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  #1  
Old 01-13-2022, 12:10 PM
rgregg48 rgregg48 is offline
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Default String gauges for archtop jazz?

I was wondering what strings and gauges
Are used for acoustic archtop jazz guitar.
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Old 01-13-2022, 12:23 PM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rgregg48 View Post
I was wondering what strings and gauges
Are used for acoustic archtop jazz guitar.
I like .012s. On a shorter scale guitar, ill replace the top 2 strings with those from a set of .013s.
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Old 01-13-2022, 01:02 PM
rmp rmp is offline
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usually, flat wound strings suit those guitars best.

if you are used to 10s, try 11s first


D'Addario Chromes are a good starter choice

there are superior strings, but these are cheap and will get you on the road.
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Old 01-13-2022, 01:03 PM
poopsidoo poopsidoo is offline
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12--54 for me. Electrozincs
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Old 01-13-2022, 01:31 PM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmp View Post
usually, flat wound strings suit those guitars best.

if you are used to 10s, try 11s first


D'Addario Chromes are a good starter choice

there are superior strings, but these are cheap and will get you on the road.
I wouldn't put flatwounds on an acoustic archtop, but that's just me.
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Old 01-13-2022, 01:48 PM
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ssstewart ssstewart is offline
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Newtone has amazing low tension strings (ive used them on my 1929 archtop for jazz). also easier accessible are benson jazz strings, martin low tension strings such as Martin MA130 silk and steel 11.5-47s total set tension 122.2 lbs (not bad), earthwood silk steels 11-52s.... i know silk steels dont have as long life, but i like them on my archtop as well for gypsy jazz django stuff...just my opinion..many will frown at silk steels for jazz, but my ears like it
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Old 01-13-2022, 03:47 PM
Bluemonk Bluemonk is offline
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Quote:
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I wouldn't put flatwounds on an acoustic archtop, but that's just me.
It's not just you. Pretty good rule of thumb IMO.
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Old 01-13-2022, 03:58 PM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is offline
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I surely don't consider myself an expert in this area but I have three archtops, a '60s Harmony Monterey, A Gibson L-4, and an Eastman AR805.

Like my F5 mandolin, nickel alloys seem to suit best, and I use medium gauge - EJ22, or,currently D'addario "New Balance" (nickel bronze).

I don't seem to need to change them very often, they don't corrode like PB strings.

I believe that some "comp" ers prefer heavier 1st and 2nd strings ?
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Old 01-13-2022, 05:12 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Used to have 14's on my '46 Epiphone Blackstone and '47 L-7, pretty much what compers would have used when those guitars were new; as far as today's strings are concerned I like Martin Monel MM13's - slinky feel, enough tension to drive the top (slightly higher than an equivalent PB or 80/20 set), and an authentic Big Band-era tonal vibe once you break them in...
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Old 01-14-2022, 09:35 AM
MC5C MC5C is offline
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I like the Newtone low tension double wound strings. They have a thinner core wire on the wound strings, and two layers of fine winding wire to make up the gauge and mass of the string. The fine winding makes them feel almost like flatwound or polished strings, yet all the tone of a normal wound string. It's string mass, not tension, that activates the instrument. Other than that, I just use light gauge bronze something or others, 012 - 052 usually. I do find that higher gauge strings make an acoustic archtop sound more chunky, old fashioned, less sustain, lighter strings seem to loose oomph, the light gauge acoustic strings .012 - .052 are definitely a sweet spot for me sound-wise.
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Old 01-15-2022, 02:37 AM
Mandobart Mandobart is offline
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I use 13's on my Eastman. I've tried Newtones - liked them just fine. Also ran with Martin Retro monels. Lately I've been using Ernie Ball aluminum bronze - they give me more punch, edge, could even say harshness which to me makes it sound more like the old archtops.
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Old 01-15-2022, 07:36 AM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is offline
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So as we are seeing, it really comes down to use...

A plugged in electric guitar tone? Flatwounds and heavy trebles sound great. Freddie Green rhythm? Heavy roundwounds and high action...fingerpicking/other applications? Whatever sounds good to you!
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Old 01-19-2022, 09:00 PM
NervousNrG NervousNrG is offline
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I like using 13-56 round wounds on my vintage acoustic with floating P/U. Lately I've been liking the D'Addario EJ12 -- the 80/20 bronze sound warmer to my ear than the phosphor bronze type.
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Old 01-30-2022, 01:19 PM
L50EF15 L50EF15 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
So as we are seeing, it really comes down to use...

A plugged in electric guitar tone? Flatwounds and heavy trebles sound great. Freddie Green rhythm? Heavy roundwounds and high action...fingerpicking/other applications? Whatever sounds good to you!
Generally true, but I use Chromes on everything, including (as relevant here) .013-056 on my Gibson L50 archtop. Wonderful sound. Mind you, Chromes make my Les Paul sound like an ES 175. My favorite strings.
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Old 01-30-2022, 04:00 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Quote:
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...Chromes make my Les Paul sound like an ES-175. My favorite strings.
Same here - I use them on all my electrics, 12's/13's for the jazzboxes (and paradoxically, my Rick 360/6) and 10's/11's for the rock/country guitars...

FWIW most players today don't realize that the LP was Les' attempt to make a jazz guitar that would sustain evenly along the entire length of the neck, with more clarity than either the electrified comp boxes or the dedicated first generation through the primitive amplification of the day, and substantially less bulk/weight than his "Log" - and IME it functions admirably in its intended role; a little anecdote:

About ten years ago I was working on a musical project with a nonagenarian WW II vet who attended our local church - went to his house with my LP Studio '60s Tribute P-90 goldtop (strung with Chromes flatwound 10's) and Tech 21 Trademark 10 amp in hand...

After greeting me he apologized for not mentioning that he had a guitar, and would have been happy to let me use it - I learned in my teens that when a card-carrying AARP member says "I've got a guitar..." it's worth at least a look...

Goes to his bedroom closet, pulls out an early-60's Sano 1x12" combo and a small, very heavy, well-kept, familiar-looking brown case: contents of latter being a rare early '58 darkback goldtop w/PAF's, in solid excellent-minus condition (very slight greening on the lower bass bout, all plastic parts/binding 100% original and intact, minimal finish checking, original nickel hardware heavily oxidized but not pitted/rusted, no nicks/chips/buckle rash/neck wear, original narrow frets in good condition, original electronics in perfect working order/pickup covers never removed), with a whole bunch of period case candy (picks, pitch pipe, skinny Bobby Lee strap, and two unopened boxes of '50s New Brunswick Black Diamond strings) - worth a very conservative $70-80K then, and I didn't hesitate to advise him of its value...

He hadn't played it in well over 40 years, still had a set of those bridge-cable Black Diamonds on it so it was essentially unplayable...

Next visit I set it up and restrung it with a set of Chromes flatwound 12's (as it would have come from the factory in '58), plugged it into his Sano amp, checked to see that everything was functional (it was, and the neck was no worse for wear - a testament to the high construction/materials standards of the day), and handed it over to him...

The almost childlike expression of joy on his face was priceless - even with the extended hiatus and arthritis in his left hand, he was able to execute a few barre chords and jazz riffs with no issues...

He passed a couple weeks short of his 100th birthday - as of this writing the instrument remains in possession of his family, as a justly treasured heirloom...
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