Historical Guitar Sets Print E-mail

Photo Gallery

Picture nr. 1 : Antonio de Torres guitar (Opus 111, 1887) with a Llobet's musics and a Gut & Silk strings

Picture nr. 2 and 3 : Antonio de Torres guitar: details of the bridge (with Gut & Silk strings) and fine rosette

Picture nr. 4 : Miguel Llobet

Picture nr. 5 : Antonio De Torres (1885 ca)

Picture nr. 6 and 7 : The Gut & Silk’s envelope

Picture nr. 8 : Torres's guitar nut with the Gut & Silk strings

Picture nr. 9 : Torres'label

Picture nr. 10 : 20th C. mandolin & guitar’s players

Picture nr. 11 : 1st page of the Fernando Sor's method, 1st half of the 19th century (guitar string gauges are the same of the violin ones)

Picture nr. 12 : 1st page of the Ferdinando Carulli method 1810 ca (guitar string gauges are the same of the violin ones)

Picture nr. 13 : Fernando Sor's method, 1st half of the 19th century (guitar string gauges are the same of the violin ones)

Picture nr. 14: Laura Mondiello and Giuseppe Carrer

Picture nr. 15 : Ferdinando Carulli method 1810 ca (guitar string gauges are the same of the violin ones)

 

to learn more: read our FAQ
 
 

Historical Guitar Sets (suitable for a-435 Hz pitch)

The sound of the Antonio de Torres- guitar strung with a Gut & Silk 900 set:
Stefano Grondona plays three catalan folk songs by Miguel Llobet (1878-1938):

example nr. 1 El testament d'Amelia (938 KB)
example nr. 2 Cançò de Lladre (710 KB)
example nr. 3 La filla del Marxant (942 KB)

 

 

GUT & SILK 900 (1880-1946 performances)
Up to the middle of the 20th century, the only available strings for guitar were plain gut for Trebles and wound on silk core for Basses.
Their acoustical performance was quite different from that of modern synthetic strings.

The salient characteristics were a marked tonal presence, and brightness typical of gut strings (certainly superior to plain nylon and in some respects closer to fluocarbon strings) while the silvered copper would basses, on the other hand, possessed an exquisitely vocal quality, i.e. not so bright as, and with less sustain than, modern wound on nylon strings and more fundamental heavy.
The Treble tension's profile is not so scaled (like in use in all of the modern guitar's sets): it is just ligthly scaled, like the usual standard of that time.


This set which is made with only one degree of tension, riproposes excatly a historical assembling, tipycal of the period of Llobet and Tàrrega by using only genuine gut strings for Trebles and silk's core wound basses, as it was said by Pujol in the "Escuela Razonada de la Guitarra" of 1934.

 
Please Read This!

Useful information for people using the gut for the first time: in order to avoid the mistake of thinking that gut strings can be handled such as Nylon or Fluocarbon strings (PVF).

1) The gut strings have a higher cost than plastic materials because of long and difficult working steps (12-15 days required for getting a string) which are still entirely manual.

2) Remember that the lasting of a string of gut -as now- is traditionally much lower than that of Nylon and Fluocarbon ones: a few days only for the first string, and this due to the wear action of right hand nails and metal frets. Therefore please keep short nails, oval shaped. In practice a treble ( 1st string) that lasts 2-7 days is the norm now as it was at the time of Llobet.

3) The gut strings are NOT as smooth as those of Nylon or Fluocarbon as you have always been used to.. The surface is indeed like satin , could therefore require some tactile as well as psychological adaptation.

4) The sound of silk wound basses IS NOT like common modern wound strings made inside of Nylon multifilament: silk bass sound is less persistent, is more percussive and poor of overtones. This is normal, not a manufacturing fault, as sometimes the string could appear slightly inhomogeneous because of the silk, which is a natural product.

5) Why then are we still using gut and silk wound bass strings? Because the acoustic quality of natural material is still absolutely the best: those who have experienced the gut even just one time, are aware that it can evoke deep emotions and then make difficult to revert back to Nylon or Fluocarbon strings.

6) The gut-differently from Nylon and Fluocarbon- even being extremely resistant to traction is a very soft material which tends not to slide into the grooves of the nut (it can easily be sheared with teeth and often squashes or sticks) and is therefore quite sensitive to the cut. Before installing strings make sure that the grooves at the nut and at the bridge are shallow, perfectly smooth and absolutely without sharp edges. Otherwise you can use grit emery cloth 600 or fine-grained wool. At the end place in the polished furrows some soft graphite or well dried soap. Do not install gut strings on guitars that have mechanics of small diameter rollers ,which are suitable for metal strings.

7) To achieve a perfectly stable intonation in a few minutes you should pull laterally, and strong each string during tuning. Stop this operation until the string does not fall further in frequency.

8) Our set Gut & Silk 900 is designed for the typical early twentieth-century chorister equal to 435 Hz and vibrating length of the instrument around 65 cm. Choristers more acute and / or more vibrant lengths may affect the duration of the first string.

 

Again: gut is liable to suffer from cutting edges. Before stringing the instrument do make sure the nut and bridge are free from sharp edges and the nut grooves not too deep and perfectly smooth.
You can get rid of sharp edges with very fine grit sandpaper (600, for example) or the finest steelwool (000).

The best sound quality develops when the strings have completely set, which may ordinarily take sometime. To achieve a stable intonation in just a few minutes you can repeatedly pinch each string at midlength with your fingers, pull it decidedly sideways and tune it up again. Stop when the string does not pull out of tune anymore.

 

GUT&SILK 900 SET 57.00 Euros, Code: 64C

GUT&SILK 900 BASSES 17.00 Euros, Code: 65C

GUT&SILK 900 TREBLES 32.00 Euros, Code: 66C

 

 

+ IVA - VAT - TVA - (except for non-EU customers)

 

AMBRA 900 (this is the syntetic version of the 'Gut & Silk 900 set)

Up to the middle of the 20th century, the only available strings for guitar were plain gut for Trebles and silk wound strings for basses: their acoustical performance was quite different from that of modern stringings.
The salient characteristics were: a marked tonal presence, response and brightness typical of the gut strings (certainly superior to plain nylon and in some respects closer to fluocarbon strings) while the basses, on the other hand, possessed an exquisitely vocal quality, i.e. not so bright as, and with less sustain than, modern wound on nylon strings and more fundamental heavy.
Our Ambra set was developed keeping in mind this historical fact, in order to best re-create, by means of modern synthetic materials, the sound of gut and silk -wound basses of the time of Llobet and Tàrrega. This set was conceived for one grade of tension and consists of rectified -gut coloured New Nylgut® for Trebles, adopting the representative mean diameters as indicated by Pujol in his "Escuela Razonada de la Guitarra" of 1934 (less scaled tension than the modern guitar Trebles: .67 mm e; .84 mm a; 1.02 mm g gauges), while for the basses (silvered copper wires wound on Nylgut® multifilament core) we tried to find the right balance between wire and core, which would recreate exactly the typical sound of the wound silk strings of the time.

 

AMBRA 900 SET 10.30 Euros, Code: 55C

 

+ IVA - VAT - TVA - (except for non-EU customers)
 
 
  
 


19th CENTURY GUITAR SETS

 

The sound of two Petitjean Lainè-guitars (Mirecourt, early 19th c.) strung with Nylgut trebles and silk basses Fernando Sor (1778-1839): example Fantasia Op. 54 bis: fragment of Andante (1.57 MB) Fernando Sor (1778-1839): example Fantasia Op. 54 bis: fragment of Variations and Finale (1.38 MB) Fernando Sor (1778-1839): example Fantasia Op. 54 bis: fragment of Finale (1.13 MB)

 
Notice!

Gut is liable to suffer from cutting edges. Before stringing the instrument do make sure the nut and bridge are free from sharp edges and the nut grooves not too deep and perfectly smooth. You can get rid of sharp edges with very fine grit sandpaper (600, for example) or the finest steelwool (000).-The best sound quality develops when the strings have completely set, which may ordinarily take sometime. To achieve a stable intonation in just a few minutes you can repeatedly pinch each string at midlength with your fingers, pull it decidedly sideways and tune it up again. Stop when the string does not pull out of tune anymore.

 

 
GUT & SILK 800 (1790-1880 performances)
silvered copper basses

 

GUT&SILK 800 SET 57.00 Euros, Code: 73C

GUT&SILK 800 BASSES 17.00 Euros, Code: 74C

GUT&SILK 800 TREBLES 32.00 Euros, Code: 75C

 

+ IVA - VAT - TVA - (except for non-EU customers)

 

 

AMBRA 800 (this is the syntetic version of the 'Gut & Silk 900 set)

Up to the middle of the 20th century, the only available strings for guitar were plain gut for Trebles and silk wound strings for Basses: their acoustical performance was quite different from that of modern stringings.
The salient characteristics were: a marked tonal presence, response and brightness typical of the gut strings (certainly superior to plain nylon and in some respects closer to fluocarbon strings) while the basses, on the other hand, possessed an exquisitely vocal quality, i.e. not so bright as, and with less sustain than, modern wound on nylon strings and more fundamental heavy.
Our Ambra 800 set was developed keeping in mind this historical fact, in order to best re-create, by means of modern synthetic materials, the sound of gut and silk -wound basses of the 19 th century. This set was conceived for one grade of tension and consists of rectified -gut coloured New Nylgut® for Trebles, adopting the representative mean diameters as indicated by own researches while for the basses (silvered copper wires wound on Nylgut® multifilament core) we tried to find the right balance between wire and core, which would recreate exactly the typical sound of the wound silk strings of the time.

 

 

AMBRA 800 SET 10.30 Euros, Code: 82C

+ IVA - VAT - TVA - (except for non-EU customers)

 

 

- TERZINA NYLGUT SET (58 cms scale) : 10.30 Euros, Code: 91C

+ IVA - VAT - TVA - (except for non-EU customers)

 
 
Tensions (in Kg)
 
Guitar of 65 cms scale; pitch standard 440 Hz
Terzina of 58 cms scale; pitch standard of 440 Hz
 


Gut & Silk 900

Gut & Silk 800

Ambra 900

Ambra 800

 

Terzina

 

mi

8.6 Kg

8.3 Kg

8.6 Kg

8.6 Kg

9.6 Kg

si

7.6 Kg

6.2 Kg

7.6 Kg

7.4 Kg

8.1 Kg

sol

6.7 Kg

5.9 Kg

6.7 Kg

6.8 Kg

7.5 Kg

RE

7.4 Kg

7.2 Kg

7.3 Kg

7.4 Kg

7.8 Kg

LA

7.7 Kg

7.4 Kg

7.5 Kg

7.7 Kg

8.5 Kg

MI

6.6 Kg

6.4 Kg

6.4 Kg

6.6 Kg

7.5 Kg

 

Gauges (mm)

Note

Gut & Silk 900

normal

Gut & Silk 800

superior

Ambra 900

light

Ambra 800

normal

Terzina

superior

mi

.66 mm

.62 mm

.67 mm

.62 mm

.58 mm

si

.84 mm

.79 mm

.84 mm

.79 mm

.73 mm

sol

1.02 mm

.91 mm

1.02 mm

.91 mm

.91 mm

RE

.70 mm

.67 mm

.69 mm

.70 mm

.69 mm

LA

.86 mm

.84 mm

.84 mm

.86 mm

.78 mm

MI

1.06 mm

1.04 mm

1.05 mm

1.04 mm

.96 mm

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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