Review: Hannabach 815 Classical Guitar Strings. Are They Worth It?

If you have been in the world of classical guitar for any amount of time, then you have come across the name Hannabach. In considering these classical guitar strings, most people always want to know the answer to one question, “Are they worth the price?” But the answer to that question is a little more complicated than a yes or no. So, let’s dive in and see.

Hannabach's Take On The 815s

First things first. Let’s get the specifications out of the way. The Hannabach website begins their description this way, “The series 815 is the basis for our legendary reputation and our best-selling string too - for good reason.” And then they offer their take on why they find them superior (as they should being the maker of the strings). There is nothing special about the initial description and include the usual ideas of fulfilling the demands for playability and intonation for even the most discerning professional.

They do mention that it is ideal for instruments with 65cm scale length. I don’t own or know anyone with a smaller scale length that has tried them but I don’t think it would be an issue with a 64cm or 66cm. The strings have enough length to make the longer and I don’t believe they would be too effected by the small change from 65cm to 64cm. I am a little confused by one statement but it could just be the translation to English from German. It says, “Precision-round (100% uniform round without irregularities or deviations) and higher silver-plated and against corrosion coated bass strings.” I think this sentence might mean that it is better resistant to corrosion but I know the strings are not coated. (Hmmm…).

A Little Comparison Between Two Classical Guitar String Sets

As you can see in the charts below, the Hannabach 815MT (MT stands for medium tension) has a bit higher tension overall when compared to a set of EJ45 Normal Tension strings from D’Addario.  The gauges are about the same between the two. You will also notice that the D’Addario is silverplated wound while the Hannabach is described as silverplated copper wound. This subtle difference isn’t so subtle when it comes to playability. More than a few people notice a difference when comparing the two. The stiffer basses lead to more focused tone and not as much overall oscillation distance minimizing buzzing issues.

The one downside to the higher tension and difference in material is the break-in period. They seem to take about a week to break in and really “come alive” with fantastic tone and balance throughout. Also, the G string tends to sound a bit dull initially but that changes after a few days of playing.

Hannabach 815MT String Specifications

Item # Note Gauge (in.) Tension (lbs.) Material
8151_MT E/1st .0280 16.41 clear nylon
8152_MT B/2nd .0319 13.94 clear nylon
8153_MT G/3rd .0398 14.39 clear nylon
8154_MT x 2 D/4th .0287 16.19 silverplated copper wound
8155_MT A/5th .0358 15.74 silverplated copper wound
8156_MT E/6th .0437 15.74 silverplated copper wound

D'Addario ProArte EJ45 String Specifications

Item # Note Gauge (in.) Tension (lbs.) Material
J4501 E 0.028 16.230 clear nylon
J4502 B 0.0322 12.040 clear nylon
J4503 G 0.0403 11.880 clear nylon
J4504 D 0.029 15.620 silverplated wound
J4505 A 0.035 15.890 silverplated wound
J4506 E 0.043 14.190 silverplated wound

A Few Critiques Of Hannabach 815s

There have been a few other downsides reported from other reviewers of the strings. The first is that they seem to not fair well on cheaper guitars. I know this seems like a strange critique, but the cheaper instruments just don’t seem to react better or worse to the quality of string. That being said, the string really should not be blamed for the inferiority of an instrument. It would be like putting an inferior instrument into the hands of David Russell and expecting him to sound like he does on his concert instruments. He would only be able to get a certain level of sound and nuance and then hit a limit as to what the guitar could provide.

There have also been a couple of quality control critiques that had to do with missing strings in sets and certain strings breaking on instruments. The missing string would definitely fall on the company. However, the breaking of the string would need much more analysis to figure out whether it was the string, the guitar, or even the player that caused the string to break.

Conclusion On The Hannabach 815s

All in all, there is a consensus that these Hannabach 815s set a pretty high standard for sound and quality. As with any product, there is bound to be someone that is disappointed. Overall, the disappointments are far out numbered by those that are really pleased with the Hannabach 815s. Though I am not using them at the moment, my experience in using Hannabach in the past has been definitely inline with the pleased rather than the disappointed. In my opinion, they are worth the cost for superior sound and playability.


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