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Evolution of the strings of the classical guitar

1. History

The history of musical strings is influenced by three factors:

1) availability of materials to the string maker and the improvement of their physical characteristics

2) evolution of the manufacturing process and technologies, including quality

3) evolution of the instruments

 

1. Materials

Originally, the first string was made of gut. In the 14th century, the string was a monofilament. Then came, in the 17th century, the wound strings wrapped with an heavier material. Wound strings  were widely used at the end of 17th century. Later, gut was replaced by silk in the making of wound strings. In the 20th century came a great variety of materials: nylon mono and multifilaments, metals. More recently, the use of synthetic composite fibres was introduced.

 2. Evolution of the instrument

Two main trends led strings manufacturers to create new strings and qualities:

1. Dimension of the instrument

2. String number: the number of strings has increased with the evolution of the instrument. Till the middle of 15th century, the guitar had 4 strings, then 4 double strings. Around 1590, it had 5 courses, then 6 courses. The romantic guitar had 6 single strings.

3. String qualities

The string qualities which represent the major concern are:

dynamic qualities: playing easiness and comfort, quick response, vibration precision, sensitivity, consistency of sound quality whatever the position on the neck

Quality of sound

The essential qualities for the sound quality of a string are: clean sound, focus, rich harmonics. Volume. Justness.

REFERENCE

Report on strings:  Savarez S.A,  Bremen, the 22th of May 1999

Ewolucja struny gitara klasyczna: translation by Anna Chekovsky 

 

 

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