Posts Tagged ‘Nylon String Guitars’

(Disclaimer:  this post is about the restringing of an Ibanez steel string acoustic guitar with D’Addario nylon strings.  The initial purchase of the string set was from my own funds.  A replacement 6th string was provided by D’Addario at no cost to me.  Otherwise, the company has provided no compensation for this post and has no influence on my opinions.    —    KMAB)
A couple of months ago I borrowed a steel string acoustic guitar from my brother.  It has been unused for several years.
On first strum, I noted the strings felt rough and (I thought) “chippy”.  It struck me they were somehow rusted and the rust was flaking off when I went up and down the length of the strings.
I thought the guitar might still be manageable / playable, but I kept getting what I felt were splinters.
I decided to replace the strings.
I have two acoustic guitars which I own.  My very first guitar, which is also a steel string, and, a 3/4 size guitar which has nylon strings.  I love my steel string, but the 3/4 is the one I reach for for extended practice or lengthy noodling sessions because the strings are easier on the fingertips.  I, therefore, decided to try nylon strings as the replacements.
I went to my local music store and purchased a set of D’Addario “Folk Nylon” strings and swapped them with the steel strings.  As it would happen, the 6th string (the “low” E) snapped at the tuner while I was tightening / tuning the strings.  The other five tuned up fine.
I sent an email to D’Addario:  explained the situation and requested a replacement for what I felt was a defective string.  The following day, I received a response they would be sending me a new 6th string and a replacement set (for my trouble).
My initial thought was: “Yeah, we’ll see.
A week later (last Thursday), I received the string and set!!
The following day, I added the 6th / “E” string and tuned up the other strings.  Because I have experience with nylon strings I fully expected to be tuning and re-tuning – and this has been the case…  Nylon strings stretch a lot more than steel strings and the guitar reacts to the tension with its own movement, so the process is not a “one and done” deal.
Anyway, I’ve been noodling with the guitar each day.  Tune, practice, re-tune, etc.  Each day the changes are smaller and the time spent tuning is shorter.  I expect the strings will be fully set sometime this week.
Although I’ve changed nylon strings before, I don’t have any experience of fully tuning them.  The one time I did a restring, I only kept the guitar for a week before returning it to its owner (my daughter’s fiance).  I will say, when we last visited them, the guitar was (again) slightly out of tune, but that seems to be true for my steel strings (acoustic and electric), too, so I think it’s just a function of continuous tension for string instruments.
Now…  The main thing is what does it sound like.  Fantastic!!  The guitar has a deep, resonance it simply did not have with steel strings.  The notes last longer (the sometimes need to be muted) and there is a very sensual vibration from the guitar body / box, which I don’t really get from my first guitar.  It’s there.  It’s just not as resonant.  (Which basically means I’m now tempted to replace the steel strings on my first guitar with nylons once they come due.)  AND they feel excellent, too!  Nice and smooth to the touch.
I had never purchased D’Addario strings before as they are more expensive than my usual brand.  This excellent customer service means I will definitely consider them in the future.
You may ask why I chose them (a new string brand) to start off with as they are not my “usual” brand and I’m really into brand loyalty.  Well, I try to support my local brick and mortar businesses when I can.  The store did not have my usual brand in stock for this string type.  Pure accident / coincidence.
One closing note about restringing guitars:  it is NOT recommended you re-string steel string guitars with nylon strings.  The two string types have vastly different tensions and string diameter which means you may also have to adjust your action (the height of your strings above your frets).  It may also cause the neck of your guitar to bow somewhat in reaction to the decreased string tension.  This will mean adjusting the guitar neck via the truss rod.  These are relatively easy (sometimes) things to do, but you can seriously damage your guitar if you are not careful.
And you should NEVER replace nylon strings with steel strings (on a nylon string guitar) as this will almost certainly badly damage your nylon string guitar.  Steel string tension is MUCH higher than nylon and the internal reinforcement is simply not present in a guitar intended for nylon string use. You will probably snap your guitar in half or pull the bridge off of the body.
In my case, I went from steel to nylon – NOT nylon to steel.  A word to the wise should suffice…
Oh, yeah.  Please remember ALL of my guitars are relatively inexpensive.  I am, therefore, in a position to play with them / modify them, just to see what happens.  I also have multiple guitars, so I can continue to practice each day even if I really mess up one of them.  Try to avoid doing anything today which will interfere with your practice tomorrow…
On This Day In:
2020 The Responsibility Side Is On The Right
Where Clear Winds Blow
2019 Define Your Life…
2018 It Is No Secret
Day 25: When 4 or 5 equals 2
2017 Cowardly Defamation
2016 With No Allowance For Chance?
2015 Details
2014 Here’s One…
2013 Non-Fungible Commodities
2012 Hope And Tears
2011 Just Long Enough
Meaningful Thoughts

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[Disclaimer:  I have not received as a promotion any guitar or music related product, nor am I mentioning anything in this post to secure compensation / income for myself or the manufacturers of the products mentioned.  I am only posting about these items because I personally purchased them and am excited to be learning about music and playing guitar.   —    KMAB]
As I’ve posted a couple of times, I’ve decided to try to learn how to play a musical instrument and the one I’ve chosen is the guitar.  I’ve now completed just over four full months of learning / practice and I’ve missed a grand total of five days of practice.  (Full disclosure:  most of the first month was only 15 – 20 minutes a day to break in my fingertips.)
In January I bought my acoustic guitar (Orangewood: Austen).  It took about five days for delivery.  They actually promised two weeks delivery, so I was very happy with the speedy receipt.
I liked the guitar, but I was surprised by it.  It felt almost too light and too bulky.  I put it down to being inexpensive and me being overweight.  I bought what I thought would be a “starter” guitar for just under $200, in case (as my wife predicted) I was just going through another of my fads.
I soon noticed most of the YouTube videos I was watching to learn from were being taught on electric guitars.  So, I thought maybe I should see if I could pick up an inexpensive one of those as well.  It turns out, at just that time, I earned a $100 Amazon credit for taking some online surveys.  I watched a bunch of video recommendations and settled on a Glarry electric guitar (with gig bag, cable and amplifier) for $120 – including taxes and free shipping.  I ordered it on St. Patrick’s Day and received it two days later.  (There were / are some outstanding issues which I’ll cover in a later review / post.)
After the waiting period of our second vaccine shots, my wife and I visited our oldest daughter and her fiancé and he had JUST bought a banjo to learn how to play.  I noticed he had a small guitar standing in a corner and I asked: “What’s up with that?”  He replied it was a childhood present from his grand-father and he never learned how to play it.  I picked it up and noticed it was missing two strings.  He said it was okay because it was just a family gift which he carried around his whole life to remind him of his grand-dad.  I offered to re-string it for him if he loaned it to me.  And so I began learning about nylon string acoustic guitars…
I watched a bunch of videos and learned about nylon strings vs steel strings and how to restring a nylon.  I picked up some new strings and I also picked up some files to trim the frets – which were badly jutting out the sides and were quite sharp.  I tuned and stretched, tuned and stretched, tuned and stretched…  and eventually the strings got to the point where they were stable enough to stay in tune for more than a few minutes.  I then had to do this again for a few days.  Finally, I was able to pick up the guitar and it was near tune.  A quick tune, and it could be played.
What I discovered was the nylon strings were extremely forgiving for longer (over one hour) playing sessions and this guitar generated a vibration which was similar to the electric, but FAR more so.  It was almost sensory overload on my hands, arms, legs and chest.  You could FEEL this guitar!  It wasn’t just sound.  I decided right then, I had to have one just like it.
So, earlier this month I bought my third guitar.  I ordered it on 14 May around 4pm and received it the NEXT day before 2pm!!  It was not in tune, but I took care of that and within a few days it too had settled down into a playable instrument.  (I will also do a fuller review of this guitar in a later post.)
And, below is a picture of the guitar (and “gig” bag).  This guitar is “normally” $64, but it was on sale and I got an additional discount which brought my cost plus tax down to $42!!
The guitar is “made” by Idyllwild, but “sold” by Monoprice – which is some kind of manufacturing / sales conglomerate.  It is a 3/4 size “classical” style guitar.  It is not quite the same as the one I re-strung, but it does have the marvelous “feel”.  Once it settled in (only a few days), I was able to play it for well over two hours with very little loss of tuning.
What does all this have to do with “changes”?  Well, I’ve decided “in for a penny, in for a pound” and I’m going to add some posts and pages to my blog chronicling my reviews and what I’m learning.  I don’t image much of this will be of use to anyone, but I am interested in how far along a rank beginner with NO musical training can get by learning off of YouTube as inexpensively as is practicable – and as an exercise, I’d like to share this experience via my blogging.  So, in a bit, I’ll be adding a “guitar” / music page to my menu to cover all things related to my learning guitar:  guitars, prices, classes / videos / books, accessories, (minor) luthiering / repairs, etc.
I hope some of you will be able to share some of my excitement in this discovery and learning process.  I feel as if a whole world is opening up before my eyes and at my fingertips!  Stay tuned…
On This Day In:
2020 Remembering…
You KNEW That Man Was Trippin’
2019 Kingslanding
2018 I’d Bet On Taxes
Ooops! I Spoke Too Soon
2017 A Cautionary Wish
2016 Slogging
It’s About…
Man / Man
2015 Memorial Day – 2015
Content People Love To Share
2014 I Resemble That Remark
2013 Long Range Exploration
2012 UBI
2011 Opportunity

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