The guitar is one of the most popular and well-loved instruments in the world and is found in all sorts of musical styles and genres. The pop charts are full of singer-songwriters who have needed nothing more than a guitar, a semi-decent voice and a recording studio to steal the hearts of millions. Able to play chords, melodies, arpeggios and even bass lines, it is a versatile, complex and melodic instrument that can be turned to all sorts of musical styles. From the delicate and complex finger patterns of Flamenco and Spanish guitar through to heavily distorted electric power chords, the guitar has many voices.
Although the guitar is clearly in the string’s family, we often forget about the most important part, the guitar strings! The guitar strings are just as important as any part of the guitar, and the guitar strings will dictate a lot about how the instrument will sound, how it can be played and what sort of technique should be used.
Read on for a whistle stop tour of the fascinating world of guitar strings!
Getting the Right Guitar Strings
Modern guitar strings come in a range of different styles for different instruments and styles of music. Modern guitar strings are usually made of nylon for classical, acoustic guitars, and from steel for electric guitars. Not all guitars will take all types of guitar strings, and it is important to get the right type of strings for your guitar, or you could do a lot of damage. For example, if you put steel guitar strings on a classical guitar, you may well snap the neck because the wood is not designed for the higher tension. The best thing to do is visit your local guitar shop and get someone to check you are getting the right thing. The friendly faces at Curvy Sounds in Newcastle are always happy to share their many years of experience with stringed instruments of all sorts and will help you pick out the right guitar strings for you and your music.
Catgut Guitar Strings Anyone?
Stringed instruments date back to the very dawn of human civilization, and for a very long part of their history, instrument strings have been made from ‘catgut’. Have no fear though, your favourite moggie is safe, the term cat-gut probably comes from the old English ‘kit’, which was a type of early fiddle. Old guitar strings were made, not from cat, but from sheep intestines which were treated and stretched into fine, long strands. Although they are not widely used, some musicians still prefer the totally not vegetarian catgut guitar strings for their warmth and tone.
There is Plenty to Go Around
The guitar company Fender make enough guitar string each year to entirely circle the planet, so there is plenty to go for. Curvy Sounds have a great supply of guitar strings to pick from and they are happy to show you how to fit them yourself or do the hard bit for you.