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  #61  
Old 09-10-2022, 04:41 AM
RJVB RJVB is offline
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YMMV but all the Monel strings I've tried had really strong finger noise. It's as if the alloy itself is rougher and bites more into my skin, and the metallic overtones that it comes with (worse than those in PB, to my ears) only amplify the effects of that fingernoise.

The custom set of Monel silk-and-steels that Pyramid made me have this a little bit less but still too much to my taste. I'll have them throw in a few sample strings that have been polished in my next order, to see how much difference that makes.

Another thing: they amplify the mid-range nature of a guitar. In fact, when I put those Pyramids on my mini-jumbo it almost sounded like an archtop in recordings. Basses were still there, but with so much less sustain that you really had to listen for them.

You're in the UK, right? You can contact Newtone and ask them to make a set of brass + Monel (or brass + nickel) double-wounds for you. The idea with double wounds is that the outer winding is finer, so gives less finger noise, and using a Monel or nickel inner winding will increase the magnetic properties of the string. I'd put the brass on the outside because it will undoubtedly feel smoother and probably be quieter too.
I discussed this idea with Neil, I just never got around to ordering some yet (because I really prefer silk-and-steel strings).
BTW, DR make something comparable, the Zebra strings (alternating brass and nickel winding, not double-wounds).
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  #62  
Old 09-10-2022, 07:44 AM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Originally Posted by RJVB View Post
YMMV but all the Monel strings I've tried had really strong finger noise. It's as if the alloy itself is rougher and bites more into my skin, and the metallic overtones that it comes with (worse than those in PB, to my ears) only amplify the effects of that finger noise...

Another thing: they amplify the mid-range nature of a guitar. In fact, when I put those Pyramids on my mini-jumbo it almost sounded like an archtop in recordings. Basses were still there, but with so much less sustain that you really had to listen for them...
I'm wondering how long you kept the monels on your guitar[s], and how often and hard you played them; perhaps it's a matter of your skin as you said, but I've found just the opposite - far less noisy and metallic-sounding than PB on both my Rainsongs and my Avalon mini-jumbo, all of which have strong trebles...

As far as the pronounced midrange response, that's precisely what they're intended to do - bring out the fundamentals and dial back the overtones to emphasize the "woody" character of your guitar, rather than those of the string. PB's tend to have a more "lush" character that understandably endears them to many players, but IME that can be a little too much of a good thing in certain cases - and when you have an instrument with a naturally strong treble response (such as those I mentioned above) or a tendency toward stridency (as with many archtops, particularly in the hands of those who have little to no understanding of how to bring out their best), I actually find the bass response to be improved, more in balance with the rest of the frequency spectrum...

As you said, however, YMMV...
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  #63  
Old 09-10-2022, 08:27 AM
RJVB RJVB is offline
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I've left them on more than long enough (weeks) because I really wanted to like them, and also went back to them once or twice.

I tend to dislike PBs for comparable reasons (plus their "humid hot bathroom" kind of warm fuzzyness in the lows). The somewhat different PB Thomastik seem to use in their Plectrum strings seems to be OK on my archtop though.

I do agree they let the wood speak, but that's more because they have a neutral sound; a Monel-wound G string is what I found probably closest in sound to the sound of the plain strings.

IMHO that just means they have well-balanced overtones, not that they have less of them. Esp. since they also have that metallic ring that doesn't disappear, and I know I'm not the only one who finds them rough to the touch. I'll be trying that polished G string in combination with a brass or PB D, to see how that adjusts the sound colour balance.

I like versatile guitars, which means I like my archtop to have a rich bass response. If ever I want to play swing music on it in an ensemble where I'm not supposed to compete with the base ... I'll probably put on argentines
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  #64  
Old 09-10-2022, 09:15 AM
Lucy_Strat Lucy_Strat is offline
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Very interesting It'l be cool to try the different strings out I'm just installing a tusq nut at the moment and whoah the volume gained about another 40% on the Epi sounds really really full to and alot more dynamic,

I'm just trying to settle on action at the moment. Sounds like an absolute canon now so much dad asked me to turn the amp down LOL was funny when I said it was not plugged in!

It's sorted the issue out at the nut on the treble e that's now at 2/64th"

currently at the nut

bass e: 4/64
A 2.5/64
D 2/64
G 2/64
B 2/64
E 2/64


and the action at the 12th fret is 4/64" now

With a set of 12-54 it's dropped the bass e to 3/64

the previous owner had the action down at 1/64th at the nut treble and 2/64th on the bass e

What's everyone's preff on action?

Clip of its new tone just tweaking the side of the nut, I've still got the bridge insert to go in that's lefty compensated by tusq gonna start looking at making that fit I need to buy some fret files on Monday.

https://youtu.be/gcmYyza5PBE

Last edited by Lucy_Strat; 09-10-2022 at 01:18 PM.
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  #65  
Old 09-11-2022, 01:42 PM
Lucy_Strat Lucy_Strat is offline
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Another interesting day today worked my way through a few sets of strings all day

Started with a set of Monels which I've recorded in the following clip them moved onto the half wounds wasn't mad on the finger feel on those, recorded them though.

Just put a fresh set of Monels on for the rest of this week.

Best sounding so fat was the Martin Phospher Bronze 12-54 but loud finger string noise amazing sound though.

Best under my fingers Elixr Nanoweb sounded like a Canon with those on to. Odd aggressive squeak but that's probably me.

Wasn't into the feel of the half wounds n still loud squeaks on slides cut all the tone off the top end on it to.

Gonna give the monels a good try this week

Then I might look at either the polyweb Elixrs 80-20 in a 12-53 or fit nanowebs again

Hope everyone's enjoying the comparisons

Lucy

https://youtu.be/_RWtFua4YCE
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  #66  
Old 09-11-2022, 06:51 PM
Al Mojo Al Mojo is offline
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Very nice, thanks for posting! it's great to have choices! 😊
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  #67  
Old 09-12-2022, 06:23 AM
Lucy_Strat Lucy_Strat is offline
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np Al hopefully it'l help anyone thinking about the sound of these string options with fresh ones, I'm gonna check out some double wounds at some point but for the rest of this week it's the monels, I'm curious about the Thomastik Infield JS113's as well.

I've come to the conclusion I'm not overly mad on the Peizo it just seems to pick up so much string noise, the best amp I heard with that was the THR10 that the guy had who I got the guitar off it was one of the cream ones, think there's a recording off it a few pages ago on the night I got it, doesn't work to well with my TM Deluxe Reverb.

It's super interesting trying all the different options, I keep thinking if the nut has made such a difference, what will it sound like with a propper bridge rather than the current plastic insert, I've got a Tusq LH compensated insert I'm going to modify to fit the slot insert on the Shadow bridge next
I keep looking at the Benedetto pickups as well as an option to getting a CC floating pickup

Last edited by Lucy_Strat; 09-12-2022 at 06:30 AM.
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  #68  
Old 09-12-2022, 02:22 PM
Lucy_Strat Lucy_Strat is offline
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Today I went back to the Martin Phospher Bronzes played the Monels for a good 5 hours this morning.

It's been such an expensive but interesting learning experience trying all the different strings while they are fresh.

Got 12-54's on at the moment.

An then I decided to raise the action after some info from Epiphone.

So without further a do so to me it sounds like there's a fair bit less sustain on everything and a bit less brightness but there's more of a fullness an evenness with the higher action I've got a bit of fret buzz that I've been trying to eliminate
I'm at 7/64th bass e string and 6/64th high e string so only slight but quite a big difference in its tone shows how sensitive they are to it it was at about 3-4/64th before hand dependant on strings amazing how much higher just 1-2 64ths feels though.

Come up 2/64th on the 12-54s
I really want to try some Elixir polyweb 80-20s but for now I'm gonna try get the setup as best as I can with the Martins as I've got a few packs

I've done some comparisons in this video between the two action heights.

https://youtu.be/Pg57TyljnH0

Last edited by Lucy_Strat; 09-12-2022 at 02:39 PM.
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  #69  
Old 09-12-2022, 08:04 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucy_Strat View Post
Today I went back to the Martin Phospher Bronzes played the Monels for a good 5 hours this morning...

Got 12-54's on at the moment...

...I decided to raise the action after some info from Epiphone....

...to me it sounds like there's a fair bit less sustain on everything, and a bit less brightness but there's more of a fullness and evenness with the higher action; I've got a bit of fret buzz that I've been trying to eliminate (I'm at 7/64ths bass E string and 6/64ths high E string, so only slight) but quite a big difference in tone - shows how sensitive they are to it...it was at about 3-4/64ths beforehand dependent on strings - amazing how much higher just 1-2/64ths feels though...
Some thoughts:
  • As I stated before Monels need to be played - and played hard - for a week or two before they really begin to come into their own tonally; I wouldn't do the switch just yet (see below), but next time around I'd give them a fair chance before deciding whether or not they're for you...
  • Archtops, for reasons numerous and sundry, are highly idiosyncratic and temperamental beasts by nature and, as you're discovering, even the slightest adjustment can often produce major differences in tone and response. That said, it's common knowledge in the trade that lower-end instruments often mask poor fret/nut/bridge work with lighter-gauge strings and higher action, and the fact that you're still getting buzz with the high action you're presently using suggests to me that you might want to consult an experienced archtop tech before proceeding any further on your own. I can't offer any conclusive info without a hands-on, but suffice it to say that two of the banes of lower-priced archtops are poor neck geometry (Loar instruments have historically been notorious in this respect) and neck twisting (a problem that plagued early-postwar Gretsch instruments thanks to the kiln-dried woods used in their construction, and in case you're unaware they're the rule rather than the exception on nearly all modern factory-built - and not a few luthier-/small-shop made - instruments) - at the very least I think you're looking at a fret level/grind-&-polish job, and IME there's absolutely no reason a modern instrument can't be set at 3/64 - 4/64" without buzzing during normal play, which leads me to:
  • While this may sound paradoxical, it's often easier to obtain a lower action on a properly set-up guitar with heavier-gauge strings, in addition to the broader frequency response and greater volume resulting from the increased vibrating mass driving the top (something the prewar virtuoso soloists all knew BTW); personally, I'd go with a 13-56 monel set after you have any necessary work done, and leave them on for at least 3-4 weeks before making a final decision regarding tone - IME they possess the unusual combination of higher tension than PB or 80/20 with a slinkier feel than either, and with a proper setup you should have all the fullness and evenness you need as well as ease of play...
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  #70  
Old 09-13-2022, 02:24 AM
Lucy_Strat Lucy_Strat is offline
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Thanks Steve as always very insightful

I so agree on the monels I could hear them improving with the 12 hours or so I put on them, really ace tone.

I think it could be some fret wear I didn't spot it when I got the guitar at the guys house but a few of the frets are quite worn, quite alot of wear to the board in all positions as well, so as you say once I'm in the position makes sense to take it to an experienced luthier. It's interesting learning though an I think its kickstarted a new interest off for me.

I contacted gibson/epiphone and they dont support modification of there guitars stupidly so won't sell a frequensator so I'll end up with one of the pattern ones which will is the next buy as the slot on the tail piece for the bass e string would need to be widened more for a 56' already widened it a bit.

It's funny you should mention string tension that's my next comparison on the different sets I tried the half wounds seemed to have alot less fret buzz so I'm gonna double check the string tension across the sets

I think they came with 12-53 cleartones from the factory so the 13-56 wouldn't be to much of a jump when it's had some fret work. In just doing reversible things at the moment the next thing I do want to try is the left hand compensated insert I've got just slots into the bridge once I've made it to size.

Thanks again Steve all the advice has been massively appreciated.


I think one thing I'm tempted to get done is to remove all the peizo parts and get a ebony bridge fitted and make a blanking plate for the battery box so it's all reversible.

One thing I have noticed is the lack of Relief measuring up on both sides of the neck at a smidge under 3 thou

One thing that has crossed my mind with the string buzz I'm chasing after reading my benedetto book is the angling on the bridge insert. I spun that round so the slots are in the correct orientation but in the book it mentions angling the slots on the bridge if they are not angled enough ie a small gap at the bottom between string and notch on the fingerboard side of the saddle it could cause string buzz I'll have to get it out when I'm back an have a close look
I've got the lefty compensated insert to make next so I'll make sure to do that.

Edit just nipped back the angles have been cut both sides good thinking whoever made the bridge.

Last edited by Lucy_Strat; 09-13-2022 at 03:24 AM.
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  #71  
Old 09-13-2022, 03:50 AM
RJVB RJVB is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve DeRosa View Post
[*]While this may sound paradoxical, it's often easier to obtain a lower action on a properly set-up guitar with heavier-gauge strings
How is this paradoxical? The higher the tension, the smaller the vibration envelope will be for a given input ("pluck").
OK, it is paradoxical in the sense that classical guitars use a much lower tension (and much higher action) but still achieve much louder acoustic volume than (I dare say) all but the really good steel string acoustics. But there's something else going on there

Some of the higher end strings for bowed instruments come in standard and stiffly wound versions. The latter would give less vibration amplitude. I'm not aware of such choice in guitar strings but the wrap tightness is probably different from one maker to another, plus there's the diameter of the core wire in steel strings.
You seem very sensitive to finger noise and I don't believe you'll find round-wound Monel strings that are more or even as "silent" as other alloys. Earlier I hypothesised that this has to do with surface friction (I still can't back that up), but the hardness of the alloy also has an effect. Compare to making a glass sing by rimming it with a wet finger: that works much better in the harder lead crystal than in mundane glass. Similar in wound strings: a softer wrap alloy will dampen the vibrations finger sliding causes and transmit less (of the higher frequencies) to the core wire which must be responsible for conducting them to the bridge.
I'd say you should try the Thomastik Plectrum 12s (AC112).
If you do want to experiment more with Monel strings, have Pyramid make a set of polished ones for you. That'll be between round-wounds and half-rounds, and they can add a tiny layer of silk between wrap and core that will dampen fingernoise too.
One more thing about the Martin Retros: those are hex-core, not exactly a retro/vintage design.

Lucy: I wouldn't wait too long to get an assessment of the state of your frets and the straightness of the neck. Knowing that particular buzzes are due to high or worn frets or a hump in the neck extension will allow you to disregard them as not due to or fixable by your in-progress work. A fret dress-and-level is something you'd want to under guidance the first time, from what I understand.

I'm not surprised about Gibson's attitude to modification; I've had a similar experience with Fender, though at the time they still sold parts. You might still be able to get the part you want, but through a dealer (or else try a WTB add on jazzguitar•be).
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  #72  
Old 09-13-2022, 05:41 AM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Originally Posted by RJVB View Post
How is this paradoxical?...The higher the tension, the smaller the vibration envelope will be for a given input...
What I said was that this may sound paradoxical - unlike both of us the OP is relatively new to the game, and may not be fully aware of the physics involved as we are...

I suspect something was lost in the translation...
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  #73  
Old 09-13-2022, 05:54 AM
Lucy_Strat Lucy_Strat is offline
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Thanks RJVB I'm thinking I'll have a word with a few Luthiers and see if I could pay extra to watch it done

I'd love to learn this stuff also been looking at courses once I've moved I'm fascinated by anything techy, probably pretty sad haha but I was just sat playing 3 notes from Misty before over n over listening to the natural reverby sound on the Masterbilt that's been the biggest change that's come out on the guitar through the mods it's really addictive, I actually prefer it's voice now with the offset braces being changed direction wise compared to when I played it righty really fascinating how every slight change makes such a huge difference. The learning experience is awesome!

Yep since I've played the flats on the Gretsch everything seems noisy haha! I'm getting a lil better at tuning out to it though I'll check those strings out it's interesting that it's a flatwound G on them.

Just been looking at string tension on some of the sets, I've emailed cleartone to try and find out what there tension is as those were the original fit in a 12-53.

Yep its a shame as they could open up even more avenue for revenue selling components there loss I guess the difference is the pattern once don't have the frequensator patient pending writing on

Current action

7/64th 7 is just showing bass e
5/64th High e string on 6th
String is level with the 6th mark

Martin 12-54 Phospher bronze string tension 168.5 lbs

Martin 12-54 Monels 163.33lbs

Martin 13-56 Monel Mediums
190.9lbs

Elixir 12-53 nanoweb phospher bronze 162lbs nanoweb based on a 25.5" scale neck

Elixir 13-56 nanoweb phospher medium guage 188lbs

Elixir 12-53 polyweb 80-20
158 lbs

Elixir 13-56 polyweb 80-20
183lbs

Cleartone 12-53 original guage string tension ??
12
16
25w
33
43
53




I've also been trying to capture the natural reverb / overtones and general yummy sound I like on the guitar with the phone, an finally got a good position where it picked it up yay! Headphones for the clip an you should be able to hear it, I've also recorded just the open strings, most of the buzzing I'm suffering with is on slides an on stopping the notes mainly on bumpin, an full house which is two slides one on the b string 6-7th fret and another on bumpin is 8-10th on the g and one at the 11-13th on the b string.

I'm gonna get a fret rule and see if I've got any high frets

Played the open strings hard on this at the end as well, sounds alot better if I drop my attack down an play smoother so I'm thinking a heavier guage string will drive the top harder for the volume / sound I like without it rattling of the frets as there's less oscillation if I'm understanding what you've both explained and what I've read in my Benedetto book correctly

https://youtu.be/03kfVIbZL6c
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  #74  
Old 09-13-2022, 04:53 PM
Lucy_Strat Lucy_Strat is offline
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Had an interesting evening when I got back home decided to play Misty the Smokin at the Half note version as it's my fav thing to play at the mo an a tiny bit of Dragonfly by Danny Kirwan.

Decided to work my way through the actions stopping at 3 points.

7/64th bass e and 6/64th high e - notes fullness richness level sound louder but more even with a punch with lots of natural reverb initially harder to play but got used to it and started fretting cleaner and cleaner apart from slides.
Very level sound though.


Next setup was 5/64th to 4/64 instant noticeable drop In volume / fullness having to fret softer.

4/64th bass e 3/64th Treble e.

With a lighter touch much better playing than the last time I tried it guitar is noticeably quieter shockingly so than the 7/64th action so to the player the sound isn't as full and verby, neck plays faster though sounds brighter if anything. Seemed to record really nice close mic'd though.

I think my two favs were 7/64th and the 4/64th actions

I've recorded a clip of each one as I went along

The action at the nut is 2/64th Treble 3/64th bass with the 12-54's on. Might try match the 12th fret to that just out of interest.

Hope you all enjoy the clip next thing I'm thinking of doing is to add some relief into the neck, it's running 3 thou at the moment checked it before.

Very interested to try a set of 13's though us there an advisable string tension to not go above on a pressed top archtop?

Thanks in advance
https://youtu.be/Fp1Ws71NBqQ
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  #75  
Old 09-14-2022, 02:53 AM
Robin, Wales Robin, Wales is offline
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Just a bit more input on strings to try:

If you sort of like Monel but find them a little "harsh" then try a set of pure nickel strings. They have to be "pure" nickel not nickel coated steel (most electric guitar strings are nickel coated steel).

I really liked the Monel medium set of strings I put on my Godin 5th Avenue, except the 6th was a little "lacking" and there was just a slight "edge" to the timbre that I wanted to tone down. I tried a set of D'Addario XL Pure Nickel 13-36 EPN22. New, these were like fitting a set of played-in Monel strings but smoother and warmer in the bass. This is not a surprising observation given the relative hardness of Monel (a nickel alloy) compared to pure nickel.
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