Cats are happy now that guitar strings are made of Steel, Silk and Nylon
Well, we got rid of frets but we've still got strings
and this section is built out of personal experiences with - strings.
Adrian Ouarar has put forward some excellent material on strings for the Glissentar. We don't usually endorse
products so everything here is just personal experience. If you have anything to add,
especially about strings, it would be most appreciated.
Gunnar Backman - Strings
I've tried nearly every string combination there is , but for electric
fretless there's two kinds that work for me flat wound or half round
either really heavy gauge like 0.16 - 0,60 or really light gauge 0,08-0,39
The problems with the heavy gauge is that the 1 string breakes but the
sound is much better
but i've gone with the lighter gauge because of the longer sustain .
I actually prefer standard wound strings for the sound but it's easier
to "slide" with flat wound so I go with the compromise half round.
For my main guitar the Yggdrasil I use D'daddario 0,08 half round.
Godin Multiac Nylon Fretless - comment JB
My Godin Multiac Nylon SA came strung with standard Nylon classical strings.
It sounded nice, just like it should. Trouble was that the top three nylon strings
would give you friction burns, no kidding, and the bottom three being wirewound
would not only screech when sliding your fingers but also had a residual resistance
to overcome before you could slide a note.
A long search finally found a tapewound nylon set of strings.
If you ever wanted to totally transform an instrument this was the way to do it.
No more friction burns, all the strings are silky smooth allowing genuine expression.
It improved the sound so much and made accurate intonation much easier.
The strings are about three times the price of a normal nylon set but worth every penny.
I've also fitted these strings to my Glissentar which made a remarkable difference to
the playability of the instrument.
The strings are Thomastic Infeld Classic S series, a rope core flat wound
nylon string with the order code: KR116
Their website is:
Nylon Strings that work with magnetic pickups - JB
One of the amazing things about the above mentioned Thomastic Infeld KR116 strings
is that they have a steel rope core. This means they will work with conventional
magnetic pickups, including Roland GK type pickups.
Godin Glissentar - comment - Adrian Ouarar
The original set of strings supplied by Godin on the Glissentar had a very stark contrast
between the two nylon courses and the four wound ones. This was very disturbing for me in fast runs.
I even started to avoid mixing them in the same melodic lines.
Since changing the strings this discrepancy is almost gone.
About the new strings:
I finally settled for the following combination:
LaBella Nylon flatwounds: low E, A / A, D / D Savarez Nylon Flatwound: G / G (the only G wound brand the shop had in stock) Godin's obscure default set for the Glissentar : B / B , high E / E
I compared the LaBellas and Savarez to the D'Addadrio's in the shop.
Here's what I found out: All three sets where supposed to be "Studio-sets" flatwounds. But, it appeared that
only the LaBellas were wound with a real flat
shaped wire, the Savarez and D'Addarios were round-wound and then polished to varying degrees
(to be fair, I have to add that upon closer inspection,
Savarez mentions this on the packaging). Nice, but not as smooth as the LaBellas.
This applies only to the three low strings which are usually wound on classical nylon guitars,
because the G strings can apparently only be found in a flatwound version from Savarez -
and these are real flatwound (feels almost as smooth as nylon).
I somehow feel I've tried all there is in "flatwound - nylon - for -accoustic - guitar" strings.
My impressions on the sound are; First, it's a major improvement, the volume is a bit lower,
left hand finger noise is not totally removed but is much lower than with round wounds. Second,
mechanically, glissandi are much smoother now, especially on fast & long octave-and-more spanning
glissandi or very slow half-tone and less spannig moves.
The sound, even with three different sets combined, seems well balanced to my ears.
Pheew, I feared the worst here but it really sounds like one set.
The particular fretless "growl" when sliding is a bit less pronounced due to the smoothness of
the strings, but blends in much better with the overall sound of the fundamental(s).
It is more of a silky "howl" now than a sputtering bassy growl.
Hmm...it's hard to describe, but I like it. Sounds more musical to me.
Overall, the sound is more mellow whilst at the same time more defined in the high-end.
One annoyance I've came accross whilst restringing the Glissentar was that the srings are attached
to the bridge with this pin-system found on some folk-guitars.
Doh! The strings are supposed to have a little ball at the end for this to work properly,
never seen any classical-guitar strings having that!
I started with some knots to perform the same role as the "ball-end" on metal strings,
only to find out that upon a good tension the pins came loose, shooting through my living room!
Bah, it's hard enough to find suitable strings for this instrument
(and to find the pins back under the couch), this again is another (minor) hurdle to overcome.
- Adrian Ouarar
Nylon strung guitars using the RMC pickup system. (Godin Multiac Nylon variants)
Richard at RMC recommends the use of Hannabach strings for optimum pickup response, no feedback as
to how these behave on a fretless guitar.
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