#1
A guitarist at the campground handed me his acoustic to play. I loved the feel of the action and the string tension. Way easier to play than my Dean acoustic with its thick bronze strings. The guitar was given to him and he didn't know the history but it got me thinking that I needed to get my acoustic to play like that.

I did a little digging around on the net when I got home on using thinner electric strings and came to the conclusion that thin electric strings might not be the best since you needed to keep a fair amount of tension on the guitar to get the body to reverberate correctly.

Well it just so happens that I string most of my electrics with Earnie Ball slinky top-heavy bottoms 10-52 so I thought what the heck. I'm already familiar with the feel of these strings, and have a couple of sets laying around. what can it hurt? So I restrung it the acoustic.

The guitar is much easier to play now. feels much more like an electric and I guess the thicker bottom strings did the trick keeping the tension because the sound it still pretty full. There is a slightly tinnier sound with the nickle strings vs. bronze, but that is an easy trade off for the easier playing. The action on my Dean is still a little higher than I would like it, but it isn't adjustable so I'll have to live with it. As it is with the new strings, it is pretty simple to play something like the intro to Sweet Child of Mine without the strings fighting you the whole way.

I don't think I'll ever go back to bronze strings. At least not on this particular acoustic.
#3
Quote by Jeffh40
....[ ]....Well it just so happens that I string most of my electrics with Earnie Ball slinky top-heavy bottoms 10-52 so I thought what the heck. I'm already familiar with the feel of these strings, and have a couple of sets laying around. what can it hurt? So I restrung it the acoustic. ...[ ]....
As electric strings go, those are fairly heavy anyway.

Oddly, I have the reverse "opinion", which is, I put acoustic strings on my Crafter 12 string hybrids, instead of the nickel electric strings with which they shipped. (Think "Taylor T-5, as these guitars are knockoffs of that design). Anyway, I don't use the electric style pickups, only the piezos, and that works out pretty well to emphasize the acoustic part of their nature.

(As Tony points out though, the electro-magnetic picup performance does suffer greatly in the presence of the bronze strings).

In your case, I'm wondering if you've actually experimented with some of the lighter gauge brass or phosphor bronze sets available over the counter. Your electric ".010 to .052", comes pretty close to ".011 to .052", what is normally called, "custom light". Lighter still, are .010 to .047, "acoustic extra light", which would probably play faster than the electric strings you're using.

In any case, I have a few random thoughts. I prefer a wound G-3 on acoustics. IIRC, .010 to .052 electric sets DO have a wound 3rd.

Tone is tone, and taste is taste. But, I prefer the freedom of trying to extract the sound I want from a guitar, rather than being a slave to "playability", and having the strings dictate what it should sound like.

Apparently though, phosphor bronze strings have a "stiffer feel" than either 80/20 bronze or nickel/ steel electrics. So some allowances have to be made for that as a consideration.

Quote by Jeffh40
....[ ]....The guitar is much easier to play now. feels much more like an electric and I guess the thicker bottom strings did the trick keeping the tension because the sound it still pretty full. There is a slightly tinnier sound with the nickle strings vs. bronze, but that is an easy trade off for the easier playing. The action on my Dean is still a little higher than I would like it, but it isn't adjustable so I'll have to live with it. As it is with the new strings, it is pretty simple to play something like the intro to Sweet Child of Mine without the strings fighting you the whole way. ...[ ]...
Well Jeff, I have no idea what you mean by, "the action isn't adjustable". there are few to none, acoustics which can be setup is the sense I think you mean. That is, with hex wrenches and screwdrivers. Now, unless the saddle of your Dean, is all the way down to bridge level, then it CAN be adjusted. A good setup will be perceived as taking gauges off the strings.

Although you must be mindful of this; pretty much ANY acoustic, will NEVER as low an action as a decent electric.

Educate yourself about acoustic setup & eccentricities: http://thbecker.net/guitar_playing/guitars_and_setup/setup_page_01.html
Last edited by Captaincranky at Sep 2, 2015,
#4
I play both elect and acoustic. I string the elect with 10s, the acoustic with 11s and tune 1/2 step down for playability, but I do still use bronze strings on the acoustic because I think the nickel sounds nasty on it. Playability and endurance is greatly improved on the acoustic though. I often gig 4x40 min sets on acoustic and I use a lot of string bends and secret sauce on solos. Heavy bronze strings were murderous on the fingers by midnight.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
#5
As Cranky says, it's amazing how many acoustic players suffer for years with excessively-high actions with no idea that it can be adjusted to a nicety.

A well-set up instrument, even with rather stout strings, should not be painful or difficult to play. For years I used a Martin D-18 with D'Addario phosphor-bronze medium gauge strings.... No difficulties.

And it's not just "sanding down the saddle".
#6
Quote by Bikewer
As Cranky says, it's amazing how many acoustic players suffer for years with excessively-high actions with no idea that it can be adjusted to a nicety.

A well-set up instrument, even with rather stout strings, should not be painful or difficult to play. For years I used a Martin D-18 with D'Addario phosphor-bronze medium gauge strings.... No difficulties.

And it's not just "sanding down the saddle".


Unfortunately for me it's string tension, not action that causes bloodshed. My action is fine but bending whole steps all night takes their toll on the fingers unless I use light strings and tune down a bit. Different strokes.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
#7
Quote by Cajundaddy
Unfortunately for me it's string tension, not action that causes bloodshed. My action is fine but bending whole steps all night takes their toll on the fingers unless I use light strings and tune down a bit. Different strokes.


This was basic ally the issue for me too. Bends were very hard on the fingers. Lower action helps your fingers move faster across the neck, but the electric strings just bend a lot easier than the bronze ones did. I think they play better too.

I admit though I haven't experimented with lighter acoustic strings. In the OP I stated that I tried this because I had those strings on hand and I wanted to see what the difference would be. So far, I like the difference.


Quote by Captaincranky


Well Jeff, I have no idea what you mean by, "the action isn't adjustable". there are few to none, acoustics which can be setup is the sense I think you mean. That is, with hex wrenches and screwdrivers. Now, unless the saddle of your Dean, is all the way down to bridge level, then it CAN be adjusted. A good setup will be perceived as taking gauges off the strings.

Although you must be mindful of this; pretty much ANY acoustic, will NEVER as low an action as a decent electric.

Educate yourself about acoustic setup & eccentricities: http://thbecker.net/guitar_playing/guitars_and_setup/setup_page_01.html


I guess I should have more clearly said that the action isn't adjustable without sanding the saddle or screwing with the neck relief and I am not willing to do that for this experiment.
Last edited by Jeffh40 at Sep 3, 2015,
#8
Quote by Jeffh40
...[ ]....I guess I should have more clearly said that the action isn't adjustable without sanding the saddle or screwing with the neck relief and I am not willing to do that for this experiment.
Well, I probably should have realized you were blogging, and not really asking questions anyway.
#9
Proper neck relief is a MUST, it's got to be right or nothing else will work right. Excessive relief will cause hard playing even with decent action.