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Questions: Instrument Plan #36

Questions: Instrument Plan #36

by Scot Tremblay

Originally published in American Lutherie #101, 2010


Bob Barnard from Olympia, Washington asks:

I just finished making a copy of the 1816 Martínez Salon Guitar from GAL Instrument Plan #36. I strung it up with Aquila Alabastro classical guitar strings (normal tension) to pitch (A440). It was overpowered and did not have the right tone or response. I lowered the pitch a whole step and it improved substantially, leading me to think the string tension is too high. Any suggestions on appropriate string tension for this wonderful little guitar?

Plan author Scot Tremblay from Victoria BC

My preference in strings for most smaller Early Romantic guitars, including the Martínez, is the La Bella ERG #1 or the La Bella 2001L Light Tension strings. I think it’s best to keep the tension to 5.5–6.5KG/string. Because of the 614MM string length of the Martínez you are going to get closer to 5KG/string which should be fine.