Initial Behavior of Nylon Guitar Strings

Richard Mark French, Debbie French, Craig Zehrung


Players have known about some of the quirks of nylon guitar strings since their introduction after WWII. In particular, new strings tend to decrease in frequency and need to be re-tuned repeatedly in the first few days of use as they stretch. This paper presents data on new strings in which the tension is held constant and the string length is allowed to vary – essentially the reverse of the condition on the guitar where the length is held fixed and the tension changes. The frequencies of monofilament nylon strings were observed to vary cyclically. This effect is not clearly explained by common expressions for resonant frequencies of stretched strings and may require a more sophisticated model for nylon strings under tension.