questions on using nylon strings

I've recently installed some nylon strings on my Dupont D-hole (640mm scale). After a 1+ week settling in and stretching out period, I really like the sound and since I am using this guitar with another guitarist playing nylon strings it's working quite well.

I have no experience with nylon strings and would like some advice on a couple of things. The strings I have are Savarez regular tension. Is it routine for it to take a week or more for these strings to settle? I tried to use the high tension Savarez but the high E broke well before pitch, somewhere around D. Isn't my guitars' scale shorter than the usual classical guitar thus with less string tension? Did I just have a bad set of strings, and should a high tension E string normally tune to pitch OK on a 640mm scale? The other strings in the set tuned to pitch OK but it was scary bring the G up... Finally are there any quality nylon strings with loop or ball ends, and if not, does anyone have a good system for attaching nylon strings to a standard Selmer type tailpiece? I tied a bowline on a bight to make loops this time but that was a lot of work - is there a better system?

The guitar really sounds good with these strings, it's fine played fingerstyle (where Argentines are not effective), and the sound when I play with a pick is surprisingly strong. It's still got plenty of punch and power.

Thanks in advance.


  • Posts: 597
    There are some ball-ended nylon strings out there. I think D'Addario has a set--you might try those out.

    I've always heard that nylon strings wouldn't work on a guitar built for steel strings. Something about the bracing being wrong for nylon-strings ... ?

    Most of the people I've head who have tried have been quite dissappointed. Cool to hear that you like it.

    Not sure why your strings are breaking--but it is normal for nylons to take a while to settle in, which is especially frustrating for steel-string players used to strings settling into pitch quickly.

    Have any clips? Are you playing in a GJ duo using nylon-string guitars? I'm very interested in nylon-string GJ--not a lot out there.
  • TenorClefTenorClef UKNew
    Posts: 150
    I also tried attaching some classical strings to my old D500 and found that the strings slipped and the top E snapped, i concluded that the tail piece is not appropiate for nylon strings and it was apparent that the scale length is actually longer on a Mac than a standard classical guitar. Its possible you may be able to get away with those new classical strings with the bullet fitting but you still have the overall length issue. Their are Macs that are designed specifically for classical style playing almost identical to the steel string models however they have a standard bridge and saddle. Mario was traditionally a classical concert guitarist so you would thing their would be some merit in his classical guitar but truth is it never really caught on, the designs of Hauser and Ramirez being far superior both tonally and for projection. The steel string versions are the real success story and no doubt also because of DR and his GJ.
    Currently-Gitane 250M
    Previously-Gitane 255
    Previously- Gitane D500
  • A.K. KibbenA.K. Kibben Tucson AZ USANew
    Posts: 217
    Maurice is one of a few luthiers that builds a Selmer Maccaferri Classical with a standard classical guitar bridge (w/o the trapeze tailpiece) that comes to mind. Manouche America also has a mid range model also.
    Never played either one. Just curious on why you are trying these strings on a MDC60, I presume?
    It appears it would be similar to putting Argie's on a Martin D28 to achieve GJ sound.
    I don't believe the bracing and bridge on your MDC60 would be as good as a Sel Mac with a classical bridge and bracing.
    If you are looking for that nylon sound I recommend you research the Dupont and or others.
    I do like the idea of the nylon string Sel Mac...
    You have sparked my interest from your question.
    I am sure you'll get some responses from more knowledgeable builders and repair men from this thread.
    Good luck in your quest...

    A.K. ... nouche.php
  • Ken BloomKen Bloom Pilot Mountain, North CarolinaNew
    Posts: 164
    Hi Scott,

    The easiest way to attach nylon strings to your Dupont is to just use a simple slip knot and put it around the post sticking up in the tailpiece. You will have to do it this way. First, just put a simple knot in the end of the string. Then tie your slip knot. As you tighten the string, the loop will tighten up and the knot that you tied in the end of the string will cinch up against the slip knot. Check to see that the hole in the post of the tuner is nice and rounded. Otherwise the string will break at that end. For the high E string put it through twice. Monofiliament is very slippery stuff.
    La Bella makes ball end nylon strings. They're black and cheap. I've always used Augustine Blue Label on my Minstrel banjos. These are their high tension strings and do pretty well.
    The high tension Savarez should do just fine if used properly. They do take quite a while to settle. There are a few tricks which I can tell you about. The wond strings will settle in about a day. Monofilament takes days but once it settles it's very stable. If you have more questions. give me a call on the electric telephone.
    Ken Bloom
  • badjazzbadjazz Maui, Hawaii USA✭✭✭ AJL
    Posts: 130
    I think most of the classical style selmers are fan braced more like a regular classical guitar.
  • kimmokimmo Helsinki, Finland✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 171
    Hi Scot!

    I've got an Eimers Finesse nylon stringed Mac, and as most here have told already, it's a completely different kind of guitar: fan bracing and glued-on bridge, so strings are pulling the top, not pressing against it. However, if you like the sound you get from your Dupont with nylon strings, then the experience has been a success.

    I have heard that it's not only Argies that Savarez has had quality control problems with (we've all heard/experienced dead A:s and breaking high E:s). Quite many classical players have told me similar stories: the sound is great, but every once in a while you get a bad batch, where one single string just snaps/is dead. So it might be that you've had a bad set.

    Then again, even though the scale is about the same, the tension (or pressure more likely) is different because of the bridge - there's no tailpiece in a regular classical bridge.
  • scotscot Virtuoso
    Posts: 658
    I understand that my guitar is not made for nylon strings - but even so it's loud and has a perfectly acceptable sound when strung this way. I use it to play with Vadim Kolpakov who plays the 7-string Russian guitar - a nylon string guitar. I used Argentines on my guitar (a Dupont MC-30) for 13 years and one thing I am certain of, is that Argentines are not good strings for fingerstyle playing. With Vadim I sometimes have to change from fingerstyle to pick style twice in a tune. That's because I am unable to master the strum used in Russian playing. It may not be "by the book" for this guitar but it's working for me - the thing that surprised me the most is how good it sounds with a pick.

    Ultimately I think I'll just make a bridge for this purpose with a strip of wood to wrap the string around. Thanks to everyone for the good advice and any more ideas/suggestions are welcome.
  • Ken BloomKen Bloom Pilot Mountain, North CarolinaNew
    Posts: 164
    Hi Scott,

    If you want to make an alternative bridge for nylon strings I would do what I did for my balalaika and domra. I would use maple but use the heaviest maple you can. The increased density will help the bass and mids. You will also have to experiment with the intonation to giet it spot on. I think you could follow the same basic pattern of bridge, just give it a wide footprint and after that remove a lot of material. You can experiment with it. My balalaika has two nylon strings and one steel one and gettin g a good balance is not easy. I had one that did very well with an ebony bridge with a bone top and very thin. This present one likes a heavier maple bridge but still lacks some punch so I think I need to do an ebony top for it. Balalaikas are ladder braced and somewhat arched so the analogy with your Dupont is, I think relevant.
    Ken Bloom
  • Posts: 56
    I read Django used nylon strings somewhere, there are photo's aswel, hey it may seem proposturs but i listen over and over to records and record myself with some tunes with a nylon string then on one with argi's on and sometimes the nylon sounds more like the original record. Has anyone else herd that Django used nylons?
  • BohemianBohemian State of Jefferson✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 303
    For a real treat try some Thomastik "S " strings

    these are steel strings intended for a nylon/classical guitar

    the tension is actually loer than high tension nylon strings

    A bit pricey last a long time great "jazz" sound
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