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Old 07-25-2010, 04:20 AM
gerardo1000 gerardo1000 is offline
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Default Lights or Mediums for your dreadnought ?

I wonder how many prefer to use light gauge strings on their dreadnought and why ? And why mediums ? I have a new Martin MMV with Elixir Medium and I wonder if it would lose some power and tonal quality if I switch to light strings?
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Old 07-25-2010, 04:41 AM
Michael T Michael T is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gerardo1000 View Post
I wonder how many prefer to use light gauge strings on their dreadnought and why ? And why mediums ? I have a new Martin MMV with Elixir Medium and I wonder if it would lose some power and tonal quality if I switch to light strings?
Mediums with a 14 & 18 treble replacing the 13 & 17 for me. Brings out a great deal of in your face when steppin' out front.
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Old 07-25-2010, 04:49 AM
Acoustic Rick Acoustic Rick is offline
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I use lights on my dread strictly for comforts sake. Mediums will give you more volume and power but if you play plugged in most of the time what's the point?
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Old 07-25-2010, 06:12 AM
GibbyPrague GibbyPrague is offline
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I use lights in standard tuning, simply for comforts sake, but i normally have mediums on my Ibanez Concord dread which i keep tuned half a step down.
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Old 07-25-2010, 06:50 AM
JTFoote JTFoote is offline
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Mediums, with the least amount of relief that I can get away with, and still not have string buzz, and fairly low action (3/32 and 2/32, bass and treble, respectively). This gives me all the tone and volume I need from a dread, along with the comfort of easy playability. The best of both worlds.

Lights force me to alter my playing style in order to coax an acceptable sound out of my guitars, (otherwise, I might fret some of the notes sharp, for one example), and I have to add relief, as the thinner gauge is more likely to buzz. The lowered tension certainly makes a difference in how much volume, warmth, and depth in the tone I can achieve by wood alone. Note that I play unplugged nearly all the time, or with just a microphone ... but as mentioned by Acoustic Rick, if the reverse was true, and I was using an amp, stomp-boxes, all sorts of effects, and a PA ... it wouldn't matter very much, and going for comfort would be key.

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Old 07-25-2010, 06:50 AM
mutantrock mutantrock is offline
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I have 13's on my Taylor dread. Tried 12's but it didn't sound dreadlike with them so I went back to 13's
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Old 07-25-2010, 07:09 AM
Misty44 Misty44 is offline
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I use lights on my HD-35, they are more than sufficient to drive the lighter-braced top and smooth out any bass wrinkles.

I use mediums on the D-18, anything less, including mixed "bluegrass" sets, doesn't bring out the full tone, powerful, or punchiness.
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Old 07-25-2010, 07:17 AM
Doubleneck Doubleneck is offline
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Mediums on my CA Legacy make a large difference. I wonder if the shape and design of the dred just lends itself to mediums strings as opposed to other guitars no matter what material the guitar is made from.
Steve
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Old 07-25-2010, 07:20 AM
Cue Zephyr Cue Zephyr is offline
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I prefer mediums. It's what my dread came with.

Oh and for the plugged in bit, I think you'll have a bit more sustain with the mediums.
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Old 07-25-2010, 07:34 AM
TwoMartinMan TwoMartinMan is offline
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I use Elixir Phos Bronze Lights on all my acoustics, including my MMV. I play lots of fingerstyle and I don't need to blow away a room full of people with acoustic volume.
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Old 07-25-2010, 07:59 AM
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ljguitar ljguitar is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gerardo1000 View Post
I wonder how many prefer to use light gauge strings on their dreadnought and why ? And why mediums ? I have a new Martin MMV with Elixir Medium and I wonder if it would lose some power and tonal quality if I switch to light strings?
Hi gerardo…
Having tried them all over the past 17 years on my Olson Dreadnaught, I’ve settled on Custom Lights because they project well and have the best tonal balance. Three of my acoustics wear .012 light with a .013 on 1st string, and the Olson Dreadnaught wears .011 custom lights with a .012 on 1st. The sizes are 2 - OM, 1 - Dread, and 1 - Mini Jumbo

The dreadnaught has adequate volume for acoustic and amplified work, and holds it's own in a jam. I’m not a heavy strummer/picker, so I depend on the responsiveness and projection of the guitar itself to make it heard combined with my styling and arranging...and it does.

Actually the principle I’ve applied is to try different weights every now and then and see where they settle for a balance of volume, projection and tonal balance, and playability.

I’ve changed some to lights over mediums because I’m not a body builder. I do a lot of full step bending and the mediums just have too much tension for that (I’m 61 years old, and have no repetitive motion, arthritis or injury).

Playability is where my dynamics and expression in music emenate from. If I’m wrestling with the instrument it interferes with musicality.


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Old 07-25-2010, 08:12 AM
Foss38 Foss38 is offline
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I prefer using Elixir Poly's with light tops and medium bottoms (they are available to purchase as a set) for my dred.
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Old 07-25-2010, 08:23 AM
backliner backliner is offline
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John Pearse Light 80/20's or Phosphor Bronze on my Guild D40. It has scalloped bracing, and sounds fine with lights.

I don't like to put a big strain on any flat-top with excess string tension if it's not needed. I've had necks that needed resets on a couple of flat-top guitars, and don't much want to repeat that experience.
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Old 07-25-2010, 08:25 AM
PMC PMC is offline
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I use lights. The top on my dread is lightly built and it doesnt need mediums. I think it really depends on the guitar. Some dreads sound best with meds, some with lights.

Only one way to find out.

I will say I picked out a MMV for a friend a couple years back. It was a great sounding guitar. If I wasnt helping him pick out a guitar I would have bought it for myself. It sounded just as good as guitars priced two to three times as much to my ear.

I still ask him about once a month if he wants to sell it to me.
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Old 07-25-2010, 08:38 AM
seannx seannx is online now
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Besides what someone would want for their playing style (i.e. lights taking less effort than mediums, better for bending, etc.), a big consideration is the gauge of string a guitar is designed to use for best performance. My Taylor DN3 came with mediums, and my Voyage Air VAD-2 with lights. They are both dreads. My VAD-2 (sitka/EIR) is lighter in weight, nice and loud with lights, and has more bass than the Taylor (sitka/sapele.) I haven't tried the Taylor with lights, because I think any gain in ease of playability would be offset by less sound, and the action is fine with mediums.
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