The Acoustic Guitar Forum

Go Back   The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > General Acoustic Guitar Discussion

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #16  
Old 01-18-2020, 08:25 AM
beatcomber beatcomber is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Lexington, Massachusetts
Posts: 755
Default

As promised upthread, I restrung my Martin 000-15SM with Martin 80/20's last night. This was my first experience with 80/20's AFAIK (I have no idea what I used back in the '80s and '90s).

They are not what I expected! I was led to believe that they would be thinner and brighter sounding than the Martin PB I have been mostly using.

Having previously messed around with Martin Retro monels on this (and other) guitars, I would say that the 80/20's are closer in sound and feel to monels than PB. Like the monels, they are more pliant and have more of a fundamental character, and like the monels, they are not as loud as PB. Also, like with monels, my fingertips were blackened by something coming off the strings.

I would not necessarily say that 80/20 and PB are brighter or warmer then each other, but their relative presentation is very different, and that can affect tonal perceptions. Compared to 80/20 (and monels), PB have a more metallic shimmer and clang (especially when new) - I guess that is what is referred to as 'overtones' - and have more of a crispness and punchiness. The 80/20s are more restrained, with a non-strident but extended top end, clear midrange, and attractively woody bass thump. Sustain is excellent, and notes have a lovely bloom that is more subtle than with PB, if that makes sense.

My understanding is that 80/20 (along with monel) was the "standard" alloy for acoustic strings until PB was developed and introduced in the '70s. I am definitely hearing similarities to what the guitars sound like on the old '60s folkie records by Dylan, Phil Ochs, etc.

On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being smooth/restrained and 10 being strident/aggressive, I would rate the Martin* alloys this way:

Retros: 3
80/20: 5
PB: 7

*I do not have enough experience with other brands to make sweeping generalizations about string types.

So, do I like the 80/20 more than PB? I am hesitant to make a final assessment after one night, and will wait to see how the strings evolve as they break in. My initial impression is, while I miss the brilliant tonal shimmer of a fresh set of PB, the smoother, more controlled, intimate and woody character of the 80/20 is very appealing, and may well become my preference.
__________________
2019 Martin 000-15SM
2018 Farida OT-25VBS
2007 Gretsch Americana "Sundown Seranade"

...and a bunch of nice electrics too

Last edited by beatcomber; 01-18-2020 at 08:38 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 01-18-2020, 09:05 AM
anjoga anjoga is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2019
Posts: 59
Default

I feel the exact same way, beatcomber! I'm glad to know that my experience seems to be reproducible for others considering the many threads here that seems to suggest otherwise.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 01-18-2020, 09:08 AM
beatcomber beatcomber is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Lexington, Massachusetts
Posts: 755
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by anjoga View Post
I feel the exact same way, beatcomber! I'm glad to know that my experience seems to be reproducible for others considering the many threads here that seems to suggest otherwise.
Cool!

__________________
2019 Martin 000-15SM
2018 Farida OT-25VBS
2007 Gretsch Americana "Sundown Seranade"

...and a bunch of nice electrics too
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 01-18-2020, 09:14 AM
beatcomber beatcomber is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Lexington, Massachusetts
Posts: 755
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by anjoga View Post
No, not yet. This is the first time I've tried any 80/20 strings. It is possible that the dulled sound you are talking about is the reason I need such a thin pick to make the strings ring out in a way pleasing to my ears, whereas I could use much thicker picks with PB strings and still get note clarity. Jury is still out on what I like better.
I like using heavy picks. I find that a firmer grip yields a fuller, more punchy tone, and a less tight grip yields a lighter, more ringing tone.

It's all about physics and how vibrational energy is either transferred or absorbed.

Using a heavier pick provides me more control than a lighter pick, so I have learned to adjust my grip to get the sound I want.
__________________
2019 Martin 000-15SM
2018 Farida OT-25VBS
2007 Gretsch Americana "Sundown Seranade"

...and a bunch of nice electrics too
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 01-19-2020, 12:43 PM
anjoga anjoga is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2019
Posts: 59
Default

So the oddest thing.....as the strings are breaking in they are getting brighter, and the heavy picks are now sounding alive again. The Fender medium pick I was using when I first strung up the ej11's now sounds way too brittle and flappy.

I don't know what is going on anymore...
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 01-19-2020, 12:58 PM
Jaden Jaden is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 1,939
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by anjoga View Post
I feel the exact same way, beatcomber! I'm glad to know that my experience seems to be reproducible for others considering the many threads here that seems to suggest otherwise.
I don’t quite understand the reference to other threads criticizing 80/20s - if you mean the former practice of denigrating this decades-old industry standard alloy, many folks have come around and seen the light. On the other hand, phosphor bronze bleeds harmonic content between strings, and fall short for clarity - they’re simply “dark”.
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 01-19-2020, 04:37 PM
anjoga anjoga is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2019
Posts: 59
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaden View Post
I don’t quite understand the reference to other threads criticizing 80/20s - if you mean the former practice of denigrating this decades-old industry standard alloy, many folks have come around and seen the light. On the other hand, phosphor bronze bleeds harmonic content between strings, and fall short for clarity - they’re simply “dark”.
I guess I only meant that so many seem to say they prefer PB strings and they consider 80/20 to bright and harsh. At least that is the way I seem to have interpreted it.
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 01-19-2020, 04:45 PM
Lillis Lillis is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: West Palm Beach,Fl via Indy
Posts: 291
Default

Thanks for the update beatcomber. I have a set of EJ 11’s I’ll try next on my 00015sm. I must say I really like the Sunbeams that are currently on it.
__________________
FOR SALE: Ibanez AVN2OP all solid hog parlor

Taylor GS mini mahogany
Martin 00015SM
Pretty happy with this combo
Reply With Quote
Reply

  The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > General Acoustic Guitar Discussion

Thread Tools



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:01 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, The Acoustic Guitar Forum
vB Ad Management by =RedTyger=