yeesh! And then there's me, who had to string up a Bigsby for the first time in a hundred years when I bought a G2420 used from GC and was suddenly confronted with the trem from hell. I was reminded me of one of the several reasons I really do NOT like Bigsbys.

This reminds me, though, that I hauled out my Line 6 Variax Acoustic 700 a couple of days ago. This is a modeling guitar that models (*ahem*) several kinds of string instruments, including a nylon string guitar. But you string it up just like any other guitar. Nice. Nylon string sounds from a steel string guitar. These aren't made any more, but just for fun you might want to take a look.
 

Deeve

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Welp, the nylon guitar has become the couch guitar.
Since it never leaves the house, I've stepped over to the easy joy of ball-end strings.
Yes, they are the equivalent of velcro-close shoes, but I am past caring.

Also, hard-tension strings! Yay.
Peace - Deeve
 

netgear69

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Nearly as bad as stringing up a 12 string
I have a small parlour guitar nylon it has bridge pegs i usually tie some old ball ends off used steel strings by the time the strings have stretched out and stay in tune the strings are dead and need replacing
 

PhredE

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Classical guitars are interesting critters. It took me a long time to figure out the balance between string tension, string material(s), etc. and how it affects sound. When I started out, I also used high tension strings exclusively. They are a bit harder to play, but do yield punchier sound and with a tad more absolute volume. On the flip side, what you gain in 'punch' or volume, you give back in sacrificing sustain. It took me quite a long time to really figure out the nuances of the balance, and every guitar is a little different.

On a production guitar, some careful attention to saddle-bridge fit and swapping in a quality bone saddle (if there isn't one) can go a long way to maximize sustain and maybe a bit more balance and punch too. It's all about the setup (and type of strings).

Is it a good or bad idea to tune>stretch>tune ( repeat) the strings on a nylon string guitar when first putting on new strings?

It is possible, but if you do try with the unwound nylon type strings, be very careful not to crimp or bend them in a way which alters the geometry. Bends can affect the way the string(s) vibrate and sometimes in a nasty undesirable way. The wound strings are a bit more robust as they have a multifilament nylon stranded core (the metallic surface windings are usually a light silver plating over copper core).
 

Chiogtr4x

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Classical guitars are interesting critters. It took me a long time to figure out the balance between string tension, string material(s), etc. and how it affects sound. When I started out, I also used high tension strings exclusively. They are a bit harder to play, but do yield punchier sound and with a tad more absolute volume. On the flip side, what you gain in 'punch' or volume, you give back in sacrificing sustain. It took me quite a long time to really figure out the nuances of the balance, and every guitar is a little different.

On a production guitar, some careful attention to saddle-bridge fit and swapping in a quality bone saddle (if there isn't one) can go a long way to maximize sustain and maybe a bit more balance and punch too. It's all about the setup (and type of strings).



It is possible, but if you do try with the unwound nylon type strings, be very careful not to crimp or bend them in a way which alters the geometry. Bends can affect the way the string(s) vibrate and sometimes in a nasty undesirable way. The wound strings are a bit more robust as they have a multifilament nylon stranded core (the metallic surface windings are usually a light silver plating over copper core).
Thanks.
I do remember liking the LaBella or D'Addario regular tension strings, but with what I think are called 'rectified trebles'

The opaque plain strings that seemed to offer a little bit more grip/friction for my fingertips.
Plus I dig the way they look!
 

PhredE

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LaBella or D'addario are good pretty much throughout all their various options. Many players use Savarez as well.

If you're shopping for strings.. the 'carbon' type trebles are stronger and offer more punch/projection (and are a bit thinner in diameter too). The old school nylons work fine but won't have the punch the carbons do. The titanium (polymer) or titanium blend trebles are sort of a nice middle ground between the other two. The carbons and titanium trebles cost a few bucks more than standard nylon. When in doubt, sample what's out there until you like one set the most!
 

AAT65

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

String winder?
The string winder is useful to save the fingers a bit from the very small tuning peg buttons!
I don't believe I have a problem with slipping at the tuner, because the nylon seems pretty grippy compared to steel.
I am a bit concerned about the knot under the bridge... but after a few days and some hours of playing the tuning does seem to be settling, at last!

BTW for contrast I restrung my Jazzmaster just before doing the nylon string guitar, and it was such a breeze! Within 5 minutes of the last string going onto the tuner I had 6 strings in tune and staying that way.

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.
This a very relevant point. This guitar is older than me and has suffered enough already at my hands (I learned to play on it) - I have no intention of stressing the neck or bridge anymore than I can help. For the same reason I stick to "normal" tension strings.
Ernie Ball makes some nylon w/ ball ends.(#2409)
Interesting! I might try to track some down for next time. Thank you for the hint.
 

hotraman

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I was gifted this, for my granddaughter to learn on. Its a 1962 Martin Nylon folk guitar. It came with Martin nylon strings with the ball end. So I just replaced the strings with them. And I added a K&K nylon string pickup, so I can play out with it. Nylon strings have their own thing going on, but the tone is relaxing.
 

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PhredE

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I was gifted this, for my granddaughter to learn on. Its a 1962 Martin Nylon folk guitar. It came with Martin nylon strings with the ball end. So I just replaced the strings with them. And I added a K&K nylon string pickup, so I can play out with it. Nylon strings have their own thing going on, but the tone is relaxing.

Nice. If it has solid back and sides you've got a real gem on your hands. Even not all-solid, it appears to be a really nice classic guitar. Those K & K are supposed to be the best option for amplification -- I'll bet it sounds nice.

I see ball-end wound strings on it. Are those 'folk' type strings? (I hope/pray they aren't regular steel type wound strings -- the extra tension is a recipe for structural failure).
 

WingedWords

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A bit of history



I know he used to buy the plain strings in large quantities and check each one with a micrometer for consistency of gauge along their length, rejecting at least half of them. I think they've improved since then.
 

WingedWords

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I was gifted this, for my granddaughter to learn on. Its a 1962 Martin Nylon folk guitar. It came with Martin nylon strings with the ball end. So I just replaced the strings with them. And I added a K&K nylon string pickup, so I can play out with it. Nylon strings have their own thing going on, but the tone is relaxing.
I'd love to see more pics of it.
 

hotraman

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Nice. If it has solid back and sides you've got a real gem on your hands. Even not all-solid, it appears to be a really nice classic guitar. Those K & K are supposed to be the best option for amplification -- I'll bet it sounds nice.

I see ball-end wound strings on it. Are those 'folk' type strings? (I hope/pray they aren't regular steel type wound strings -- the extra tension is a recipe for structural failure).
Yes, they are folk style strings. In fact, Martin calls this a nylon folk guitar, vs a classical guitar. Yes, its all solid. I haven't played out with it yet. I use my 1973 Gibson J45 deluxe more often.
 

nojazzhere

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I was gifted this, for my granddaughter to learn on. Its a 1962 Martin Nylon folk guitar. It came with Martin nylon strings with the ball end. So I just replaced the strings with them. And I added a K&K nylon string pickup, so I can play out with it. Nylon strings have their own thing going on, but the tone is relaxing.
I agree about the tone of a nylon string guitar. I've been a fan for many years of Jose Nieto, who played an "electric" nylon guitar with Steve Winwood.....playing (basically) Rock&Roll on a classical. I first bought an Angel Lopez solid body nylon, but it's as heavy in weight as a Les Paul. Then I went with a Yamaha Silent 200N nylon, and I like it a lot. It sounds good and is lightweight, but even with a pro set-up and compensated saddle, it doesn't intonate well further up the neck. Now, I have a Godin Encore nylon on order. The Godins are reputed to be the best production solid nylon around......I hope so! ;)
 

hotraman

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I agree about the tone of a nylon string guitar. I've been a fan for many years of Jose Nieto, who played an "electric" nylon guitar with Steve Winwood.....playing (basically) Rock&Roll on a classical. I first bought an Angel Lopez solid body nylon, but it's as heavy in weight as a Les Paul. Then I went with a Yamaha Silent 200N nylon, and I like it a lot. It sounds good and is lightweight, but even with a pro set-up and compensated saddle, it doesn't intonate well further up the neck. Now, I have a Godin Encore nylon on order. The Godins are reputed to be the best production solid nylon around......I hope so! ;)
I own a Godin electric mandolin. They make great instruments. I'm sure your Encore will be amazing! Congrats!
 




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