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  #1  
Old 01-08-2018, 12:20 PM
jschoon jschoon is offline
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Default New old archtop

Hi guys, I just inherited a late 40's Gibson L48 and am looking for string recommendations. My first thought is just to put some d'adarrio 12's on see what happens.
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Old 01-08-2018, 01:27 PM
Frankieabbott Frankieabbott is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jschoon View Post
Hi guys, I just inherited a late 40's Gibson L48 and am looking for string recommendations. My first thought is just to put some d'adarrio 12's on see what happens.
L48.......a lovely guitar. 12s might be ok but the last ( and only) L48 that I saw and heard being played sounded amazing with a custom made set of 15s-73s on it. Let us know what gauge you opt for.
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Old 01-08-2018, 03:09 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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While I wouldn't go with a 15-73 set, there's no question you need a heavier string set to get the most out of any vintage archtop - and unless you're playing Gypsy jazz exclusively and want "that" tone from an American-style jazzbox, a set of 12's isn't going to cut it. As long as the guitar is in structurally good shape - correct neck geometry (extremely important in an archtop), sufficient adjustment range (both up and down) in the bridge, bridge base contoured flush with top at all points, properly mounted/centered tailpiece, no sag in top - I'd go with a D'Addario EJ18 14-59 PB set; you need a heavier string to drive the top sufficiently to get adequate tone/volume, and with the 24-3/4" scale they'll have about the same feel as mediums on a 25-1/2" instrument - as long as you get a good pro setup, by a tech who really knows what he/she is doing (IME many fine flattop/acoustic techs don't know squat about what makes archtops tick). If after some play time you find them too much to handle, try a set of Martin Retro Monel MM13's; they're a period-accurate string with a bit more tension than a standard 13-56 set (interestingly enough, they have a looser, slinkier feel), so they'll not only drive the top but give you a true '40s tonal vibe...
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Old 01-08-2018, 06:40 PM
jschoon jschoon is offline
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Thanks, The Guitar seems to me to be in pretty good shape. The finish is a little 'aged'. It probably hasn't had a luthier look at it for at least 50 years. The original (or at least a very long term) owner died about 10 years ago and it has been in its case since then. A setup with some heavier strings is a plan.
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Old 01-18-2018, 02:13 PM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is offline
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FWIW -after experimenting with all sorts of strings I tried a plain ol'set of D'addario ej17s (56-13) that I use on my flat tops.

Job done.
Nickel/monel strings probably last longer so an equivalent gauge should also be fine.
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Old 01-19-2018, 09:32 AM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is offline
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You have to play around with acoustic archtops to find the "sweet spot gauge" for strings, I think...good thing in the long run, strings are cheap.

I feel like up to a certain heaviness, you get this increase in volume, everything...and then if you go heavier, you might start to notice no change, just tougher to play...and if you go way too heavy, things start to deaden a bit.

But every guitar is different.
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Old 01-19-2018, 12:21 PM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
You have to play around with acoustic archtops to find the "sweet spot gauge" for strings, I think...good thing in the long run, strings are cheap.

I feel like up to a certain heaviness, you get this increase in volume, everything...and then if you go heavier, you might start to notice no change, just tougher to play...and if you go way too heavy, things start to deaden a bit.

But every guitar is different.
Yes, I'd agree with you.Originally I bought Gibson L-5 strings but frankly they were pretty dull fom the start and are no longer made (it seems).
I'm used to mediums on my dreads and reso etc. so they feel about right for me.

My '34 L-4 (archtop) is one of those really designed as a dance band rhythm box and responds well to a good hard pick and hand action but it less "musical" when gently soloed etc.
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