You are here

Nylon strings

For all things relating to guitars, basses, amps, pedals & accessories.

Moderator: Moderators

Nylon strings

Postby awjoe » Sat Jan 16, 2021 5:49 am

So recently, and don't ask me why, I changed the strings on both my classical guitar and my ukulele on the same day. It takes forever for nylon strings to stretch themselves into comfortable tune, so you have to wait for them. Guess which set came into tune faster? I mean, you probably all know the answer to this, but it surprised me because I'd never done this before. Experiment's everything.
User avatar
awjoe
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2903
Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2011 1:00 am
Well, maybe I could take one for the team. But no pictures.

Re: Nylon strings

Postby blinddrew » Sat Jan 16, 2021 11:24 am

Which ones are at the higher tension?
User avatar
blinddrew
Jedi Poster
Posts: 13525
Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2015 12:00 am
Location: York
Ignore the post count, I have no idea what I'm doing...

Re: Nylon strings

Postby shufflebeat » Sat Jan 16, 2021 12:27 pm

I'd imagine (on no evidence) that, assuming correct (!) string changing technique the shorter scale of the uke would mean the variability would correspondingly smaller so - uke settles first?
shufflebeat
Jedi Poster
Posts: 5838
Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2007 1:00 am
Location: Manchester, UK
"Dance, dance. wherever you may be, for I am the Lord of the damp settee..."

Do yourself a favour, wear earplugs at gigs.

Re: Nylon strings

Postby awjoe » Sat Jan 16, 2021 6:36 pm

Both sets of strings are D'Addario. Fattest to thinnest uke strings: .97 mm - .65 mm; tension on those two strings: 4.39 kg - 5.57 kg. Fattest to thinnest guitar strings: 1.09 mm - .71 mm; tension on those two strings: 6.43 kg - 7.36 kg.

I'm assuming the higher tension on the thinner strings is because they're wound tighter to get the higher pitch?

But the guitar came into tune faster. Well, they both still need to be tuned up every time I play (like I said, it takes forever to tune nylon strings), but the guitar's way closer. Maybe Drew's on the right track - maybe the tension difference accounts for it. Maybe length has less to do with it.
User avatar
awjoe
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2903
Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2011 1:00 am
Well, maybe I could take one for the team. But no pictures.

Re: Nylon strings

Postby shufflebeat » Sat Jan 16, 2021 7:04 pm

awjoe wrote:I'm assuming the higher tension on the thinner strings is because they're wound tighter to get the higher pitch?

I always thought it was the other way round, greater mass results in naturally lower frequency for a given tension.

It could be worse, pity the poor accordionist, or rather, the poor guitarist sat in front of him/her.
shufflebeat
Jedi Poster
Posts: 5838
Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2007 1:00 am
Location: Manchester, UK
"Dance, dance. wherever you may be, for I am the Lord of the damp settee..."

Do yourself a favour, wear earplugs at gigs.

Re: Nylon strings

Postby awjoe » Sat Jan 16, 2021 7:37 pm

shufflebeat wrote:
awjoe wrote:I'm assuming the higher tension on the thinner strings is because they're wound tighter to get the higher pitch?

I always thought it was the other way round, greater mass results in naturally lower frequency for a given tension.

I think both of those things are true.


shufflebeat wrote:It could be worse, pity the poor accordionist, or rather, the poor guitarist sat in front of him/her.

Okay, I know that's funny, because you said it, but I don't get it. Am I the dull, thick-fingered guitarist in that scenario? :headbang:
User avatar
awjoe
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2903
Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2011 1:00 am
Well, maybe I could take one for the team. But no pictures.

Re: Nylon strings

Postby Sam Spoons » Sat Jan 16, 2021 8:13 pm

Not sure why one should settle before the other, possibly something as simple as friction/grip of the tuning posts. Nylon strung guitars usually have large diameter plastic posts, Uke's usually standard metal post tuners.

WRT string tension I guess you know of this D'Addario document https://www.daddario.com/globalassets/pdfs/accessories/tension_chart_13934.pdf
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 15118
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 1:00 am
Location: Manchester UK
Still taking this recording lark seriously (and trying to record my Gypsy Jazz CD)........

Re: Nylon strings

Postby awjoe » Sun Jan 17, 2021 4:49 am

That's true about the tuning posts. But in terms of tuning the instrument, the smaller posts on the uke just means there's more turns of string on the post, and how much you have to twist the tuner on each instrument to get the same pitch increase. (It's more on the uke.)

I hadn't seen the page you linked to, no. Thanks for that. I'm still perusing and deciphering.
User avatar
awjoe
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2903
Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2011 1:00 am
Well, maybe I could take one for the team. But no pictures.

Re: Nylon strings

Postby Sam Spoons » Sun Jan 17, 2021 1:22 pm

Not sure about more turns, just string them up with less slack? The point is that they are very different. IME more turns usually mean more initial slippage/settling but, while I have a couple of cheap Uke's I don't have any nylon strung guitars so wouldn't claim to be an authority in them.
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 15118
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 1:00 am
Location: Manchester UK
Still taking this recording lark seriously (and trying to record my Gypsy Jazz CD)........

Re: Nylon strings

Postby Dynamic Mike » Mon Jan 18, 2021 4:50 pm

More turns generally means more friction. Works for tying up cruise liners but I'm not sure how well it translates to nylon strung guitars!
Dynamic Mike
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 3736
Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2006 1:00 am
Innovation usually starts with someone thinking out loud.

Re: Nylon strings

Postby merlyn » Mon Jan 18, 2021 5:08 pm

awjoe wrote:It takes forever for nylon strings to stretch themselves into comfortable tune, so you have to wait for them.

How long are you talking? It's possible get nylon strings stable in two days by stretching them. So if I had a gig on a Friday the cutoff day for changing strings would be Wednesday. Wednesday night would be spent stretching them, then Thursday morning they've dropped a semitone, a bit of stretching on Thursday and they're ready for Friday.

In another thread not many people appear to stretch their strings. "Just play them in, man". Yeah, sure, but playing an out of tune guitar is not a particularly appealing prospect to me. :)

As to why the guitar stabilises first -- it does seem likely the higher tension is a factor. With more force the strings get to their stable length more quickly.
merlyn
Regular
Posts: 222
Joined: Thu Nov 07, 2019 3:15 am

Re: Nylon strings

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Jan 18, 2021 5:18 pm

I 'stretch'* my strings in pretty forcefully, with steel strings they settle in 10 mins or so, I don't play nylon though I have a mate who does so I know they are much harder to stabilise.

More turns does mean more friction but the extra turns take more 'settling' before tuning stability is reached. In fact the friction/grip/holding power increases more or less exponentially as you increase the number of turns so there is little point in using more than three or four turns.

* At least as far as steel strings are concerned, they do stretch but you are not 'stretching them in' as far as I'm aware and they will return to their original length when you remove them. Once they pass their elastic limit they will break almost immediately usually where they are weakened by a bend over the bridge, nut or saddle or where they are secured at the tuner or bridge/bridge pins. Nylon may behave differently and silicone 'U-Bass' strings definitely do stretch/creep progressively.
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 15118
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 1:00 am
Location: Manchester UK
Still taking this recording lark seriously (and trying to record my Gypsy Jazz CD)........

Re: Nylon strings

Postby awjoe » Mon Jan 18, 2021 5:39 pm

I don't stretch them much, and rely on time and daily tunings to get there - maybe a semitone a day for five or six days, and hence all the windings on the post (much more for the uke than the guitar). I started googling closeups of Jake Shimabukuro's instrument, and near as I can tell, he has only a few windings on each post. (Me: 'How do you *do* that?)

I'll try stretching them more. Thanks. I should hang out with musicians more. :lol:
User avatar
awjoe
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2903
Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2011 1:00 am
Well, maybe I could take one for the team. But no pictures.

Re: Nylon strings

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Jan 18, 2021 5:48 pm

Three or four turns is probably about the best compromise. What you're doing when you 'stretch' them is taking any slack out of the knots and the windings, with steel strings it's possible to get them stable in a few minutes but ball ends and the sharp bend where it enters the hole in the peg helps for sure.
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 15118
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 1:00 am
Location: Manchester UK
Still taking this recording lark seriously (and trying to record my Gypsy Jazz CD)........

Re: Nylon strings

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Jan 18, 2021 5:48 pm

awjoe wrote:I should hang out with musicians more. :lol:

I shouldn't bother, it's overrated... :bouncy:
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 15118
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 1:00 am
Location: Manchester UK
Still taking this recording lark seriously (and trying to record my Gypsy Jazz CD)........