Early Guitars and Vihuela

A network for historic guitars and vihuelas

Dear Forum participants,
I´m a guitarist and beginner-baroqueguitarist. Last week
I bought a baroque-guitar and need some informations:
which strings do you use for your 5c. baroqueguitars, where can
I buy strings online? What is your standardtuningtone?

Thanks Silvius

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There are quite a number of choices... do you need to have the "real thing"? Then you can buy gut strings. Expensive, not as standardized as nylons, but you get the "real sound".

Next step, you can use synthetic gut-like materials. Among these, a common one is nylgut. Synthetic gut strings' physical charateristics are similar to those of gut, but they last longer and are more likely to have the same diameter from end to end.

You can use nylons... but not a guitar set... you can seriously damage your baroque guitar with those!!!

Some makers offer other choices in materials... carbon fibers, different plastics, and so.

In order to get your strings... if you know the luthier who made your guitar, BY ALL MEANS ASK HIM/HER. S/he should know the right answer or at least give you a good idea. Be prepared to buy single strings rather than a set.

Why all this mess if you can just go and buy strings over the counter for your "normal" guitar? At least one maker has two sets, a low tension and a high tension set... but this takes away some of the fun of using a unique instrument. For one thing, there is a far more diversity in baroques than in classicals... just look at the pictures in this forum.

And what if you cannot find the luthier or a previous owner? Check if your local music store has someone who knows about string gauges, tensions, and so on. Your best bet is to take your guitar to the shop. If you like doing things yourself, there are many "String Gauge Calculators" on line. Arto Wikla offers a good one on his web-page.

The data you need for all of these calculators (make sure you have the right units):

-String length (usually they ask for the measure from nut to bridge).
-Desired tension for each string (depends on how tight you want your strings and how much your guitar can take... be careful with this number... better ASK the luthier or a previous owner... this can be dangerous). These are usually from 3.0 to 4.5 Kg. A classical guitar is usually about twice as tight... that is why you can ruin a baroque guitar with classical guitar strings.
- Material used in each string (gut, nylon, carbon, silk, whatever...). If you change, say nylon to gut, you will need a different gauge!
- Tuning (it matters if you are using two, one or no bourdons).
- Standard tuning tone A=415 and A=440 are two common ones. A=440 will allow you to play with people that have modern instruments. A=415 is preferred by many who play solo.

The calculator will give you a gauge for each string. Then you have to go to the store or buy them by mail. There are many suppliers that offer a huge variety of gauges.

Good luck and be careful.

JP
Try: http://www.kuerschner-saiten.de/ . This site has some stringing suggestions for baroque guitar.

Once you know more exactly what you need, try these: http://www.aquilacorde.com/ or http://www.baldock.de/ (VERY good).
Once you know more exactly what you need, try these: http://www.aquilacorde.com/ or http://www.baldock.de/ (VERY good).
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Not a very encouraging website there, Jelma...
I know... but Baldock is the guy who makes the Kathedrale strings, and I think they are great, I use them all the time for my guitars. Because of the better site I recommended looking at Kürschner first.... just trying to help :-S
I have Labella strings for Baroque guitar, French tuning, from StringsByMail, 7 USD, aren't they good enough?
Dear Jelma, dear JP and Harry
thank you very much for the informations, I think
that I first will try the Aquila Nylgut-strings.
I found this supplier:

http://www.seicentomusic.de/
Please tell us if you like them. ¿Does anyone know if there is another synthetic gut besides nylgut?

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