Review: Classical Guitar Strings

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I’ll be reviewing classical guitar string on this page. Please realize that I can only review strings I’ve tried out. If you know of a string company I’ve not listed let me know about it.

Note: Strings are matter of preference and are also affected by the guitar, player, and performance space. Therefore, these are generalizations at best!

I’m always curious: If your strings aren’t listed here I’m very interested in trying out new ones. Contact me: bradford@thisisclassicalguitar.com

Review of Classical Guitar Strings:

D’Addario Half Set with Hybrid Carbon G – I use these. Highly recommended.  It’s great having the smooth warm nylon but a tighter sounding G string. The carbon G really cleans up the sound. I never loved Pro Arte strings until now. I use the high tension trebles and combine them with normal tension basses.

Savarez New Cristal – All nylon or with Alliance (carbon) G. I prefer the Cantiga basses. These are very legato and and smooth sounding string. I find that they are more clear and project better than most clear nylon strings. I use these when I want to sound musical and legato. Sometimes, especially for the first few days, the basses overpower the trebles but that evens out after some playing. The corum basses are fairly bright and clear. They have a new bass set called cantiga. I find the corums keep their clarity longer than most but don’t give the deep dark sound of D’Addario basses. Depends on your guitar as dark can also be muddy.

D’Addario Recording Set – Polished Basses for less squeak. Pro string but pricy.

D’Addario Pro Arte – Quality standard nylon strings with a cheap price. You Commoner. A clear nylon string with a fantastic price. These are a standard and the quality is always consistent. The trebles sound can sound a bit muddy/plastic on some guitars but the basses are full and rich. The trebles sound better after a few days to my ears. When I judge other strings I compare them to these because these are a standard. A nice legato sound but not the projection or clarity of carbon strings. However, an excellent student string as they are warm and mellow. I actually use these often due to the price. Also comes in Normal & Extra-Hard.

Savarez Corum Alliance – All carbon. Increased brightness and projection. Might be too intense for some. Caffinated. Trebles are composite trebles monofilament (so called carbon strings). These project sound wonderfully and have the greatest clarity of all the strings I’ve tried. A bit harsh sometimes but it can be worth it. I use these when I need to cut through the texture, be heard loud and clear, or just want maximum balance and clarity. These are small diameter strings with a bright sound so they can make beginners sound overly thin and bright, even brittle. Also some people like the feel of thicker strings so these might seem small. However, in the hands of a profession or advanced player they can really bring the guitar alive. My guitar sounds more intense and responsive with these strings. Legato playing might be slightly reduced, or at least the smooth, soft touch needed for some music. However, these are nice strings for ensemble playing or when you want volume and clarity.

Oasis Carbon Strings: Similar to the above treble strings but still pretty harsh (not always a bad thing). They are clear and project wonderful just as the Savarez Allience but maybe with a bit more body to the sound. However, beware that hard tension here is intensely hard tension. These won’t give you the warmth of a nylon string but will certainly give you the clarity. The thing I like about carbon strings is the balanced sound you get. You don’t have as wide a range of sounds but they are uniform and even. I didn’t like the bass strings, maybe I received a bad set or something but the basses sounded dead on my guitar. You might prefer these over the Savarez Allience if your guitar is already fairly bright. Also, I’ve had a couple break on me…maybe a fluke?

D’Addario ProArte DynaCore Classical Guitar Strings, Titanium Trebles, Hard Tension A composite nylon string. A bit more bright and better projection than the nylon equivalent above but still thick diameter. These are pretty good and might be great for some people. I’m not a huge fan of thick diameter strings, I fid them to be thuddy and muddy but that all depends on the guitar. In general, a decent string and a good move for a company that I used to associate with lower levels, but they are in the game now!

Galli Strings Genius Carbonio  – I like these Galli carbon strings but sadly I’ve encountered some quality control issues (some kind of ‘peeling’ or de-threading issue). I’ve ordered strings twice before in packages of 3 sets and each time one out of the three have been defective. Sad because they are one of the best strings out there. A little calmer than the Oasis strings and maybe more musical. Still balanced, bright, and excellent projection. Spectacular strings but the quality control! Maybe they’ve fixed it by now, I haven’t ordered them in 2 years.

More reviews coming soon!


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2 Comments

  1. I would like to see if you would review the Pepe Romero fluorocarbon strings. I tried them and they seemed pretty incredible, but pretty high tension for my old fingers. Wondering what you would think of them? Should I just get use to them?

  2. Great reviews!

    I wonder if you’d review the Hannabach Goldin strings. Also, I’m curious to know whether you dislike Augustine and Aquila strings as much as I do.

    Incidentally, I totally agree with your thoughts on the D’Addario strings. They used to make a set with two G-strings; a clear one and a coffee-colored one. I’m going to look after a set of those trebles in HT and the normal tension basses per your recommendation.

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