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Ok, so I just purchased my first classical guitar last weekend and I have been enjoying it very much. However, I have noticed that the strings go out of tune very often to where I need to re-tune then every single day. With my steel string Ibanez guitar I need to re-tune it maybe once per week.

 

Is this a common thing with nylon strings that I will just need to get used to? Also, can someone tell me about the lifetime expectancy of nylon strings? I usually change out my steel strings about once every 2-3 months, but not because they break, it is mainly because they start sounding dull.

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Replies to This Discussion

If they are new strings, then yes indeed. Get used to it. Depending on the string and if it's nylon or carbon, you will have a few hours to several days of tuning every few minutes, then hours, then days ...

I can't say how long they might last because I tend to torture the strings and often kill a few before the guitar is finally ready to go. However, I have guitars that I don't play much where the strings have lasted for years and still sound OK.
Charles has it right. If you are using traditional nylon strings, the trebles will change tuning with temperature changes. The composite/carbon strings are more temperature stable and longer lasting. And new strings may take up to a couple of weeks to reach stability. But, I do re-tune almost every time I pick a guitar up! My ear is never perfectly happy until I have fiddled with something, usually the G and/or B strings. Having an electronic tuner handy, especially with new strings, is a good idea.

Another issue: Sometimes on a guitar with less than perfect compensation (a surprisingly common problem!), some strings will need retuning for 1st position vs. playing higher on the fingerboard and vice versa. This can be fixed, (minor surgery to the bridge to adjust the saddle position.) but can be very frustrating until corrected. I have re-compensated many guitars that were under-compensated.
Kevin -

First, congratulations on your new guitar! May you enjoy the genre as much as the rest of us. Classical strings will sound dull when they need replacing, the same as steel strings. But they also will show more wear, which could also necessitate changing. And, as commented, the trebles usually go first. Depending on the string set you buy, and the amount and type of playing you do, this could be a month to three months - or even longer. Some of the better strings are composites which last longer and usually sound better (sound is subjective). When polled as to their favorite strings, the most common response is D'Addario classical strings. I've tried many brands and types over the years and I sure to like D'Addarios. Be careful when selecting the strings as most classicals don't have a truss rod, though they are becoming more popular. Those that don't have a truss rod usually recommend string tension (hard or medium) of medium. If so, don't put hard tension on your guitar as that could be too much tension and bow your neck. Of course it's personal preference but I prefer hard tension for spruce tops when the guitar will take it, and medium tension for cedar tops. The hards seem to move the stiffer spruce better than medium and I also like a stiffer string. When first strung, nylons will stretch a lot - some more than others and retuning daily is no surprise (nor is retuning for every piece you play). However, the composites also settle down a lot quicker. Make sure you tie them in correctly (there are instructions and I think a video here at Acoustic Guitar) and don't artificially stretch the strings (pull them upward, etc.) when you put them on as this creates weak spots in the string where you pull it and can produce uneven tone. Another tip is to place a card or something on the top of your guitar in back of the bridge (toward the tail end of the bout) to protect your guitar when changing strings (they can dig into the top and cause scratches and furrows). Finally (as if this was not enough already) always tune up; not down. My favorite strings (which I have reviewed at Juststrings.com) are D'Addario EJ46LP (hard tension) and EJ45LP (medium). These come with two G strings and I like the coffee colored one but be careful... on another type of D'Addario strings (not the two I listed here) the coffee colored string has intonation problems on my guitar (hard tension). There are a lot of good folks here who can answer any question you have and, as always, if anyone disagrees with anything I've said, I hope they speak up. I would not want to steer you wrong. Again, congratulations and if any of us can be of help, just let us know! m
Thanks to everyone for the great advice on strings! I was hoping that my new guitar was not having issues, and you have brought comfort on that aspect. I just was not used to needing to retune a guitar so often, but not a big deal at all. Michael - You had mentioned that you prefer the D'Addario strings, and actually that is what I purchased as an extra set when I picked up the guitar. Just the standard old medium tension nylons, but I am going to also try the carbon type strings as all three of you have mentioned. This way I can test out which ones are more pleasing to my ear.

Thanks again!
some claim that the D'Addario EXP strings (either tension-prefer medium EXP 45 or medium to hard) last 2-3 times longer than other nylon strings due to the coating applied to resist corrosion from sweat/oils. A set of these were put on my Pavan when I ordered it from Tom Prisloe. That was over six months ago and they still sound bright and produce very good volume. Good place to order is Juststrings.com--good prices, reasonable shipping. Striings and Beyond also has some good price points, and orders over $35 ship free
Thanks Barry!
Swings in humidity can affect it too. @ least it did with my Stagg c546 when I went from western Colorado (single digit to low double) to SE Kansas (middle of tornado alley & 75 + %)

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