I am about to switch from steel strings to nylon strings--my first time using nylon strings.
a) What gauge nylon strings do you use for your tuning on the 5 string? --tuned standard DBGD octive G
b) What tailpiece do you use--for tying the nylon string knots? I believe that some tailpieces can in time cut into the knot.
c) For tying the knots of the nylon string to the tailpiece what type of knot do you use?
Look forward to your replies.
@Hot Club Man
You could order Aquila Nylgut Classical banjo strings. I'd prefer the mediums myself.
You could also get a "No-Knot" tail piece. They are inexpensive and available in nickel plated or unplated brass:
Make sure the string slots on the tailpiece are deburred and the edges not sharp.
this tailpiece does not require a knot, hence the name>>>
a. Aquila medium Nylguts .
b. Bill Rickard no-knotts are great, smooth, no burrs rickardbanjos.com . Also Fielding fan tail pieces, sometimes available at Elderly, again no burrs.
c. Simple knott that you use to tie your shoelaces works just fine. Double up the string about three inches and tie the knott. I usually use a nail inside the loop to help tug the knott tight. Keep the loop small, cut the excess string, good to go. banjered
Do a search on Nylgut's in the search box. That will keep you busy for day's/weeks
I like the Fielding tailpiece and have them on both of my banjos.
Make sure there are no sharp edges on the bridge, nut/5th string nut and, often neglected, the string holes in the tuner shafts. Also, make sure the 5th string R.R. spike is smooth on the edges/underside.
I used the knot below for strings 1, 2, 3 and 5. For the large diameter 4th string, a simple overhand knot worked just fine.
You might also want to consider a bridge without an ebony cap. The cap is not needed for nylon, and may dampen the tone a bit.
Bill Rogers (Moderator)
I just buy an assortment of hard-tension (aka high-tensioon) nylon guitar strings and experiment.l. I do keep my bronze-wound steel 4th. Each of us is differentl in theway we play, so don't hesitate to experiment. You can hit the hard-tension strings as you would steel, which is why I like them. Plenty of volume, too.
Have you considered the Aquila red nylogut strings. I tried them and they are a lovely set of strings. Louder than ordinary nylon but just as mellow if not more so.
Hunter Robertson did a review of them several years ago when they were launched
Check your 5th string tuner before using nylon string though as planatary 5th string tuners guillotine the strings
Hers why planetary 5 stars tuners don’t work for nylogut
I bought a gotoh 5th string tuner which has a different mechanism
If you are interested in historical accuracy, you will want very light strings. I order mine from LaBella... try their nylon early instrument strings in the following gauges for an 1880s setup:
.018, .022, .028, .024w, .018
The fourth string is silver wound over nylon.
For a later setup (1900-1920s) try the following:
.017, .019, .023, .024w, .017
To get the most out of nylon strings you will need a light 3/8" or 1/2" bridge and high action.
Edited by - csacwp on 09/27/2020 03:12:54
Aquila Reds are the Marmite of banjo strings. Lots of people hate them. I happily have them on my 2 nylon banjos (the fretted Tilley and the fretless Matthew). I'd agree with a simple plain maple 2 foot bridge.
What tailpiece do you currently have ? It may be ok for nylons already. You may also have to consider the nut. Its slots may be narrow for modern Nylon strings.
See you are in Uk so......
Clifford Essex or Andy Banjo supply nylon sets in various guages. They both also supply ebony tail pieces that are suitable for nylon strings.
I have used nylon strings mainly from Clifford Essex (needed 7 strings as well as 5 strings) tried both medium and heavy & xan always mix them up.
Also curently have Nylgut strings on my Jedson with unwound 4th and am quite impressed with them though slightly more expensive.
Oh one thing about the smaller tie on ebony tail piece from Clifford Essex - found it difficult for the tie on to not come loose (probably my knot) so for each one I drilled a hole in it to accept a 4mm bolt and nut to fix it to normal tailpiece angle bracket.
Edited by - Nickcd on 09/27/2020 11:13:23
Thanks for all your info. Much appreciated.
Hot Club Man
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