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jackcooper
08-09-2010, 05:59 AM
I was trying some Martins at my local store recently and really like the tone of a couple of models.
When I enquired about the strings on the guitars in question, the manager told me that Martin guitars are always shipped with light gauge strings.
I thought this was strange considering on the website it usually recommends medium gauge Martin SP strings for most models.

Does anyone know whether Martin use regular or (more expensive) SP strings on their outgoing models?

Maybe sounds like a pointless question, but I was doing an AB comparison with my friends Martin which sounds gorgeous with Medium gauge Martin SP's, and wanted a true comparison.

Thanks.

Jack.

kente777
08-09-2010, 06:00 AM
I was trying some Martins at my local store recently and really like the tone of a couple of models.

When I enquired about the strings on the guitars in question, the manager told me that Martin guitars are always shipped with light gauge strings.

I thought this was strange considering on the website it usually recommends medium gauge Martin SP strings for most models.

Does anyone know whether Martin use regular or (more expensive) SP strings on their outgoing models?

Maybe sounds like a pointless question, but I was doing an AB comparison with my friends Martin which sounds gorgeous with Medium gauge Martin SP's, and wanted a true comparison.

Thanks.

Jack.

My new HD-28V came with medium SP's. I think this is standard on all dreads.

jackcooper
08-09-2010, 06:03 AM
My new HD-28V came with medium SP's. I think this is standard on all dreads.

Thanks for your quick reply Ken. Did you ask the store about the type of strings when you bought it?

Ed422
08-09-2010, 06:23 AM
If you go to the Martin website and look up the specs for any guitar, the suggested strings (which are installed when they leave the factory) are listed.

Ed

kente777
08-09-2010, 06:38 AM
Thanks for your quick reply Ken. Did you ask the store about the type of strings when you bought it?

No, but as stated after me, the Martin website lists all the type and gauge of strings that leave the factory. I'm sure the lighter braced guitars come with lights, but the dreads come with mediums.

rmyAddison
08-09-2010, 06:39 AM
Jack,

that manager is either misinformed or just lying. As mentioned the recommended string is listed on the website.

Martin dreads are shipped with mediums not lights, period, and there's a good chance putting lights on them would let the neck raise enough to have buzzing problems from the reduced pressure. Martin MSP4200's (13's) are the standard string for Martin dreads, the only exception I know being the Authentics which they recommend Phosphor bronze M550s, a string I have never seen or tried (don't know how I missed them).

I really like SP4200's but they don't last long for me. All my Martin dreads have either DR Sunbeam 13's (great playability and bendability) or my new favorite Martin Bluegrass light-mediums, hybrids 12-56. The light-mediums give the playability with a 12 on top but dont lose the low end growl with mediums on the bottom, and for whatever reason they seem to last longer than the SP's.

I have even put the Bluegrass light-mediums on my OM's and boy does that sound good, giving the smaller boxes a boost in low end, really nice!

Back to point, Martin dreads are shipped with mediums not lights, fact.

jackcooper
08-09-2010, 06:50 AM
Jack,

that manager is either misinformed or just lying. As mentioned the recommended string is listed on the website.

Martin dreads are shipped with mediums not lights, period, and there's a good chance putting lights on them would let the neck raise enough to have buzzing problems from the reduced pressure. Martin MSP4200's (13's) are the standard string for Martin dreads, the only exception I know being the Authentics which they recommend Phosphor bronze M550s, a string I have never seen or tried (don't know how I missed them).

I really like SP4200's but they don't last long for me. All my Martin dreads have either DR Sunbeam 13's (great playability and bendability) or my new favorite Martin Bluegrass light-mediums, hybrids 12-56. The light-mediums give the playability with a 12 on top but dont lose the low end growl with mediums on the bottom, and for whatever reason they seem to last longer than the SP's.

I have even put the Bluegrass light-mediums on my OM's and boy does that sound good, giving the smaller boxes a boost in low end, really nice!

Back to point, Martin dreads are shipped with mediums not lights, fact.

Thanks. I was hoping you'd reply to this Rich. Do you know whether they're shipped with SP's or regular Martin strings? It sounds a bit anal, but I want to try to do as direct a comparison as possible with my friends guitar.

kente777
08-09-2010, 06:56 AM
Do you know whether they're shipped with SP's or regular Martin strings?

Martin SP's...though I wonder if they will start shipping with the new Lifespan strings. They will last longer which is a big plus for both the local shops & the players. The stores won't have to change them out as much and the potential buyer has a better chance of picking a guitar off the wall with decent string life left.

Though, this is not an issue with me. If I find a guitar I really like, I'll ask the salesman to re-string it with new strings. I've never had a store refuse to do this.

mikedanton
08-09-2010, 07:06 AM
Jack,

Martin dreads are shipped with mediums not lights, period, and there's a good chance putting lights on them would let the neck raise enough to have buzzing problems from the reduced pressure.

Does this apply to the HD-35 aswell? When I bought my guitar new last week, the salesman told me it had lights on it and recommended I didn't switch gauge without getting it set up for mediums.(he said it was something to do with the lighter bracing) :confused

I actually restrung it yesterday with Martin Bluesgrass strings to see what bright strings would sound like, but not sure if I like the tone as much as before. (I think I'm a sucker for phospher bronze strings)

Do you think I should restring with mediums after I've worn out the Bluegrass set?

kente777
08-09-2010, 07:13 AM
Does this apply to the HD-35 aswell? When I bought my guitar new last week, the salesman told me it had lights on it and recommended I didn't switch gauge without getting it set up for mediums.(he said it was something to do with the lighter bracing) :confused

I actually restrung it yesterday with Martin Bluesgrass strings to see what bright strings would sound like, but not sure if I like the tone as much as before. (I think I'm a sucker for phospher bronze strings)

Do you think I should restring with mediums after I've worn out the Bluegrass set?

HD-35's are also shipped with mediums. If it had lights on it, that was a decision that local shop made.

You can certainly put lights on a Martin dread, but the bottom line, as Rich said, is that Martin ships all their dreads with SP 4200 strings (mediums).

Each guitar is different, and if you like the sound of lights, go for it. Neither lights or mediums will hurt the guitar at all. If you go with lights, a small tweak of the truss may be necessary. Personally though, the saleman could have been wrong...so I would try mediums first to see if what you played in the store were indeed mediums and not the lights the (misinformed?) salesman told you.

Ed422
08-09-2010, 07:35 AM
You can certainly put lights on a Martin dread, but the bottom line, as Rich said, is that Martin ships all their dreads with SP 4200 strings (mediums).
j

I just went and poked around some at the Martin site. I only looked at a half dozen or so of the dreads but a few (cutaway electric models) list 4100 (lights).

Ed

kente777
08-09-2010, 07:43 AM
I just went and poked around some at the Martin site. I only looked at a half dozen or so of the dreads but a few (cutaway electric models) list 4100 (lights).

Ed

Well, I think Rich was probably thinking standard series and above....as was I. The HD-35 was the guitar in question which is a standard series Martin. There may be a few in the lower priced lines that come with lights.

rmyAddison
08-09-2010, 07:44 AM
There is no right or wrong. Martin ships their dreads with mediums (13's) and that includes the 35's.

If a guitar is set up with mediums and you switch to lights you have reduced the string pressure and the fingerboard will rise slightly. You may get buzzing, you may not, usually a 1/4 turn of the truss rod counterclockwise will drop the fingerboard back down (if necessary).

If a guitar is set up with lights and you go to mediums you have increased the string pressure the fingerboard may dip slightly and the action is harder (greater gap between strings and fingerboard). To raise the fingerboard back up you 1/4 turn the trussrod clockwise (if necessary).

I always wait overnight after making a truss rod adjustment to let it "set in" before making any further adjustments. Truss rods are cheap and to me any multi guitar owner or long time owner should have one, it's not rocket science and pretty easy to do.

Switching to lights does reduce volume slighty and increases playability slightly, suit your needs!

rmyAddison
08-09-2010, 07:51 AM
I just went and poked around some at the Martin site. I only looked at a half dozen or so of the dreads but a few (cutaway electric models) list 4100 (lights).

Ed

Ed,

All the standard models use mediums, I don't consider acoustic electrics traditional instruments, to me they are specialty stage guitars. I have lights on my OMC-Aura but don't touch it except for gigs when I cannot use microphones.

The standard models 18's, 28's ,35's 40-45's all ship with mediums as do the Vintage, Marquis, Golden Era and Authentics.

The acoustic electrics and some of the entry level model mortise/tenon necks come with lights, but the traditional standard dreads come with mediums.

Ed422
08-09-2010, 08:01 AM
Ed,

All the standard models use mediums, I don't consider acoustic electrics traditional instruments, to me they are specialty stage guitars. I have lights on my OMC-Aura but don't touch it except for gigs when I cannot use microphones.

The standard models 18's, 28's ,35's 40-45's all ship with mediums as do the Vintage, Marquis, Golden Era and Authentics.

The acoustic electrics and some of the entry level model mortise/tenon necks come with lights, but the traditional standard dreads come with mediums.

Understood. The op didn't mention a model. Even with a cutaway and electronics, a D is still a dread.

Ed

druid
08-09-2010, 08:10 AM
Hi - brand spanky-new member here :)

I just bought a Martin D-16GT. It was a display model (of course - you buy what you try!) and I found the strings a bit sticky. So the salesman threw in a new set. He threw in "Martin Acoustic SP Phosphor Bronze - Light" which seems to contradict what you guys are saying, that SPs are "medium". I haven't put them on yet, but the original strings (apart from being a bit sticky) sound great.

One complaint I have is that they don't bend well - REALLY hard to bend even a 1/2 tone. Is that "the way it is" or are there strings that bend better and still sound full?

druid
2010 D-16GT
1965 Barkley Custom
2000 custom oak electric

rmyAddison
08-09-2010, 08:12 AM
Understood. The op didn't mention a model. Even with a cutaway and electronics, a D is still a dread.

Ed

I know, but I'm old and consider an acoustic guitar as something you don't plug in..........

No harm, no foul, it's still about sharing information, it's all good.

dgb
08-09-2010, 08:13 AM
Hi - brand spanky-new member here :)

I just bought a Martin D-16GT. It was a display model (of course - you buy what you try!) and I found the strings a bit sticky. So the salesman threw in a new set. He threw in "Martin Acoustic SP Phosphor Bronze - Light" which seems to contradict what you guys are saying, that SPs are "medium". I haven't put them on yet, but the original strings (apart from being a bit sticky) sound great.

One complaint I have is that they don't bend well - REALLY hard to bend even a 1/2 tone. Is that "the way it is" or are there strings that bend better and still sound full?

druid
2010 D-16GT
1965 Barkley Custom
2000 custom oak electric

Martin SP's come in light and medium gauge. Basically just better quality than regular Martin strings. Sounds like your guitar has medium gauge on it also.
Congrats on the guitar by the way!! If you like full tone stick with Phosphorus Bronze SP strings, but possibly buy a set of medium gauge. The light gauge will be easier to bend but won't sound so full.

wilstev
08-09-2010, 08:36 AM
I was trying some Martins at my local store recently and really like the tone of a couple of models.
When I enquired about the strings on the guitars in question, the manager told me that Martin guitars are always shipped with light gauge strings.
I thought this was strange considering on the website it usually recommends medium gauge Martin SP strings for most models.

Does anyone know whether Martin use regular or (more expensive) SP strings on their outgoing models?

Maybe sounds like a pointless question, but I was doing an AB comparison with my friends Martin which sounds gorgeous with Medium gauge Martin SP's, and wanted a true comparison.

Thanks.

Jack.

I'm curious how everyone igured out that the op was talking about a dread.:confused:

jackcooper
08-09-2010, 10:49 AM
I'm curious how everyone igured out that the op was talking about a dread.:confused:

Sorry, I forgot to mention that bit. It was actually a couple of dreads + an 000-28 model.

Thanks for everyone's reply's on this.

Jack.

brian a.
08-09-2010, 11:20 AM
As someone mentioned earlier in this thread, the Martin website lists what strings are recommended for each of their models. In the spec sheets for each model it lists the string by name and by Martin part number. Then look on their String page and read all about the recommended string. This isn't rocket science.

http://www.martinguitar.com/guitars/choosing/model.php

000-28 RECOMMENDED STRINGS: Martin Studio Performance Light Phosphor Bronze (MSP4100)

D-28 RECOMMENDED STRINGS: Martin Studio Performance Medium Phosphor Bronze (MSP4200)

MSP = Martin SP
4100 = Light
4200 = Medium

jackcooper
08-09-2010, 12:05 PM
As someone mentioned earlier in this thread, the Martin website lists what strings are recommended for each of their models. In the spec sheets for each model it lists the string by name and by Martin part number. Then look on their String page and read all about the recommended string. This isn't rocket science.

http://www.martinguitar.com/guitars/choosing/model.php

000-28 RECOMMENDED STRINGS: Martin Studio Performance Light Phosphor Bronze (MSP4100)

D-28 RECOMMENDED STRINGS: Martin Studio Performance Medium Phosphor Bronze (MSP4200)

MSP = Martin SP
4100 = Light
4200 = Medium

It might not be rocket science to look up the website (which I did), but the manager of the shop told me that Martin have started shipping all their guitars with light strings to make them easier to play for buyers.

I'm trying to find out whether this is the case or not. Sometimes it's hard to tell if a guitars been strung with lights or mediums (even whilst playing it).

brian a.
08-09-2010, 12:20 PM
It might not be rocket science to look up the website (which I did), but the manager of the shop told me that Martin have started shipping all their guitars with light strings to make them easier to play for buyers.

I'm trying to find out whether this is the case or not. Sometimes it's hard to tell if a guitars been strung with lights or mediums (even whilst playing it).

I just called Martin Customer Service and was told that each guitar is shipped with the exact string listed for that model on the website. Therefore, the manager of the shop you visited was incorrect in telling you something different.

Wade Hampton
08-09-2010, 12:21 PM
It used to be that all Martin guitars, regardless of model, shipped from the factory with medium gauge strings. When I bought a brand new OM-21 seven or eight years ago, it had mediums on it when I got it. (And mediums are what stayed on it, though I switched brands to John Pearse instead of Martin brand strings.)

In recent years Martin has taken to recommending light gauge strings for those instruments that they and the public perceive as fingerstyle guitars, but OM's and Triple and Double O's are still perfectly capable of handling mediums.

Truss rod adjustments may or may not be necessary to accommodate mediums, but they will not damage the instrument.


whm

jackcooper
08-09-2010, 01:07 PM
I just called Martin Customer Service and was told that each guitar is shipped with the exact string listed for that model on the website. Therefore, the manager of the shop you visited was incorrect in telling you something different.

Thanks for taking the time to phone them. If that's what they say then I suppose that settles it.

Cheers.

Jack.

jcmccorm
05-19-2014, 04:44 PM
Sorry to resurrect an old thread but this seems appropriate as this thread cam up in my search.

I just picked up a new D-18 Ambertone. The tag on the headstock says that they use Martin SP Lifespan strings (no mention of light or medium).

The specs for the D-18 say that the recommended strings are Martin SP Lifespan Medium.

The strings on my new D-18 feel light to me so I took my digital calipers to them. I got 053 and 010 for the E strings. Those are lights that it shipped with.

That *does* explain (probably) why there seems to be little or no neck relief and I get some buzzing in the middle of the neck.

Cary

Todd Yates
05-19-2014, 05:38 PM
Are you sure you zeroed your digital calipers correctly? I'd be absolutely shocked if Martin ever shipped a Dreadnaught with something as light as 0.010's. Or maybe they were changed by the dealer?

rmyAddison
05-19-2014, 05:57 PM
Are you sure you zeroed your digital calipers correctly? I'd be absolutely shocked if Martin ever shipped a Dreadnaught with something as light as 0.010's. Or maybe they were changed by the dealer?

Agreed, changed at the dealer most likely, or a mistake at the factory (not probable but not impossible).

10's on an acoustic is illegal in 38 states and just wrong in the others.....;)

jcmccorm
05-20-2014, 06:31 AM
Dang. I hate to be wrong. The calipers were not zeroed. (Thanks Todd)

I just now measured them again: 056 and 013.

They are indeed mediums. I am very sorry for the confusion and misinformation.

Martin did not with ship light strings. The world is back in balance now....

Cary

Guitar1083
05-20-2014, 06:42 AM
Depends on the Martin, however it's listed on there site chech the guitar and it will tell the model of the strings