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  #1  
Old 04-27-2018, 02:22 PM
Rgrice Rgrice is offline
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Default Archtop Strings

New to Archtop world and need recommendations for strings. I play a Dupont MD30 in a Gypsy band using Argentine 11s. I like Pyramid Flatwound 12s (or at least Nickel Rocker 11s) on my 65 Gretsch. I use a bunch of different strings on my Martin but usually keep them to 12sójust got some silk and steel that I havenít tried yet.
I just got an Eastman 610 that Iíll use for mostly Americana ala David Rawlings sound, some country, and swing. It will have a Dearmond single coil and a K&K Definity, neither of which will be used all the time as we use Ear Trumpet condensers some. When I do amplify, I will switch between using the pickups by themselves or blended in a two channel Fishman Loudbox.
Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
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  #2  
Old 04-28-2018, 06:57 PM
Mandobart Mandobart is offline
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I just switched from Newtone 13's to Martin Retro Monel 13's. I really like the monels.
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  #3  
Old 04-28-2018, 07:53 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Another vote for the Martin Monels - got an Eastman 610 on my own (very) short list, BTW...
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  #4  
Old 05-02-2018, 09:30 AM
Rgrice Rgrice is offline
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13s aren't too tough? I play Gypsy Jazz and use 11s! 12s on my flattop.
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  #5  
Old 05-02-2018, 03:39 PM
Hobo_King Hobo_King is offline
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Martin Monels here as well. I use them on my 48 Epiphone Blackstone and my 1920 Gibson L3. I have a D'Armond guitar mic on the Epiphone and they sound good plugged in as well.
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  #6  
Old 05-02-2018, 04:28 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rgrice View Post
13s aren't too tough? I play Gypsy Jazz and use 11s! 12s on my flattop.
While light-gauge strings are de rigeur for Gypsy-jazz guitars, traditional comp boxes like your Eastman 610 generally require a heavier string to adequately drive the top. FWIW, back in their '30s-40s heyday a 13-56 set would have been considered light gauge; 14-60 was standard issue, 15-62/15-64 was the go-to among many Big Band rhythm players, wound B strings were commonplace (the New York Epiphone factory would set up your new Triumph/Broadway/Deluxe/Emperor specifically for wound B upon request), and '20s virtuoso Eddie Lang was known to use a .076 mandocello string for his low E. Not to worry - as long as the neck geometry is correct the action can be easily adjusted, and in spite of their higher tension vis-a-vis same-gauge 80/20 or phosphor bronze strings the Monels have a smoother, slinkier feel; in addition, these were the type of strings used by those guitarists who did double-duty, by converting their comp boxes for electrified use with a DeArmond pickup - if you're after that authentic Big Band-era tonal vibe a set of Monels will deliver...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hobo_King View Post
Martin Monels here as well. I use them on my '48 Epiphone Blackstone...
FYI you've got one of the last ones - I had a '46 back in the '80s, that I traded on a script-logo/very early A-Series '47 L-7 - as they were dropped from the catalog in '49; used to use D'A EJ19 PB heavies - sorry they didn't make the Monels back then...
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Last edited by Steve DeRosa; 05-03-2018 at 02:08 PM. Reason: typo
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  #7  
Old 05-03-2018, 11:27 AM
Rgrice Rgrice is offline
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Default Thanks, all!

I settled on 12 Thomastik for now and bought Monels in 12 and 13. The Thomastiks feel great and I could likely go up to a 13. Pricey tho. I'll try the Monels after these wear out--according to most, they have a pretty good lifespan. I've heard they don't last quite as long, but the price is right.

Was initially after a '38 Epi Triumph in town but the guy decided not to sell. After searching Reverb and other places, I actually decided to go modern. I felt that being unable to actually play a vintage box was not the route I wanted to follow, tho I prefer vintage.
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  #8  
Old 05-03-2018, 12:10 PM
kayakman kayakman is offline
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+1 for Martin Retro`s, have those on my Campellone, and D Addarrio 13s on my 38 L5..
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  #9  
Old 05-04-2018, 06:11 AM
Rgrice Rgrice is offline
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Default Retros

How are those retros on a Flattop?
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  #10  
Old 05-11-2018, 03:55 PM
hatefulsob hatefulsob is offline
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Thatís true but guitar players were not playing in the 30ís, 40ís anything like what they routinely play now. If youíre only chunkiní shell voicings a .14 or 15ís set on a purely acoustic would be fine. No reason to hinder yourself playing melodies and solos with such stiff strings. Martino uses 15-16 or 16-17 on his high strings with a ďnormal ď set below because he picks so hard that he breaks 12ís and 13ís.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve DeRosa View Post
While light-gauge strings are de rigeur for Gypsy-jazz guitars, traditional comp boxes like your Eastman 610 generally require a heavier string to adequately drive the top. FWIW, back in their '30s-40s heyday a 13-56 set would have been considered light gauge; 14-60 was standard issue, 15-62/15-64 was the go-to among many Big Band rhythm players, wound B strings were commonplace (the New York Epiphone factory would set up your new Triumph/Broadway/Deluxe/Emperor specifically for wound B upon request), and '20s virtuoso Eddie Lang was known to use a .076 mandocello string for his low E. Not to worry - as long as the neck geometry is correct the action can be easily adjusted, and in spite of their higher tension vis-a-vis same-gauge 80/20 or phosphor bronze strings the Monels have a smoother, slinkier feel; in addition, these were the type of strings used by those guitarists who did double-duty, by converting their comp boxes for electrified use with a DeArmond pickup - if you're after that authentic Big Band-era tonal vibe a set of Monels will deliver...


FYI you've got one of the last ones - I had a '46 back in the '80s, that I traded on a script-logo/very early A-Series '47 L-7 - as they were dropped from the catalog in '49; used to use D'A EJ19 PB heavies - sorry they didn't make the Monels back then...
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  #11  
Old 05-11-2018, 04:00 PM
Big Band Guitar Big Band Guitar is offline
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I have a Eastman 610 and use 13-56
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  #12  
Old 05-16-2018, 01:36 PM
campusfive campusfive is offline
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I haven't been able to find examples of vintage 20's-40's strings that are actually that big, and I've been looking.

Considering you need significant acoustic projection (for the ear trumpet), but need to maintain the possibility of playing electric without a massive imbalance problem, it's seems like Monel would be ideal. Martin Retro are the only production monel roundwound strings. (Flats weren't common until the mid 50's, and generally neuter the acoustic projection of a guitar).

Besides being the dominant string metal during the early and mid 30's, Monel strings still sound and project like "acoustic" strings, but are much better balanced since they are closer to what we think of as nickel "electric" strings. Bronze started to take over in the mid to late 30's since it has increased projection and fullness. My 1937 ES-150 would have shipped with Gibson Mona-Steel strings.

I love the sound of monel on my '32 L-5 (which would have shipped with monel as well), but I generally keep Martin SP 80/20 on it because I need the increased projection. Oh, and Martin SP's a really reasonably priced, and I like keeping fresh strings on my guitars to maximize projection and acoustic response.

As far as gauges, some guitars don't really benefit from strings larger than 12's, but it depends how lightly built they are. An Eastman 610 would probably benefit from 13's, but you could try 12's. But +1 for bumping up the gauges of the high E and B. I use a 14/18 with a set of either 12's or 13's depending on the guitar. I find they balance much better acoustically.
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  #13  
Old 05-16-2018, 09:55 PM
tdq tdq is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rgrice View Post
How are those retros on a Flattop?
I use retros on my Loar archtop and find it a good match. I tried some on a couple of flattops and it didn't work at all (A Composite Acoustics and a Recording King) - but if you search over on the main forum you'll find those that love them. I suspect it's a guitar by guitar basis.
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  #14  
Old 05-17-2018, 04:20 PM
Wyllys Wyllys is offline
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I settled on D'Addario Half Rounds for my Loar. Very pleased.
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  #15  
Old 05-24-2018, 08:58 AM
Rgrice Rgrice is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by campusfive View Post
I haven't been able to find examples of vintage 20's-40's strings that are actually that big, and I've been looking.

Considering you need significant acoustic projection (for the ear trumpet), but need to maintain the possibility of playing electric without a massive imbalance problem, it's seems like Monel would be ideal. Martin Retro are the only production monel roundwound strings. (Flats weren't common until the mid 50's, and generally neuter the acoustic projection of a guitar).

Besides being the dominant string metal during the early and mid 30's, Monel strings still sound and project like "acoustic" strings, but are much better balanced since they are closer to what we think of as nickel "electric" strings. Bronze started to take over in the mid to late 30's since it has increased projection and fullness. My 1937 ES-150 would have shipped with Gibson Mona-Steel strings.

I love the sound of monel on my '32 L-5 (which would have shipped with monel as well), but I generally keep Martin SP 80/20 on it because I need the increased projection. Oh, and Martin SP's a really reasonably priced, and I like keeping fresh strings on my guitars to maximize projection and acoustic response.

As far as gauges, some guitars don't really benefit from strings larger than 12's, but it depends how lightly built they are. An Eastman 610 would probably benefit from 13's, but you could try 12's. But +1 for bumping up the gauges of the high E and B. I use a 14/18 with a set of either 12's or 13's depending on the guitar. I find they balance much better acoustically.

Thanks, man!

I played a gig with Thomastik 12's with Ear Trumpet and a small condenser for guitar. With dobro, fiddle, and bass, I didn't really have enough volume. I ended up plugging in. Unless it's a "concert" type situation, which for my band is pretty unlikely, I don't think we'll be going the total acoustic route. Volume won't be a real issue now.

I did buy monels in 12 and 13 and put the 12s on my Martin. They sound and feel great!

The Dearmond sounded really nice so I don't think I'll add a piezo or contact pickup. It's obviously not entirely acoustic, but I've been through the whole" not sounding acoustic" thing in my gypsy jazz band and settled for the Peche a la Mouche single coil.

There is some degree of rattling going on since adding after-market Dearmond and pickguard with volume pot that I can't locate! It drives me crazy. Took it to a tech and he acted like I was crazy!
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