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  #1  
Old 08-09-2010, 05:59 AM
jackcooper jackcooper is offline
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Default Which gauge of strings do Martin ship their guitars with?

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.
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Old 08-09-2010, 06:00 AM
kente777 kente777 is offline
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Originally Posted by jackcooper View Post
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.
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  #3  
Old 08-09-2010, 06:03 AM
jackcooper jackcooper is offline
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Originally Posted by kente777 View Post
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?
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Old 08-09-2010, 06:23 AM
Ed422 Ed422 is offline
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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
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Old 08-09-2010, 06:38 AM
kente777 kente777 is offline
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Originally Posted by jackcooper View Post
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.
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  #6  
Old 08-09-2010, 06:39 AM
rmyAddison rmyAddison is offline
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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.
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Old 08-09-2010, 06:50 AM
jackcooper jackcooper is offline
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Originally Posted by rmyAddison View Post
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.
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  #8  
Old 08-09-2010, 06:56 AM
kente777 kente777 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jackcooper View Post
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.
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Breedlove C-10 12-string
Cordoba Solista CE
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Last edited by kente777; 08-09-2010 at 07:02 AM.
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  #9  
Old 08-09-2010, 07:06 AM
mikedanton mikedanton is offline
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Originally Posted by rmyAddison View Post
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?
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Old 08-09-2010, 07:13 AM
kente777 kente777 is offline
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Originally Posted by mikedanton View Post
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.
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Martin HD-28V
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Breedlove C-10 12-string
Cordoba Solista CE
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Last edited by kente777; 08-09-2010 at 07:24 AM.
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  #11  
Old 08-09-2010, 07:35 AM
Ed422 Ed422 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kente777 View Post
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
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Old 08-09-2010, 07:43 AM
kente777 kente777 is offline
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Originally Posted by Ed422 View Post
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.
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Martin HD-28V
Martin JC-16RGTE Premium
Taylor Koa GS-LTD 12-fret
Breedlove C-10 12-string
Cordoba Solista CE
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Last edited by kente777; 08-09-2010 at 07:52 AM.
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  #13  
Old 08-09-2010, 07:44 AM
rmyAddison rmyAddison is offline
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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!
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Some Martins..........
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Old 08-09-2010, 07:51 AM
rmyAddison rmyAddison is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed422 View Post
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.
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Some Martins..........
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  #15  
Old 08-09-2010, 08:01 AM
Ed422 Ed422 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmyAddison View Post
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
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