The worst moment for any guitarist, deep in practice or composition, is when strings snap. Instead of making beautiful music, you have to take time to find, replace, and tune your new strings. But which strings are best for your Yamaha guitar?
The best strings for a Yamaha NTX guitar are high-tension strings. The NTX series is a range of acoustic-electric guitars with thinner bodies that use nylon strings. High-tension nylon strings allow for optimal playability. However, the strings are also dependent on what genre and style of music you are creating.
Since the NTX series has a range of guitars, there’s a lot more to discover about the perfect strings for your particular guitar. We will explore a range of string options, including the different playing styles and genres the strings are suited for.
The Yahama NTX Guitar Range
The Yamaha NTX guitar range falls under the umbrella of the 2009 release of the NX series (source). The NX series comes in two guitar models: the NCX and the NTX.
The NTX range is known for its modern look, especially compared to the NCX, which pays tribute to the classical guitar. The NTX, with its contemporary design, has four electric models: the NTX700, NTX700C, NTX900FM, and the NTX1200R.
Each guitar has the same dimensions and internal electronics. The only difference is in their build.
The 700, 900, and 1200 use different types of wood. While each of these guitars has a spruce top, the 1200 model is made of rosewood, and the 900 is made of maple.
The 700 is purely spruce, except for a rosewood fingerboard. The NTX700C, in comparison, does not use any spruce and is made of red cedar.
The wide range of electric guitars heightens playability and the delivery of a rich sound and warmth through nylon-string acoustics. They can be used to play a variety of styles, including flatpicking and fingerstyle playing.
To find out more about how you can use guitars as both string and percussion instruments with fingerstyle playing, take a look at “Are Guitars Percussion Instruments?” It may even inspire a new style of playing.
It is important to know which strings should be used on the guitar to create the best sound, as guitarists can play the NTX range in several genres and styles.
Importance of Quality Strings
The material and thickness of the strings on a guitar make a significant difference in playability and sound. While the bulk of guitar strings consist of brass-plated carbon steel, even these come in different mixes (source).
Thicker strings lead to stronger tension, which usually makes it more challenging to fret notes. Fretting notes on your guitar refers to how you create notes with the placement of your fingers.
Good-quality strings not only make your guitar look and sound better, but they last longer than other types as well. Also, due to their balanced design, they allow you to play longer without suffering from sore fingers.
This brings us to choosing the correct strings for your NTX guitar. This particular range of Yamaha guitars uses nylon strings instead of steel, which makes the difference between string tension a bit more subtle.
Different Types of Guitar Strings
Some amateur players or newbies might not yet understand the importance of quality guitar strings. Some are content to pick up the guitar as is and play, but seasoned musicians know the difference that strings can make.
What is String Tension?
Tension refers to several variables of a guitar string. It deals with the string tuning pitch and the mass of the string, which is related to its gauge.
When we refer to high-tension and medium-tension strings, it is not just about how tightly-pulled they are. The variability also refers to how thick the strings are and the material used to make them.
Nylon Versus Steel Strings
Nylon strings bring out a different tonal variation to guitars. Many musicians play nylon string guitars along with their steel counterparts to add a richer sound to their repertoire (source).
While every musician has preferences, nylon strings are better for genres including classical, flamenco, and folk music. Steel-stringed guitars work better for country and rock.
Nylon strings are also known for their affordability and longevity, but some may require time to “settle” after stringing. Settling refers to the time it takes for new strings to conform to their shape and stay in tune once strung.
The Yamaha NTX guitar is a quality instrument, so it is easy to use with high-tension strings. There is no chance of any bridge damage due to the stronger pull of the strings.
Since nylon strings are not as harsh as steel strings, higher-tension strings work best on a Yamaha NTX, allowing you to create loud, warm tones that would please any listener.
There are several reasons for using high-tension strings on an NTX guitar. First, high-tension strings generally create a louder sound, perfect for playing for a large audience.
Second, high-tension strings allow for more distinctive notes and, hence, a more distinctive playing style. Because there is less buzzing from high-tension strings, notes are sharper and more stable.
Finally, many musicians have found that higher-tension strings have a fuller sound with deeper basses. Lower-tension strings create brighter, higher-pitched tones. The type of music you play will determine if this advantage is for you.
While high-tension strings can create some beautiful, distinct sounds, they do require some expertise and strength to play.
For a young player, high-tension strings make it difficult to fret the guitar and can lead to sore fingers after long practices. However, using nylon strings is easier on the fingers and will be less likely to damage young hands.
Casual musicians also sometimes struggle with high-tension strings as these can bring out the deficiencies in ones playing since some notes are more specific in articulation.
For the classical musician who plays with a lighter touch, high-tension strings can create limitations on the tonal variation that classical music requires. Because of this, not all guitarists prefer high-tension strings.
The Hannabach brand of high-tension and extra high-tension strings are an excellent choice for musicians who want strength and volume.
D’Addario and Savarez 520R strings are excellent nylon strings that you can use on a range of instruments due to their varying thickness, which you can also use at different tensions (source).
D’Addario strings are also machine selected, which ensures that string sets are always consistent.
Medium- and Low-Tension Strings
Medium-tension strings are a solid first choice for the casual or amateur musician. They are considered by many to be excellent for sustaining tone and do not require a lot of manipulation.
Guitarists don’t recommend low-tension strings for beginners. They should only be used by musicians after some trial and error, as they produce a specific sound that requires a more experienced hand to manipulate.
For many musicians, medium-tension strings are a classic choice. While this is mostly dependent on personal preference, the lower tension allows for a softer sound that blends better.
Medium-tension strings are also easy to learn with, and they do not require a lot of strength to play. This makes them ideal for younger players. They also work well on older guitars that may not be able to withstand the pull of high-tension strings.
Nylon medium-tension strings are known to create lovely, bright sounds, especially when used with an instrument that has a strong base.
Medium-tension strings do not have the loudest sound when compared to others. This low sound can be problematic when playing the guitar without an amplifier.
Some guitars need higher-tension strings to delve into the depths of their range and accuracy, which is something that you sacrifice when using medium- and lower-tension strings.
Since the strings are not as tight, some users have reported that the strings can become detuned over time. This loss of tuning is especially applicable to low-tension strings.
Lower-tension strings are also less than optimal for some players due to their softness and elasticity, which does not ensure the cleanest or clearest sounds.
Oasis composite strings include a range of quality strings that you can also use on your NTX. They are a little lower in cost without reducing quality.
La Bella 820 Elite strings are also choices guitarists seek for medium-tension strings.
Yamaha is an authentic brand that has withstood the test of time. While high-tension strings are best for the Yamaha NTX range of guitars, the choice is ultimately dependent on the musician’s preference and style of playing.
Since the guitar is made with nylon strings, high-tension strings are best in achieving optimal tone and volume. Nylon strings also have many of the advantages of high-tension steel strings without being as harsh for new players.