So you’d like to try out the famous German import of classical guitar strings? If you’re wondering where to start and what choices you have in the first place, this is your guide.
The German brand of Hannabach classical guitar strings is a well-known option among professional players and amateurs alike. Hannabach strings are known not just for their high quality but also their extensive range of styles and tensions. Hannabach probably offers more string styles and tensions than any other strings company.
As against the usual 3 tensions that all string brands offer – light, medium and high – Hannabach typically offers 5 tensions:
- Super high tension
- High tension
- Medium/high tension
- Low tension
- Super low tension
The German company has been manufacturing guitar strings at its current facility in Upper Bavaria since 1946 and so knows a thing or two about making quality guitar strings. For all the latest scientific advancements in string technology and the famed German craftsmanship, Hannabach strings are made “by hand using the finest materials.”
This article covers some of the most popular variants of Hannabach classical guitar strings. This selection will introduce you to some excellent strings quite different from what you may be used to. What better place to start than with the best-selling variant?
The best-selling Hannabach 815 Silver Special Series
Known as the “Silver Special,” the 815 set is Hannabach’s most famous. It is their bestselling strings set. The strings are praised for their versatility and a very warm, lyrical sound. They’re a little darker and a bit higher tension than other strings. You can check out the MT (medium tension) variant of the Hannabach 815 Series at Amazon.
815MT: The MT version (medium tension) offers a balanced and brilliant tone. The precision round nylon trebles, as the company calls them, are paired with silver-plated basses in a variety of tensions. These strings are not cheap by any means but for dedicated users, the 815 Series is the ultimate in high quality for the price.
The trebles are great for more expressive repertoire – with a warm tone and a good vibrato. The basses are well liked. In fact, many fans of the 815 Series believe it’s the balance between trebles and basses that makes the set so popular. If you’ve heard about Hannabach at all – who hasn’t? – you would have heard about the 815 Series. It’s a very good string set for every guitarist to consider at least once. It could be just the sound you’re looking for.
815HT: The High Tension variant is also where the basses are silver plated and the trebles are clear nylon. For those whose playing skills are intermediate and above and also own guitars that sound better with high tension strings, the 815 HT set offers a very warm and powerful sound, nicely balanced. Check out the HT (high tension) variant of the Hannabach 815 Series at Amazon.
Some players like it that the 815HT basses feel ‘stiff’. A stiffer bass, they say, leads to a better tone with minimal buzzing. On the trebles, some have observed that the G string sounds dull initially after restringing. But it sets itself right and gains proper tone in a matter of days. The longevity of these strings is also commented upon and the fact that the strings hold their tone for a longer time than usual.
Till some years ago, there used to be fairly frequent comments that the D string wasn’t durable. In fact, many complained it broke too soon. The company also issued a variant of the 815 Series going so far as to name it ‘…with a durable D” as a reaction to the dissatisfaction. Some users even observed that they got an extra D-string in the pack. Perhaps things have improved on this front, because of late these comments about the D string have not been seen much.
Hannabach 728 Custom Made with a better bass core
Tougher bass core for longer life. That’s the main specialty of the Hannabach 728 set. The inner core has been developed by the company from a proprietary synthetic material for a clear sound and longer life. These are high-strength plastic fibers wound with hard silver-plated wires. There is no nickel or cadmium present. The trebles are clear nylon. Check out the Hannabach 728 Series at Amazon.
The 728 is again on the expensive end of the price spectrum, but there are any number of dextrous players who swear by them. Permit me to do a minor rant: a word on the pricing of strings is in order, I think.
My own take is that as players we tend to compare string prices of various brands and come to conclusions based on that relative comparison. But the larger point is that, when taken in the context of the price of the guitar we own, string prices are hardly anything! So get the best strings you can and enjoy them for all they’re worth. Your guitar deserves them. Rant over.
Hannabach Custom Made 728 comes in all the tensions that the company offers. You will prefer the medium tension set if you’re not comfortable with high tension strings. Barring the need for an extremely low action, you probably won’t go for low tension strings either. In any case, these are excellent hand-made strings fit for advanced and pro players, especially the higher tension variants.
Some users feel that the trebles take a while to settle down, but no one disputes the high quality and durability of these strings.
Hannabach 725 Goldin for a bold sound
Talk about string sets being expensive – and here we are with the Goldin to consider. For all the ‘gold’ connotations in the variant name, there is no real gold plating in these strings. The trebles have a yellowish tint, or shall we say, a golden hue and made of Super Carbon Fiber. Yes, these are carbon strings and the cheeriness of the overall sound is a direct result of that. Check out the Hannabach 725 Goldin strings at Amazon.
The basses have the novel, proprietary inner core made of high-density synthetic material. The windings around this strong core are of a golden metal alloy developed by the company. These basses are much loved by those who love their Goldins. In fact, truth be told, for all its expensive price tag, the 725 Goldin set is as good as gold for the many who simply cannot praise it enough.
You don’t have to own a luthier guitar to sing the Goldin’s praises. An owner of a regular ‘factory’ brand like a Cordoba C10 or a Yamaha GC32 is likely to be hugely surprised by the impact these strings have on the sound of their guitar. This is a rich and powerful sound remarked upon by many, including folks who are already happy with the Hannabach 815. The Goldin set is brighter and stronger with its carbon trebles and well balanced in sound with its brilliant basses.
The 725 Goldin is another of Hannabach’s top sellers and is renowned for its long life too. Concert players prefer its brighter and bigger projection than say the relatively darker sound of the 815 set. The 725 set is available as a Medium-Hard Tension variant only, although you can get individual strings, bass sets and treble sets as well. As happens more often than you might think, a good quality set of strings simply changes the way you play on your guitar and brings out greater expressiveness from the instrument. Any good teacher will confirm this.
The 725 Goldin can be your ticket – so long as you can fork out the cash for it. You will have to remember that these strings are closer to higher tension in feel, so if you are a beginning guitarist, you may find it tough going and tiresome.
Most impressive so far, is the sustain… really nice for playing legato lines. Basses are focused and powerful. The super-carbon trebles are loud and clear. (User comment paraphrased).
Hannabach 850 PSP to cut out squeaky basses
Think of this set as a kind of variation of the popular 815 set. The treble strings are made of precision round nylon monofilament, just the very same ones of the 815. But the difference beyond this is crucial (and expensive). You can check out the Hannabach 850 PSP at Amazon.
These 850 PSP Hannabach Classical Guitar Strings sets have precision smooth polished (PSP) basses which help reduce squeaks. Especially with concert players as also recording artistes, string squeaks can be a big annoyance. Polished bass strings, when done well, cut out (or largely reduce) the squeaks without loss in tonal quality.
The basses are silverplated copper on multifilament nylon core, polished to a smooth surface.
The technique of polishing removes the silver plating somewhat and exposes the copper wire beneath. As a result, the sales pitch says the color may vary from silver to brown to gray. And you’re not to worry about that.
Whatever the level of playing, if you’re the kind that finds string noises from the basses unpleasant if not unendurable, the 850 PSP is your go-to solution.
The Hannabach 850 PSP Classical Guitar Strings sets are available in Medium Tension and High Tension and they utilize the same great trebles as the popular 815 series.
Hannabach for students: the 500 Series strings
If you have a beginner’s guitar, a factory made inexpensive student model, the least you can do is to coax some music out of it with good quality strings. Hannabach’s 500 Series is among the solutions you’d do well to try out. It is a popular choice and for once, we are not talking about Hannabach strings being expensive. Check out the popular Hannabach 500 Series at Amazon.
The trebles in the 500 set offer crystal clear sound and combine well with good basses that should overall be an improvement to your guitar’s tone. Many folks with modestly priced guitars talk highly of the 500 Series which pairs high-precision clear nylon trebles with braided silver-plated copper wire basses. You get it in various tensions but you’d probably go for the Medium Tension variant.
Good tone and sustain. These strings will be my favorite choice from now on.
The 500 series is a great low cost solution for me
Hannabach 825 Pure Gold to prevent corrosion
What if you didn’t want gold in name only? What if you hankered after a real gold plating to your bass strings? Hannabach has the set for you – the 825 Pure Gold strings. The basses of these sets are plated with pure 24K gold! Check out the price of the 825 Pure Gold set at Amazon.
Why would someone go and plate guitar strings with gold? Just to please your whim? No, this is aimed at resisting the effects of acid perspiration. Ideal for guitar players with sweaty hands, these strings are impervious to acid corrosion according to the makers. The trebles are the same as those in their famous 815 series.
The 825 Pure Gold is ideal for guitar players with sweaty hands or some form of allergy. In keeping with their premium nature, the ends of the bass strings have a softening wrap designed to buffer the string where it attaches to the bridge.
The 825 Pure Gold sets come in Low, Medium and High Tension variants. So if sweaty hands is your issue, go for the tension you are comfortable with.
A recent introduction from Hannabach is their Titanium strings (see my review on this site.) These trebles are brighter than the regular nylons but less strident than carbons. For your guitar and ears, this set may just be the ticket. Check out the review.
Since you are considering a fine option in guitar strings, you may do well to also read my review of a legendary brand in classical guitar strings: Augustine, the very folks who thought of putting nylon strings on a guitar in the first place.
There is also an innovative strings company like no other which experiments with unusual materials to manufacture guitars strings from (sugarcane, anyone?). It has won rave reviews for its products and you may wish to consider them as an option. Read my review of these strings – Aquila Strings: Very Good, Very Oddball.
If you need starting help in understanding string materials, tensions and choices regardless of brand, you should read my 5-Step Guide to Finding your Classical Guitar Strings.