#1
Hey guys,
On the hunt for 'that sound' but I don't have enough knowledge of different string types to know where to start.

I like warmth which is why I went for a mahogany guitar. I had d'addario silk and steels on until a few days ago. I liked these strings but found the plain strings overly bright compared to the wound. As they needed replacement I decided to try the gypsy jazz strings they offer. They are a bit brighter but there's also a lot more string noise. I know as my technique improves this will be less of an issue but some of what I play requires a fair few slides and I really hate the noise.

I was thinking of trying flat wounds next time they need replacing but wondered if anyone had other suggestion.

All in all in after a balanced mellow tone with a bit of brightness and minimal string noise.
#2
Wish I could help you out but all I ever use are Elixirs. I think they are the best by a wide margin.
#3
Quote by Thom1989
...[ ]...I was thinking of trying flat wounds next time they need replacing but wondered if anyone had other suggestion.
Flat wound strings tend to be dull. Jazz guys use them on their electrics, then turn the treble down so the guitar sort of "purrs".

Quote by Thom1989
All in all in after a balanced mellow tone with a bit of brightness and minimal string noise.
You know, I actually like some string noise. First and foremost, it takes loudspeakers with great transient response to even hear it. (And trust me it's there on acoustic recordings).

Don't like it? Lift your fingers.

To me I like the intimacy of hearing fingers slide across strings, it's part of the music.

The irony is, I think the harder your callouses become, the more you'll hear it..
Last edited by Captaincranky at Jun 11, 2016,
#4
Quote by Thom1989
. . .I like warmth which is why I went for a mahogany guitar. I had d'addario silk and steels on until a few days ago. I liked these strings but found the plain strings overly bright compared to the wound. . . . .


And this is always the case. The trebles are the same (high tension steel) on all sets of acoustic strings whatever the composition of the bass string winding.

To my ears a set of strings with nickel-plated steel wound basses produce a more even sound across the set - viz. electric guitar strings.

Try a set of 12 or 13 gauge (a set with a wound 3rd) electric strings.
#5
Many of the coated string varieties will have a bit reduced string noise as a result of their coating, but much of the control for string noise is in your playing style and technique.

I think that you will lose more brightness than you would be happy with if you get flat wounds, but that's just my prediction. I had them on my electric for a long time and loved them.

If you can afford it, there's nothing wrong with trying new strings every time until you figure out what you really like.
My God, it's full of stars!
#6
Quote by Garthman
And this is always the case. The trebles are the same (high tension steel) on all sets of acoustic strings whatever the composition of the bass string winding.

To my ears a set of strings with nickel-plated steel wound basses produce a more even sound across the set - viz. electric guitar strings. ...[ ].....
FWIW, D'Addario (?) now has acoustic string set of "monel" (which is a nickel alloy). They place the brightness somewhere between PB & "brass".

BTW, don't you think ".012 to .013" might be a twitch heavy for a newcomer looking for easy playing? I'm pretty sure .011 electric sets have a wound 3rd. I used to use them on my Guild "Starfire III", about 1oo years or so ago...

Quote by Dreadnought
Many of the coated string varieties will have a bit reduced string noise as a result of their coating, but much of the control for string noise is in your playing style and technique.

I think that you will lose more brightness than you would be happy with if you get flat wounds, but that's just my prediction. I had them on my electric for a long time and loved them.

If you can afford it, there's nothing wrong with trying new strings every time until you figure out what you really like.
And you want to ban "Martin vs. Taylor" as a topic. "What strings should I use", is the original, "Excedrine headache 1.0".

Last edited by Captaincranky at Jun 11, 2016,
#7
Quote by Captaincranky


And you want to ban "Martin vs. Taylor" as a topic. "What strings should I use", is the original, "Excedrine headache 1.0".



At least this one is a bit more specific than the generic "I play acoustic rock, what strings should I get???"
My God, it's full of stars!
#8
Quote by Dreadnought
At least this one is a bit more specific than the generic "I play acoustic rock, what strings should I get???"
Well...........?
#9
Quote by Captaincranky
. . . . FWIW, D'Addario (?) now has acoustic string set of "monel" (which is a nickel alloy). They place the brightness somewhere between PB & "brass". . .


Sure. But the trebles are still high tension steel.

Quote by Captaincranky
BTW, don't you think ".012 to .013" might be a twitch heavy for a newcomer looking for easy playing? I'm pretty sure .011 electric sets have a wound 3rd. I used to use them on my Guild "Starfire III", about 1oo years or so ago... . .


Not really. Most (virtually all) new guitars come strung with 12 gauge strings and not many beginners swap them with 10's or 11's to start out. I don't really find much difference in "playability" between 11's and 12's although I do find that certain guitars sound (to my ears) better with lighter strings - dreadnoughts in the main - I think the sound is more balanced with lighter strings.

And no, most sets of 11's electric strings have plain 3rd strings. You might find some if you shop around.

And to the OP - if you want to reduce finger noise you might find "flat tops" are a good option - these are roundwound as normal then the surface is ground down a little.
#10
Just a few notes I feel I should add.
I see a fair bit of reference to electric, I have an acoustic with no electronics. Just a plain ol box.
I'm not adverse to brightness but my issue I was trying to express before not that the plain strings are too bright but they are to bright in comparison to the wound. This was the case for the silk and steels. The gypsy jazz strings have remedied this to a degree but not enough for my liking.
@ garthman, you suggest flat tops. That is what I meant in my OP when I mentioned flat wounds. I got the name wrong.

Thanks for the advice so far guys.
#11
Quote by Thom1989
Just a few notes I feel I should add.
I see a fair bit of reference to electric, I have an acoustic with no electronics. Just a plain ol box.
I'm not adverse to brightness but my issue I was trying to express before not that the plain strings are too bright but they are to bright in comparison to the wound. This was the case for the silk and steels. The gypsy jazz strings have remedied this to a degree but not enough for my liking.
@ garthman, you suggest flat tops. That is what I meant in my OP when I mentioned flat wounds. I got the name wrong.

Thanks for the advice so far guys.


Are you consider the fact that brand new strings are insanely bright and so therefore the difference in brightness between the wound strings and not would be more pronounced?

Also, it makes way more sense now that you meant flat-top and not flatwound. Flatwound would certainly be an interesting choice on a typical acoustic; can't say that I've ever played such a setup.
My God, it's full of stars!
#12
Quote by Thom1989
. . I see a fair bit of reference to electric, I have an acoustic with no electronics. Just a plain ol box. . .


Yes. I know you are talking about an acoustic guitar but there is no reason you can't use electric guitar strings on it. "Acoustic" strings are usually wound with bronze or brass but this is largely an historic convention. Electric guitar strings are usually wound with nickel or nickel plated steel. This is because electic guitar use magnetic pick ups and bronze or brass ar non ferrous metals so do not influence a magnetic field. But they work fine on an acoustic guitar


Quote by Thom1989
. . . .I'm not adverse to brightness but my issue I was trying to express before not that the plain strings are too bright but they are to bright in comparison to the wound. This was the case for the silk and steels. The gypsy jazz strings have remedied this to a degree but not enough for my liking.
@ garthman, you suggest flat tops. That is what I meant in my OP when I mentioned flat wounds. I got the name wrong.

Thanks for the advice so far guys.


I understood this too - which is why I suggested using electic guitar strings - the winding is the same material as the plain strings.

to the flat tops - they sound brighter than tape wound.
#13
Quote by Garthman
Yes. I know you are talking about an acoustic guitar but there is no reason you can't use electric guitar strings on it. "Acoustic" strings are usually wound with bronze or brass but this is largely an historic convention. Electric guitar strings are usually wound with nickel or nickel plated steel. This is because electic guitar use magnetic pick ups and bronze or brass ar non ferrous metals so do not influence a magnetic field. But they work fine on an acoustic guitar
OK, "Monel " is an alloy comprised primarily of nickel. Nickel is a metal with magnetic properties. It also comprises a percentage of most electric guitar string windings. So, I'll go out on a limb here an suggest monel strings for acoustic would have most of the same properties as electric strings, but with a wound 3rd.

As for electric strings .011 to . .049 to 052 (!) with a wound 3rd, they aren't that hard to find either.

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/EXL110W?adpos=1o1&creative=55397720281&device=c&matchtype=&network=g&gclid=Cj0KEQjws_m6BRCv37WbtNmJs-IBEiQAWKKt0Ek0-w6J1za7fYAo9x8BCyTWawI_1wVTvBxNipTyZogaAocL8P8HAQ

I could have buried you in links for strings with a would 3rd, but I didn't want to be thought of as not being a nice guy.

The one thing none of your posts are considering, is electric strings are pretty bright across the board. Is our TS primarily complaining he wants duller plain strings? It sounds that way, otherwise he wouldn't be saying, "the silk & steel were good, but..."

At this point, I'm inclined to think the guitar is too bright for him in general. The room he's playing in is too bright, or his hearing is, "too good", in the HF region.
#14
Quote by Captaincranky
OK, "Monel " is an alloy comprised primarily of nickel. Nickel is a metal with magnetic properties. It also comprises a percentage of most electric guitar string windings. So, I'll go out on a limb here an suggest monel strings for acoustic would have most of the same properties as electric strings, but with a wound 3rd.

As for electric strings .011 to . .049 to 052 (!) with a wound 3rd, they aren't that hard to find either.

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/EXL110W?adpos=1o1&creative=55397720281&device=c&matchtype=&network=g&gclid=Cj0KEQjws_m6BRCv37WbtNmJs-IBEiQAWKKt0Ek0-w6J1za7fYAo9x8BCyTWawI_1wVTvBxNipTyZogaAocL8P8HAQ

I could have buried you in links for strings with a would 3rd, but I didn't want to be thought of as not being a nice guy.


Perhaps not hard but they are not common here in the UK. I did have to hunt for them when I first tried them out - albeit a few years ago - they could be more common now.

And I'm sure you're a nice guy.

Quote by Captaincranky
. . . The one thing none of your posts are considering, is electric strings are pretty bright across the board. Is our TS primarily complaining he wants duller plain strings? It sounds that way, otherwise he wouldn't be saying, "the silk & steel were good, but..."

At this point, I'm inclined to think the guitar is too bright for him in general. The room he's playing in is too bright, or his hearing is, "too good", in the HF region.


I don't think nickel-steel strings are "bright". Gauge for gauge they carry a bit less tension than bronze-wound strings (which is why I suggested the heavier gauge) so that does affect the sound. I took the OP to be mainly concerned with the sound quality difference between the plain and bronze-wound stings - I think that difference is less for electric strings.

OP - something you might try is a set of Thomastik -Infeld "John Pearce Folk" strings. These are designed for "folk" acoustic guitar ands are quite innovative. The basses are silverplated copper and the trebles are nylon tape wound over a flexible steel rope. The trebles are only slightly thicker than steel ones but are more mellow:

https://www.stringsbymail.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1_63_2450&products_id=5408

Here is a short vid of the strings on my Crafter:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYHvI0bguLQ
#15
Quote by Garthman
Perhaps not hard but they are not common here in the UK. I did have to hunt for them when I first tried them out - albeit a few years ago - they could be more common now.
Oddly, when I went to buy strings for my Guild, (I'm gonna say just shy of 40 years ago), that's all I was given .011 to .052. It dodn't strike me as though they were, "special", strings for that guitar, but rather the "norm". I all honesty, I could have simply been buying the same brand, and therefore the only available set in that gauge from that maker. If you had a steel string flat top, pretty much all you got were, "Black Diamond Mediums". (That does hit 50 years ago).
Quote by Garthman
I don't think nickel-steel strings are "bright". Gauge for gauge they carry a bit less tension than bronze-wound strings (which is why I suggested the heavier gauge) so that does affect the sound. I took the OP to be mainly concerned with the sound quality difference between the plain and bronze-wound stings - I think that difference is less for electric strings....[ ]....


Um, yes but, electric strings have plain steel plain strings. They're not really made out of the winding material either.

However at relatively similar gauges the difference is less pronounced. IE, an "acoustic extra light" set (.010 to .047), taps in at about 135 Lbs. Electric regular (.010 to .046) something around 110 (? that might be worth checking).

I'll grant you the electric strings may play easier that most acoustic strings. "Brass" (80/20 alloy), actually plays a bit easier than phosphor bronze, with very close to the same tension in both sets. (PB is abundantly stiff. It's used in some sleeve bearings).

OK so, I just picked up my Epi EJ-200-SCE, (strung with D'Addario EXP acoustic "light" (.012 to .053) Brass 80/20. I didn't notice a whole hell of lot of difference in brightness between the wound strings and the steels, and the string set has been on there for a while....

OK, some talking points:

80/20 "brass", is notoriously bright.

I don't think you can tame the shrill of the e-1 & B-2 no matter what you string with. it's always going to be an, "in reference to", paradigm.

Thus, I think the rest of the set has to come up in brightness, as the top strings aren't going down to meet "silk & steel", anytime soon.

So, as to the "electric vs. acoustic" contention, I think the monel acoustic set would present as similar to an electric set, (but with the familiar wound 3rd).

After that, it's really just a question of price, availability and..........(wait for it)......."personal taste"...
Last edited by Captaincranky at Jun 13, 2016,
#16
Quote by Captaincranky
. . . .Um, yes but, electric strings have plain steel plain strings. They're not really made out of the winding material either. . . . :


Yes they are. Unless you buy pure nickel or stainless steel sets, the windings are made of nickel-plated steel. The plating is very thin - just there to delay corrosion - so you have steel wound on steel.
#17
i know this will be rated as kind of a sacrileg, but did you consider to use 6 wound strings? just buy a normal set and additional the thinnest wound strings you can find, separately ...it may look and feel strange, but it might have the effect you are looking for
#18
Quote by schalk70
i know this will be rated as kind of a sacrileg, but did you consider to use 6 wound strings? just buy a normal set and additional the thinnest wound strings you can find, separately ...it may look and feel strange, but it might have the effect you are looking for
I get where you're coming from but, the thinnest would strings are about .022 or .023. I believe that would be the G prime of a 12 string light set.

The trouble with those is, if you're lazy about string changes, your frets will punch through those windings fairly quickly. I assume you could buy those separately, so that probably isn't an issue.

This thread is sort of stuck in a, are the plain strings too bright, period? Or are they just too bright against silk & steel? (Which BTW, I bought one set of in my entire life, and they're a, "never again" for me).

So, at some point you have to ask, "do you think you might be better off with a nylon sting guitar". Hey, there's no harm, no foul there. Some people play gut strings exclusively. For example, Willie Nelson.
#19
Hi guys. Time for me to chime into my own thread again. So now everything's has a good bit of playing the strings have dulled down a bit and are certainly more balanced that the silks were. I'm very happy. Cranky I had a good think about your 'is the guitar to bright' comment. I'm used to dread and this is an OM. It's certainly brighter than the dread with the same strings. I would say that the guitar is about right. I'm going to give the flat tops a go after these gypsy jazz strings. From what I can tell they are exactly the same just smoother, and there fore less string noise which is now my main gripe.
If you don't mind me asking what was the reason for your 'never again' regarding the silks? And which brand did you use?
#20
Quote by Thom1989
Hi guys. Time for me to chime into my own thread again. So now everything's has a good bit of playing the strings have dulled down a bit and are certainly more balanced that the silks were. I'm very happy.


Quote by Thom1989
Cranky I had a good think about your 'is the guitar to bright' comment. I'm used to dread and this is an OM. It's certainly brighter than the dread with the same strings. I would say that the guitar is about right.
Finger style player sometimes opt for OM guitars because they are bright. This is especially good for players that use flesh, and not finger picks

Quote by Thom1989
If you don't mind me asking what was the reason for your 'never again' regarding the silks? And which brand did you use?
The same reason as you, they're dull. That, and the fact the square topped frets of an acoustic chew right through the windings. The sonic differential didn't bother me, (IIRC). The dullness did.

I string on a, "what I think the particular guitar sounds best with to my ears". I'm old, and I have a touch of tinnitus. That goes along with a likely HF hearing loss, either due to old age, or the pair of JBL D130's I had in a row house living room for years. (Sensitivity of the D-130 about 105Db @ 1 watt @ 1 meter).

With those things said, if fresh strings had any bass, (I honestly don't hear any, but the twang could be masking it as well), I'd probably change strings every other day. EXCEPT..............for 12 strings. They get phosphor bronze, and the strings stay on until they just about fall off by themselves. 12 strings are very, very bright, They sound almost a 5th higher than a 6 string at the same tuning. So, one of my EJ-200's is mellower than the other, and it gets 80/20 "brass", while the other gets PB.
#21
Ah fair enough. I'm not saying never again to silk and steels as a whole, just never again on the tanglewood. They do wonders for laminate guitars in my experience. Except for the John Pearce ones. They sound horrible on everything imo.
Anyways thanks guys.