Best nylon guitar strings 2023: find the right set for classical, hybrid and flamenco players (2023)

By Jonathan Horsley

last updated

We’ve got 10 of the best options from D’Addario, La Bella and more to help you get the most out of your nylon-stringed guitar

Best nylon guitar strings 2023: find the right set for classical, hybrid and flamenco players (1)

Nylon-stringed guitars are a great choice for people who want to play softer, more romantic music, such as classical or flamenco. They’re also ideal for beginners, since the strings tend to be gentler on the fingertips. Speaking of strings, you don’t have to stick with the ones your chosen guitar comes with – there are lots of varieties out there, each with its own set of benefits. To help you choose the right set for you, we’ve put together a guide to the best nylon guitar strings.

The following guide features options from all the top guitar-string manufacturers, including D’Addario, Savarez and Augustine, and also caters for a range of budgets.

Before making your choice, why not take a look at our buying advice further down the page…

  • Best classical guitars: nylon-string guitars for all budgets
  • Best acoustic guitar strings: get the best from your guitar

Best nylon guitar strings: Our top picks

D’Addario’s position as a market leader in all categories of guitar-string manufacturing speaks volumes about the innovative processes the New York company has developed over the years. For price and performance, not to mention availability, its Pro-Arté range is the best in the business. The Nylon set that sits at the top of our list comprises nylon-core bass strings wrapped in silver-plated copper, along with nylon monofilament trebles – and they feel and sound fantastic.

Savarez is another globally esteemed string manufacturer, and its Alliance HT Classic High Tension 540J (opens in new tab) set offers a bright, punchy treble response that’s ideal for live performance, when you need a little more detail in the upper registers. They represent excellent value for money, too.

Best nylon guitar strings: Product guide

Best nylon guitar strings 2023: find the right set for classical, hybrid and flamenco players (2)

1. D’Addario Pro-Arté Nylon

These classical strings feel and sound amazing


Price: $18.90/£13.60/€16

Spec: Bass strings – nylon core wrapped in silver-plated copper. Treble strings – nylon monofilament

Reasons to buy


Warm, balanced tone


Smooth feel


Excellent value for money


You can pick them up anywhere

Reasons to avoid


Nothing, unless you want a super-bright set

There’s a reason why D’Addario is such a ubiquitous presence in the guitar strings industry – it offers high-quality products at a fantastic price. Its Pro-Arté series features a number of different string options, but for warmth and clarity it’s hard to beat the Nylon set.

Wrapped in silver-plated copper, the bass strings feel good under the fingers, while the trebles are laser-machined for consistent intonation and performance. There are various different tensions in the range, too.

Best nylon guitar strings 2023: find the right set for classical, hybrid and flamenco players (3)

2. Savarez Alliance HT Classic High Tension 540J

Clear and bright, these are ideal for live performances


Price: $25/£18/€21

Spec: Bass strings – nylon wrapped in silver-plated copper. Treble strings – fluorocarbon

Reasons to buy


Bold, upfront trebles


Minimal string squeak


Decent value for money

(Video) All Classical Guitar Strings Explained | Guitar Tech Tips | Ep. 82 | Thomann

Reasons to avoid


Fluorocarbon trebles might be a little toppy for some

The fluorocarbon trebles in this mid-priced set offer an exceptionally bright tone, along with a fast attack – just the thing for presenting your music on a live stage. Some might find them a little harsh, but if you’re playing in a large venue, they’ll get their point across where pure nylon might sound a little polite.

These strings perform well in the recording studio, too, with minimal squeak as you move your hand across the fingerboard.

Best nylon guitar strings 2023: find the right set for classical, hybrid and flamenco players (4)

3. Hannabach Goldin 725MHT

The best high-end carbon strings you can buy


Price: $42/£30/€35

Spec: Bass strings – Goldin-wrapped high-density synthetic core. Treble strings – super-carbon

Reasons to buy


Top-quality carbons


Forensic clarity on the bass strings


No nickel, no cadmium

Reasons to avoid




Only available in medium/high tension

Played by the likes of Alexandre Bernoud and Damon Buxton, Hannabach strings are ideal for those occasions when you have to squeeze into a tux and perform under a spotlight. Its Goldin 725MHT set takes its name from the gold alloy wrap that makes the bass strings come alive under the fingers.

Bright and forthright, they’ll reward the touch of an expert player. They’re not cheap, but pros and serious amateurs playing a high-end classical guitar won’t begrudge their instrument, or their audience.

Best nylon guitar strings 2023: find the right set for classical, hybrid and flamenco players (5)

4. Savarez Corum Alliance 500ARJ

A versatile set with bright carbon trebles


Price: $24/£17/€20

Spec: Bass strings – nylon core wrapped in silver plating. Treble strings – fluorocarbon

Reasons to buy


An abundance of volume and projection


Nice balance across the strings


Bright and punchy

Reasons to avoid


Some will find the fluorocarbon trebles too harsh

Matching Savarez’s more-malleable Corum bass strings with its Alliance fluorocarbon trebles, this set is very comfortable. Those players moving over from steel will find it especially satisfying, as the thinner gauge of the trebles will feel that bit more familiar. The set sounds great, too, with the bass strings wound to offer a level of detail you’d perhaps expect of stiffer strings.

All in all, the 500ARJs make for a well-balanced solution that would otherwise only have been possible through mixing and matching two different string sets.

Best nylon guitar strings 2023: find the right set for classical, hybrid and flamenco players (6)

(Video) Best Nylon String Guitar In 2022 - Top 10 Nylon String Guitars Review

5. Augustine Regals

Competitively priced strings with pedigree


Price: $13.80/£10/€11.60

Spec: Bass strings – silver-plated. Treble strings – clear nylon

Reasons to buy


Terrific performance


Nice feel


Great price

Reasons to avoid


At this price, nothing at all

Played by the likes of João Camarero and Lily Afshar, Augustine’s Regals are the true blue-bloods of the affordable classical strings market. Here you have silver-plated bass strings and plain old nylon trebles, but the performance is supreme. While nylon guitar strings have a reputation for subtlety, on the right guitar these really let the notes pop off the fretboard.

At this price, it would be hard to find anything better for a classic old-school sound, with body and substance across the frequency spectrum, and up-and-at-’em projection.

Best nylon guitar strings 2023: find the right set for classical, hybrid and flamenco players (7)

6. D’Addario Pro-Arté Dynacore

A best-seller with titanium nylon trebles


Price: $31.60/£22.90/€26.70

Spec: Bass strings – blended polymer core wrapped in silver-plated copper. Treble strings – titanium nylon

Reasons to buy


Great clarity


Easy to manipulate


High-quality construction

Reasons to avoid


Not the cheapeststrings in town

Titanium nylon strings might be the answer if you’ve been alternating between nylon and carbon trebles, and haven’t quite found the sweet spot. The Pro-Arté Dynacore bass strings have a blended polymer core and are wound in silver-plated copper. But it’s the titanium nylon of the trebles (laser-machined, of course) that’s the USP here.

Since they’re brighter than plain nylon, many find them easier to intonate. They’re a doddle to manipulate, too, and that clarity will help to accentuate your vibrato.

Best nylon guitar strings 2023: find the right set for classical, hybrid and flamenco players (8)

7. Stagg Classical

A budget set for beginners


Price: $5.50£4/€4.70

Spec: Bass strings – silver-plated nylon. Treble strings – clear nylon

Reasons to buy


Great price


Made with genuine US nylon

(Video) What strings should I use on my classical guitar? High tension/low tension?


Balanced nylon tone

Reasons to avoid


No low-tension sets, just normal and hard

If you’re just starting out or want to stick a set of strings on a budget classical guitar to see how it sounds, Stagg’s cheap-as-chips Classical set won’t disappoint.

There’s nothing fancy in the build, but the results are deeply satisfying. You’ll find clear nylon trebles that strike a nice balance between warmth and lucidity, along with silver-plated bass strings that let the notes bloom.

Best nylon guitar strings 2023: find the right set for classical, hybrid and flamenco players (9)

8. La Bella 2001 Flamenco Guitar Strings

A black nylon set that’s ideal for playing Spanish guitar


Price: $11.95/£8.60/€10

Spec: Bass strings – silver-plated copper. Treble strings – Flamenca Negra

Reasons to buy


Work well with vocals


Nice balance between brightness and warmth


Specially wound for flamenco


Durable and long-lasting

Reasons to avoid


No low-tension sets, just normal and hard

La Bella offers a couple of black-nylon options, with the main difference between the Flamenco and Folk Singer sets being the latter’s gold-plated windings on the bass strings. In the Flamenco set, the Flamenca Negra treble strings should give your rumba strumming a three-dimensional quality.

What makes black nylon a good choice for both flamenco and folk is that, typically, the guitar will be complementing the human voice, and strumming is inherent to both styles. Hard-tension options will bring that fast attack and treble response you need, and will stand up to aggressive playing styles.

Best nylon guitar strings 2023: find the right set for classical, hybrid and flamenco players (10)

9. Aquila 19C Alabastro

The best faux-gut strings


Price: $19.50/£14/€16.50

Spec: Bass strings – multifilament Super Nylgut core wrapped in silver-plated copper. Treble strings – Super Nylgut

Reasons to buy


Evoke a sound of a bygone era




Cheaper than gut strings

Reasons to avoid


Not made from gut

The pre-war classical guitar tone was all but defined by gut strings – they had a bright frequency profile and a fast attack. But in the modern era, not everyone has the stomach for them when there are so many nylon alternatives.

Aquila has combined the best of both worlds with its Super Nylgut polymer trebles. They improve on the original gut-string builds, too, with the polymer being more consistent and longer-lasting, and suffering from fewer intonation issues.

Best nylon guitar strings 2023: find the right set for classical, hybrid and flamenco players (11)

10. Ernie Ball Ernesto Palla Clear & Silver Nylon Classical Guitar Strings

(Video) Best Nylon String In 2022 - Top 10 Nylon Strings Review

The best affordable nylon ball-end set


Price: $12.80/£9.29/€10.80

Spec: Bass strings – nylon multifilament core wrapped in silver-plated copper. Treble springs – clear nylon monofilament

Reasons to buy


Warm tone


Good value for money


Easy to fit


A good option for folk guitarists

Reasons to avoid


Ball-end nylons are not for every guitar

Ball-end strings are something of an outlier in classical guitar, where most string sets are tie-on affairs. There are some hybrid guitars that will take ball-end sets, though, and for beginners this quick and easy way to attach strings makes a lot of sense.

The silver-plated copper bass strings and clear nylon trebles in this Ernie Ball set are an excellent choice for fingerstyle folk music. And the price is very approachable indeed.

Best nylon guitar strings: Buying advice

Best nylon guitar strings 2023: find the right set for classical, hybrid and flamenco players (12)

Nylon guitar strings came to fruition during the industrial boom of the post-war period, when cat-gut strings – typically made from cattle intestines – were supplanted by a far more appealing synthetic material. Albert Augustine Ltd (now known as Augustine) was the first company to offer this vegan-friendly alternative, developing nylon strings in collaboration with the great Spanish guitarist Andrés Segovia.

Until this point, the treble strings found on classical and flamenco guitars had been made of pure gut, with the bass strings comprising a silk-wound core. The new style would see three plain nylon treble strings complemented by three wound bass strings, typically wrapped with a metal alloy.

Nylon string tension

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Today, the best nylon guitar strings are arranged into three categories. Whereas acoustic steel strings are ordered by gauge, or string thickness, nylon strings are ordered by tension: low (light), medium (normal) or high (hard, strong or forte). Low-tension strings tend to have the quietest sound, and you might get a little more fret buzz when using them – but there are benefits. They are easy to manipulate, and while all nylon strings are kinder to inexperienced players’ fingers than steel ones, low-tension strings are particularly approachable. They are also a little kinder to vintage instruments, particularly those without a truss rod.

High-tension strings usually have the loudest sound. Where low-tension strings almost pull your ear in towards them, here the attack is a little more upfront. Those who play with a guitar pick might enjoy the resistance, and if you’re using a hybrid nylon-stringed guitar with an adjustable truss rod, a high-tension string set could give you the sound you’re looking for.

As you might expect, medium-tension strings sit somewhere between the two. For the uninitiated, these are as good a place to start as any. But with some brands offering mixed-tension sets, plus extra-hard and extra-light sets, there’s plenty of opportunity to experiment.

While your instrument might have its own quirks that influence your choice of string, so too will your playing style, and how the strings feel and sound to you is the most important thing. This, after all, is about the business of playing music, and there is no received wisdom that overrules what your hand and ear are telling you.

Nylon guitar string materials

As for materials, there’s some variance here. The three bass strings (low E, A and D) generally have a similar construction to their steel-stringed counterparts, in that they’ll comprise a metal wrap around a core material. With nylon guitar strings, that core will be multifilament nylon or a composite material, and they’ll feel a little softer on the fingers than steel strings, where both wrap and core are metal.

Bronze-coated strings feature an 80/20 copper/zinc coating, and have a little more brassiness. They sustain well, too, though that’s not for every player. The alternative, silver-plated copper windings, tame some of that high-end, giving you a warmer, more-rounded tone that might well complement the unwrapped treble strings (G, B and E).

Nylon, or clear nylon, is the most common choice for treble strings. It feels good under the fingers and offers a nice balance tonally. If you find nylon too brash, you could try black nylon.

There may be occasions when you need something less mellow. You might want a little extra oomph in the upper mids and more detail in the treble. Here you have a few options. Carbon strings have fluorocarbon trebles that offer a louder performance, with an abundance of detail. All good? Sure, but some people find carbons to be a little harsh and lacking warmth. It’s a matter of taste, but might also depend on the guitar. If yours is naturally a little dark, a set of carbons might make it shine.

Titanium is a variation on the carbon theme. There’s no titanium in these strings – the name refers to the metallic grey colour of the newfangled polymer that’s used to create them. In terms of sound, they’re bright and engineered to project your tone. Again, they can really come into their own when used on a dark-sounding guitar or for unaccompanied recitals where you really want some get-up-and-go in those upper registers.

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Best nylon guitar strings 2023: find the right set for classical, hybrid and flamenco players (13)

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.

(Video) The Perfect Nylon String for Acoustic Guitar Players? - Cordoba Fusion Series


What strings are best for flamenco guitar? ›

Nylon: the flamenco standard

Nylon strings – first introduced in the 1940s – have become the standard for classical and flamenco guitarists. However, not all nylon strings are the same. Different manufacturers use different polymers that can have different timbres. Nylon can also be manufactured in different ways.

Can you put classical strings on a flamenco guitar? ›

You can use both normal and high-tension strings on your Flamenco guitar. Individual tastes differ, some preferring to combine the treble (higher-pitched) strings of one tension with bass strings of the opposite tension, in order to balance both the sound and action from the guitar.

What strings do professional classical guitarists use? ›

Most modern classical guitar strings are made of nylon, with the trebles (strings 1, 2, and 3) made of a single transparent nylon string and the basses (strings 4, 5, and 6) made of hundreds of individual strands of nylon that have been wrapped with silver or bronze plated copper thread.

What strings are best for 3 4 classical guitar? ›

D'Addario's EJ27N 1/2 and EJ27N 3/4 classical guitar strings are designed for 1/2 scale and 3/4 scale student guitars, respectively. The D'Addario sets offer a perfect balance of warmth and projection. They're both normal tension, and feature clear nylon trebles and silverplated copper wound on nylon basses.

What type of strings did Segovia use? ›

The catgut strings Segovia is said to have preferred were made of sheep intestine by Pirastro GmbH, a string manufacturer that has operated in Offenbach, Germany, since the 1890s.

Are classical and flamenco strings the same? ›

There is no such thing as "classical or flamenco strings." While it's true that some strings may feel or be better for flamenco, such designations are meaningless. A string is comprised of certain material and composition, a certain diameter, and a certain tension.

How often should you change classical guitar strings? ›

If you play hard or play often, then change them about every 3 to 4 months. If you don't play that hard and don't play that regularly then change them about every 6 months.

What tension is best for classical guitar? ›

Normal tension

The most common tension string, also called "medium tension". Many classical guitars come with a normal tension strings when shipped. A very balanced string that lies between low tension and high tension in both tone and playability. If you are not sure what to get, start with a normal tension string.

What strings did Stevie Ray Vaughan use? ›

Stevie used real heavy strings - . 013 (high E) to . 058 or even . 060 (low E).

Should a classical guitar have nylon strings? ›

Acoustic guitars and electric guitars use steel strings, whereas classical guitars use nylon strings. Strings 1 through 3-the strings that produce the high pitched treble tones-are a single, transparent nylon string.

Do thicker strings have better tone? ›

Thicker strings will put more tension on your guitar's neck due to the extra tension needed to bring the thicker material up to pitch. They also can be the exact opposite of thinner strings, being harder to bend and giving a warmer, thicker tone.

What strings did Paco de Lucia use? ›

A melding of man, wood, and strings, de Lucia displayed pure, raw ability and a peerless musical sensibility when he held the nylon-string guitar.

How often do you change the strings on a flamenco guitar? ›

Flamenco guitar strings should be changed every few months, or whenever they start to sound dull. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to change them: 1. first, remove the old strings by carefully unwinding them from the tuning pegs.

What scales do flamenco guitarists use? ›

Phrygian scale or mode is used a lot in flamenco and Spanish guitar music for playing solos or improvisation. It is the third mode of the major scale, meaning it has the same notes, although the sequence starts from the third note.

What strings do Sandberg use? ›

German Bas builders Sandberg have been creating Excellence for almost 35 years now, These basses deserve only the best strings Made from Proprietary US stainless Steel alloy wrapped over a hex core wire it brings a bright and snappy tone to your bass, without piercing or shrill overtones....

What strings did George Harrison use? ›

World famous strings

George Harrison wasn't the only iconic player to use Rotosound stainless steel electric guitar strings to make some of the world's best enduring music.

What is a flamenco Strum called? ›

Rasgueado (also called Rageo (spelled so or Rajeo), Rasgueo or Rasgeo in Andalusian dialect and flamenco jargon, or even occasionally Rasqueado) is a guitar finger strumming technique commonly associated with flamenco guitar music.

Can you play classical on a flamenco? ›

Re: Can you play classical music on a flamenco guitar? The short answer is yes. A truly good flamenca blanca (and Darren Hippner has a reputation for making very good ones) will typically have a brighter, drier sound with less sustain. so you might find it to not be the best-suited instrument for some pieces.

Do flamenco guitarists read music? ›

Traditional Flamenco guitarists do not usually read music, but rather learn by ear, watching closely and imitating the more experienced players. It is good, however, to make yourself familiar with the basics of music notation.

Why do my classical guitar strings keep breaking? ›

The Nut. If your string consistently breaks around the nut, guess what, it is probably an issue with the nut. Grime that accumulates in the grooves can not only lead to breakage, but it'll derail your tuning efforts. In addition, Heavier gauge strings wear on the nut, leaving behind rough spots.

How often should you change guitar strings if you play everyday? ›

After every 100 hours of playing your guitar, you should change the strings because they are getting used and worn. Another rule of thumb is every 3 months because even while they're not in use, they will wear with the elements and the moisture you left on it from your fingers when you played it last.

How long should nylon guitar strings last? ›

You can expect nylon guitar strings to last 1-3 months with regular playing. Those who play every day for 1-2 hours (or longer) may find the strings only last 4-6 weeks.

What is a normal gauge for classical guitar strings? ›

D'Addario EJ45 Classical Nylon Guitar Strings - Normal Gauge 28-43.

What string holds tension the best? ›

Natural gut is the most power string available. Gut holds tension the best compared to all other strings. It remains soft at high tensions. The arm friendliness of natural gut is superior to all synthetic strings.

How high should the strings be at the 12th fret for classical guitar? ›

Measuring at the 12th fret (as in the photo), the action height should be 2.6 mm for Steel String Acoustic guitar, 1.8 for electric, 2.0mm for bass and 3mm for a Classical.

What strings did Billy Gibbons use? ›

Nowadays, Billy Gibbons plays 07-38 gauge strings…yep you read right! His signature Dunlop Reverend Willy's strings are used on many of his guitars and believe it or not contribute to those thick gritty ZZ Top riffs.

What strings does Lindsey Buckingham use? ›

Lindsey uses Taylor 814ce steel strings (made between about 2006 and 2012) with a Fishman pickup system, Rick Tuner Renaissance acoustics, and a modified Gibson Chet Atkins nylon string guitar to perform songs like Never Going Back Again, Landslide, Big Love, Go Insane, Say Goodbye and others.

Do you have to break in nylon strings? ›

Nylon strings in acoustic and classical guitars can take up to two to four days to settle in, or even a week if they are left to dry. There is no set procedure for over tuning your new guitar strings, and you will need to go through it several times. You have two options for breaking in your strings.

Do I want light or medium strings? ›

If most of your playing involves hard strumming, medium-gauge strings will likely be a better choice, though they may prove a little more challenging to new players' fingers. If your playing is a mix of strumming and fingerpicking, a light-medium string set may be a good choice.

Do tighter strings give more spin? ›

Not necessarily. Because tighter strings produce less velocity, the ball will land shorter in the court. To make up for this, the player might swing harder generating more spin. In this case, it is not tighter strings that produce more spin, but the player's response to tighter strings.

Does a tighter string make a higher pitch? ›

Tension refers to how tightly the string is stretched. Tightening the string gives it a higher frequency while loosening it lowers the frequency. When string players tighten or loosen their strings, they are altering the pitches to make them in tune. The density of a string will also affect its frequency.

What Hertz should a classical guitar be tuned to? ›

Tuning forks usually come tuned to one of two frequencies for the guitar: A=440Hz (the standard) or E=329.6Hz. The A tone is the equivalent of the following notes on the guitar: first string, fifth fret; second string, tenth fret; fourth string, seventh-fret harmonic; fifth string, fifth-fret harmonic.

What is the most versatile guitar tuning? ›

Open tunings vastly expand the possibilities of a guitar in standard tuning. While standard tuning (E-A-D-G-B-E) remains the most versatile for most guitarists, open tunings can practically transform your guitar into a whole new instrument.

Are flamenco guitar strings different? ›

Flamenco guitar strings are typically made of nylon, which produces a softer, mellower sound than traditional steel strings. The best flamenco guitar strings will depend on your personal preferences in terms of sound and playability. For a brighter, more vibrant sound, you may want to try a lighter gauge string.

What are the best strings for a Spanish guitar? ›

Guitar strings: the best on the market
  • Spanish Recommendation. D'Addario EJ46FF Pro-Arte Carbon. SEE PRICE.
  • Flamenco Recommendation. Savarez Alliance HT 540J. SEE PRICE.
  • Electro/Acoustic Recommendation. Elixir Nanoweb Extra Light Acoustic. SEE PRICE.
  • Electric Recommendation. Elixir Optiweb 19027 Custom Light. SEE PRICE.

What strings do Spanish guitars use? ›

Acoustic guitars and electric guitars use steel strings, whereas classical guitars use nylon strings. Strings 1 through 3-the strings that produce the high pitched treble tones-are a single, transparent nylon string.

What kind of strings did Albert King use? ›

Reportedly, King played 0.09-0.50 gauge strings. So in essence he was playing light gauge on his top strings and heavy gauge on his bottom strings.

What kind of strings did Paco de Lucia use? ›

A melding of man, wood, and strings, de Lucia displayed pure, raw ability and a peerless musical sensibility when he held the nylon-string guitar.

What mode is most common in flamenco music? ›

Phrygian scale or mode is used a lot in flamenco and Spanish guitar music for playing solos or improvisation. It is the third mode of the major scale, meaning it has the same notes, although the sequence starts from the third note.

Are black nylon strings better? ›

Tests find differences, just not in sound

The perception of some guitarists suggests that black nylon strings do sound brighter. However, the science suggests it is unlikely that black coloring has any influence on sound quality because the density and the elasticity of the strings remains the same.

Do thicker strings hold tune better? ›

So generally speaking, if all other factors are the same in terms of how the strings are made, how they were stored, how long they've been on your guitar, how heavily they've been played—all that sort of stuff—heavier gauge strings are going to hold their tune a little bit better than lighter gauge strings.

Does Spanish guitar use nylon strings? ›

Sometimes referred to as a “Spanish guitar,” a classical guitar has nylon strings, which gives it a warm, mellow tone. Besides classical music, these guitars are used primarily in flamenco music, although “flamenco guitars” differ in both construction (they tend to be made from lighter, thinner wood) and tone.


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