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How should guitarists deal with the string noises that are inherent to their instrument? In the past, the pristine quality of recordings were judged by whether the squeaking of the fingers on the strings could be heard. Today, however, most audiences find them annoying, and unless artists make a conscious effort to diminish them, they are likely to rear their ugly heads at the most inopportune moment. The most logical way seems to be simply lifting one`s hand when shifting positions. This is not always a viable option because of tempo, portamento, glissando etc. One can also experiment with the angle of the fingers pressed on the strings. One may slide on the flat part of the pad and so forth. But what if you have rock hard calluses? The First Lady of the Guitar, Sharon Isbin, has prescribed soaking the tips of the fingers for about ten minutes and then blow drying them for about thirty seconds just before a performance. Be careful not to weaken the callus, though! Many players have also used talc powder, but this gets in the windings of the strings, deadening them. They must be wiped with a damp cloth after each application. These methods may all seem to be a bit troublesome, but there is hope. Nylon players may try changing to polished or semi-polished basses such as those made by LaBella and Savarez. These lack a little projection, but work wonders in the studio. For steel string players D`addario has their own line of half-rounds and flat-tops that apply the same principle. Don`t confuse these bright sounding strings with flat wounds, which use a flat wire winding around a round core and are virtually useless for acoustic playing. -JF

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Tags: acoustic, classical, fingerstyle, flat, guitar, nylon, pick, squeaks, steel, string, More…strings


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Comment by Tony Hogan on July 24, 2009 at 5:44am
Wow, I just found the La Bella's, I thought they died 30 years ago.
Comment by Tony Hogan on July 24, 2009 at 5:25am
Ok, my wife's hairdryer now has a new member of the family to fight for it.

I used yo love La Bella Silk and Steel strings. We can't get them here, i assumed the didn't make them any more, I hate all these new strings, bronze etc,

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