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  #16  
Old 03-12-2020, 02:11 AM
BluesKing777 BluesKing777 is offline
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In a previous thread Doug mentioned he wants to play fingerstyle rags and blues in standard tuning on a National to be determined.

So, for now, I would stay with what you use now, get the guitar set up low and light!

If later you want to move to some slide playing, like most National players, move it to mediums and then add a 17 for the first string as a killer string. Retune that one to standard tuning rags and a real blues face.....

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  #17  
Old 03-12-2020, 10:35 PM
tdq tdq is offline
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I like 0.012 on single cone but do find it sounds better with 0.013 - those are considered lights? I do a mixture of fingerstyle and slide on mine in standard, open G and open D.
- anyway IMHO use what you want, no matter what the "consensus" is.
I use 0.016 on my weissenborn, but I don't have to fret that one!
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  #18  
Old 03-14-2020, 08:58 PM
blue blue is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wade Hampton View Post

When Bob Brozman published his book about Nationals he wrote that anything less than medium gauge strings could "damage" National guitars. Don rolled his eyes as he told me this, and said that the next time he and Mac spoke to Brozman they said: "Oh, come ON, Bob!"


Wade Hampton Miller
In Bob's defense, and it pains me to defend him, his main goal was the preservation of the original Nationals when he wrote that. There was no NRP. If a cone slid because of inadequate string pressure and a rattle developed, he knew there were only a handful of folks on the planet who knew enough to address the problem. He just didn't want the limited, and ever dwindling number of existing instruments to be butchered.

Now, as to strings, let's not forget that the recommended strings for the El Trovador are 12s. It's how they ship! I've never tried 12s on my tricone, because I play a ton of slide on it. 13s and a relatively high action by most peoples standards lets me play what some would require a 16 or 17 to play cleanly.

I have tried 12s on my 2001 National style N (a Style O with no Hawaiian scene). I wanted to see if the shorter (25 inch) scale guitar would play and sound more like a parlor. Plunky and rubbery if you know what I mean. I HATED the feel. But the sound? Perfectly fine. I guess I could have adjusted, but when you're pushing the 6th string off the fingerboard on the reg, it's a sign to go back to 13s!
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  #19  
Old 03-14-2020, 10:47 PM
Ceabeceabe Ceabeceabe is offline
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I have put light/mediums on which is between light and medium gauge. Works well!
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  #20  
Old 03-15-2020, 07:45 AM
MC5C MC5C is offline
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Any discussion of string gauges on a reso is kind of pointless without tuning and playing technique set out at the very top of the list. If you are playing fingerstyle, in E-E standard tuning, doing a lot of bending and blues styling and play up the neck a lot, extra-light strings might be your choice. A spider reso sounds just fine with minimal pressure on the bridge and cone, I had mine set up for around 30 lbs of pressure (yes, you can calculate it easily) for years, and Paul Beard played it and told me it was just fine when I had some work done on it at his shop. It's when you get into dropped tunings, Dobro G tunings, lap steel tunings like C6, and you play with a bar lap style or a lot of bottleneck that you need to fuss with string gauges. Most people seem to get good bar/steel/slide tone with around 25 lbs tension on each string, so if you know your tuning you can come up with gauges using available resources from places like D'Addario. I play lap style now, my tuning is EGDGBD, and use a mixed set of mediums and lights, and substitute a .016 on the high D. Or I just throw a set of lights on and get on with it!
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  #21  
Old 04-03-2023, 01:09 PM
s11141827 s11141827 is offline
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Default Figured it out

You can use any Acoustic Guitar String set on a Resonator Guitar. For Lighter gauge strings (like 10s or 9s), you might have to string them underneath the tailpiece lip to get more break angle over the bridge. A Slotted headstock would also allow for lighter strings by putting them at a sharper angle over the nut.
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  #22  
Old 04-25-2023, 07:05 AM
s11141827 s11141827 is offline
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Default Interesting idea

Lighter gauge strings (like 10s and thinner) are easier to play but to get a good sound out of them when put on a resonator guitar, they recommend stringing them "backwards" underneath the tailpiece lip which increases the break angle over the bridge.
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  #23  
Old 06-29-2023, 05:38 PM
s11141827 s11141827 is offline
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Default Figured it out

The problem w/ using 10 (and thinner) gauge strings on a Resonator Guitar strung over the tailpiece tip is that there isn't enough break angle so stringing them underneath the tailpiece lip allows them to seat in better.
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  #24  
Old 07-01-2023, 10:53 AM
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MissoulaFlood MissoulaFlood is offline
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So the break "angle" wouldn't change based on string gauge---right? Moving the string (any string) underneath the tail piece would increase the angle. Is the point that with lighter gauge strings, a steeper angle is beneficial since it increase downward pressure on the cone?
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  #25  
Old 07-04-2023, 08:29 PM
Charlie Bernstein Charlie Bernstein is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frankmcr View Post
That's why I said "nearly universal."

Would you or Wade deny that the vast majority of reso players do not use light strings?
I don't think anyone would deny it. They're just answering BluesKing's question, "[C]an one use light strings on a National reso?"

Indeed they can. I do on my Dobro roundneck spider, tuned to open G. No problems.
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  #26  
Old 07-05-2023, 05:29 AM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockabilly69 View Post
I was at the factory and Don Young told me that Chris Whitley had brought a lot of attention to the use of National guitars, and Chris Whitley uses light gauge strings on his Nationals!
Sadly Chris Whitley uses no string gauges now as he left us in 2005. Lung Cancer - age 45. Tragic.
I think he mostly amplified his guitars.

For me as already said putting lights on a National is kinda like putting cycle wheels on an SUV.
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  #27  
Old 07-05-2023, 01:49 PM
rockabilly69 rockabilly69 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silly Moustache View Post
Sadly Chris Whitley uses no string gauges now as he left us in 2005. Lung Cancer - age 45. Tragic.
I think he mostly amplified his guitars.

For me as already said putting lights on a National is kinda like putting cycle wheels on an SUV.
Man I don't agree with your cycle wheels analogy, as I've used all sorts of string gauges on my Nationals (I own 4 of them), and all them sound great, and respond wonderfully to light gauge strings when set up for them.

They are plenty loud. I actually have an .011 set of nickel bronze D'Addarios on my M2 right now, and I think it's the best it's sounded since I've owned it.

And yes I know Chris passed (it broke my heart), and I'm actually an acquaintance of his brother Dan who gave me permission to use the Chris song "Dirt Floor" on one of my CDs.

Here I'm playing "Dirt Floor" with light strings on a cheap Style 0 knockoff brass resonator (Chris played the song right in front of me with a National Style 0 so that's why I used a brass one), and this is before I got an Artist deal from National.

https://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=6697257

I've heard Chris up close and un-amplified, and his Nationals still sounded great. And although without his small little amp (Fender Pro Junior with an old Barcus Berry pickup taped to the top of the reso) he loses some of the breakup that is part of his live sound, he still sounded great, and the lighter strings had a unique sound as they compressed and then swelled on the end of each note. I've never heard that sound with heavy strings.

Here he is playing acoustic (the pickup is not plugged into anything that's why the mic is right on the guitar)...

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  #28  
Old 07-05-2023, 02:24 PM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is online now
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Fair enough Rockabilly, there really are no "rules" regarding steel strung guitars.

I use mediums on my dreads, archtops and resos. and lights on 000 and smaller, but those are my choice (and as recommended by most of the brands).

Its really down to personal choice.
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  #29  
Old 07-05-2023, 03:03 PM
rockabilly69 rockabilly69 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silly Moustache View Post
Fair enough Rockabilly, there really are no "rules" regarding steel strung guitars.

I use mediums on my dreads, archtops and resos. and lights on 000 and smaller, but those are my choice (and as recommended by most of the brands).

Its really down to personal choice.
This is exactly how I feel Mr Moustache. I think a lot of recommendations are from things that work almost all the time, but some of the most unique sounds come from people that push up against the grain so to say. And Chris Whitley... he liked to push, from the light strings, to the foot percussion he used live, to the Barcus Berry pickups he taped to his resos, he was striving for his own sound, and I loved that. I saw him play live 4 times, twice solo, and twice with a band. The solo shows were by far the best, because you could hear his unique chord voicing the best, and he just seemed more comfortable solo.

I am an experimenter so I'm always trying new things, and always keep an open mind. I don't know if you saw when I replied to a guy on this board who said that nylon strings would sound/work good on resonators. I called his bluff and ordered a set of high tension nylons and put them on my M2 which is very tolerant of light gauge strings. The results were comical, at least to me anyway

https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/...ings+resonator
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  #30  
Old 07-09-2023, 01:31 PM
s11141827 s11141827 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MissoulaFlood View Post
So the break "angle" wouldn't change based on string gauge---right? Moving the string (any string) underneath the tail piece would increase the angle. Is the point that with lighter gauge strings, a steeper angle is beneficial since it increase downward pressure on the cone?
Yes because instead of increasing the mass of the string you're increasing the break angle behind the bridge.
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