Early Guitars and Vihuela

A network for historic guitars and vihuelas

Hi all!


I read on the opening page of this group:

"For all GUT STRUNG historical guitars and related plucked, fretted instruments pre Torres"


So we need gut strings to join this party??? Did Aquila string company pay for having this notice put up??


I'd like to request that the words "GUT STRUNG" please be removed from the title.


Believe it or not, but I dislike gut strings.


To put things into perspective:

A lot of players of early romantic guitar prefer various suitable modern strings (nylon, carbon fibre...), myself included.

You may wish to verify this, by noting that

Raphaëlla Smits uses D'Addario:




I've been told that Brigitte Zaczek also uses nylon strings.

And I have this fleeting suspicion that so too does Pavel Steidl and Duo Sonare etc.


I would enjoy hearing your thoughts on this.

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Greetings Melos,


This is an interesting point. I think that it was originally put up by Rob MacKillop (who started the site) as a reference to guitars that would have historically used gut strings as opposed to metal strings (e.g. Fender Strats, dreadnought folk-guitars, etc.).


To my knowledge, no one has been kicked out of the group for using nylon or other modern gut-surrogates. ;-)


I'll be certain to bring your note to the attention of our current co-administrative team.


Hello Melos,

Thank you for your suggestion.

I think Andrew stated Rob's intent well.

In the Forum section you will find stringing discussions which deal evenhandedly with nylon, carbon, nylgut, and gut. Look for "Strings - USA, NYC, or There Abouts" and "Which strings do you use?". I believe the tone has been very informative and helpful, without the heat of some other information channels.

In a Dec 2009 Forum topic reminding people to keep on topic Rob wrote:

"Just a reminder to all of us that this is a site devoted to pre-Torres guitars and the Spanish 16thC vihuela, and that does not included ukuleles, charangos, modern classical guitars, etc, no matter how one might trace the roots of these instruments back to early guitars or vihuelas. There are other ning sites devoted to these instruments."

Personally, I have used both gut and synthetic strings. I find different qualities to appreciate in both. But you get to decide what you prefer!

-- R


Yikes !!!!   I havent yet had the pleasure of using gut strings. Please dont eject me!


I use Nylgut and nylon and I guess soon  I will get round to buying gut strings. I guess it is a gradual process,  experimentation with feel and sound

I tried to revive Harry Jess's discussion about vihela strings here:


But since this discussion is getting traction I'll throw it out here too since people are voicing their opinions on string choice. I have a set of gut that I'm saving for recording when I get some pieces down that I can play competently enough to record. It is an entire gut set for a 6-course vihuela. I've heard some players use a gut string here, a metal wound silk here, a nylon or nylgut there and create a sort of hybrid set. It would be interesting to hear what different players are using.

I found that using gut on my (French) romantic guitar went hand in hand with using (Aquila) wound silk floss for the three bottom strings. Copper-wound nylon basses simply rang for too long. I had trouble with the silk strings at first (as Rob knows, because I bent his ear about them) and still find them expensive relative to the amount of time they last. Nonetheless,  I could find no other way to integrate the response of all six strings, and I now find the result (I play with the flesh) much more interesting, balanced and subtle than anything I can achieve with modern strings. To each his own.


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