Gut strings were first used in Europe by the people of the Mediterranean area. Their production was a well guarded secret for a long time. For lower tones the thickness of plain strings must be increased while the string elasticity is reduced at the same time. This problem was solved in the 17th century by winding the strings with wires, thus providing them the necessary flexibility.These are oiled smooth beef gut strings made by Aquila Corde.
A BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO HOW BEEF GUT STRINGS ARE MADE
Most of today’s professional string makers use casings from cattle instead of sheep. From an historical point of view, the first references regarding the use of this material are dated back to the middle of the 18th century, but it is not known whether it was also used for musical purposes.
Basically, the portion of the small intestine, which is up to 40-45 meters long and has a diameter of 45-50 mm, is cut by the fat-free side into two or three longitudinal strips.
Once the beef serosa has been removed from the animal it is cut into long ribbons. The ribbons then go through a long, wet cleaning process.
How the ribbons are cleaned and prepared can vary by manufacturer, but the ribbons are basically subjected to a variety of baths. The goal is to gently remove impurities without harming the collagen. The string may be bleached at this time to remove some of the orange color from the ribbons.
In addition to a higher tensile strength than what sheep gut presents, the fiber structure of beef serosa has less of the fine hairs that sometimes develop on sheep gut strings.
WHAT ABOUT THEIR SOUND?
Much has been said about the presumed acoustic superiority of sheep gut (we’re talking here about the one cut into strips, not the whole gut that is actually superior to everything) but these reasons are, however, devoid of scientific rigour.
These are the facts: the sound quality of a string depends solely on the specific weight of the material and its elastic modulus.
The specific weight of the two types of gut (sheep and cattle) is the same (it is always collagen proteins in the end); on the other hand, as far as elasticity is concerned, this is only linked to how the string is made (the degree of twisting is one of the mechanical parameters) but above all to what chemical processes have been used; these are the real secret of this art and they are jealously guarded by professional string makers.
As a result, you can get very good beef strings, very bad lamb strings and vice versa.
All beef gut strings by Aquila Corde are made using a skilful mix of modern techniques (where reproducibility, product stability and high productivity are required) and ancient techniques (where the best acoustic performance and durability of the product are required).
- STRING: gut string
- MATERIALS: Oiled smooth beef gut strings
- 90 cm from 0.36 to 0.46
- 120 cm from 0.48 to 0.79
- 180 cm from 0.82 to 1.60
- GAUGES: from 0.36 to 1.60