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Strings for small guitars?

greg stephens 06 Oct 09 - 11:43 AM
GUEST 06 Oct 09 - 12:09 PM
deadfrett 06 Oct 09 - 12:29 PM
GUEST,Ray 06 Oct 09 - 12:33 PM
GUEST,M.Ted 06 Oct 09 - 02:27 PM
Stower 06 Oct 09 - 04:10 PM
greg stephens 06 Oct 09 - 06:01 PM
greg stephens 06 Oct 09 - 06:13 PM
GUEST,M.Ted 07 Oct 09 - 01:36 AM
GUEST 07 Oct 09 - 04:19 AM
greg stephens 07 Oct 09 - 04:40 AM
GUEST 07 Oct 09 - 04:48 AM
Bryn Pugh 07 Oct 09 - 04:51 AM
greg stephens 07 Oct 09 - 05:14 AM
mandotim 07 Oct 09 - 06:07 AM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 07 Oct 09 - 09:15 AM
deadfrett 07 Oct 09 - 11:12 AM
McGrath of Harlow 07 Oct 09 - 04:50 PM
GUEST,leeneia 07 Oct 09 - 07:06 PM
beardedbruce 07 Oct 09 - 07:11 PM
McGrath of Harlow 08 Oct 09 - 07:00 PM
M.Ted 08 Oct 09 - 08:09 PM
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Subject: Strings for small guitars?
From: greg stephens
Date: 06 Oct 09 - 11:43 AM

Am at a bit of a loss here. A friend has a little guitar(she said 3/4 size, don't know if that is a precise technical description) She wants me to put it in playable condition so her son (8/9 years old I think) can learn. Now, what gauge strings should I be putting on it, to enable it play in normal concert pitch tuning? Anybody know anything about this?


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Subject: RE: Strings for small guitars?
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Oct 09 - 12:09 PM

3/4 scale neck should play ok tuned E->e with any standard medium to heavy gauged strings.

Depends if the child is more comfortable with slightly slacker or relatively tighter string tension.

[though even smaller 1/2 scale necks tend to be tuned A->a]


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Subject: RE: Strings for small guitars?
From: deadfrett
Date: 06 Oct 09 - 12:29 PM

Greg- For a small guitar I would recommend using silk and steel
strings. These are easier on small hands just learning to play and encourages the student to practise more , which is the real key. The light guage make them safe for any guitar. Hope this helps. Dave


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Subject: RE: Strings for small guitars?
From: GUEST,Ray
Date: 06 Oct 09 - 12:33 PM

You might like to play around with this site - http://www.mcdonaldstrings.com./stringxxiii.html

You will be able to compare tunings and tensions at whatever scale length you have.
Ray


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Subject: RE: Strings for small guitars?
From: GUEST,M.Ted
Date: 06 Oct 09 - 02:27 PM

Smaller guitars and shorter necks require heavier strings to hold pitch because there is less tension. Put light gauge silk and steels on and they will sound like dead rubber bands.


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Subject: RE: Strings for small guitars?
From: Stower
Date: 06 Oct 09 - 04:10 PM

Greg, I have PMed you about this, offering you a string gauge calculator.


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Subject: RE: Strings for small guitars?
From: greg stephens
Date: 06 Oct 09 - 06:01 PM

Thanks for all the advice. Conflicting, as is often the case on Mudcat(or anywhere else for that matter)! I am digesting all this. Keep the ideas coming.


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Subject: RE: Strings for small guitars?
From: greg stephens
Date: 06 Oct 09 - 06:13 PM

MTed: you suggest heaviy strings. How heavy. I use Martin mediums(56-13) myself on an ordinary guitar. Would that be the sort of thing you are suggesting? It seems a bit counter-intuitively meaty for a little lad and a litle guitar, but I don't really understand the physics of all this.


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Subject: RE: Strings for small guitars?
From: GUEST,M.Ted
Date: 07 Oct 09 - 01:36 AM

Without seeing the guitar, it's hard to know--mediums are a place to start, but you could end up using heavys--if it seems counterintuitive, simply think about the idea that, regardless of neck length, you're tuning to the same pitch.

The tension on a high E string is going to be greater on a longer neck, so you lighten the string gauge to create less tension. The inverse would logically be true--the shorter the neck, the less tension needed to hold the same high E, so to keep the strings from becoming flaccid, they need to be heavier.


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Subject: RE: Strings for small guitars?
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Oct 09 - 04:19 AM

Here's an idea.

Buy some strings, fit them and see how they work!


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Subject: RE: Strings for small guitars?
From: greg stephens
Date: 07 Oct 09 - 04:40 AM

Werll I could GUEST, but three things are stopping me. One, I dont want to rip the neck off the guitar by buying the wrong ones. Two, I dont want the expense of buying the wrong set. And three, Mudcat has got guitar experts running out of its ears, why shouldn't I avail myself of the wonderful erudition to be had here?


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Subject: RE: Strings for small guitars?
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Oct 09 - 04:48 AM

Three fair points...

I'll shut up.


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Subject: RE: Strings for small guitars?
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 07 Oct 09 - 04:51 AM

I'll repeat what deadfrett said - La Bella Silk and Steel string, which have an 11 thou. first string. I have played these for over forty years and cannot fault them. The lighter tensions should be OK for a 3/4 size guitar - I fitted them on my grandson's 1/2 size with no problems.


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Subject: RE: Strings for small guitars?
From: greg stephens
Date: 07 Oct 09 - 05:14 AM

Oh, life is soooooo confusing. We have a light weight silky team here, for litle guitars and little hands; and then we have M Ted going for steel hawsers on the grounds that they have to be slackened off to compensate for the shorter neck.
I always had this trouble when doing work on my boat. Due to family connections, I have instant access to the best state-of-the-art boat-builders. But unfortunately, the simplest question to any or all of the people I know always produced totally conflicting answers, often several from the same person. It's a problem, weighing up advice.


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Subject: RE: Strings for small guitars?
From: mandotim
Date: 07 Oct 09 - 06:07 AM

Hi Greg; best I can offer is have a chat to Malcolm Newton at Newtone strings. Newtone Strings . He can usually come up with something good, and he does custom sets for 'parlour' or travel guitars that might well suit. His strings are hand made, and tend to play 'easier' for a given gauge, so heavier strings might not be such a problem.
Tim


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Subject: RE: Strings for small guitars?
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 07 Oct 09 - 09:15 AM

I own and gig with several 3/4 and 1/2 scale guitars set up in various tunings.

I also have too many other types of 'normal' guitars to be too fussy
about paying for replacement strings too often.

For practical purposes I usually just make do with whatever is available in my spares box
cannibalised off other instruments..

So, I'd suggest in the first instance just paying a couple of quid for a budget set of 11's
and seeing how comfortable they are to play in standard E tuning.

If the guitar has a reasonably strong build quality and an adjustable truss rod,
then experimenting with slightly heavier strings should be no problem.

If its a flimsy cheap 'toy' guitar
then start off with lighter mediums like 10's to prevent potentially ripping the bridge off.

It would be more useful to let us know exactly what brand and type this guitar is.

If you require a more scientific approach and are prepared to pay
a bit extra for expert string advice and higher quality product,

then I also agree a phone call to Malcolm at Newtone Strings
will be very helpful.


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Subject: RE: Strings for small guitars?
From: deadfrett
Date: 07 Oct 09 - 11:12 AM

Greg- When I mentioned Silk ans Steel strings, I was considering that a child of nine would be playing the instrument. I assumed that lacking the hand strength, that these would be preferable, and to go
for dexterity and correct hand position. I agree with MTed that a bit heavier string would make it sound better but I would try a Light guage set first, with a 10 on top. Sorry, didn't mean to confuse. Dave


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Subject: RE: Strings for small guitars?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 07 Oct 09 - 04:50 PM

I'd have thought that nylon strings might well be better for a 8/9 year old. (Less painful on the fingers, and less danger of sharp string ends.) I've never come across any variation such as light/medium/heavy for them. You'd just use standard strings and standard tuning.

With a very short neck it can be worth tuning up a tone or two, with the tension being the same as standard tuning with a standard neck - but funny tunings wouldn't really be advisable for a beginner. Too confusing if he wanted to be able to play along with other people.


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Subject: RE: Strings for small guitars?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 07 Oct 09 - 07:06 PM

I had exactly the same question two months ago. I had bought a small guitar, and the clerk had told me it was a half-size classical.

When it came time to change the strings, I peered into the body, found the model number and googled it. That brought up a catalog page from the company which distributes the guitar.

It is in fact a 3/4 size classical. (It measures 54.8 cm from nut to bridge.) Next I called the company and talked to a knowledgeable person who said to use the usual strings (EADGBE) and normal tension.

The guitar makes a lot of music for its small size.

Perhaps you can do some similar detective work, Greg.


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Subject: RE: Strings for small guitars?
From: beardedbruce
Date: 07 Oct 09 - 07:11 PM


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Subject: RE: Strings for small guitars?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 08 Oct 09 - 07:00 PM

Lost for words? That unlike you, bruce...


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Subject: RE: Strings for small guitars?
From: M.Ted
Date: 08 Oct 09 - 08:09 PM

He couldn't find anything to cut and paste here, McGrath--


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