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  #1  
Old 12-07-2017, 09:52 AM
Matt G Matt G is offline
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Default Light strings with .13 & .17 high strings

I just discovered these Elixers with light bottoms and medium tops:

Elixer HD Light

Gauges 013, .017, .025, .032, .042, .053

Is anyone aware of other strings with similar guages? The reason I'm looking is that on a 25" scale, light guages on the high strings get pretty wobbly in lower tunings, and these .13 and .17s would fix that for me.

Thanks!
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Old 12-07-2017, 09:55 AM
Earl49 Earl49 is offline
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Those Elixir HD Lights are the most likely suspect. I actually use mediums (56-13) most of the time when I need to tune down in the alternate slack-key tunings I use.

If you want to experiment, buy a set of lights and a set of mediums, and swap the appropriate gauges. You end up with essentially one HD Light set and a "bluegrass" or medium-light set.
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Old 12-07-2017, 10:00 AM
RodB RodB is offline
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If you want (or don't mind) a heavier 6th string as well, I can think of D'addario EJ24 'True Mediums' and if you want coated Wyres 'Pierre Bensusan' DADGAD...
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Old 12-07-2017, 10:05 AM
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vindibona1 vindibona1 is offline
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I'm not aware of any over the counter strings that offer light on the top and medium on the bottom. I suspect that Elixir, working with Taylor developed these strings to help tame excess highs that occur with some Taylor models. Usually it's the opposite where people want more bass projection and would go the 12-56 route as in "bluegrass" strings.

Having said that, one can always try round core strings like DR's Sunbeams where, while the gauge is a standard 12-54 (light) the heavier strings feel lighter because the winding have less grip on the core, as opposed to standard hexcore strings. Additionally, one could try Straight Up Strings or alternately Santa Cruz (the coated version of SUS strings) which are designed so that the gauge is engineered into the targeted tension rather than the tension being a by-product of gauge.
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Old 12-07-2017, 11:22 AM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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There have been plenty of times, when figuring out how to best optimize a new guitar, that I've been less than satisfied with the tonal response and playability of stock gauge string sets. It's usually fairly obvious whether it's the tension of the treble, middle or bass pairs of strings that need to be tweaked a little; sometimes five of the stock set's gauges are perfect and it's only one that's the problem child.

Since I'm both a multi-instrumentalist and an artist endorser for a string manufacturer, I've got all kinds of different gauges of strings stuck in one of my music room cabinet's drawers. When I hit a roadblock using stock sets and have to figure out how to adjust for it, I just do it empirically and try a few different gauges (sometimes different alloys, too,) until I get the sound and playability I want. I just poke around in that drawer and pull out a few possibilities and give them a try.

Sometimes when I see strings for oddball instruments or alloys that failed in the marketplace on clearance sale at music stores for a dollar apiece or whatever, I'll spend a whopping three or four bucks and pick up a few different sets with no immediate intention of using them. I stick them in that music room drawer, and then maybe three years later one of them will provide the perfect strange gauge I need for something.

Sometimes if there's a delay of years before I use the strings there can be a spot of corrosion on them here and there, but that doesn't matter for this use. It's just for R&D purposes. When assembling performance-grade sets I get new singles of the gauges I need and assemble them into complete sets.

It was this trial and error approach that led me to the string gauges that I use on my baritone guitar, and which John Pearse Strings & Accessories now makes and markets as their 3280M Medium Gauge Standard Tuning baritone set.

Most people don't play as many different species of stringed instruments as I do, and most don't have as many guitars pass through their hands. So obviously most players don't need to take this same approach. But it's useful to keep it in mind, maybe get a spare set of sale strings in gauges you don't normally play, just in case if you ever find yourself needing to tweak a ready-made string set by replacing a a string or two with different gauges.

Sometimes just replacing one regular string in a standard set can make a huge difference in how a guitar plays and sounds, so it's worth experimenting with. When that happens, I write down what gauges are needed and store that in the guitar's case pocket.

Then I assemble a few sets so I don't have to stop and think through it again when I need to change strings on that instrument.

When I got a new Tacoma EM-9 some twenty years ago, lights were too wimpy on that guitar and mediums stifled the sound. After my usual trial and error, I settled on a modified bluegrass gauge set (light gauge trebles, medium basses,) with the medium gauge .035 D string from that set replaced with a .032. Once I had that figured out, that little guitar just ROARED.

So, Matt, by all means continue looking for a prepackaged string set that will do exactly what you need it to do on that instrument. It obviously makes life much easier if you can just order a few sets and not have to tweak things any further.

But sometimes it can help to experiment with other less obvious gauges on a string or two. Just depends on the guitar the strings go on.

Hope that makes sense.


Wade Hampton Miller
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Old 12-07-2017, 11:55 AM
CT77 CT77 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt G View Post
I just discovered these Elixers with light bottoms and medium tops:

Elixer HD Light

Gauges 013, .017, .025, .032, .042, .053

Is anyone aware of other strings with similar guages? The reason I'm looking is that on a 25" scale, light guages on the high strings get pretty wobbly in lower tunings, and these .13 and .17s would fix that for me.

Thanks!
It's not quite medium tops - the 3rd string on mediums is usually .26 vs .24 on lights, but that's a nitpick. Taylor uses them on many of their guitars now in place of mediums or lights claiming "bolder highs" and "fuller lows". I like them a lot on 25.5 in scale instruments, but on shorter scale instruments, I prefer straight mediums or - as suggested - "true mediums" or balanced tensions mediums. The .53 low E at 24.75 inch scale is too slack for my tastes. I fully agree with the bolder highs on any scale though.

Ultimately, Wade is right, if a bit over-philosophical There is no replacement for the chance to experiment with strings. I consider it a given that you will need to do so with each new instrument and should expect to spend around $50 if you don't already have the strings on hand. It's R&D, best viewed as a sunk cost.
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Old 12-07-2017, 12:27 PM
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vindibona1 vindibona1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wade Hampton View Post
There have been plenty of times, when figuring out how to best optimize a new guitar, that I've been less than satisfied with the tonal response and playability of stock gauge string sets. It's usually fairly obvious whether it's the tension of the treble, middle or bass pairs of strings that need to be tweaked a little; sometimes five of the stock set's gauges are perfect and it's only one that's the problem child....
Sometimes just replacing one regular string in a standard set can make a huge difference in how a guitar plays and sounds, so it's worth experimenting with. When that happens, I write down what gauges are needed and store that in the guitar's case pocket. ...

But sometimes it can help to experiment with other less obvious gauges on a string or two. Just depends on the guitar the strings go on.
I agree completely. But to do so takes a discerning ear. A lot of times people don't know what to listen to or for. That is a whole 'nother aspect of tuning. A lot of times it is a matter of awareness- Do all the strings have the same volume when struck at the same intensity? Do all the strings have the same relative tone? Do you want your guitar to have a balanced sound, or do you (like some misguided music producers) have a bias toward louder bass? Is brightness a function of the guitar not being able to balance the overtones or is what you hearing the "shimmer" of resultant harmonics being mistaken for brightness? Those are just a few things that I think many players haven't discovered or even been told to listen for.

While I see the virtue in messing with gauges of a particular brand of strings, perhaps it is more time/cost efficient just to explore different standard pre-packaged strings first, at least to get you in the ball park. As I am not beholden or against any brand of string I've happily tested many different sets and in a few cases startlingly surprised (both good and bad). I'm finding that once you get close to optimal sound for your guitars the ear develops greater sensitivity to the nuances and then you become more picky.

JMO
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Old 12-07-2017, 12:34 PM
L20A L20A is offline
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You can make your own set here.
http://www.hotworship.com/euphonon/acoustic.html
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Old 12-07-2017, 12:36 PM
Judson Judson is offline
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The .025 "D" string in the Elixir HD Light pack is a unique string gauge not found in other sets that I've ever seen.
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Old 12-07-2017, 02:34 PM
Matt G Matt G is offline
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Thanks for everyone's input. I'll try these HD Lights and keep experimenting. I might buy a few .13 single strings for the high e to replace the .12 in light sets.
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Old 12-07-2017, 03:03 PM
tippy5 tippy5 is offline
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I make my own electric sets after buying a few very unique, balanced tension sets engineered a few years ago for my Tom Anderson, 24.75" scale, Atom. I now have an ideal set it took a few attempts at from changing two of the balanced tension strings. All strings are there at all times freeing the mind to play music. My balanced tension was not their, out of the envelope, balanced tension.

I think I need to try this with Wades R&D for a few acoustics because of these great results.

I recently sold a guitar to Bobby and he likes Martin SP 12.5 sets. I am going to pull the trigger on those for a mix and match optimization like Wade described.
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Old 12-07-2017, 09:19 PM
other6stringer other6stringer is offline
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These Elixir HD Light is what I use on my HD-28, works really great for me in terms of playability and tone
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Old 12-08-2017, 03:57 AM
Howard Emerson Howard Emerson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Judson View Post
The .025 "D" string in the Elixir HD Light pack is a unique string gauge not found in other sets that I've ever seen.
Really unique if it existed in that context, but it's probably their 3rd, or G string that's a .025.

HE
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Old 12-08-2017, 05:35 AM
Jabberwocky Jabberwocky is offline
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You could buy single Elixir anti-rust coated plain steel strings to make up your own set. Wound strings cost more to buy in singles. So, take a Light set and roll your own.
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Old 12-08-2017, 07:27 AM
Judson Judson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Howard Emerson View Post
Really unique if it existed in that context, but it's probably their 3rd, or G string that's a .025.

HE
Yep ... correct. Still unique though, no?
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