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Old 09-26-2021, 09:29 PM
AH Acoustic AH Acoustic is offline
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Arrow Fingerstyle strings - 80/20 vs Phosphor Bronze?

Hi all --

Curious what you use, I was under the impression many use PB strings, however wanted to try out a comparison of 80/20 vs PB on my Taylor GS.

Recorded similar sections of a piece, A / B style.

Let me know your thoughts -- do you use 80/20 or PB for finger style?

- a.h.

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Old 09-26-2021, 09:48 PM
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ljguitar ljguitar is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AH Acoustic View Post
Hi all --

Curious what you use, I was under the impression many use PB strings, however wanted to try out a comparison of 80/20 vs PB on my Taylor GS.
Hi AH
There is no one-size-fits-all (or one string formula). And comparing them for yourself is smart.

I tested and retested strings the first few years. Then I made a choice to settle in and focus on music.

So many things affect our 'sound'.
  • Picks or lack of them.
  • Weight of the picks.
  • Nails or lack of them.
  • How forcefully or gently you play.
  • Style and tempo of the songs we play.
  • The size and build of the instrument.
  • Does the instrument I'm stringing sound edgy in high ranges, or perhaps even mellow? Which string formula 'pushes' it in the direction I hope to take it?
  • Do you play more sustained styles or more pizzicato?
  • Do you stick to the first 5-7 frets, or play a lot up the neck?

Every one of these affect our tone.

And we most often judge our tone based on how our playing sounds to us, not how it sounds to the audience.

If I were a millionaire, I'd play John Pearse strings all the time. They are amazing - for the first day and a half. Then they sound like D'Addario do fresh out of the package.

Too expensive for too brief a life-span.

I moved to coated strings about 17 years back, and they are consistent, and maintain the sustain, and projection, and resonance (and overtones) I prefer.

And that's based on me playing my guitars in the fashion I play.



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Old 09-26-2021, 10:51 PM
Glennwillow Glennwillow is offline
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I find that 80/20 formulations are a little brighter in the trebles compared to PB. So for guitars that need a little more treble, specifically my Olson SJ (cedar/EIR), I use Martin SP 80/20 strings. Both Martin SP and John Pearse 80/20 strings sound good to me, but I find Martin strings on sale more, encouraging me to buy them.

Most of my guitars sound best with PB strings because they don't need any additional treble. Mostly, I used D'Addario EJ16, though I also use D'Addario XT or whatever the latest coated strings are called. On my old 1967 Martin D-35, which has gotten quite bright in its old age, I use John Pearse PB light strings. They have reduced trebles and help balance out my D-35.

I play 95% fingerstyle with thumb pick and short fingernails. When I use a flat pick, I use a thick one to keep from emphasizing the treble side of the spectrum.

- Glenn
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Old 09-26-2021, 11:27 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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There’s no substitute for trying out different alloys and seeing which you like best. Whenever I get a new-to-me instrument I try phosphor bronze, 80/20 bronze and nickel alloy strings in quick succession, to determine which I like best.

I use John Pearse strings so it’s pretty easy to compare them to each other.


Wade Hampton Miller
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Old 09-26-2021, 11:46 PM
gmel555 gmel555 is offline
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I agree with others that you've just got to try several different alloys/brands/coated-non-coated, etc. and then start to narrow down your preference(s). Your specific guitar, playing technique, and ears are unique vs others. Try several within a few days(at most) of each other so you remember your impressions for comparison. (FYI, I'm mostly a PB player, though some nickel/monel has started to creep in.)
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Old 09-27-2021, 02:32 AM
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I’ll support the comments about 80/20 offering a brighter sound than PB. I play fingerstyle with my nails (and use a pick at times). I generally use PBs but I use 80/20s on one guitar to add some brightness and it’s taken a while to find a set of 80/20s that worked on that guitar. I normally like Newtone and Martin but neither brand had an 80/20 that worked for me. So I tried Ernie Ball Earthwood Silk and Steel 80/20s. They worked much better on that particular guitar, providing some brightness without the brittleness of the Newtones and the Martins.

So it’s worth experimenting with brands, even within a particular category such as 80/20.
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Old 09-27-2021, 07:27 AM
EZYPIKINS EZYPIKINS is offline
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For me, it's contact core PB's Rotosound Super Bronze.

You gotta decide what you like.

Took me 30 years to settle, on an acoustic string.

Trying everything I could get my hands on.

First tried Rotosound on my electrics after my first trip to Namm.

I really liked them. Next got a few acoustic sets.

Today, I play Rotosound strings on every stringed instruments I have.

Acoustic, Electric, Bass, Mandolin
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Old 09-27-2021, 07:31 AM
JERZEY JERZEY is offline
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Try and buy what you like. You wont see many 80/20 sets of fingerstyle guitars. Well balanced guitars with no mid ranged scoop tend to be way to harsh and bright with 80/20s.
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Old 09-27-2021, 08:14 AM
donlyn donlyn is offline
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Fingerstyle strings - 80/20 vs Phosphor Bronze?

I use Elixir PB on my guitars. My 'heard' is mostly large-body jumbo and jumbo-style (Grand Orchestra) related guitars, and I find that Elixir coated PB works best for me. Many of my six stringers sport Elixir PB HD gauge (.013 -.053) gauge strings on a regular basis.

I fingerpick everything using my nails as picks.

I've been at this a while (50+ yrs), and have arrived at my happy place with strings. Not afraid to try new stuff, but there it is. And I keep both a six and a twelve string in DADGAD tuning, just because.

And when I do capo, my strings easily support it up to the 7th fret, which is about as far up as I will capo. (Currently use G7th Performance 3 for six stringers and G7th Newport 12 string with compensated pad for 12 stringers.)

Be well,

Don
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Old 09-27-2021, 10:17 AM
rollypolly rollypolly is offline
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for fingersyle I prefer Silk and Steels or a variation of Silk strings . Martin Silk and Phosphor have been amazing on an OM. Retros and regular PBs are on some of mine as well. Like other have said, you have to try some to know what you like. I actually am trying some vintage bronze 85/15s and they're pretty nice...brighter but it's a nice change from the warmth of the other varieties.
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Old 09-27-2021, 07:31 PM
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mcmars mcmars is offline
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I like 80/20's, normally EXP's as I like the longevity and the seems the coating tames the brightness a tad. But I play mostly fingerstyle vintage blues styles. But I have some guitars, like cedar and rosewood, that I use PB and play more modern fingerstyle where the warm resonance is a plus.
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Old 09-27-2021, 10:23 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JERZEY View Post
Try and buy what you like. You wont see many 80/20 sets of fingerstyle guitars. Well balanced guitars with no mid ranged scoop tend to be way to harsh and bright with 80/20s.
It just depends on the guitar itself and how it responds to the different alloys. There are plenty of guitars strung with 80/20 strings and used for fingerstyle.


whm
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Old 09-28-2021, 06:29 AM
musicman1951 musicman1951 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glennwillow View Post
I find that 80/20 formulations are a little brighter in the trebles compared to PB. So for guitars that need a little more treble, specifically my Olson SJ (cedar/EIR), I use Martin SP 80/20 strings. Both Martin SP and John Pearse 80/20 strings sound good to me, but I find Martin strings on sale more, encouraging me to buy them.

Most of my guitars sound best with PB strings because they don't need any additional treble. Mostly, I used D'Addario EJ16, though I also use D'Addario XT or whatever the latest coated strings are called. On my old 1967 Martin D-35, which has gotten quite bright in its old age, I use John Pearse PB light strings. They have reduced trebles and help balance out my D-35.

I play 95% fingerstyle with thumb pick and short fingernails. When I use a flat pick, I use a thick one to keep from emphasizing the treble side of the spectrum.

- Glenn
I feel the same way, except my ear never seems to want something brighter. On your recording the differences are fairly small, but I much prefer the PB.
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Old 09-28-2021, 08:50 AM
Andrew P. Andrew P. is offline
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I play fingerstyle on a Santa Cruz om (European/Brazilian) and have tried every conceivable string brand, material and gauge. As much as I wanted to love uncoated pb strings (because it seems so many others do), I keep coming back to Elixir 80/20 mediums. They sound a little brighter than the pbs *at first* but after a few days or so, they really round out and have a perfect balance that highlights all tonal registers of my guitar. As much as I don't want to love the Elixirs because of cost and (recently) availability, they are hands down the best for my guitar and my playing style. Also, moving to medium gauge for me was a game changer. Woody Mann highly recommends this, and now that I'm used to the feel, I'll never go back. I play bare fingers with just slight nail (no thumb pick or long/artificial nails) and the tone I'm getting from the mediums is as good as it gets for me.

Last edited by Andrew P.; 09-28-2021 at 08:58 AM.
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Old 09-28-2021, 09:21 AM
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cliff_the_stiff cliff_the_stiff is offline
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Default Round core

I trade between PB/ 80/20 and monels.
I seem to gravitate towards round core strings. Right now I really like Curt Mangan or thomastik spectrum (though I’ve had a lot of breaks lately with the spectrums. )
I think PB sounds consistent longer. 80/20 bright for the first week, but mellow quickly.
My large guitars don’t like the monels as much.
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80/20, phosphor bronze, rosewood, string comparison, taylor gs

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