Early Guitars and Vihuela

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Hi dear friends,

I would appreciate advice on the problem I have. Low D string in 4th course - lowest string in the set - sounds too loud on my guitar.

I can more or less control it except rasgeados...  in strummed chords it makes a 'boom' sound...  general audience can't hear the note but it just makes it sound messy - out of balance.. and musicians can clearly hear the low tone. It is especially annoying in continuo when you can clearly hear booming low D in G major chord for example. But also reasgeados in solo pieces sound heavy and messy.

I tried two other guitars and found that this sound much less protruding there.

 

I understand that it is probably the guitar construction problem...  but still as I cannot change a guitar in the nearest future

 

Is there any way  idea in how to reduce it - maybe change tension, action, strings- whatever?

 

I tried nylgut, and found that though wired string sounds brighter it makes less 'booming' noise..

 

Thank you in advance

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What kind of strings are you using?  It is certainly not a good idea to use overwound strings.

Hi Monica, thank you for answering.  Of course I understand that using overwound string is not the good idea for authentic baroque guitar. I have two sets: one is nylons with wound D from Pyramid, another is nylgut Aquila - all unwound. I cannot afford guts for the moment though I have it in mind for the future.

Anyway I see that this problem I have is not so directly connected with overwound string. As I described above I tried both - and unwound nylgut makes even more bass 'boom' sound than ovrwound Pyramid (though overwound sounds brighter).

As far as I understand my guitar is based on Catalan model it has very open sound.

A few days ago I had a possibility to put my strings on another guitar - with vaulted back and more shallow body but the scale is the same, and I found that this low string sound is much more in balance, you cannot hear it separately while strumming. So now I believe it's not my playing or string, but something in guitar construction, something that makes low frequencies come over highs.

So my problem is now to find the way to [possibly reduce this 'boom' somehow (obviously I cannot rebuild the guitar), maybe lower action on this string, or higher tension... or whatever minor changes could be effective in case someone encountered this problem. 

Thank you

Kind regards

Yuri

Yes - there are all sorts of things you can try. Good luck with it. I had a rattle om mine which took months to remedy. 

You might find that gut strings can be far more economical than you might think. If you buy in bulk, long (12 foot) pieces it can work out to be the same as nylgut I think. I believe I placed an order for enough to string my guitar maybe 4 times from Bow brand, and also some fret gut, for around 100 dollars. My memory might be wrong, but I am pretty sure its close.

Thank you, I heard that too from gamba and cello players I play with...  do you buy from Gamut?

no, bow brand was much better price. I use their varnished gut, and they last a surprisingly long time. I really like the sound as well.

I would consider getting the low g and d strings maybe one long one of each, but buy a few more of the thiner ones. they will break or go false sooner.

also, I have had the same strings on that guitar for maybe 9 months, except I had to change the first string. and yes I play it a lot. 

oh, one more thing, I like the sound of an unwound low A also. some people told me they wouldn't recommend it as it would sound "tubby" or something like that. I like it quite a bit.

Thank you Bill,

by Bow brand you mean The Bow Brand (producer of harp strings)?

Yes sir. I am currently using their varnished strings and am quite happy with them

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