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  #1  
Old 11-04-2017, 06:28 PM
wildbill1962 wildbill1962 is offline
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Default New Archtop Day !!!!!!!!!

I had been wanting an Archtop for years, and my wonderful wife surprised me today with a new D,Angelico EXL-1 with the sunburst finish. I pulled it out of the case, and cant put it down. Plays and sounds great unplugged or thru my Fishman amp.
The fit and finish is incredible.

So now the string quest starts. I play mainly classic western swing and classic country. So would love to hear your opinion on strings you think will work good on this archtop with a 25.5 scale.

Thanks in advance
Bill
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Old 11-04-2017, 08:18 PM
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This post is useless without pictures!

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Old 11-04-2017, 08:59 PM
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Nice!!!! But you just got a whole new set of “honey do’s” to deal with... [emoji6]
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Old 11-04-2017, 11:38 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wildbill1962 View Post
..I play mainly classic western swing and classic country. So would love to hear your opinion on strings you think will work good on this archtop with a 25.5 scale...
The way I see it:
  • You need a string that's heavy enough to drive the top [a] in case you want to do some acoustic comping on those Western swing tunes and [b] to add some "wood" and punch to your amplified tone - given that laminated top think 13's to start;
  • You need a string with magnetic properties - pure acoustic strings won't give you enough signal;
  • You'd like something that's easy on your fingers;
Several options here, my first choice being Martin Retro Monels (MM13); these were originally intended as an acoustic string when they were introduced (in their first incarnation) around 1930 and, thanks to their magnetic properties, made the successful transition to the first (prewar) generation of electric guitars. As an acoustic string they'll give you the string tension you need to drive the top (they've actually got a few pounds more tension than comparable PB or 80/20 strings), with a surprisingly slinky feel that IME is easier on the fingers than most other roundwound sets; they'll also provide you with authentic vintage tone - great for that Western swing material, plugged or unplugged...

If you're after more of a mainstream jazz tone, flatwounds are the way to go - this was the sound of post-war bop guitar as well as circa-1950 electric honky-tonk, first-generation electric blues, and rockabilly; while there's much merit in their flat, even amplified response (with fewer overtones) - strings of this type were standard factory issue on electric guitars through the early-70's, through about 1980 for many basses (FYI Hofner still equips their German-made line with flats), and I still use them on nearly all of my electric instruments - they can sound dull, lifeless, and "thuddy" when played acoustically. If played with a classic archtop technique - what the old Big-Band compers called "coaxing the velvet out" - they can be very expressive, punchy and percussive on louder passages yet mellow and purring on ballads, with no abrasive "twang" when you play near the neck; not for everyone - most guys under age 50 who aren't hard-core jazzers don't really understand or know how to get the best out of them - but may be a good match for a 17" archtop with a suspended pickup like yours...

A good compromise might be a "half-round" set - these start out as a full-roundwound set which is then ground to spec, leaving an outer surface that approaches the smoothness of flatwounds but retains most of the brightness of roundwounds. I recently rediscovered these when I put a set on my Godin CW II, an all-laminated twin P-90 single-cut archtop in the mold of the early-50's ES-175; although it was a fine-sounding guitar with flats, the half-rounds just boosted things to the next level - punchy, crisp, with enough unamplified volume/tone for couch practice and basement jams with acoustic instruments. The lesson here is pay attention: just like your S.O. your guitar will tell you what it "likes" - ignore at your own risk...

Last but not least are the ubiquitous nickel-wrap (actually nickel-plated) roundwounds - easy to find anywhere in just about any gauge necessary, no-surprises tone, but IME not always the best option for guitars of this type; as I suggested above archtops are, by their very nature, idiosyncratic/often temperamental and unforgiving beasts, and while nickel roundwounds are the string of choice for solidbodies IME I've found them to be lacking in both acoustic volume and "personality" - the interaction of string, guitar, and player that defines "your" signature sound. From what I understand the pure nickel-wrapped strings are somewhat better in this regard - punchy and smooth like flats/half-rounds, with a hint of crisp brightness in both electric and acoustic modes - but you may have a hard time finding a pre-packaged set in a suitable gauge unless you order by mail...

Bottom line: get to know your instrument thoroughly, know what your goals/expectations are and what sound(s) you're hearing in your head, proceed from there - and realize that it's going to be a process until you find what works best for you...

Hope this helps - use it well and often...
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Old 11-04-2017, 11:57 PM
Mandobart Mandobart is offline
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Sounds like you've got two keepers there. I really like Newtone archtop strings. At least .013's.
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Old 11-05-2017, 12:06 AM
Looburst Looburst is offline
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Wow, uhhh,,,,is your wife married? What a gift!
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Old 11-05-2017, 07:58 AM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is offline
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Pure nickel or monel .013's.

Congrats, thas a great box you got there.
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Old 11-05-2017, 03:27 PM
wildbill1962 wildbill1962 is offline
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Great big "THANK YOU" to everyone for the kind words and great information.
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Old 11-05-2017, 03:31 PM
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Nice, congrats. I always pick one of those up to play when I get the chance at GC.
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Old 11-05-2017, 05:43 PM
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She IS a wonderful wife. Congratulations. Does she have a sister?
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Old 11-06-2017, 05:43 AM
Pnewsom Pnewsom is offline
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I play my archtop(Ibanez 2471NT), in a Western Swing band called the Telegrams, http://thetelegrams.com. I use D'Addario Chromes Flatwound, 12-52. They sound great, with lots of snap for those twanging lead lines.

They are very nice under the fingers and last about a year for me.
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Old 11-06-2017, 06:44 AM
wildbill1962 wildbill1962 is offline
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Quote:
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She IS a wonderful wife. Congratulations. Does she have a sister?

THANKS !! Take her sister..please
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Old 11-06-2017, 06:45 AM
wildbill1962 wildbill1962 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pnewsom View Post
I play my archtop(Ibanez 2471NT), in a Western Swing band called the Telegrams, http://thetelegrams.com. I use D'Addario Chromes Flatwound, 12-52. They sound great, with lots of snap for those twanging lead lines.

They are very nice under the fingers and last about a year for me.
Thanks, I will pick up a set and give them a try.
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Old 11-06-2017, 01:16 PM
JGinNJ JGinNJ is offline
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I also use those on my Excel, gets a great jazz tone. My only complaint about the guitar is it's quite heavy after a while.
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Old 11-06-2017, 09:25 PM
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Thats what straps, chairs and vicodin are for.
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