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  #31  
Old 12-07-2020, 04:50 PM
Earl49 Earl49 is offline
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I have some bluegrass sets too, both D'Addarios and Elixirs. I put mediums (56-13) on it Saturday morning in an attempt to drive the top harder. The guitar got noticeably louder but I'm not sure that helped the tonal balance any. More play time tonight.....

The intonation of the low strings got noticeably worse with the 56's. The pinless bridge means that heavier strings don't bend over the saddle as well as light gauge. I usually put a bend on the low E and sometimes low A when using bridge pins, but that is harder to do with the pinless bridge. Because of the 45 entry angle, you almost have to (somehow) put the bend in after the ball end is seated, then the available space is quite limited.
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  #32  
Old 12-07-2020, 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Earl49 View Post
The intonation of the low strings got noticeably worse with the 56's. The pinless bridge means that heavier strings don't bend over the saddle as well as light gauge. I usually put a bend on the low E and sometimes low A when using bridge pins, but that is harder to do with the pinless bridge. Because of the 45 entry angle, you almost have to (somehow) put the bend in after the ball end is seated, then the available space is quite limited.
The intonation can’t be affected by anything happening behind the saddle. It’s pretty much set by nut and saddle position, and how well the frets are placed, all of which is independent of string gauge.

Nut slots might need some tweaking with a drastic change in string gauge, and if you’re super-sensitive to such things, the saddle compensation might need some fiddling, but it doesn’t have anything to do with what’s going on with pins vs. pinless.

Just my NMNSHO
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Last edited by eatswodo; 12-07-2020 at 09:49 PM.
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  #33  
Old 12-07-2020, 08:48 PM
Aspiring Aspiring is offline
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Right I was finding that the heavier bass on the bluegrass particularly in the short scale instruments added some warmth to the tone but obviously would have the same issues as the full medium for the heavier strings with how they sit.
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Originally Posted by Earl49 View Post
I have some bluegrass sets too, both D'Addarios and Elixirs. I put mediums (56-13) on it Saturday morning in an attempt to drive the top harder. The guitar got noticeably louder but I'm not sure that helped the tonal balance any. More play time tonight.....

The intonation of the low strings got noticeably worse with the 56's. The pinless bridge means that heavier strings don't bend over the saddle as well as light gauge. I usually put a bend on the low E and sometimes low A when using bridge pins, but that is harder to do with the pinless bridge. Because of the 45 entry angle, you almost have to (somehow) put the bend in after the ball end is seated, then the available space is quite limited.
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  #34  
Old 12-08-2020, 10:27 AM
Earl49 Earl49 is offline
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The intonation can’t be affected by anything happening behind the saddle. It’s pretty much set by nut and saddle position, and how well the frets are placed, all of which is independent of string gauge.
Agree... in principle. The heavier and stiffer 56 gauge string wants to bend around the saddle rather than bend over it more sharply at a set point. There also seems to be a little less setback between the saddle and the hole on the pinless bridge. Regardless of theory, intonation is noticeably worse on the bass side. I have to tune the sixth string down about 8 cents to get a fretted G or A note to sound in tune. The fifth string need 4-5 cents of sweetening. The open strings are then far enough out that they no longer sound in tune. I will probably avoid mediums going forward and stick with only lights. But I have not yet tried any of my my mixed gauge bluegrass sets. At some point I might try a mid-gauge set (55-12.5) but those are harder to find.

I have accepted that this guitar will need its own dedicated string type, once I figure out what that is. And the nut slots definitely need some tweaking for best play. Medium gauge strings made that very clear.
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  #35  
Old 12-08-2020, 10:46 AM
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Regardless of theory, intonation is noticeably worse on the bass side. I have to tune the sixth string down about 8 cents to get a fretted G or A note to sound in tune. The fifth string need 4-5 cents of sweetening.
That would suggest that the problem lies primarily at the nut...

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And the nut slots definitely need some tweaking for best play. Medium gauge strings made that very clear.
...as you have surmised

Good luck with the search for suitable strings!
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  #36  
Old 12-08-2020, 07:38 PM
Racerbob Racerbob is offline
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Default Couple of points

1. Flat wounds are defiantly worth trying and they will be the quietest strings you ever played. They are often used when recording for the very reasons you are talking about.

2. String gauge is absolutely involved in intonation. The tension is an important part of the equation, not just the string length. When having a guitar done the strings intended for use should be used. Any experienced setup tech is will want to know the brand of strings and gauges. Even the same gauge can have different tension from manufacturer to another.
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  #37  
Old 12-09-2020, 01:43 PM
Earl49 Earl49 is offline
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That would suggest that the problem lies primarily at the nut... as you have surmised
I wanted to try some medium gauge strings to better load the top with more tension before tackling any setup mods. Diagnostic rule #1: only change one variable at a time. But the nut definitely needs some work.... and I can do that.
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  #38  
Old 12-11-2020, 08:01 AM
al_az al_az is offline
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Earl
I went the opposite direction to you with string experiments. I have played guitar now for 40 + years, until 8 years ago exclusively electric, I have always used 10's on the electrics. I initially played 12's on all my acoustics but over the past several years I have moved to lower tension strings, my hands are older. All my other guitars have 11-47 martin silk and phosphor on them. I tried D'Addario nickel bronze 11-52 but when listening to recordings I made (with a thumb pick and fingers, fingerstyle) I need to eq out the bass. I put on a set of 10-47 nickel-bronze last night, never have I used 10's on an acoustic before. Must say, easy to play, excellent balance on my recordings, no need to EQ. I guess I am now an old wuss.
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  #39  
Old 12-11-2020, 11:20 AM
Earl49 Earl49 is offline
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Al, for better or worse (worse for fret wear) I have very strong hands. Maybe this is why I've never bonded with electric guitar -- the ultra light tension just does not work for me and I need some resistance. Even my T5 has acoustic light strings on it. I also play in several lowered tunings, which leads me toward medium or bluegrass gauge strings to maintain decent playing tension. But I also frequently use light (53-12) too depending on the specific guitar and its use.

I'm about done with this set of White Bronze mediums, so I have to choose the next set to install tomorrow. That will include some nut adjustments for better playability.
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  #40  
Old 12-27-2020, 10:58 AM
domen domen is offline
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As I wrote to you in another thread I follow your situation carefully as I ordered an X20 with an even shorter scale than yours. The possibility of receiving a guitar with a sound similar to what you describe is high. I found myself, last year, in a similar situation (the search for suitable strings for a too bright instrument). I've only been able to play a Taylor GS Mini for a while and I immediately appreciated the short scale of this little guitar. but despite having more volume than I expected, unfortunately it immediately seemed too full of mid-highs, bell-like dingling and dangling. Of course I can't ask a GS Mini to be what it isn't but I immediately thought that combined with the right strings it would still give me satisfaction. So it was...really...
Inevitably, my choice fell on those defined 'low tension' strings and among these the round cores have advantages over the exa cores. I prefer fingerpicking rather than strum and I'll tell you right away that the strings that totally transformed the GS Mini giving it a mellow sound with clear and precise notes are the Thomastik Infeld Plectrum. Handmade austrian strings and unfortunately expensive but, living in Europe, I can find them easily. The peculiarity is that (depending on the kit's gauge) they have some flat wound strings rather than round wounds. I became addicted to these strings. They certainly don't have same volume and projection of the Elixir (the strings furthest away from what I'm looking for) but they are so precise, clean and pleasant under the fingers, and they are not mute at all! When you record yourself they are perfect. if your fingers are not particularly corrosive they last much longer than I expected, even a few months without deteriorating at all, as if they had a coating which, however, they haven't. They last much more than the others tested which after a few weeks lose their brilliance and precision. Before arriving at the Plectrums, and after the Elixirs, I tried the Martin Silk and Steel and found them deaf and poorly balanced in gauge between strings. A little better but not pleasant also the Silk and Phosphor, also by Martin. The DR Sunbeams and especially the handmade Newtone Heritage sounds very good, certainly less clattering and much cleaner than the Elixirs, they improved the situation but didn't have that mellow sound I was looking for. I'll try the Monel next time but I assure you that Thomastik Infeld Plectrums worth everything they cost.

Last edited by domen; 12-27-2020 at 11:42 AM.
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  #41  
Old 12-27-2020, 04:18 PM
Earl49 Earl49 is offline
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I appreciate the recommendation, Domen. The next set up to try will be D'Addarrio EFT-16 flat wounds, then I will try the TI's. They are available in the US but must be mail ordered. And at $26 a set plus shipping instead of $7 at my local store they are considerably more expensive. I also have some Straight Up Strings low-tension and mid-tension sets already en route that others here have suggested. I have even pondered a ball-end nylon set (can't get any mellower tone than that) but nylons require making a new nut. The old nut is glued in firmly enough that I cannot remove it safely. I've tapped on it with a wood block as hard as I dare - at least until I get further advice from Kevin after January 4th. I begin to wonder if it is attached using copious amounts of Super Glue.....

Wearing GHS Silk & Bronze for the past week has tamed the harshness to a degree, but not fully. I'm coming to the conclusion that the new X20 is so much brighter because they changed the layup or materials on the top versus past years, but I have no idea what exactly is different. The new one isn't bad for bare nails finger picking now, but strumming.... still not so good. The brightness does not seem to have anything directly to do with scale length. The harsh / bright issue does not exist on either X7, which are 24" scale. On the original X20, I have used a capo at the first fret and tuned down to Eb yielding nearly the same scale length (24.2" vs 24.6") and almost identical string tension, yet the richer tone of the older guitar still shines through.

Good luck with yours. In a way, it is unfortunate that I have other Emerald guitars to compare against.
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  #42  
Old 12-27-2020, 05:02 PM
Villamarzia Villamarzia is offline
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Nylons, even if at extra high tension, wont drive the top enough. The suggested Plectrums are excellent and approx 25% less tension then normal strings at identical gauge. If you go with Plectrum, Id probably try .13s if you can deal with the .61 low E.. they are probably on par with .11s tension wise.. but overall I tend to think it is a saddle issue and strings might not be the ultimate solution to the problem.
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  #43  
Old 12-28-2020, 01:35 PM
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Let me weigh in with a bunch of others: On my Shorty, I have tried many different types and gauges and have found that the Martin retros (.11s) are the ones I favor most in terms of reducing some of the brightness. OTOH, I find that the best strings for my Emerald X7 are good old PB mediums, so YMMV.
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  #44  
Old 12-28-2020, 07:50 PM
PeterM PeterM is offline
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Whatever flavor of Elixir strings Rainsongs ship with.
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  #45  
Old 12-30-2020, 01:51 PM
Earl49 Earl49 is offline
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Originally Posted by Villamarzia View Post
Nylons, even if at extra high tension, won’t drive the top enough. The suggested Plectrums are excellent and approx 25% less tension then normal strings at identical gauge. If you go with Plectrum, I’d probably try .13s if you can deal with the .61 low E.. they are probably on par with .11s tension wise.. but overall I tend to think it is a saddle issue and strings might not be the ultimate solution to the problem.
Out of growing desperation, I was half-joking about nylons. I am not worried about volume or projection or the total tension, only the tone character. In another post about Byudzai's three-way comparison video, Steelvibe just aptly described the new X20 tone as having an "edge" above and beyond modern Taylor voicing -- I have to agree with that assessment. The TI Plectrum's have not yet arrived, nor the SUS strings that I also ordered. There are also a half dozen other string types waiting their turn. This new guitar has had more string changes in a few weeks than most of mine get in a year.

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Whatever flavor of Elixir strings Rainsongs ship with.
Since my new guitar is on its fifth set of strings in seven weeks, I am saving the more expensive Elixir's Polywebs as a last-ditch experiment. It is doubtful they will adequately address my tone problem. Polyweb's are usually saved for recording sessions to cut down on finger squeak. IIRC Rainsong now ships with Nanoweb strings, but my last Rainsong purchase was in 2005.
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