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  #1  
Old 05-09-2016, 09:34 AM
MC5C MC5C is offline
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Default yet again, question on strings... :(

So I am playing in the archtop I finished a month or so ago, and trying different strings. This is my first all solid wood fully acoustic archtop, and I am trying to balance the sound and tone across the strings. I've been playing on a set of Elixir coated .012 - .053's, and just swapped them for Martin Bluegrass, which are .012 - .056, kind of light top medium bottoms. The guitar instantly felt really flat, the strings seemed stiff as boards, the action seemed way too high (hadn't changed) and it had no life. Exactly the opposite of what I was hoping for, obviously. Felt as though the added tension was binding up the top so it couldn't vibrate. Rather than just rip the strings off (no other set handy) I tuned it down to D. Boom, instant change, big bass sound, mellow and rich again, strings did not feel nearly as stiff.

So I don't know what to try next. Love the larger sound, should I leave it tuned to DGCFAD, should I figure out what the tension of these strings are down a tone and find some strings with similar tension tuned normally? Should I ditch the 80/20 bronze and try something else? Is there a Martin tension chart?

Brian
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Brian Evans
1935 Dobro model 25 resonator
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1946 Epiphone Zephyr electric archtop
1957 Hofner Senator archtop
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  #2  
Old 05-22-2016, 04:53 AM
Jabberwocky Jabberwocky is offline
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Thomastik-Infeld Jazz Swing JZ112 (50-12 Flat) or JZ113 (53-13 Flat). Thomastik-Infeld Bebop BB113 (53-13 Round). The T-I Bebop BB112 (50-12 Round) has a plain steel G.

Thomastik-Infeld George Benson GR112 (53-12 Round), GB112 (53-12 Flat). Beacoup bucks, twice the cost of the BeBop and Swing.

If you like the Elixir 53-12, you could take any of the T-I 53-13 sets and replace the 13, 17 with any plain steel 12, 16.

These T-I sets measure about 151 pounds total tension at A440 over 25.5" scale length. You can find a tension chart online.
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Old 05-22-2016, 07:09 AM
MC5C MC5C is offline
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I ended up trying some D'Addario Chromes, flat-wound three layer stainless steel over carbon steel. I felt that it was the tension that was making the difference and I calculated out the tension difference from tuning down a full step with the D'Addario chart. The Martin bluegrass set tension went from 174 lbs to 138 lbs. I spent a while in the music store a few days ago and found the closest set to the down-tuned Martins was the D'Addario Chromes in .011 - .050, with set tension of 137 lbs and quite balanced through the set. But flat-wound steel strings on an acoustic archtop? I was sceptical. So I tried them. What a difference! They are warm, bright, clear, great tone, decent volume (the Martin Bluegrass tuned down to D was stupid loud, so I know what I need to do if I ever go to an aggressive jam session. It blew my resonator away, volume wise). And they feel great under the fingers. I'll see what I think after a week or two, but for now I may have found the strings for this guitar.
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Brian Evans
1935 Dobro model 25 resonator
1943 Paramount (made by Kay) mandolin
1946 Epiphone Zephyr electric archtop
1957 Hofner Senator archtop
1962 Gibson Melody Maker electric
1963 National Dynamic lap steel
1996 Landola jumbo
1998 Godin Artisan TC electric
1998 Epiphone SG electric
2010 GoldTone PBR-CA resonator
2015 Evans electric archtop
2016 Evans archtop
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  #4  
Old 05-23-2016, 05:09 AM
cmajor9 cmajor9 is offline
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I don't know why you'd use nickel or steel flatwound strings on a solid top acoustic archtop. These are really meant for playing electrically, and won't bring out the full acoustic sound. What I'd suggest is that you try some lower-tension bronze strings, such as Thomastik Plectrums or Newtone Master Class strings. The same gauge will have less tension that the others you've tried. If you're looking for a string to use both acoustic and electric, you might try the Martin Monels.
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  #5  
Old 05-23-2016, 08:43 PM
tdq tdq is offline
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FWIW I've been using Martin Models 0.013s on my acoustic archtop and am pretty happy with them. I may try something else eventually but that's just as I like to mix it up once in a while.
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  #6  
Old 05-24-2016, 07:57 AM
Driver8 Driver8 is offline
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Might I suggest you try John Pearse New Medium PB's.
They have 13 & 17 on the top & a heavier low E, but the middle three are as normal light gauge sets.
They work very well on my acoustic L5, lovely tone & last well.
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