Argentine tension compared with classical nylon strings



  • guitarmikeguitarmike Montreal, Quebec✭✭ Old French Gypsy Guitar
    Posts: 112

    Just let a nylon string guitar be a nylon string guitar. The top and the bracings were made for that.

  • jonpowljonpowl Hercules, CA✭✭✭ Dupont MD-100, Altamira M01F
    Posts: 705

    Since we're on the topic, are silk and steel strings a little softer than regular Argentines or Gallis? The strings on my Altamira M01f seem a little tighter when playing rhythm and I assume it is because the neck is 19 frets rather than 21 like my Cigano or Dupont. I'm looking for a little softer sound when playing rhythm. I am fairly certain I tried Galli S&S 10s time before last and don't remember the guitar sounding much different. Any feedback appreciated.

  • murrayatuptowngallermurrayatuptowngaller Holland, MINew Quinteros 2023 Di Mauro Chorus variant, Gibson 1956 ES-135, The Loar LH350VS
    Posts: 55

    I have used the tension tables and formulae on the D'Addario site.

    My avatar is an abomino-project conversion of a baritone uke to a tiny tenor (~20" scale vs. ~23"). I used the tensions for the half-overwound nylon uke strings to target steel-core phosphor-bronze and plain steel strings for the conversion. I put the formulae into a spreadsheet so I could solve for the parameter of interest at the moment.

    You can look up individual string specs for a set you conjure up yourself. Pay attention to the scale length referenced for a set or an individual string because that changes when you go between different guitar string guitar 'types'. It's easier in the specs to recognize, than to explain. Basically, a classical string may have a footnote about the presumed scale length and the plain steel strings are usually used on shorter scale electric guitars.

    I had to pay attention to all of that because I was making a conversion with a scale length not listed in any of the string packages. Initially I chose metal-core strings with the same total tension. After having a tenor guitar builder online tell me I was not crazy, and trading logic behind why we each chose string tensions individually and in sum, I had done something unusual he found interesting (because I did not know what rules I was breaking), and he told me I could easily increase total tension 20% in my scenario (not knowing how the instrument was constructed). He knew the construction of his so he went even higher.

    Some people would call it a DI-WHY?!? project. I don't have an answer to that.

    Basically, there is a large difference in tension for standard tuning on the same scale length between metal and nylon strings because of the density of the different materials. So I ended up with thinner gauge metal to keep the tension similar.

    I think the design of a nylon string intent instrument is the reason it's bad to switch to metal strings. Some instruments not having truss rods, and the bracing not being adequate for significantly higher tension when arbitrarily choosing denser metal strings by gauge and not tension, are why damage is predicted or actually occurs.

    I had hoped that targeting comparable tension with different materials would cure a host of evils in my naive approach.

    I hated the sound and intonation, eventually learning the instrument was defective. Apologies for almost certainly repeating this story, but 2200 instruments were built with incorrectly CNC-placed fret slots. So it was a piece of krap regardless of string type.

    I'm told it's correctable, but I got kind of disgusted and try to focus on 'real' instruments now.

    Fun with math and poor time management...gotta have a hobby, right?


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