Nylon core strings are most typically used on classical guitars, and some harp guitars.  This demonstration is to compare the differences in sound between two identical harp guitars, one with nylon core (silver wound) harp strings, the other with steel core (phosphor bronze wound) harp strings.  The clip starts with the steel core subs played, then the nylon core subs, then the nylon core subs through the pickup system.

The string gauges for the La Bella Nylon core Harp Guitar set are:
.056 – D, .057 – CC, .058 – BB, .060 – AA, .062 – GG, .064 – FF or EE

The John Pearse Phosphor Bronze Set gauges are:
.052 – D, .056 – CC, .059 – BB, .064 – AA, .070 – GG, .080 – FF or EE

Both sets sound great, there are tonal benefits for each and it is ultimately up to the listener what he/she prefers.  While the phosphor strings provide a crisper bright tone, the warm nylons give off a very colorfully smooth and silky resonance.  Although the guitar still has steel strings, I thought it blended well with the nylon subs.  Here are some of the main differences and conclusions I found:

  • The tension of the nylon core subs is roughly half that of the steel core making the attack softer and their volume slightly lower.
  • You have to turn the tuner knob more revolutions to tighten the nylon core strings compared to the steel core strings.
  • The La Bella nylon core harp strings are available in either loop end or ball end and can be purchased from www.juststrings.com, the S-12HG has bridge pins and needs ball end strings.
  • The ball ends on the Labella nylon core harp strings are larger than the John Pearse steel core phosphor wound strings and needed to be strung through the bottom up.  This presents a problem if you need to change your strings, so the bridgepin holes would need to be drilled out larger to accomodate these strings should you want to use these strings exclusively.
  • Both sets sound very balanced and pronounced through the Dazzo pickup system showcasing each of their tonal advantages.
  • The nylon core strings sound better when plucked with a guitar pick, there is a louder abrasive attack sound of the pick against the phosphor bronze wound strings and that is diminished and just the tone of the note is heard on the nylons, no matter how hard it is plucked.
  • The S-12HG harp guitar can handle either set of harp strings, which ever you prefer!