|Guitar Strings - OVERSPUN BASS STRINGS|
OVERSPUN BASS STRINGS
Since overspun strings are made from joining together two different kinds of material, such as metal and silk, it has become customary to describe them in terms of equivalent gut strings. In other words, we refer in calculations to the diameter of a theoretical equivalent solid gut string of the same weight as the overspun string per unit of length: at the same tuning and vibrating length it will therefore have the same working tension. It should be noted, however, that for any given equivalent solid gut string, the ratio between the metal and the silk may be endlessly varied. An increase in one material will obviously entail a reduction in the other, if the total weight of the string is to remain constant (that is, its equivalent gut string, and therefore the working tension of the tuned string). It goes without saying that the greater the prevalence of silk in relation to metal, the less brilliant and more opaque the sonority is likely to be. What criteria were used to determine the right ratio between metal and silk in bass strings, one that would guarantee a balanced sound in terms of timbre and dynamics? In the guitar the ratio was more limited than in bowed string instruments: once the working tension had been decided on, the proportions between metal and silk were calculated so as to produce the greatest volume of sound, using the thickest possible metal wire and at the same time reducing the silk core to a minimum, almost to the breaking load of the string when in tension on the instrument. In spite of this measure, overspun silk strings - even those that have remained in their packets - sound rather percussive to our ears, and lacking in upper overtones.