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  #1  
Old 09-12-2019, 07:10 AM
radiofm74 radiofm74 is offline
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Default OK to swap in heavier high E string in vintage Höfner?

Dear all,

I have a lovely ‘50s Höfner archtop. The neck is fairly big, no truss-rod.
I use VHS vintage bronze, .12-.54 but today at string change I put in a .14 high E. Do you think this might entail some dangers for the neck?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 09-12-2019, 07:20 AM
redir redir is offline
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I've seen only a few old Hofner arch tops but they were built like tanks. Of course every guitar is different and has had it's own unique history. But you should keep an eye on it.
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Old 09-12-2019, 07:21 AM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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Just watch what the neck does, but it really shouldn’t be any problem. The guitar probably had considerably heavier strings on it originally.


whm
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Old 09-12-2019, 07:39 AM
hat hat is online now
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somewhat related: I was watching some Mark O'Connor videos and read this blurb on one of them that he had posted:
"I fell in love with my new John Baxendale guitar - a beast of a box. Man I love that dreadnought sound! It is strung with the heaviest guage of strings available from D'Addario (0.14 thru 0.59). And this heavy, thick pick from Blue Chip, is the weight #55, it can't bend and can really produce tone."

I'll bet he's got one heck of a handshake!
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Old 09-12-2019, 03:49 PM
radiofm74 radiofm74 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wade Hampton View Post
Just watch what the neck does, but it really shouldn’t be any problem. The guitar probably had considerably heavier strings on it originally.


whm
Yeah, I’m sure it had heavy strings out of the factory. They called them “Schlaggitarren” (how to translate that … “bash guitars”?) and I can see why since I play in a big band ;P

I am not worried by the gauge per se. I guess the thing that worries me is somehow upsetting the supposedly perfect balance of the string set by swapping a heavier one at one extreme, and thus subjecting the neck to an asymmetrical pull that could do damage. I’m almost sure it’s silly… and I’m sure some knowledgeable member can take away the “almost” (or persuade me to put a .12 back there!). It’s a guitar I love quite a lot.
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Old 09-12-2019, 04:44 PM
tomiv9 tomiv9 is offline
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Dont worry about uneven tension, If anything your evening it. Bass strings usually have slightly more tension than the trebles. Daddario has charts you could look at for reference, but I'm guessing your only adding a few pounds of tension.
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Old 09-13-2019, 03:00 AM
radiofm74 radiofm74 is offline
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Thanks a lot gentlemen!
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Old 09-13-2019, 04:46 AM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by radiofm74 View Post
Dear all,

I have a lovely ‘50s Höfner archtop. The neck is fairly big, no truss-rod.
I use VHS vintage bronze, .12-.54 but today at string change I put in a .14 high E. Do you think this might entail some dangers for the neck?

Thanks in advance!
Hi, not sure why you would put a 14 on it - assuming its just the one string not a heavy gauge ? No worries.

I put medium gauge on all my archtops. (56-13)

Incidentally a 12 on a 25" scale is about 24.7 lbs tension, and a 14 would be 33.6lbs i.e about an extra 9 lbs give or take.
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Old 09-13-2019, 05:03 AM
radiofm74 radiofm74 is offline
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Thanks for the reply. As to why, I am embarrassed to say that I could not have the .12 string from the pack hold firm on the tuning peg for the life of me. So I grabbed the first string that came within reach (a .14) just to test locking methods on a fresh one. Not only it stayed in tune better, but then I noticed that there was even a slight improvement in string-to-string balance through the DeArmond pickup fitted on that guitar.
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Old 09-15-2019, 12:32 PM
MC5C MC5C is offline
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Mid 50's hofners have a few issues, but neck strength is not notably one of them. I strongly suspect they have a steel truss rod buried in there. They do have a plain tenon neck joint is is quite prone to quietly slipping and sliding away, under string tension, so the only remedy is a simple neck reset. Mine was done 35 years ago. The other issue is hydrogen embrittlement in the chromed Frequensator tailpiece lets the string hook break off, PITA and almost impossible to repair. I have a 1957 Hofner Senator.
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