The Acoustic Guitar Forum  

Go Back   The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > General Acoustic Guitar Discussion

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 12-07-2008, 04:49 PM
Ozsi Ozsi is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 125
Default Gypsy jazz strings on a regular acoustic?

Hi Guys,

I have recently been getting into a bit of Gypsy Jazz. Now I know from experience how quickly some of these phases can pass for me (I'm hope I'm not alone in that ) so I'm not looking at getting a gypsy jazz style guitar (just yet), but I was thinking I could string up one of my regular acoustics up with the strings used in that style (e.g. http://www.stringsandbeyond.com/saargyjaacgu.html), to get a bit closer to sound and feel of one.

I was wondering if anyone has any experience with that? I imagine I will need to at least adjust the truss rod for the lower tension, but is gauge 11-46 likely to be too light to be able to compensate for? (The guitar they'll be going on is a Seagull dreadnought, which already has a moderately low action with the D'darrio 12's currently on it)

Also, and perhaps more importantly, how much of the sound is from the strings versus the Selmer guitars typically used? Is it even worth my while trying these on a regular acoustic?

I know the proof will be in the playing, but it looks like I'll have to order them from overseas, and they're not particularly cheap compared to regular strings so any success or horror stories would be great to hear first!

Thanks,

Simon

p.s. Is anyone else here playing this style? I've always played fairly straight-ahead acoustic rock, singer/songwriter stuff, but the whole Gypsy Jazz culture and philosphy really interests me. Playing lead guitar in a rock setting has never done it for me, but I'm actually quite excited about learning to play some lead stuff in this style
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 12-07-2008, 05:03 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Chugiak, Alaska
Posts: 13,636
Default

Simon, I seriously doubt you'll be able to get a worthwhile sound from those strings on a standard acoustic guitar - they just won't drive it adequately.

Physically, the gypsy jazz guitars as designed initially by Mario Macaferri and improved upon by the Selmer company are an interesting hybrid between archtops and flattop guitars, with characteristics of both. Mechanically they don't work precisely the same as either.

The longer scale length on these instruments is a factor, as well, since they're typically quite a bit longer than the usual acoustic scale.

But to answer your question - yes, the materials and design of those strings DOES play a role in the sound that can be pulled out of a gypsy jazz guitar. But they work symbiotically with that guitar design, and the tonal advantages and characteristics they bring won't transfer to a standard flattop, I'm afraid.

You can go the other direction, and use standard strings on a Selmer copy, and that's typically a bit more successful than what you're discussing. But you just won't have the tension you need to fully drive the top if you try to use gypsy jazz strings on a flattop.

Sorry....


whm
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 12-07-2008, 05:06 PM
SongwriterFan SongwriterFan is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 21,427
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wade Hampton View Post
Simon, I seriously doubt you'll be able to get a worthwhile sound from those strings on a standard acoustic guitar - they just won't drive it adequately.
Don't be so quick to write them off.

See this thread

http://www.acousticguitarforum.com/f...d.php?t=140938

for my recent experience with similar strings (Martin's "Silk and Steel").

IF there's any truss rod adjustment necessary after going to these strings, it hasn't been noticeable to me (yet).
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 12-07-2008, 05:38 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Chugiak, Alaska
Posts: 13,636
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by SongwriterFan View Post
Don't be so quick to write them off.

See this thread

http://www.acousticguitarforum.com/f...d.php?t=140938

for my recent experience with similar strings (Martin's "Silk and Steel").

IF there's any truss rod adjustment necessary after going to these strings, it hasn't been noticeable to me (yet).
Well, silk and steel strings are made differently than these gypsy jazz strings are, and I actually had a friend here in Anchorage who tried exactly the experiment that Ozsi was curious about.

THAT guitar really sounded pretty limp with them on it, and the strings really didn't come close to the potential of either the guitar itself or the gypsy jazz sound he was striving for. He kept them on there for about three days before throwing in the towel and going back to the extra light strings he'd been using.

But what the heck - strings are relatively cheap. No harm in trying them, I suppose.

But Ozsi asked for our opinions, I gave mine, and it was based not on truss rod adjustments but on the resulting sound. It certainly didn't give my friend the sound he'd hoped for, and from the way Ozsi phrased his question, the sound that Ozsi's after, either.


whm
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 12-08-2008, 02:01 AM
Ozsi Ozsi is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 125
Default

Wade - Thanks, that all makes good sense. I guess for now I'll just stick with some lighter PB strings, and wait and see if it's worth me tracking down a Selmer style guitar in the future sometime. Do you own/play one yourself? Are they a very different feel? I seem to remember reading the fretboard is wider and flatter than a standard steel string, but I can't seem to find a whole lot of specifics around the place.

SongwriterFan - as Wade mentioned, I don't think the silk and steel strings are the same sort of thing. BUT, having read your thread (which I must've missed previously), I am now keen to try out some S&S strings on my other guitars, so thank you for that

- Simon.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 12-08-2008, 07:14 AM
Charlie Ayers Charlie Ayers is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Salt Lake City
Posts: 77
Default

I play mostly Selmer/Mac. guitars. If you want to try the strings, you don't need to order from overseas. Here are 2 good suppliers:
www.gypsyjazz.net and www.djangobooks.com Some brands (eg Galli) are pretty cheap.

Charlie
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 12-08-2008, 07:15 AM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Chugiak, Alaska
Posts: 13,636
Default

Ozsi, I don't have my gypsy jazz guitar YET, but a local builder is making me one. And I've played his previous examples, as well as several built by Shelly Park, a couple of DellArte's, a few Saga Gitanes and one Michael Dunn.

Yeah, they do have a somewhat different feel, both with the strings and especially the scale length. The strings for them are definitely part of that package.

I wish my friend John Pearse was still alive to explain the differences in how those strings are constructed, as he did over the phone to me once. But it seems to me that they're silver coated copper over silk, or something exotic like that.


whm
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 12-08-2008, 09:23 AM
Cbanjo Cbanjo is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 259
Default

Wade Hampton is totally 100% right, it won't work out well. The selmer guitars also sound way different from an acoustic. Not a sound you would expect, the strings for a gypsy jazz guitar on an acoustic will probably sound very limp and crummy
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 12-08-2008, 09:58 AM
SongwriterFan SongwriterFan is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 21,427
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ozsi View Post
SongwriterFan - as Wade mentioned, I don't think the silk and steel strings are the same sort of thing. BUT, having read your thread (which I must've missed previously), I am now keen to try out some S&S strings on my other guitars, so thank you for that
I guess my main point was not to let OTHERS decide for YOU whether or not certain strings will sound good or not.

As Wade mentioned, strings are cheap!

Had I relied on listening to others, I would've never tried the Silk and Steel strings, for example.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 12-08-2008, 12:10 PM
guitar_stringer guitar_stringer is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 192
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wade Hampton View Post
Simon, I seriously doubt you'll be able to get a worthwhile sound from those strings on a standard acoustic guitar - they just won't drive it adequately.

Physically, the gypsy jazz guitars as designed initially by Mario Macaferri and improved upon by the Selmer company are an interesting hybrid between archtops and flattop guitars, with characteristics of both. Mechanically they don't work precisely the same as either.

The longer scale length on these instruments is a factor, as well, since they're typically quite a bit longer than the usual acoustic scale.

But to answer your question - yes, the materials and design of those strings DOES play a role in the sound that can be pulled out of a gypsy jazz guitar. But they work symbiotically with that guitar design, and the tonal advantages and characteristics they bring won't transfer to a standard flattop, I'm afraid.

You can go the other direction, and use standard strings on a Selmer copy, and that's typically a bit more successful than what you're discussing. But you just won't have the tension you need to fully drive the top if you try to use gypsy jazz strings on a flattop.

Sorry....


whm
I specialize in building hybrid dome top guitars, although with a glued fixed bridge, and to a point Wade, i'll agree with you. But it's more in the design, scale length, and bridge angle of these guitars, than just the strings that gives that "gypsy" sound. I usually ship these with D'Addario phosphor bronze strings, as they work well on these guitars.

But strings are relatively cheap, so i would suggest experimenting with them, to help guide you in the sound you're looking for.

stringer

Last edited by guitar_stringer; 12-08-2008 at 12:28 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 12-08-2008, 06:59 PM
Ozsi Ozsi is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 125
Default

OK, based on both sides of the argument, I've ordered a couple of sets of gypsy jazz strings (along with some silk and steel and a few other odds and ends I needed), but will keep my expectations low But given I'm an absolute beginner to the genre, I don't think it should be a huge blow not having the correct guitar and sound while I'm first finding my way. While the guitar and strings would obviously contribute a lot to the sound, I think the techniques, chords, arpeggios etc used also play a big part, and that at least I can (try to) do on a regular steel string.

I might even post up a few recordings comparing PB and gypsy jazz strings on a regular acoustic guitar once they arrive. Of course, that also serves to give me motivation to actually learn a few licks

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wade Hampton
Ozsi, I don't have my gypsy jazz guitar YET, but a local builder is making me one.
Very nice, I look forward to seeing a thread on that here when it's done


Thanks again everyone for all the input, it's much appreciated.
Reply With Quote
Reply

  The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > General Acoustic Guitar Discussion

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Loading

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:11 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, The Acoustic Guitar Forum
vB Ad Management by =RedTyger=