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Strings - What do you use when and why?
Old 2 weeks ago
  #1
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audioforce's Avatar
 

Strings - What do you use when and why?

Another self-explanatory topic.

There's been discussion and various theories regarding strings expressed in another recent thread, but its gotten a little off-topic since the OP in that thread does not seem to be experiencing issues that are caused by string choice.

So I thought I would open a new thread topic asking people what string type, brand, gauge, and so forth they use, and why that works for them.

I use all kinds of different string types and gauges on different guitars and for different purposes. Some of them are expensive, some of them are cheaper.

I would like to learn what strings others have found to work well for them, and why they have chosen them.

This is not limited to 6-string electric guitar strings. We can also talk acoustic guitar, electric bass, upright bass, slide guitar, steel guitar, lap steel, whatever.



Stay safe in the water!!!!!


Best regards,


audioforce [string aficionado]
Old 2 weeks ago
  #2
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grannis's Avatar
Elixir Nanoweb 9-43 - cos they last forever and i hate changing strings. I tried 10-46 for a while, found them harder to play with no appreciable improvement in tone, so i went back to the 9's, and loved them again.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #3
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audioforce's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by grannis View Post
Elixir Nanoweb 9-43 - cos they last forever and i hate changing strings. I tried 10-46 for a while, found them harder to play with no appreciable improvement in tone, so i went back to the 9's, and loved them again.
Thanks. Do you think that the Elixers have "a sound" due to the coating?


Best,

audioforce
Old 2 weeks ago
  #4
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grannis's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by audioforce View Post
Thanks. Do you think that the Elixers have "a sound" due to the coating?


Best,

audioforce
very hard to say - I've used them a long time, but if there is a "sound", I am sure I have just simply compensated for it with tone/EQ settings

Worth mentioning that I only play live - more sweat, and louder! I may have a different opinion if I were recording
Old 2 weeks ago
  #5
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Mikhael's Avatar
 

Right now I'm trying out Ernie Ball Paradigm strings to see how long they last. They sound and feel like Slinkies (normal strings, not coated), and are wearing surprisingly long.

On acoustic, I'm still trying various brands, since I had to go to light guages (.011s are as light as I'll go - acoustics must have a wound 3rd). Classical, same there - still looking. I have Martins on there right now, but I'm having a devil of a time keeping them in tune.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #6
I use Elixir Nanoweb for the same reasons - slickness and longevity. I've tried "shooting out" them alongside D'Addarios and some kind of Ernie Balls of similar gauge within one day, but I can't say they are significantly different when fresh. Maybe that changes with wear.

However, I have to buy two sets (Heavy and Medium) and combine them into one because Heavy sets have the 3rd string wound for some annoying reason. I like heavier strings because I have hefty attack in my right hand and I want my stings to detonate less under it.

P.S. Ooh, that makes me wonder if I need a SIGNATURE set of nanowebs
Old 2 weeks ago
  #7
Gear Nut
 
weave's Avatar
For electric I usually just use some Ernie Ball Slinky’s - 0.009, 0.010, or 0.011 standard sets, depending on whimsy, what I have on hand, or if I just wanted to thicken up a bit for overly bendy guitars.

For acoustic I had been using elixir 0.012 or martins 0.012.

In an effort to cut down on string noise I recently started playing D'Addario EFT16 Flat Tops Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings, Light, 12-53. With the round wound ground down (hehehe) they feel slightly “sticky” at first, but it goes away after a bit of play out and definitely helped my string noise and squeaks. I have heard that they go dead quicker, but so far I’m doing ok.

I mainly play acoustic, and I strum and flatpick on a Martin 000-15M using very thin picks. Fwiw
Old 2 weeks ago
  #8
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weave's Avatar
And on my low end Hofner violin bass: La Bella 760FHB2 For Hofner ''Beatle Bass'' Deep Talkin' Bass - 4 Strings Set. They thump in a good way.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #9
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PdotDdot's Avatar
I think it depends on the guitar. I had a 1939 Martin D18 and anything you put on ut sounded great so I could get away with putting Elxir's on it and yes, they last a long time. I was doing the flatpick contest circuit for a while and practicing and jamming a lot so the Elixirs made more sense than say Martin Marquis which sound great but do not seem to last all that long.

You'll get lots of varying responses and they will likely contradict each other. I suggest trying different sets and seeing how they sound when you first put them on and then how they weather your playing. I time you will likely decide on the strings that work the best for you.

The Elixirs often sound really bright although they did not on the D18. I know of many who dislike them but if your guitar and playing style work either the Poly's or the Nano's will certainly last longer and may be worth the extra cost.

Yltimately it is a personal thing.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #10
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PdotDdot's Avatar
For electric I have always used the Hybrid Slinky's. I bend a lot and often down in the lower frets so I liked the .009 for the high E and then a heavier bottem than a light gauge would provide.

I also tried using the James Burton gauges. That was a trip because I had strong fingers from flatpicking on an acoustic so it took some getting used to before my chording sound in tune. Off hand I do not recall the gauges but it is available on Google I'm sure.

I know many like heavier strings due to the tone but I have never had issues with lighter strings and tone as I believe tone is more about the way one plays and the amp one uses - but that's just me.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #11
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

I have a nickel allergy so my choices are limited.

Both my acoustics get Martin Marquis 12's. My Tele gets Ernie Ball Cobalt 11's. The bass gets Rotos.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #12
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Moonwhistle's Avatar
 

Martin Retro 13-56 on my D28 tuned to DADGAD or DGDGAD
Martin PB 13-56 on Guild F50 tuned standard
GHS boomers 11-48 on my strats & danelectro DC59
Pyramid Gold flatwounds on Hofner 500/1

I don't like Elixir strings personally but I don't think they're as bad as some people make out.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #13
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audioforce's Avatar
 

I use Pyramids a lot. But they are expensive, so I substitute other brands here and there if I am not going to be using the guitar for recording or other "important stuff".

I have one of those 3-pickup white SG Les Pauls. It is pretty much always strung with Pyramid round wound 11-48.

I have an old 69-70 Black Les Paul Custom. That also gets Pyramid round wound 11-48, but sometimes I'll put 10-46 on it. I bought that guitar new, and played it with 10-46 for years before I got into using heavier strings. So I guess I am just used to the sound of 10s on that guitar, and I gives me a little different color than the SG Les Paul.

My Telecaster usually gets 10-46 Pyramids, but sometimes 11-48.

My Rickenbacker 12-string gets those Pyramid Flatwounds that are pretty well-known for those guitars.

I have a 62 Precision reissue, an ESP Fretless Jazz Bass, and an Ernie Ball MusicMan 5-string Stingray. Those all get Rotosounds [Swing Bass]

I don't know what I have on my Washburn Eagle right now as I'm typing. But I think its 10-46, maybe 11-48.

I have a couple of Gibsons set up with real high action for slide [an SG classic, and a Les Pau Jr.], and those are strung with Ernie Ball or D'Addario 14 or 15 - 50 something. ???.

I'll try to fill in the blanks later.

If I don't use Pyramids for the 11-48 sets, I usually just use Ernie Ball Power Slinkys. For 10-46, if I don't use Pyramids, I usually use D'Addario.

Oh, and I also use those "balanced tension" sets sometimes, so they are slightly different gauges than the standard ones.

That's just "usual stuff". I have tried, and will use, all kinds of exotic and esoteric stuff to get a certain sound. Like I have strung my Tele with heavy gauge flatwounds and tuned it down, so its gets a really cool "heavy" sound for hard rock stuff. I like pure nickel strings, too. And Rotosound actually makes some cool guitar strings, all steel, I think.

For straight ahead Jazz, I usually used 13s, but I don't have an archtop right now.

I'm probably leaving some stuff out, so I guess I'll edit later. : )



Best,

audioforce

Last edited by audioforce; 2 weeks ago at 09:43 AM.. Reason: flaxwounds should be flatwounds
Old 2 weeks ago
  #14
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audioforce's Avatar
 

I am going to post some links to general information about strings. Not really endorsing this stuff, but there seems to be some interesting helpful info

https://www.guitarrepairbench.com/gu...uitar-strings/

https://thehub.musiciansfriend.com/g...lectric-guitar

https://www.guitarworld.com/acoustic...ic-strings-you

https://www.sweetwater.com/insync/ho...uitar-strings/


Best always,


audioforce
Old 2 weeks ago
  #15

My CA Cargo guitar sounds good, but it's a little dull with normal phosphor-bronze strings. I tried the 80-20 bronze and it was better, but had a bit of a zing that I didn't ultimately care for.

Nickel-Bronze seems to be the answer. High end is present, but significantly different from my other acoustics - probably something to do with the short scale length.



-tINY

Old 2 weeks ago
  #16
Gear Addict
 
dcwave's Avatar
 

EB Slinkys

When recording - string changes every 4 hours.
Why? If I need to come back two weeks later and retrack a part it's far easier to blend take one with take 10 since the strings are relatively the same age
Bass might be a little different, but if it sounds like I am going to need to do a bunch of EQ to get the bass to fit the mix, I'll insist they put new strings on at least a week before tracking and then play every day to get some of the zing out. But I have had people come in with year old strings - talk about dead lifeless sounding and muddy in the mix with no bite. You can't bring out what isn't there with EQ

For my live guitars - new strings after each gig.
Again, I want consistent sound, and a guitar that cuts through without having to futz with settings or rely on the sound guy to eq stuff.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #17
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dcwave View Post
... if it sounds like I am going to need to do a bunch of EQ to get the bass to fit the mix, I'll insist they put new strings on at least a week before tracking...
You have clients you can "insist" with? Damn. I need some of that kind.

Only time I get to insist with a client is when we're out having drinks and I get to insist on paying.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #18
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dcwave's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
You have clients you can "insist" with? Damn. I need some of that kind.

Only time I get to insist with a client is when we're out having drinks and I get to insist on paying.
Yeah I am lucky I have the luxury of picking who I am going to record. I've ended sessions and refunded money because a client broke the rules.

When I insist, I do it in way that they think it's their idea. Something like,

Me: hey bassist, do you want people to just feel you, or do you want that cool riff you just did to stand out?

Bassist: It needs to stand out a little

Me: So if I EQ it, it's going to still sound pretty murky in the mix. What do you think you can do on your end to get it to stand out?

Bassist: maybe turn up the gain or EQ?

Me: well we can try that but then it might over power those crunchy guitars.

Guitarist" Oh we don't want that that. Why don't you throw some new strings on?"

Bassist: I didn't bring any

Me: I have a drawer full, what gauge? I'll just add an extra $20 on the final price.

Bassist: ok
Old 2 weeks ago
  #19
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dcwave View Post
When I insist, I do it in way that they think it's their idea...
That's good, wily psychology, but not what I'd call insisting. I could introduce you to some world-class insisters.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #20
On electric I usually use the standard Ernie Balls in various gauges, generally medium to heavy. When I was younger I used a lot of various brands, usually lighter. EB, D'Addario, GHS, Fender, etc.

On acoustic I used to use mostly D'Angelico (now D'Addario) but in recent years Martin - I have a small pile left from when GC used to sell boxes for $20 in their blowout sales, but I find that I like their Clapton's Choice a little better.

On bass I use Rotosound Swing Bass on newer instruments, if I have a vintage instrument where I want to protect the frets I use either D'Addario Half Rounds or GHS Brite Flats. If I ever get around to restringing the Ovation Fretless it'll probably be black nylon tape.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by dcwave View Post
Yeah I am lucky I have the luxury of picking who I am going to record. I've ended sessions and refunded money because a client broke the rules.

When I insist, I do it in way that they think it's their idea. Something like,

Me: hey bassist, do you want people to just feel you, or do you want that cool riff you just did to stand out?

Bassist: It needs to stand out a little

Me: So if I EQ it, it's going to still sound pretty murky in the mix. What do you think you can do on your end to get it to stand out?

Bassist: maybe turn up the gain or EQ?

Me: well we can try that but then it might over power those crunchy guitars.

Guitarist" Oh we don't want that that. Why don't you throw some new strings on?"

Bassist: I didn't bring any

Me: I have a drawer full, what gauge? I'll just add an extra $20 on the final price.

Bassist: ok
And what do you do when the bassist invokes the name of James Jamerson?
Old 2 weeks ago
  #22
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RicTone's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by audioforce View Post
I would like to learn what strings others have found to work well for them, and why they have chosen them.
I've been using EB Super Slinky 9's since 1967. Considering Saturday used to be new string day for many years for a rotation of guitars, I've purchased thousands of sets of Slinky's.

I've tried other strings, notably D'Addario, but Super Slinkys are in my blood.

I love the consistency of new strings. I change strings before every gig and I change strings once a day when recording.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #23
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Moonwhistle's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dcwave View Post
Yeah I am lucky I have the luxury of picking who I am going to record. I've ended sessions and refunded money because a client broke the rules.

When I insist, I do it in way that they think it's their idea. Something like,

Me: hey bassist, do you want people to just feel you, or do you want that cool riff you just did to stand out?

Bassist: It needs to stand out a little

Me: So if I EQ it, it's going to still sound pretty murky in the mix. What do you think you can do on your end to get it to stand out?

Bassist: maybe turn up the gain or EQ?

Me: well we can try that but then it might over power those crunchy guitars.

Guitarist" Oh we don't want that that. Why don't you throw some new strings on?"

Bassist: I didn't bring any

Me: I have a drawer full, what gauge? I'll just add an extra $20 on the final price.

Bassist: ok
In that scenario I tell you to get fingered and deal with my 10 year old flatwounds.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moonwhistle View Post
In that scenario I tell you to get fingered and deal with my 10 year old flatwounds.
Only 10? Hardly broken in yet.

Sorry, couldn't resist.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #25
Old 2 weeks ago
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcwave View Post
When recording - string changes every 4 hours.
Why? If I need to come back two weeks later and retrack a part it's far easier to blend take one with take 10 since the strings are relatively the same age.
Yup, you wouldn't want to blend fresh with old. On the other hand, the strings' sound/tone changes the most in the first couple of hours, so this still may not guarantee consistency.


Interestingly, some guitars sound better with "older strings". (I'm mainly into acoustic guitars, mind.) In that case there's less of a problem, because at a later stage the strings change only very little.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #27
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audioforce's Avatar
 

Does anyone here use Thomastik-Infeld? Tell us about them. How do they compare with Pyramid? Or just how are they generally.


Thanks,

audioforce
Old 2 weeks ago
  #28
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Lunar Attic's Avatar
I never liked the feel of coated strings. And I positively hate them by the time the coating starts to come off.

D'Addario XL's on the Strat and the Tele. Either 10's or 11's. Used to be 12's on the Strat.

I got away from PB strings over the years.

Martin Retro Monels Tony Rice on most acoustics. I like that sound and they can grow old gracefully.

Thomastiks on the Epiphone. An experiment. Jury's still out but I don't hate them.

D'Addario Nickel Bronze on the 12 string.

Changing the round wounds on the Gretsch short scale bass to LaBella flats today.

T
Old 2 weeks ago
  #29
Gear Maniac
 
Janne19691's Avatar
I am not very picky about the strings but I have found these work well for me.

Elixir Nanowebs .011 for the Yamaha acoustic
-Long lasting tone for a middle strong acoustic guitar

Pyramid nickel round wounds .009 for the Fender Stratocaster
-The Seymour Duncan SSL-4 pickups in my ash body Stratocaster are quite dark. Pyramids give some needed clarity. They are the easiest to play too.

GHS Boomers .009 for Gibson Les Paul
-Nice tone that work well with the Burstbucker pickups. Easy to play.

Pyramid flatwounds for Jay Turser violin bass
-nice vintage to tone for vintage style instrument
Old 2 weeks ago
  #30
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mbvoxx's Avatar
I use DRs, because they last and sound good doing it.
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