Most musical strings?

Choice of classical guitar strings and technical issues connected with their use.
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souldier
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Most musical strings?

Post by souldier » Sun Aug 27, 2017 9:25 pm

We often ask what are the warmest, brightest, clearest, loudest, etc. strings. In your experience, which set of strings would you describe as the most musically pleasing? By musical one might mean wide tonal palette, complex, beautiful timbre, colorful, etc.?
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Erik Zurcher
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Re: Most musical strings?

Post by Erik Zurcher » Sun Aug 27, 2017 9:47 pm

I don't believe that musical strings exist. Musicality is a value judgement reserved to humans, not objects.
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souldier
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Re: Most musical strings?

Post by souldier » Sun Aug 27, 2017 10:04 pm

Erik Zurcher wrote:
Sun Aug 27, 2017 9:47 pm
I don't believe that musical strings exist. Musicality is a value judgement reserved to humans, not objects.
Could it be possible that one could make a value judgment concerning the musicality of strings as one would with a guitar? I've often heard of certain guitars being described as "musically pleasing". Are such judgments wrongly made?
"Success grants its rewards to a few, but is the dream of the multitudes.
Excellence is available to all, but is accepted only by a few." - Christopher Parkening

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petermc61
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Re: Most musical strings?

Post by petermc61 » Mon Aug 28, 2017 7:31 am

I think it's an interesting question, but not one that there is necessarily an answer for. Many players use different sets of strings and do so for a variety of reasons - but I think it's reasonable to assume that whatever set of strings they are using is the most musically pleasing to them (putting aside price differences for some of the more expensive sets).

I think an alternate question which could be answered is which sets of strings are 'forgiving' and generally produce musical results, if not the 'most musical' for a given guitar. In that category I would suggest Ramirez medium tension with carbon G - they may not be best for many of my uses but I have never year heard them sound other than musically pleasant.

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Michael.N.
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Re: Most musical strings?

Post by Michael.N. » Mon Aug 28, 2017 9:07 am

souldier wrote:
Sun Aug 27, 2017 10:04 pm
Erik Zurcher wrote:
Sun Aug 27, 2017 9:47 pm
I don't believe that musical strings exist. Musicality is a value judgement reserved to humans, not objects.
Could it be possible that one could make a value judgment concerning the musicality of strings as one would with a guitar? I've often heard of certain guitars being described as "musically pleasing". Are such judgments wrongly made?
No, not wrongly made. Just a subjective opinion. Presumably people play the guitar (or strings) that they do because they find it musically pleasing. They would be a bit of a fool to do otherwise. I guess it's the same reason that we aren't all playing the very same type of guitar or indeed the exact same type of strings. How wonderful would that be. Cookie cutter strings on cookie cutter guitars played by cookie cooker players.
It's just a matter of taste. Often it's just different, not better or worse.
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souldier
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Re: Most musical strings?

Post by souldier » Mon Aug 28, 2017 2:53 pm

Michael.N. wrote:
Mon Aug 28, 2017 9:07 am
No, not wrongly made. Just a subjective opinion. Presumably people play the guitar (or strings) that they do because they find it musically pleasing. They would be a bit of a fool to do otherwise. I guess it's the same reason that we aren't all playing the very same type of guitar or indeed the exact same type of strings. How wonderful would that be. Cookie cutter strings on cookie cutter guitars played by cookie cooker players.
It's just a matter of taste. Often it's just different, not better or worse.
Definitely agree that it is a matter of subjective opinion. I am still quite curious as to what players on this forum would perceive as musically pleasing strings. One could gather such opinions by sifting through indirectly related threads around here, but it would be nice to have one thread dedicated to the topic.
"Success grants its rewards to a few, but is the dream of the multitudes.
Excellence is available to all, but is accepted only by a few." - Christopher Parkening

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souldier
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Re: Most musical strings?

Post by souldier » Mon Aug 28, 2017 2:55 pm

petermc61 wrote:
Mon Aug 28, 2017 7:31 am
I think an alternate question which could be answered is which sets of strings are 'forgiving' and generally produce musical results, if not the 'most musical' for a given guitar. In that category I would suggest Ramirez medium tension with carbon G - they may not be best for many of my uses but I have never year heard them sound other than musically pleasant.
Interesting choice peter. I have only had the chance to try Ramirez strings briefly on a friend's guitar so I can't form a reliable opinion of them. Would you say they are even more forgiving than D'addario EJ45's? If not, what other characteristics would make you choose the Ramirez set over D'addario?
"Success grants its rewards to a few, but is the dream of the multitudes.
Excellence is available to all, but is accepted only by a few." - Christopher Parkening

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petermc61
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Re: Most musical strings?

Post by petermc61 » Tue Aug 29, 2017 12:47 am

souldier wrote:
Mon Aug 28, 2017 2:55 pm
petermc61 wrote:
Mon Aug 28, 2017 7:31 am
I think an alternate question which could be answered is which sets of strings are 'forgiving' and generally produce musical results, if not the 'most musical' for a given guitar. In that category I would suggest Ramirez medium tension with carbon G - they may not be best for many of my uses but I have never year heard them sound other than musically pleasant.
Interesting choice peter. I have only had the chance to try Ramirez strings briefly on a friend's guitar so I can't form a reliable opinion of them. Would you say they are even more forgiving than D'addario EJ45's? If not, what other characteristics would make you choose the Ramirez set over D'addario?
Part of it is being forgiving. Ramirez have that trait but also interest. They are rich and dynamic. EJ45 might also be forgiving but I find them rather boring, which the Ramirez are not. One big issue for me is the EJ45 G string that I find just plain average - thick, tubby, less than average sustain.

Jack Douglas
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Re: Most musical strings?

Post by Jack Douglas » Tue Aug 29, 2017 11:32 am

petermc61 wrote:
Tue Aug 29, 2017 12:47 am
souldier wrote:
Mon Aug 28, 2017 2:55 pm
petermc61 wrote:
Mon Aug 28, 2017 7:31 am
I think an alternate question which could be answered is which sets of strings are 'forgiving' and generally produce musical results, if not the 'most musical' for a given guitar. In that category I would suggest Ramirez medium tension with carbon G - they may not be best for many of my uses but I have never year heard them sound other than musically pleasant.
Interesting choice peter. I have only had the chance to try Ramirez strings briefly on a friend's guitar so I can't form a reliable opinion of them. Would you say they are even more forgiving than D'addario EJ45's? If not, what other characteristics would make you choose the Ramirez set over D'addario?
Part of it is being forgiving. Ramirez have that trait but also interest. They are rich and dynamic. EJ45 might also be forgiving but I find them rather boring, which the Ramirez are not. One big issue for me is the EJ45 G string that I find just plain average - thick, tubby, less than average sustain.
I used Ramirez strings on the Rohe I owned and thought they sounded very good. I experimented with a number of strings and some of the more expensive strings sounded a bit better, but on that guitar Ramirez was always very dependable.
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Laudiesdad69
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Re: Most musical strings?

Post by Laudiesdad69 » Wed Nov 22, 2017 7:19 am

I'm with Peter and Jack. I've used Ramirez medium tension with Carbon G, and Ramirez HT Nylon on many guitars over the past couple of years, from cheap guitars costing less than 200 dollars, to more expensive guitars, like Ramirez 4NE, GH, 125 anyos, and a 2E and 1A, and several Cordobas too. They have sounded great on all of them.

And by great, I mean a marked improvement over what was on the guitar's previously (many brands), and they always sounded rich, with pleasant overtones, round and clear trebles, and very good bass response without being thuddy. I don't know how else to put it. They are a favorite of mine. If you want to improve the sound of just about any guitar, they are always a good bet.

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dta721
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Re: Most musical strings?

Post by dta721 » Wed Nov 22, 2017 2:53 pm

Laudiesdad69 wrote:
Wed Nov 22, 2017 7:19 am
I'm with Peter and Jack. I've used Ramirez medium tension with Carbon G, and Ramirez HT Nylon on many guitars over the past couple of years, from cheap guitars costing less than 200 dollars, to more expensive guitars, like Ramirez 4NE, GH, 125 anyos, and a 2E and 1A, and several Cordobas too. They have sounded great on all of them.

And by great, I mean a marked improvement over what was on the guitar's previously (many brands), and they always sounded rich, with pleasant overtones, round and clear trebles, and very good bass response without being thuddy. I don't know how else to put it. They are a favorite of mine. If you want to improve the sound of just about any guitar, they are always a good bet.
As this thread evolves, the OP's question could be modified to pair the suggested strings with a particular guitar for the intended purposes :) ?

E.g. which set of strings would sound most musical with the Ramirez 4NE?

By chance, when a guitar shop replaced new strings on my old, all laminated BM (Barnes & Mullins) with the D'Addario Flamenco EJ25B, it sounds very "musical" to me which even make it difficult to compare to a newer all solid wood Almansa strung with D'Addario Hard Tension EJ46. While the Almansa sounds warmer and richer with more harmonious contents, its treble is less pronounced relative to the laminated guitar - additional effort in doing rest strokes required to bring up the same brightness, and its bass does not seem "tight", not really woofy but not as "musical" relative to the laminated BM. Thus, I intend (already ordered the EJ25B) to re-string the Almansa with the same strings to compare, in hoping that the Flamenco strings would bring out the best of it! By chance the strings may even make a cedar top sounds like a spruce one? :D

celestemcc
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Re: Most musical strings?

Post by celestemcc » Wed Nov 22, 2017 3:37 pm

Depends on the guitar...
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johnd
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Re: Most musical strings?

Post by johnd » Wed Nov 22, 2017 3:45 pm

It's not the strings - it's not the guitar - it's the player!!!! Segovia could have played a $200 guitar with $1.98 strings and he would have sounded a hell of a lot better than I will ever be!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

kervoas
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Re: Most musical strings?

Post by kervoas » Wed Nov 22, 2017 4:25 pm

Another vote for Ramirez - I have switched from Dogal trebles paired with various basses, and find the Ramirez as good if not better, plus the advantage of offering a complete set.
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Kenbobpdx
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Re: Most musical strings?

Post by Kenbobpdx » Wed Nov 22, 2017 4:33 pm

I think it is not possible to attribute musicality to a set of strings per se. String choice is highly subjective but we can state that some strings work better on some guitars than on others. We also all have opinions on which strings, in general, sound good on most guitars. This is most often due to manufacturing consistency and the base accuracy of intonation. Many of us can also agree on which string manufacturers are less than reliably manufactured. D'Addarios are boring but they are consistent while others are very interesting if you can get a set that actually stays in tune.

The challenge is always to find a combination of strings that bring out the best qualities of the instrument while also allowing the player to explore the full range of their own capabilities. In the hands of highly skilled players a guitar with reasonable tonality can sound good due to the player's skill but it will not optimally reflect their abilities because of inherent limitations of a lower quality instrument. Likewise a phenomenal guitar will sound less than optimal in the hands of a marginal player regardless of the strings.

All of that said, part of the fun is getting a good instrument and then experimenting with strings that meet your own idea of what sounds best. I personally do not like overly bright strings so I avoid carbon strings which blast like freight trains on my main guitar. I like a darker, rounder sound so my string choice reflects that. Playability and tension also matter to me so I use low tension strings. These are all considered choices but are highly subjective. Fortunately, nowadays we can mix and match strings to achieve a closer match to our particular peculiarities.
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