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  #1  
Old 01-07-2023, 07:46 PM
Quickstep192 Quickstep192 is offline
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Default String suggestions for Acoustic Archtop

I got my first Archtop and I'm looking forward to experimenting with strings at some point. I just love tinkering.

Any suggestions for strings for acoustic play? You know, bright but not brash, mellow, but not dull? Good sustain.

It would be nice to have a starting point.
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Old 01-07-2023, 09:14 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Start with a set of MM13 Martin Retro Monels - a modern-day iteration (lighter gauge/improved manufacturing techniques) of the strings favored by the Big Band-era compers - and work from there...
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Old 01-07-2023, 10:55 PM
Mandobart Mandobart is offline
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What guitar are you talking about? Acoustic? Acoustic/electric? I've liked Newtones, Martin retro monels, Ernie Ball aluminum bronze and Curt Mangan round core monels all in medium gage (13's) for my Eastman archtop.
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Old 01-12-2023, 11:05 AM
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Rob W Rob W is offline
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I like the Thomastik Swings. They’re a bit expensive but I really don’t change arch top strings that often.
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Old 01-12-2023, 02:17 PM
Howard Emerson Howard Emerson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quickstep192 View Post
I got my first Archtop and I'm looking forward to experimenting with strings at some point. I just love tinkering.

Any suggestions for strings for acoustic play? You know, bright but not brash, mellow, but not dull? Good sustain.

It would be nice to have a starting point.
Round wound strings will ring longer than flat wounds will, and being that it's acoustic I'll assume you're not looking for that typical magnetic archtop jazz tone.

Here's my archtop with D'Addario NB (nickel-bronze) light gauge (.012-.053) to give you a vague idea of what might be expected. The first video is from the day I put them on, 12/7/22 and the second is from 12/27/22. I've been playing it almost daily since.





Your mileage will vary, but it's indicative of how lively they're capable of being.

Best,
Howard Emerson
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Old 01-12-2023, 03:40 PM
Mike12 Mike12 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mandobart View Post
What guitar are you talking about? Acoustic? Acoustic/electric? I've liked Newtones, Martin retro monels, Ernie Ball aluminum bronze and Curt Mangan round core monels all in medium gage (13's) for my Eastman archtop.
Hi Mandobart, I have a medium set of Retro's but find the wrap does not reach the tuner on my Loar700. Is it ok to wrap the core wire around the tuner even though the wrap does not. It does however pass over the nut. Thank you, Mike

PLEASE IGNORE THIS POST. I HAVE MEASURED THE RETRO STRINGS AND THEY ARE LONG ENOUGH FOR THIS GUITAR.

Sorry if I have misled anyone. Mike

Last edited by Mike12; 01-12-2023 at 09:27 PM. Reason: Incorrect information
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Old 01-12-2023, 04:58 PM
rollypolly rollypolly is offline
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Mine came with flat wounds and I have really liked the tone from day one. It’s jazzier for sure. I’m gonna try monels soon.
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Old 01-21-2023, 10:54 PM
gregc gregc is offline
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I’m a fan of TI flat wounds on big box archtops. I have tried the nickel-bronze DAs on my parlor and do enjoy the tones. They last a pretty long time too. I might have to try them on the archtop. The TI flat wounds seem to last forever.
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Old 01-25-2023, 03:03 AM
rockabilly69 rockabilly69 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Howard Emerson View Post
Round wound strings will ring longer than flat wounds will, and being that it's acoustic I'll assume you're not looking for that typical magnetic archtop jazz tone.

Here's my archtop with D'Addario NB (nickel-bronze) light gauge (.012-.053)...
I've been using this exact set of strings on my 2001 Nick Lucas Reissue, they sound great acoustic, and they play well with magnetic pickups. I really liked them, so I just bought two more sets to try on my 1986 Guild X160 archtop.
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Old 02-20-2023, 06:00 AM
RJVB RJVB is offline
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If you play fingerstyle: Thomastik Spectrum or Plectrum; AC112 (brass-wounds with a flat-wound G) or SB112 (wound with some kind of bronze). A bit more expensive in the US but they last a long time. They also seem to use a finer wrap wire giving less fingernoise.
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Old 02-21-2023, 04:35 PM
fpuhan fpuhan is offline
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I'm a fan of Stringjoy, and their Foxwood line (coated phosphor/bronze) provides a good balance of tone between being too "jangly" and too "dark." I'd go for the 12/54 set, but they have lighter and heavier, and you can get custom sets, too.
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Old 03-27-2023, 09:06 PM
Athana Athana is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Howard Emerson View Post
Round wound strings will ring longer than flat wounds will, and being that it's acoustic I'll assume you're not looking for that typical magnetic archtop jazz tone.

Here's my archtop with D'Addario NB (nickel-bronze) light gauge (.012-.053) to give you a vague idea of what might be expected. The first video is from the day I put them on, 12/7/22 and the second is from 12/27/22. I've been playing it almost daily since.





Your mileage will vary, but it's indicative of how lively they're capable of being.

Best,
Howard Emerson
Really nice tune thanks
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Old 04-04-2023, 07:14 AM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is offline
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I have been using D'addario Nickel Bronze for a couple of years on my purely acoustic archtops (Gibson L4, Harmony Monterey, and Eastman AR805).
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  #14  
Old 04-04-2023, 11:03 AM
RLetson RLetson is offline
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Depends on the guitar, I would think, along with whatever one's ears and fingers vote for. To my ears, my 1946 Epiphone Broadway likes a fairly heavy set (though my fingers are getting to prefer mediums rather than an .058 set), and if it were acoustic-only, I would stick to phosphor bronze. But since it gets played amplified more often these days, it's Thomastik BeBops, which have decent acoustic sound and last a long time. Same compromise goes for my X-braced Eastman 805, though it's currently operating amplified-only with Galli tape-wounds. (Very muffled acoustic sound.)

My general observation is that a too-light set will sound thin and twangy, which is not my idea of an acoustic-archtop voice. On the other hand, less-than-mediums might drive a light-built modern archtop acceptably, and probably will sound fine amplified. And I've never liked the sound of flatwounds, even amplified, but as someone who came up not as an electric player, I may be in the minority about that.
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Old 04-05-2023, 01:32 AM
stevo58 stevo58 is offline
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I used Retro mediums on my Epi Devon, but my local shop strongly recommended the D’A NBs, so they’re going on next.

I did find out there’s no disadvantage if the wrap on the D string doesn’t make it to the tuner, as happens with a Frequensator. Not relevant here, but I had a strong need to get that out.
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