Acoustic strings - a journey...

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Just put new strings on the HD28. First time I've had anything but elixirs on an acoustic in at least a decade. I've gone for Martin SP Lifespan 12-54's, on the assumption that Martin's own strings are a good place to start. I also have a set of EB Paradigms to fit next, once these start sounding dead.

At the risk of sounding naff, but mostly so I don't forget, I want to write this down as I go along so I can't look back at past posts and read what I thought at the time of fitting each set. Happy to have input from anyone else who's done similar too!

Onto the strings... these SPs are a bit fuller than the Elixir 1's I had on until today, but also compared with the set of Elixir 12's I had before that, but also have a good bit of sparkle which I'm desperately hoping won't fade after 2 hours! They feel a little less slippery, but not drastically so, so I'll get used to them within a day or two. Will wait and see how long they last; I'd generally get 3 months from Elixirs, so if these are still here come Christmas I'll be a happy camper. 
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  • I was the same as you always elixirs nothing else turned my head.As you know it's all personal taste.Ive was getting fed up trying different string brands .Then I put Martin retros Mondel's on my M 36 ,not great at first but give them time.I get a good 3 months out of them.
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  • Ok, that's good to hear. I'll see if I can get a set of the Retros to add to the queue. I'll try anything as long as it has a good chance of not corroding within a couple of days!
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  • I'am not saying retros are the best strings in the world,some say they are a bit like marmite yea or nah.After some forty years trying every string in the world I just seem to settle on these.I know we are all different but these do last me a good three months.
    Good luck
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 30907
    I really didn't like the Monels on my Dove. They made it sound thin, lacking complexity and richness. I'm normally willing to give something like this a fair time to settle in, but I just couldn't do it, they put me off playing it.

    I can believe they suit some guitars and some players, but to me they just sounded like putting electric guitar strings on an acoustic.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • always liked newtone heritage classics, but these are not available off the shelf at the moment so I have just ordered a set of dr sunbeam acoustic for my 000-28 , will let you know how I get on
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  • ok, so 2 weeks on and the Martins still sound great. They've lost a hint of metallic-ness which is a good thing. String-to-string balance is excellent and the whole thing sounds *exactly* how you want a Martin dread to sound.

    That said, the plan strings are already starting to feel a bit "draggy" at the first few frets, so I guess they're already starting to "go off" just a little. For someone who's used elixirs for 10+ years I'm not sure I'll get used to that, but we'll see.
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  • I really haven't tried enough strings and I'm guessing most folk haven't, so this is good to read. 

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  • I haven't played acoustic for years, but I settled on regular Martin strings.
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  • BidleyBidley Frets: 2147
    I love the Daddario EXP phozzie strings. I've had the same set on, and they've last a hectic summer of gigging and still sound good.
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  • Right, I've changed the Martins for a set of Ernie Ball Paradigm 12-54s. I was still fairly happy with the feel of the Martins, but they were starting to sound a little dull.

    First impressions of the EBs are they're not as sparkly in the top end, but have a little more bass and midrange. I'm not sure if I'm imagining that. They're also more draggy from new than the Martins were at any point, which is a little odd. 

    Will update when I've played them a bit more. 
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  • Over 2 months is decent for longevity on the Martins! I tend to get a month out of a coated set if I'm playing reasonably regularly.

    I've not played Martin strings in a while and tend to use Daddario exp phosphor bronze as theyre available locally and I'm so used to them.

    One of my guitars currently has DR dragon skin phosphor bronze, though I've only just put them on so it's too early to tell how I'll get on with them. 
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  • My journey has ended...

    Newtone Heritage Series - Low Tension .012 - .051


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  • mgawmgaw Frets: 2298
    gts strings for me..i have tried pretty all the rest and have arrived at the conclusion that this chaps strings are peerless. 
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  • Tone71Tone71 Frets: 220
    For the last year I have only used EB Earthwood Rock and Blues (10-52)
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  • kreggskreggs Frets: 32
    Anyone tried rotosound super bronze? 
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  • AliGorieAliGorie Frets: 278
    yeah - they used tone called ‘Country Gold’ and Lowden sent out their guitars strung with them, if they did a ‘coated’ version I suspect Lowdies would still use them - all those grubby hands handling the guitars in shops for months.
    They have the ‘piano’ wind on wound strings - so only the core wire rides over the saddle.
    They use a ‘good’ quality bronze alloy for the wind, possibly zinc free which will not last as long as long as yer typical 5 quid a set if you’r a string corroder.   
    http://www.rotosound.com/super-bronze/
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  • kreggskreggs Frets: 32
    Great, thanks for info. Just got an Ibanez avc9 last month. Crackin guitar. Very light! It came with dadario nickel bronze 12s. I swapped to dadario phosphor bronze 11s cos thats all they had at my local shop. I broke a string while setting up the action and lowering the saddle. So an emergency  trip on a saturday afternoon to the little village music shop haha.
    Im a big fan of rotosound  electric  strings. I would like to try the super bronze out.
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  • stickyfiddlestickyfiddle Frets: 8872
    Another update. 

    After 3 months of the Ernie Balls, they were getting quite "grabby" to the touch, and losing a bit of sparkle, so I've just put some Elixir Nano 12-53s on. I don't like em. The slippery feel is nice, but they haven't the depth that the Martins or even the EBs had. 

    So now I have to find some other strings to try first, then I'll go to another set of Martin SP Lifespans and compare/contrast. If I have the time & energy I might even make some sound clips to see how much is actually audible outside my own head.
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  • ToneControlToneControl Frets: 4027
    AliGorie said:
    yeah - they used tone called ‘Country Gold’ and Lowden sent out their guitars strung with them, if they did a ‘coated’ version I suspect Lowdies would still use them - all those grubby hands handling the guitars in shops for months.
    They have the ‘piano’ wind on wound strings - so only the core wire rides over the saddle.
    They use a ‘good’ quality bronze alloy for the wind, possibly zinc free which will not last as long as long as yer typical 5 quid a set if you’r a string corroder.   
    http://www.rotosound.com/super-bronze/
     does that affect the intonation?
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  • ToneControlToneControl Frets: 4027
    Another update. 

    After 3 months of the Ernie Balls, they were getting quite "grabby" to the touch, and losing a bit of sparkle, so I've just put some Elixir Nano 12-53s on. I don't like em. The slippery feel is nice, but they haven't the depth that the Martins or even the EBs had. 

    So now I have to find some other strings to try first, then I'll go to another set of Martin SP Lifespans and compare/contrast. If I have the time & energy I might even make some sound clips to see how much is actually audible outside my own head.
    what prompted this trial?

    Sometimes I get a guitar comes back from repair with a new set of non-Elixirs on and I am immediately horrified by how bright they are. I bought a recommended set (I forget which) last year, and took them back off after one day. Then again, I play a bit with my nails, perhaps if I had no nails I'd like brighter strings.

    The other issue for me is the maintenance aspect. If you have "too many" <cough> instruments, some of which are not played frequently, coated strings help with cost and time 
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  • telehacktelehack Frets: 37
    I recommend d’addario ej16s or whatever you favourite gauge is. They’re available everywhere and are consistent. I may go off on a string tasting spree but I have the feeling I’ll end up back with ej16s.
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  • stickyfiddlestickyfiddle Frets: 8872
    telehack said:
    I recommend d’addario ej16s or whatever you favourite gauge is. They’re available everywhere and are consistent. I may go off on a string tasting spree but I have the feeling I’ll end up back with ej16s.
    Ta. I've seen those recommended elsewhere too, so that's probably what I'll try next. I'm half-tempted to go up to 13s as well, but that might be a bit hardcore on the fingers.
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  • stickyfiddlestickyfiddle Frets: 8872
    Another update. 

    After 3 months of the Ernie Balls, they were getting quite "grabby" to the touch, and losing a bit of sparkle, so I've just put some Elixir Nano 12-53s on. I don't like em. The slippery feel is nice, but they haven't the depth that the Martins or even the EBs had. 

    So now I have to find some other strings to try first, then I'll go to another set of Martin SP Lifespans and compare/contrast. If I have the time & energy I might even make some sound clips to see how much is actually audible outside my own head.
    what prompted this trial?

    Sometimes I get a guitar comes back from repair with a new set of non-Elixirs on and I am immediately horrified by how bright they are. I bought a recommended set (I forget which) last year, and took them back off after one day. Then again, I play a bit with my nails, perhaps if I had no nails I'd like brighter strings.

    The other issue for me is the maintenance aspect. If you have "too many" <cough> instruments, some of which are not played frequently, coated strings help with cost and time 
    Purely out of interest. When I started I'd had the guitar around 6 months, so long enough to get a good feel of how it sounds & plays. But I'd previously used nothing but Elixir for about 10 years (having started using them on much cheaper instruments - some anonymous Aria thing and a Taylor 214) so wondered if some other strings wold be worth the higher string-change rate for a better sound on a really great guitar.

    I'm not fooling myself that there's some mystical holy grail out there, just thinking aloud over the course of a few months :) 

    I'm still sticking with Elixirs on electric - I have more of those so they don't get a string change anywhere near as often
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  • interstellarinterstellar Frets: 236
    try GTS strings different level IMO 
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  • DiscoStuDiscoStu Frets: 2769
    edited March 17
    You should try some Newtones @stickyfiddle I've been using D'Addario for years on acoustic and electric but another thread on here got me curious.  I went with the Newtone Master Class 12 - 54 set and they've been nothing short of fantastic. They give a smoother sound with less of the bright shrill I can get with my heavy strumming, they feel played in from day one and a couple of months later still sound fresh, and less finger squeak too.
    Definitely worth a go whilst you're trying things out.

    Just DON'T cut them until they're up to tension!
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  • PCT57PCT57 Frets: 1

    I was a D'Addario EJ16 man for many years until I got a slot head acoustic. What a pain that was changing strings so I thought I would try Elixir PB Nanowebs. Really like them and they last me a year so less changing strings!!

    Phil

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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 30907
    DiscoStu said:
    You should try some Newtones @stickyfiddle I've been using D'Addario for years on acoustic and electric but another thread on here got me curious.  I went with the Newtone Master Class 12 - 54 set and they've been nothing short of fantastic. They give a smoother sound with less of the bright shrill I can get with my heavy strumming, they feel played in from day one and a couple of months later still sound fresh, and less finger squeak too.
    This. The best acoustic strings I've used, or played on anyone else's guitar either.

    My guess is that it's the pre-tensioning which makes them sound so good out of the packet, and is why they mustn't be cut before they're tightened onto the posts. The really do feel and sound like played-in strings from the start, and seem to stay that way for a long time without losing the brightness. I've had them on my guitar since last summer and they're still fine.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • I think some Newtones use round core wire (instead of hexagonal)... and that's why you shouldn't cut them until they're installed on the guitar (and tuned to pitch).

    I used their low-tension strings on my J45. Feel nice (very easy to play)... and tone seems to last a good long while.

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  • AliGorieAliGorie Frets: 278
    edited March 17
    AliGorie said:
    yeah - they used tone called ‘Country Gold’ and Lowden sent out their guitars strung with them, if they did a ‘coated’ version I suspect Lowdies would still use them - all those grubby hands handling the guitars in shops for months.
    They have the ‘piano’ wind on wound strings - so only the core wire rides over the saddle.
    They use a ‘good’ quality bronze alloy for the wind, possibly zinc free which will not last as long as long as yer typical 5 quid a set if you’r a string corroder.   
    http://www.rotosound.com/super-bronze/
     does that affect the intonation?
    sorry TC missed this -
    the quick answer is very marginally for the better + think I've written bout this here or somewhere recently.
    Intonation compensation is dictated (mainly) by the core wire -
    Ah - here it is - writen as a response to some American query re, 'Contact Core' --- GHS strings ???.
    yup, just as it says - the core wire is in contact with the saddle as the winding starts about just over an inch from the ballend. note that it's actually the core wire gauge (diameter) that is what determines the amount of compensation required - think electric guitar - the unwound 'G' which IS unwound, so 'core wire' is a larger diameter than the 'e' or 'B' and gets more compensation - ie the saddle is further back. Whereas on 'acoustics' with wound 'G' the inner (core) wire is a smaller diameter (roughly 9 gauge) so it gets 'less' compensation - ie the saddle is further forward.
    What does all this mean ?. The 'body' of the string is in full contact rather than the coiled external wrap and just where they come in contact may or may not be making good full transference of ALL the strings vibration.
    On an other note - Lowden thought that 'piano wound' (contact core) were a good enough 'improvement' to fit Rotosound 'Tru Bronze' to their guitars for years - that was until the went as other makers did - with 'coated' strings for a longer life given how guitars hanging in stores get used.
    Obviously u'r 'action' goes down by the amount of the 'wrap' wire's gauge / diameter  - so what I say !.


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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 30907
    I found a lot of problems with those Rotosounds for both reasons when setting up guitars - compensated saddles are made for normal wound strings, so even though in theory piano-wound strings should be better for intonation, in practice it reverses the compensation and makes things worse - I found quite a tendency for them to intonate flat. The lower action caused by the winding sitting lower relative to the saddle - and also the core having more of a tendency to bite into the saddle and make a deeper groove - also causes buzzing on guitars which have previously been set up for a low action.

    I hated the things...
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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