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Old 07-16-2013, 07:14 PM   #1
Coolvortex
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choosing acoustic guitar strings

Hello guys, I have this question for you: I'm a somehow experienced electric guitar player, been playing for quite some years now. I'm used to play with .09 strings, tried switching to thicker strings many times but I just can't feel at ease, can't bend and solo as I want to. So, I have this acoustic around which a friend lent to me (and it's a good one actually), to use it to record some tracks for a song. I basically never played acoustics seriously in my life, and never owned one. And the strings on it are VERY oid and rusty. I have to buy a new set.
considering all this, and that I will only have to strum and do arpeggios, can you give me a tip on which gauge to choose? And a decent brand.. Thank you!
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Old 07-16-2013, 09:49 PM   #2
Steve BP
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D'Addario phosphor bronze lights are a good place to start.
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Old 07-16-2013, 10:36 PM   #3
andrerist
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I have elixir Polywebs on both my acoustics and they are my favorite so far. I play with a 12-54 set on my electrics but prefer the 11-53 (I think those were the guages, custom lights i think). The slightly looser tension just seems to help give me a little extra brightness and more comfortable feel. I also prefer to play fingerstyle on acoustics so all that being said, they just work best for me.

I also like these strings because they are coated which gives me a pretty great lifespan on the strings. I have them on an acoustic and acoustic electric and both sound great just acoustically and through an amp
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Old 07-18-2013, 06:40 AM   #4
Guitarbitz
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Finding a guitar string that suits you, your style, your sound and your guitar is a bit of a journey.

There are a number of string manufactuers and they all make their strings slightly differently. this means they vibrate differently and therefore interract with the woods in your guitar differently, therefore creating slightly different tones and nuiances.

Try Ernie Ball, D'Addario, Martin, Elixir and Rotosound. These are the most popular acoustic string brands.

You also have the choice of material that the strings are made from. Choose between 80/20 Bronze - which gives bright, crisp, sharp tones - or Phosphor Bronze - which gives mellow, rounded, full bodies tones.

Most Acoustic guitars are fitted with Gauge 12 strings as standard. If you choose lighter strings (gauge 10 or 11), they will become easier to play as there is less tension, but will have more treble and lower volume levels. If you go for a heavier gauge (13's), you will get more bass tones and volume, but they will be harder to play as there is more tension in the strings at standard tuning.

Hope this helps. You can get more info here - http://www.guitarbitz.com/guide-to-guitar-strings-i77
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Old 07-18-2013, 06:46 AM   #5
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Guitarbitz is right, it's difficult for us to tell you what you will like. if i told you that you have to like an '88 Gibby LP standard in Aztec sunrise and you don't have a choice would you accept that? probably not.
for the record i can tell you that the 2 most common strings are D'addario EXP16's ( i use them a lot) and Elixir nanoweb lights.
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Old 07-18-2013, 06:59 AM   #6
GaryBillington
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If you're used to .9s on your electrics, I'd go with .10s for your acoustics - obviously that's just me, but I find keeping the gauges as similar as possible will make it easier to switch between your acoustic & electric guitars.

That reminds me, I need to stock up on strings so I guess I'll be seeing GuitarBitz this weekend....
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Old 07-18-2013, 09:34 AM   #7
Bikewer
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As you can see already, string choice is highly individual and folks will freely recommend whatever they happen to have on the guitar.
First thing you need to do is find out the gauge of the strings that are on the guitar. This is important since a major change might require an adjustment of the guitar.

If you don't know....Take it to the shop and they'll throw a micrometer on the strings and tell you what gauge they are.
Truth to tell, nearly any modern strings are just fine. In general...."Phosphor bronze" strings tend to have a somewhat-more-mellow tone and "brass" strings tend to be a little brighter.
The coated strings resist corrosion and crud for a long time.
Some claim the coating makes them sound dull.....Some don't. They do make the strings a little "slicker"....Lest finger-induced string noise.
You can't really go wrong with a major brand; D'Addario, Elixir, Martin... All good.
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Old 07-19-2013, 06:42 AM   #8
gdady1960
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just discovered Elixir strings this week, They sound great, stay in tune and the tone is excellent. I have played guitar for many years now and nothing comes close to elixirs. I used to use D'Addario EJ 16 on my acoustic guitar now I use Elixir custom light/.011-.052.
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Old 07-19-2013, 09:26 AM   #9
Coolvortex
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Thank you very much guys for all your suggestions! Of course I know finding your right string brand and gauge is a journey, I've had mine with electric guitar in all this years, trying all brands and types and all. It's just that this guitar is not mine, and I have it just to record these tracks, and as quick as possible. I'll probably buy .10s, and phosphor ones, since I'll have to do rhythm so I'll prefer a full bodied tone rather than a sharp, brighter one in this case.
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Old 07-28-2013, 07:54 AM   #10
happysad
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guitarbitz
You also have the choice of material that the strings are made from. Choose between 80/20 Bronze - which gives bright, crisp, sharp tones - or Phosphor Bronze - which gives mellow, rounded, full bodies tones.

Not true, it's the phosphor bronze strings that sound brighter.
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Old 07-28-2013, 02:12 PM   #11
patticake
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not to me or anyone i play with. i avoid 80/20 strings 'cause they're too bright for my taste.

Quote:
Originally Posted by happysad
Not true, it's the phosphor bronze strings that sound brighter.
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Old 07-28-2013, 02:17 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by happysad
Not true, it's the phosphor bronze strings that sound brighter.
Oh really...?
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Old 07-28-2013, 04:02 PM   #13
happysad
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patticake
not to me or anyone i play with. i avoid 80/20 strings 'cause they're too bright for my taste.

Compared to bronze only I meant.
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Old 07-28-2013, 04:16 PM   #14
happysad
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OK the issue is bit complex actually (quoted from Harmony Central's forum) :


Quote:
Quote:
80-20's are generally considered a bit brighter sounding than PB's and are an alloy of 80% bronze and 20% tin. PB's tend to be slightly "darker" sounding than 80-20''s. How they sound will also depend on the gauge of the string. I have a set of D'Addario PB lights on my Martin OM-16GT, also a spruce-mahogany guitar, and I love the way they sound. You might try playing with brands and gauges to get the sound you like. STAY SAFE!


Depends on the brand of strings. For instance, D'Addario agrees with your definition -- p/b's being "warmer/darker." http://www.daddario.com/DADFaqAnswer.aspx?ID=276 OTOH, Martin is the opposite, listing their p/b's as "brighter" than 80/20. http://www.mguitar.com/strings/faq.html Then there's Dean Markley. For their regular strings, p/b's are "very bright." http://www.deanmarkley.com/Strings/...sBronzeAc.shtml But their Alchemy strings are the opposite... -- Alchemy GoldBronze are "bright": http://www.deanmarkley.com/Strings/...sBronzeAc.shtml -- Alchemy GoldPhos are "warm": http://www.deanmarkley.com/Strings/...oldPhosAc.shtml You'd think string makers could at least agree on this. :smileyvery-happy:
EDIT: sorry links are dead as the quoted post is very old.

Anyway I use Martin 80-20 and they're not bright-sounding to me.

Last edited by happysad : 07-28-2013 at 04:27 PM.
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Old 07-28-2013, 07:33 PM   #15
Captaincranky
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Quote:
Originally Posted by happysad
OK the issue is bit complex actually
Not really. "Brass strings", are a mixture of 80% copper & 20% tin. This alloy is also known as "bell bronze". So in actually, you could say there are two general types of bronze strings".

Moving along, on large body guitars, light gauge string sets LACK BASS. That should hold true same alloy to same alloy. In other words, light gauge brass strings should sound brighter than heavier gauge brass strings, because there is less bass to mask the high end. The same would hold true of light PB to heavy PB.

Brass has a distinctive bright "ping" when it's new, while PB is mellow from the jump.

As to the Martin strings you're using, are they coated? Because if not, the bright goes away in a hurry. I use brass on one of my laminated guitars, and it seems to last longer than PB, because the guitar is fairly dark.

On a more somber note, have you gotten into the whole "ear bud thing", or really loud amps? Because these can deaden, either temporarily or permanently, the high frequency response of human hearing.

Males lose HF hearing much sooner than females, so you and Patti are likely hearing two different things from the same source.
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