For a genre that relies almost entirely on acoustic instrumentation, it shouldn’t come as too big of a surprise that the world of classical guitar places a great deal of emphasis on the quality of strings. After all, this is a genre that has existed for hundreds of years and seen a number of different string manufacturers rise and fall. Some companies, such as Albert Augustine, have developed a reputation as a manufacturer of superior strings. In this review, we’ll examine why the Albert Augustine 525a’s are consistently rated one of the most popular strings in the world of classical guitar.
Sound and Feel
The Albert Augustine 525a’s, which are commonly called “Blues” due to their packaging, are considered some of the finest sounding nylon strings in the business. While the lows on these strings are as full and robust as anyone could ask for, the real highlights of the Augustine Blue’s are the high notes. Besides their incredible balance, the treble strings are notable for their clear, crisp tone. Seeing as these strings are typically used in classical guitar, the superior tone of the upper strings really allows for melodies to punch through the mix.
While almost no players complain about the sound of the Albert Augustine Blues, some players do have an issue with their feel. Compared to many similar strings, the Blues are rather stiff; this contributes to their balanced sound, but may not necessarily be suited for all genres. However, if you regularly employ hammer-ons and other fast-fingered techniques, the Blues will be right up your alley. Otherwise, you might want to check out the Albert Augustine Reds, which are very similar strings but have a softer, warmer feel to them.
Basic Construction and Durability
Because the Augustine Blues are a classical string, they constructed entirely out of nylon. After all, the pressure created by other types of strings such as phosphor bronze is enough to damage a classical guitar. The top three strings on the Augustine Blues are entirely constructed of nylon, while the bottom three strings are bronze coated copper wire rounded up by the nylon. In terms of construction, this is fairly identical to most classical string brands.
In addition to their tone, the Augustine Blues also boast superior durability. These strings will keep their tone throughout many hours of play and seem to stay in decent condition for much longer than many other strings. However, professionals or frequent players will likely need to order several packs of these strings, especially prior to a tour. After all, there’s no reason not to ensure that you’re playing with the absolute best tone at every show.
Tuning and Intonation
Players should have little to no difficulty getting these strings to stay in tune although we can’t decidedly say that they have an outright advantage over other classical guitar strings. Furthermore, some players complain of intonation problems when using the Blues. Obviously, intonation problems are entirely based on the construction and set-up of the guitar itself, but stringing the Augustine Blues on instruments that are prone to string buzz and intonation problems will no doubt take away from the integrity of this product. As such, this claim in unfounded.
Price and Availability
Augustine Blues are often somewhat hard to come by, at least in physical stores. While shops that focus on classical guitars will no doubt stock both the Blues and the rest of the Augustine classical line, more general music shops such as Guitar Center or Sam Ash may not carry these strings. Luckily, with the advent of the internet, anyone can order these strings and have them arrive at their doorstep in just a few days. Besides through the Albert Augustine website, players can also order these strings through Amazon, eBay, and other general online retailers.
In terms of pricing, players shouldn’t expect to pay more than $10 for a pack of these strings. While they are regarded as some of the finest classical strings available, the Augustine Blues aren’t exactly “luxury” strings, and therefore they should be found for a reasonable price. If you play quite a lot, consider purchasing these strings in bulk to get a deal.