A guitar string is a length of flexible material that is attached to the guitar. They are kept under tension and vibrate when played which causes the instrument to make a sound. The tension on the strings can be adjusted to tune the string to the right pitch. A standard guitar has 6 strings that are all tuned to different pitches. There are two main types of guitar stings known as plain or wound. Plain strings are made of a single material and wound strings have a single material core with another material wound around the outside. Traditional guitar strings were made of cow or sheep intestine (known as gut) and the wound strings were made of a silk thread core which was wound with gut. These strings are still sometimes used, but synthetic guitar strings are far more common today. Let’s find out how guitar strings are made.
How are guitar strings made?
Plain strings are very simple to manufacture. They are usually made out of steel or nylon and are usually a single strand of this material. A ball end is sometimes added to certain strings for easy attachment and anchoring of the string to the body.
The process for making wound strings is slightly more complicated. The core material is steel or nylon and this undergoes a number of tests before it is approved for use. A ball end is then attached to the end of the core material via a machine that clamps and twists the core material to the ball end. The core strings are then wrapped with bronze or silver plated copper wrap wire with an electric winding machine. These strings are then ready for inspection, coiling and packaging.
The following video shows wound guitar strings being manufactured at a large factory.