#1
I'm fairly new to guitar and am looking to change the strings on my Washburn WD100DL Dreadnought. Since I am new to this, I was wondering what gauge strings would be recommended for this guitar. Feel free to also recommend brands, etc.


Thanks so much in advance and let me know if you need any more information!
#2
Well, usually the recommendation is "acoustic lights", (.012 to .053). This is going to be predicated on several things. 1: How well your guitar is set up. Even lights can be uncomfortable when the action is too high. 2: How girly of a girl are you? I'm not being rude but, there is an issue of strength, how much discomfort, and callous you're willing to tolerate.

A dread really won't give of its best with string sets lighter than .012 to .053. Many of the men here like to string big bodied guitars with "medium". Those are .013 to .056, and are a real handful. They do give plenty of bass, volume, and projection though. I'm too much of a wuss for those myself.

A good setup and "custom lights", (.011 to .052), might be a reasonable compromise for you.

In any event, there are two basic "sound types" in acoustic strings. "Bronze", also called "brass." These are marked as 80/20 alloy, and are bright and chimey.

I find them ideal to liven up a laminate top guitar.

Then there's "phosphor bronze". These are warmer, without the "sting" of brass.

Different guitars, built with different woods, might be more receptive to one or the other. Then, there's your personal taste to factor in.

I think a majority of players here, or at least USA based players, use D'Addario strings, with the biggest nod given to their "EXP" series of coated strings. (longer lived than plain strings).

A sizable percentage of players use "Elixir" brand, which are coated as well.

So, some trial and error, or maybe "trial and more trial" will be required for your final selection. It's a decision that none of us can really make for you.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Jul 25, 2014,
#3
Well, despite what the captain says, I think dreadnoughts sound better with lighter strings. I use either 10 gauge or 11 gauge on mine. I think the lighter strings produce a slightly brighter and more balanced sound across the frequency range.

But then I'm just about a 100% fingerpicker - I suppose if you are a heavy strummer you might want something heavier.

Here is a link to a vid comparing different string gauges:

http://acousticletter.com/the-ultimate-acoustic-string-comparison-extra-light-vs-custom-light-vs-light-vs-medium/

At the end of the day I think it's very hard to predict how a particular string will behave on a particular guitar - you really need to experiment.
#4
Quote by Garthman
Quote by Captaincranky
....[ ]...So, some trial and error, or maybe "trial and more trial" will be required for your final selection. It's a decision that none of us can really make for you.

....[ ]....At the end of the day I think it's very hard to predict how a particular string will behave on a particular guitar - you really need to experiment.


Which is more than likely why I finished my post with the above captioned quote.

You should meet Tony Dome. He's a big fan of mediums.

Quote by Garthman
Well, despite what the captain says, I think dreadnoughts sound better with lighter strings. I use either 10 gauge or 11 gauge on mine. I think the lighter strings produce a slightly brighter and more balanced sound across the frequency range. ...[ ]....
I have one dread, (6 string anyway), and I string it with custom light.

So, I'll clarify my original statement thus, "A dreadnought really needs acoustic lights or better, to give off as much bottom end as it's design intends. However, some find dreads in particular to be "boomy", and so thinner strings will reduce that.

In any case, here's a string sticky: https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=767693 Will it help? Meh, I have my doubts. But I think you're supposed to read it before you perform the, "deja vu all over again" ritual with respect to asking, "what strings should I use..."

And we're right back to "personal taste", find your particular sound at, "musicstore.local". And please for God's sake, nobody type that into your browsers....
Last edited by Captaincranky at Jul 25, 2014,
#5
As CC says I'm a fan of mediums (13-56) on big (dread size) guitars; I've never yet played one strung with lights that I didn't think wouldn't sound better with mediums. - And I play a fair number in my mate's store. I think they tend to sound thin and stringy with lights, but some folks like that jangle. I use John Pearse phos bronze.

But you need a good set up to make them playable, plus allow time to get used to them. - They do feel hard and unmanageable at first. Rory Block is a lightly built lady, she uses mediums, and there is nothing wrong with the speed, precision and power she can get out of them.
#6
Strings are pretty cheap so I'd say the best thing to do would be to experiment and find what you like best. I'd go with light or custom light strings, (not much difference). Some decent quality inexpensive brands are d'addario and martin. The coated strings are more expensive because they are made to last longer so I'd experiment with some uncoated strings for a while until you find the guage, style and brand you like best. The dl100 is mahogany top which is a warm toned guitar, maybe some 80/20 bronze strings might balance it and liven it up a little.

I thought about buying one of these guitars, nice looking with mostly positive reviews, but I ended going with the Washburn Harvest series with the traditional solid spruce top and mahogany sides instead. One important note that I believe was mentioned is the set-up of the guitar. Does it play well or does it take excessive force to hold a chord? My washburn came with the bridge action set perfectly but the nut action was high and needed filed. The truss rod needed adjusted(loosened) too which is the case with every guitar I've owned so far. On the washburn, I backed out the truss rod until I was out of adjustment and still only had .009 instead of the recommended .01; close enough I guess. It took away most of the fret buzz.
#7
Thank y'all for all y'all's replies! I have no issues with the action of the guitar. I was considering Elixir Nanoweb Light Medium strings. Thanks again!
#8
Quote by Tony Done
As CC says I'm a fan of mediums (13-56) on big (dread size) guitars; I've never yet played one strung with lights that I didn't think wouldn't sound better with mediums. - And I play a fair number in my mate's store. I think they tend to sound thin and stringy with lights, but some folks like that jangle. I use John Pearse phos bronze. ...[ ].....
I'm curious what sort of market share do you think these have here in the states. I know you're more likely to find "Rotosounds", on a Brit's guitar. (At least as far as popular mythology is concerned. I got the whole idea from a commercial in The Who's "Sell Out" album).

Here I think D'Addario are the home town favorites. "Endorsed by the mob, D'Addario EXP"! (I'm just kidding about the whole mob thing, you understand, er don't you)?
Last edited by Captaincranky at Jul 25, 2014,
#9
those med/lights should work just fine Jess.
I myself think that mediums really bring out the intended "boom" that a dread is supposed to give. I use 'em on my dreads and don't really feel much of a difference when I switch to a smaller guitar with lights on them. ( yeah, yeah, Cranky, don't pick on my sensitive side, I cry easy when you pick on my big fingers...sniff.... sniff... see already I'm doing it...curse you !!)
need more gear and a lot more talent(courtesytuxs)
#10
Well Step, in the case of medium string sets, my concern is not so much for the players, but for the guitars.

I think a great portion of the manufacturers ship with lights, more for longevity/warranty concerns, than to extract the most bass or projection.

If you're in the mood for old head lore, when I started playing, virtually all the music shops stocked were, "Black Diamond" in medium.

Back then, it was common practice for makers to suggest, "tune your guitar down when it's not in use. The high string tension being the issue.

And whilst I appreciate that it would be easy to suggest one guitar brand over another with respect to durability in the face of adversity, the same qualities of wood that make for a better sounding guitar, can also make for a more fragile guitar.

And I would cite your experience with the Taylor 12 string as example. They claim they beef up the structure for their 12 strings, you claim your 12 imploded...... No really....
Last edited by Captaincranky at Jul 25, 2014,
#11
Quote by Captaincranky
I'm curious what sort of market share do you think these have here in the states. I know you're more likely to find "Rotosounds", on a Brit's guitar. (At least as far as popular mythology is concerned. I got the whole idea from a commercial in The Who's "Sell Out" album).

Here I think D'Addario are the home town favorites. "Endorsed by the mob, D'Addario EXP"! (I'm just kidding about the whole mob thing, you understand, er don't you)?


Yeah, I understand the mob thing - paraphrase from an interview with one of the rock gods in Guitar Player mag years ago "Whose strings do we think are best this week?" I think JPs have a decent market share in the US. D'Addario are popular here, along with GHS, Martin and the like, but most music shops stock JPs as well. I've tried various Martin and D'Add, but have settled on JPs, D'Adds as second choice. I can't remember ever buying coated strings, but the "stringy" sound of many new guitars strung with them puts me off, and I don't have corrosive skin so ordinary strings last me a long time.

I was wondering this morning how the market divides between 12s and 13s (I won't even think about anything lighter ). Probably 12s by a fair margin.

I think that most guitars come with lights to make them more buyer-friendly without having to fine tune the setup, but many small guitars perform well with them.
#12
Most popular strings in my store are Elixir 11s, and considering that they cost like nz$30 which is about $25 american they must do the job. When our store ran out of them last year there was hell to pay. I tried D'Adds which my Taki's come out with, but they are just not me. I guess strings
are subjective and each to their own. Cheers
#13
Quote by tuxs
Most popular strings in my store are Elixir 11s, and considering that they cost like nz$30 which is about $25 american they must do the job....[ ]....
WTF do they have to do, pack them across several mountain ranges on the backs of kangaroos?
Last edited by Captaincranky at Jul 26, 2014,
#14
Come on Cranky I'm in New Zealand no kangaroos here. Just shit loads taxes. Cheers
#15
Quote by Captaincranky
WTF do they have to do, pack them across several mountain ranges on the backs of kangaroos?

yeah, what were you thinking ? they ruck them over on the backs of Hobbits !!!! geesh Cranky, sometimes I wonder/worry about you...
need more gear and a lot more talent(courtesytuxs)
#16
An alternative - use medium/heavy guage strings but tune your guitar to D standard.

It's what I do mostly because you get a lot of that deep, bass tone, but its easy on the fingers.

A lot of the time, I'm not playing in a band/ensemble scenario and dont need my guitar to 'match' someone's tuning.

In the event I do have to play along with someone, it's usually a simple matter to transpose chords and you can always easily transpose scales.
Quote by jpnyc
You are what they call a “rhythm guitarist”. While it's not as glamorous as playing lead you can still get laid. Especially if you can sing and play.




Beer is the solutions to the world's problems.

#17
Quote by stepchildusmc
yeah, what were you thinking ? they ruck them over on the backs of Hobbits !!!! geesh Cranky, sometimes I wonder/worry about you...

^^

Yeah well, well, who knows, maybe Hobbits and kangaroos have a common ancestor. They both have big feet. Then there's the whole wallaby issue to consider.

According to Wikipedia,http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wallaby New Zealand has several species of wallaby which have been introduced.

This makes some sense of the outrageous prices of guitar strings in New Zealand. Wallabies are smaller than kangaroos, and therefore can't carry as many string packets in one trip.....

Quote by hitman_47
An alternative - use medium/heavy guage strings but tune your guitar to D standard.

It's what I do mostly because you get a lot of that deep, bass tone, but its easy on the fingers.
It's an even better solution relating to baritone singers, and 12 string guitars.

Quote by hitman_47
In the event I do have to play along with someone, it's usually a simple matter to transpose chords and you can always easily transpose scales.
At your level of experience, perhaps. We're not sure of our TS level of play.

In any case, it's probably easier to slap on a capo, and try to ignore the position markers. One draw back to that however, is now your guitar essentially has a 12 fret neck, as opposed to a 14 fretter....

(BTW, using a capo with D tuning, takes the top nut clearance out of the equation, and lowers the action overall, resulting in a guitar that's easier to play also).
Last edited by Captaincranky at Jul 27, 2014,