Classical guitars have a warm tone and unique sound, thanks mostly to the strings they use. Classical guitar strings are made of nylon, which means they look, feel, sound, and react to play completely differently from the way electric or steel acoustic strings do. Just like other guitar strings, classical strings come in different tensions, are made from a variety of materials, and are manufactured by several companies.
What’s In A String? – Materials
Bass (E, A, D) strings and treble (G, B, e) strings are made from distinct materials for classic guitars. Treble strings can be made from carbon fiber, clear nylon, or rectified nylon. Carbon fiber strings tend to have a brighter sound than their nylon counterparts and they are a little smaller in diameter too. Clear and rectified nylon strings are made slightly differently, but produce a very similar feel and sound. You may find that you prefer one over the other, so try out both and figure out what works for you as a guitarist. The bass strings on a classical guitar are made from very fine plastic fibers that are wrapped with metal wire, which will be silver plated copper or bronze.
Each guitarist has their own preferences on string tension, so no one can tell you whether you should go for low, medium, or high tension classical guitar strings. Instead, you’ll have to figure it out for yourself. I recommend you buy a set of each tension from the same manufacturer, change them out, and pay attention to the differences. It won’t be long before you get an idea for which you prefer.
Which Manufacturer Should I Go With?
Another great question that does not have a specific answer, other than: Go with what feels right for you! Augustine, D’Addrio, Dean Markley, La Bella, Savarez, and many other manufacturers make great quality strings that you can try out. Personally, I use medium tension D’Addrio strings, but you might prefer something else.
Your guitar can sound quite different depending on which classical guitar strings you choose to use. Take some time to investigate the differences in materials, tensions, and manufacturers that are available. Try some out, see what works for you, and figure out what you like best. Then you can stop worrying about strings and start playing!