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Old 03-03-2019, 08:14 PM
gerardo1000 gerardo1000 is offline
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Default Best strings for Loar LH-600 played acoustic only.

I bought a pre-owned Loar LH-600 and I wonder which strings you suggest.
I do not want to sound like a flat top (it defeats the purpose) but on the other hand I wonder if electric nickel strings are the right ones if you only play unplugged? I realize that there are other tools to "respect" the soul of an archtop, for example the plectrum gauge and its shape. But still, I believe that the strings choice is very important.
So, my ideal strings for this guitar would be strings that do not try to modify the "spirit" of the instrument, but also that can be balanced and loud enough when I play acoustically.
Any suggestions? Thank you !
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Old 03-03-2019, 09:50 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gerardo1000 View Post
I bought a pre-owned Loar LH-600 and I wonder which strings you suggest...my ideal strings for this guitar would be strings that do not try to modify the "spirit" of the instrument, but also that can be balanced and loud enough when I play acoustically...
Given your criteria I'd recommend the Martin Retro Monel MM13 set (13-56), about as Jazz-Age period-accurate as you're going to get in a modern string; a couple points based on my own experience:
  • The forces that drive the top of an archtop guitar are more akin to a "piston" motion than the torsional forces exerted on a flattop; as such, you'll need a heavier string in general than you might be accustomed to using on your other acoustics - I personally wouldn't go any lighter than mediums on this guitar...
  • While monel strings exert more tension than the typical PB/80-20 acoustic set (approximately ten pounds more for a medium-gauge set - exactly what you need on an archtop guitar) they have the paradoxical benefit of feeling "slinkier" and lighter to the touch; until discovering them a couple years ago I used to set up all my acoustic archtops with PB 14's - loads of tension/power to drive the top for unamplified comping, but rough on the fingers by the time that third set rolls around...
  • Whatever you do, don't judge their tonal potential until you've played them in for a week or two; FWIW monels settle in somewhat differently, revealing a warm, woody tone with strong fundamentals and less-brash overtones than copper-based wrappings - which IME makes it easier to, in the lingo of the old '30s/40s Big Band guitarists, "coax the velvet out"...
  • In the event you decide monels are not to your liking, stay with a strictly acoustic string of appropriate gauge; unless you're going to hang a DeArmond pickup for amplified use the typical nickel-plated electric strings aren't the best choice (I've heard some guys had good results with pure nickel wrap - not too easy to find in the proper gauge, though), and as sweet as flatwounds can sound on an ES-175 or L-5CES, they'll kill nearly all of your acoustic response (Hint: if you like a flatwound-style feel D'Addario Flat Tops - also a higher-tension string by nature - might be a good choice)...
Good luck...
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Old 03-04-2019, 10:57 AM
gerardo1000 gerardo1000 is offline
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Thank you so much for your answer, Steve ! I ordered a couple of set of Martin retro, as you suggest. What do you think of D'Addario half-round stainless steel ? They are supposed to be electric guitar strings but I see that many forum members use them also for acoustic purposes. They are available in medium gauge (23-16). Do you have any experience with them ? Thanks again.
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Old 03-04-2019, 10:59 AM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is offline
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Monels or 80/20's.

If you go 80/20, give them a good hard few days of play...they'll start off ear splitting bright, but then they'll mellow out in a way phosphor bronze never does.
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Old 03-04-2019, 12:06 PM
Realbluesman Realbluesman is offline
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I had a Loar LH-300 for a while and it loved GHS white bronze 13's.
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Old 03-04-2019, 12:32 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gerardo1000 View Post
...What do you think of D'Addario half-round stainless steel? They are supposed to be electric guitar strings but I see that many forum members use them also for acoustic purposes...Do you have any experience with them?...
I have loads of experience with them; back in the '70s-80s the HR350 set (12-52) was my go-to on my Hagstrom Swede, first-run Gibson '61 SG reissue, and '86 Fender/Squier Strat - until I sold the former two and rediscovered the "Strats-&-flats" tone all the surfer dudes consider the Holy Grail in the latter. Although I've used flats almost exclusively on electric for the last 30 years, I still keep a few sets around for when I need a bit of extra brightness for a particular gig (e.g. if we're doing mostly country/country-rock)...

In terms of acoustic guitar use I have an old Carlo Robelli J-45 knockoff set up with a Guitar Fetish dual-source (mag PU/condenser mic) system and the aforementioned Martin monels, that used to serve as my classroom guitar and currently does backup/bad-part-of-town open mic duty...

Our band was recently booked to be the closing act in a Beatles tribute show, and I needed something that had the general tonal vibe of a Gibson J-160 circa 1965, without investing in another guitar that will admittedly see very limited use...

I restrung it with D'A EHR350 Half-Rounds...

Let's just say it definitely has "that" sound - whether or not you like "that" sound is strictly a matter of preference - and I won't vouch for the results on an archtop...
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Old 03-04-2019, 11:55 PM
tdq tdq is offline
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I have a Loar LH700 and really like the Martin Monels, 13s. Currently I have some flatwounds (cant remember the brand) which are great too but it's quite different. In a pinch I'd go the Monels.

Might have to try some 80/20s next....
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