Why is 3rd string G unstable?

Choice of classical guitar strings and technical issues connected with their use.
Kurt Penner
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Why is 3rd string G unstable?

Post by Kurt Penner » Sun Jan 13, 2019 5:26 am

I notice that my least stable string in terms of tuning is always the 3rd string or G. I'm not sure why this is. The other unwound strings are not nearly as much trouble. Even the wound strings that I abuse with altered tunings are more predictable. Any explanations?

FWIW, I am playing a McConnell 7 string, spruce top, Romanillos design, with D'Addario J45 EXPs, but it seems to happen with other strings as well.

Just curious what others think.

KP

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petermc61
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Re: Why is 3rd string G unstable?

Post by petermc61 » Sun Jan 13, 2019 8:56 am

Nylon strings tend to go sharp with playing but there is no real reason as far as I can see why your G should be less stable than the nylon b and e.

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Julian Ward
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Re: Why is 3rd string G unstable?

Post by Julian Ward » Sun Jan 13, 2019 10:09 am

Tie it in the machine head barrell better..I bet it is slipping. Find a way to tie it/ lock it solid.
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joachim33
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Re: Why is 3rd string G unstable?

Post by joachim33 » Sun Jan 13, 2019 10:48 am

petermc61 wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 8:56 am
Nylon strings tend to go sharp with playing but there is no real reason as far as I can see why your G should be less stable than the nylon b and e.
I have observed this for all traditional sets I tried, with the exception of Aranjuez Suave. Trebles go sharp after starting to play and the G is the worst. I understand some of the cause is the actual bending of the string. Consider the string as a plastic stick, which you flex. There is a natural resistance of the stick against bending - it likes to stay straight. The process of bending is not totally elastic but some of the energy required to bend the string goes into heat and the string warms up, which makes nylon contract. The G is the thickest, hence there is more resistance against bending and cooling is poorest.

To my surprise on my current Suave A800 set, the B is the worst. The G definitely doesn’t go sharp as much after a round of Arpeggios and Scales. I assume, while looking similar the Suave G is constructed differently from the other trebles.

Carbon strings (e.g. Savarez Alliance) go up very little (thinker=better cooling and different construction) which drives me totally nuts when using a Carbon G in a nylon set, e.g. Savarez Creation 510 MR. B and 1E go sharp, G string stays in tune. Give me a nylon G and let them all go sharp.

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joachim33
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Re: Why is 3rd string G unstable?

Post by joachim33 » Sun Jan 13, 2019 10:52 am

Julian Ward wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 10:09 am
Tie it in the machine head barrell better..I bet it is slipping. Find a way to tie it/ lock it solid.
I typically tune at the start of playing. After 10 min or so of play, trebles are significantly sharp - up to 20 cent. I adjust. Next day when everything is cold, trebles are flat by an amount comparable to the adjustment.

I think you will loose your bet.

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Julian Ward
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Re: Why is 3rd string G unstable?

Post by Julian Ward » Sun Jan 13, 2019 11:14 am

Yes but the OP stated he had trouble with just the G string. We all know the trebles go sharp which has nothing to do with security at headstock...but that is not what the OP is saying...
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astro64
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Re: Why is 3rd string G unstable?

Post by astro64 » Sun Jan 13, 2019 2:25 pm

The G string is the thickest nylon string and much more temperature sensitive than the other two. A carbon third string will help a lot here, the material is much less sensitive to temperature variations. The heat from your LH finger is more than enough to make the string go sharp. In the winter the heating going off and on is also enough. I know from experience...

GuitarsWeB
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Re: Why is 3rd string G unstable?

Post by GuitarsWeB » Sun Jan 13, 2019 3:36 pm

I use the D’Addario EXP J-45’s also, but I use a Savarez Alliance normal tension 3rd string (543 R). Stringsbymail sells them separately. Much better sound and intonation than a standard nylon 3rd string...IMO

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souldier
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Re: Why is 3rd string G unstable?

Post by souldier » Sun Jan 13, 2019 5:23 pm

astro64 wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 2:25 pm
The G string is the thickest nylon string and much more temperature sensitive than the other two. A carbon third string will help a lot here, the material is much less sensitive to temperature variations. The heat from your LH finger is more than enough to make the string go sharp. In the winter the heating going off and on is also enough. I know from experience...
I had the same thoughts.
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ashworth
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Re: Why is 3rd string G unstable?

Post by ashworth » Sun Jan 13, 2019 7:00 pm

I've wondered about this often myself. I've always had consistent problems with the G going out while all the others remain in tune. I spend 90% of my tuning time twiddling with the G and trying to get it right.

I've experimented with lots of brands of strings, and found the problem to be worse in some than others, but it's always there to some degree. If there is a G immune to this, I'd like to know what it is. :)
- Donnie

astro64
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Re: Why is 3rd string G unstable?

Post by astro64 » Sun Jan 13, 2019 7:08 pm

ashworth wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 7:00 pm
I've wondered about this often myself. I've always had consistent problems with the G going out while all the others remain in tune. I spend 90% of my tuning time twiddling with the G and trying to get it right.

I've experimented with lots of brands of strings, and found the problem to be worse in some than others, but it's always there to some degree. If there is a G immune to this, I'd like to know what it is. :)
Savarez Alliance, Knobloch carbon, or any "carbon" third. Takes longer to settle initially but once stable, not much variation with temperature. You'll start cursing the B string next ;)

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Julian Ward
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Re: Why is 3rd string G unstable?

Post by Julian Ward » Sun Jan 13, 2019 8:00 pm

I must try these alternative G strings myself... everybody keeps talking about them
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GuitarsWeB
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Re: Why is 3rd string G unstable?

Post by GuitarsWeB » Sun Jan 13, 2019 8:02 pm

Savarez Alliance, Knobloch carbon, or any "carbon" third. Takes longer to settle initially but once stable, not much variation with temperature. You'll start cursing the B string next ;)
Yep! I said that in my post. Give a Savarez Alliance normal a try. As said above, takes longer to initially settle down.

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guitarrista
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Re: Why is 3rd string G unstable?

Post by guitarrista » Sun Jan 13, 2019 8:47 pm

joachim33 wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 10:48 am
petermc61 wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 8:56 am
Nylon strings tend to go sharp with playing but there is no real reason as far as I can see why your G should be less stable than the nylon b and e.
Trebles go sharp after starting to play and the G is the worst. I understand some of the cause is the actual bending of the string.
No, it is not from bending. Nylon strings get sharp when warmed up because they expand, just like anything other material. Except that with nylon extruded into a string, the string expands in the radial direction (wanting to get thicker) due to its molecular arrangement - causing its effective tension to be higher, hence going sharp.
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riffmeister
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Re: Why is 3rd string G unstable?

Post by riffmeister » Sun Jan 13, 2019 8:54 pm

astro64 wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 2:25 pm
The G string is the thickest nylon string and much more temperature sensitive than the other two. A carbon third string will help a lot here, the material is much less sensitive to temperature variations. The heat from your LH finger is more than enough to make the string go sharp.
This.

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