gtr strings

(26 posts)

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  1. bigalthefly
    Member

    hi everyone
    i'm going crazy over gtr strings, i've been using 13/52 round for a long time but i find very hard to play if you can't practice at least 4 hours a day so i'm thinking to switch to 11/49........what do you guys think?

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  2. Matt
    Member

    i dunno about 'gtr' (is that a brand or an abbreviation for guitar?). if it's a brand, i have never even heard of them, but i play 13/56 d'addario and i find that they are actually very practical, easy to play, and sound great. maybe try lowering your action?
    strings are a pretty subjective thing. try switching; you can always go back.

  3. denjz
    Member

    I tried switching from 13's to 11's too but it didn't work for me - the difference in tone and feel was too drastic. Ended up using 12's (usually DR or Sadowsky), feel happy ever since. :)

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  4. JorgeRubiales
    Member

    I use 12/52 flatwounds (so they are higher tension that yours) and I don't find them difficult to play. Is your instrument well setup? Are you trying to play cowboy chords with those strings? If you're playing flats, try changing to rounds as they are lower tension. If not, go to .012 and see if you like them better. As you go lower, you lose a lot of tone, so have that in mind

  5. jorgemg1984
    Member

    As everyone said try 012.. or even better try custom gauges from something like juststrings.com I ve been doing that and its great!

    And i also quit flats forever, rounds are much better to play in my opinion.

  6. gleepglop
    Member

    Try Thomastik strings, I'm not sure why (something in the string composition, I guess), but they are lower tension than most other strings at the same gauge.
    I don't think you necessarily lose tone as you go lower, it depends on the guitar and your playing technique.
    Your right hand has to be balanced to the strings you're using. Lots of players play too hard, which causes tone to suffer.

  7. bigalthefly
    Member

    you can regain what you loose going for thinner strings setting a higher action.......that works for me, does it work for you guys?

  8. jorgemg1984
    Member

    I really like 013-056 with low action better than 011-49 with high action.. heavy strings with low action is the way for me

  9. JorgeRubiales
    Member

    gleepglop, the lower the mass of the string, the less tension it has (independently of its gauge). However, talking archtops (and any acoustic instrument, for that matter), you have to put some force in order to move the body. You can make that raising the action, but the string doesn't react the same way because of its lower mass.

    The change in timbre may suit you better, but it's different. I, for one, prefer thicker gauge strings, 52 bottom, and depending on the guitar, flatwounds.

  10. animitta
    Member

    @bigalthefly
    I have seen your video on Shorter's composition "children of the night" and i can easily say that you play great!.

    What does a high action exactly mean? : ) People always say: "high action" or "low action" but this is absolutely subjective.
    My setting now is: ( with d'addario XL round wound - EJ21 - 012- 052, both on Ibanez AGS 83B and Gibson 175 ) about less than 2 mm on treble side and about 2 mm on bass side ( measured on 12th fret ).
    And how about your settings, guys? ( please be clear on the exact mm )

    I recently switched, on both my guitars, from Thomastik 013 flat to D'Addario round 012. Before, i was "fall in love" with the Thomastik and i still think that are great strings but i like the "bright" sound of the round wound now, especially on the Ibanez. The longer scale make these strings really "soft" compared to the same set on the 175.

    Recently i have also become "obsessed" by two things: action on the neck and picking attack. I discovered that, for me, a soft picking attack it's better than a strong one. If i control the picking, using a soft-attack, i can easily use less strength on my left hand. And be less tired. Now,on the technic aspect, one of my main concern, when i play or practice, is to be "really conscious" of how many strength on the left i use and how loose i am with my picking.
    I can tell you: is really hard to be absolutely conscious about your playing and your "mechanic", it's like breaking a bad habit trying to change a picking style or finger mechanics. I still suck, believe me, but i suck a little less, maybe.

    I remebember something that Goodrich wrote on his book, maybe not exactly:" don't blame on one hand if the problem is on the other one". I guess this means that you need to be "well balanced" to play well.
    For myself i found a good improvement, in my overall sound and technic, when i discovered that the "problem" was on the right hand instead the left one. Consequently i started to use softer picking on the right and less pressure on the left ( i mean: less waste of pressure on the left hand, if you know what i mean) . It worked for me.

    Hope it helps or at least that does not bother :)

    All the Best
    Animitta

  11. gleepglop
    Member

    Jorge, thanks for the clarification, but I understand that. There's more to it however. If you are going for a really acoustic tone, like "Gypsy Jazz" players or someone like John Pizzarelli, then yes, you need to use heavy strings to vibrate the top properly. However, it also depends on the thickness of the top and its construction (bracing, etc). If the guitar is made with a thin top and light bracing, it will vibrate at equal amplitude with lighter strings.
    For players that are going for a more 'modern'/electric tone, getting as loud an acoustic sound as possible isn't as important, since volume is not the primary concern.

    In principle, yes you can move the top more and get a louder sound with heavier strings up to a point, but 'louder' is just amplitude and not necessarily an improvement in tone. In addition, changes in tension affect the production of harmonics, so while changing gauges/tensions will change the tone, it is not a good assumption across the board that it will be for the better. Sometimes yes and sometimes no, depending on the guitar and the desired tone.

    Even more importantly, perceived loudness and good tone come from creating as regular a sound wave as possible, which is a product of good technique. Poor technique combined with hard playing creates irregular sound waves, which have poor tone and sustain. In my experience, lots of times (not always) guitarists using heavy strings are fighting too much with the strings to develop proper technique, and would actually get more sound out of lighter strings and better technique.

    As Animatta suggested, too-heavy strings can also lead to problems with creating excess tension if you don't already have good technique and haven't developed total independence of your left and right hands. "Too Heavy" is of course subjective, but since the OP started out suggesting that the 13s he has are too heavy, he's probably right that at least at this point, they are too heavy for him.

    This is just my take on it, for whatever it's worth.

    Personally, I like the roundwound Benson Thomastik 12-53 on most of my guitars.

  12. JorgeRubiales
    Member

    Hey gleepglop! I kind of wrote my post wrong, I was just commenting on your thoughts about thomastik, and at the same time answering to the OP, guess it didn't come out that well lol

  13. bigalthefly
    Member

    @animitta......thanx a lot for watching my video,
    for instance on that gtr on the video i now have 11/49 and 3,5mm hight on both sides were i use to have 13/52 and a 2,5mm hight but let me tell you man how much sound i gained. the point i was trying to make is that a too low action i'd say below 2,5 mm the string dont have enough space to resonate so the sound as loud as it can be is usually poor of harmonics, that's why i have on both my ibanez (on the video

    [+] Embed the video | Video DownloadGet the Video Player
    do you have big frets on your axe???

  14. JorgeRubiales
    Member

    Hey bigalthefly! Nice playing. Is that the ibanez ags83? The bubinga or the sycamore one? Please comment a little bit on its sound from stock, as I've seen one here in a store and they look amazing, but I haven't been able to try it yet.

    For the frets, I have played both, but I prefer them smaller. I find it has a woodier sound that way, maybe it's just psychological.

  15. bigalthefly
    Member

    @jorgerubiales
    hey jorge the guitar on the clip is a ags 73b, here is a link for features http://www.dv247.com/guitars/ibanez-ags73b-semi-acoustic-electric-guitar-transparent-red-flat--48680, i had it refretted with jumbo dunlop frets and i changed the neck pick up with a gibson burstbucker 2 and what came out is a very good practice instrument, i also play it on low budget gigs..........man it sounds and feel great and is very much lighter weight then the gibson 347, so if you are thinking of a cheap hollow body try this one first
    cheers

  16. animitta
    Member

    @bigalthefly
    Excuse me if i will make a silly question but just to be sure to have understood: when you say 3,5 mm you mean measured from the top of the 12th fret to the bottom of the string? ( cause you probabilly know more than me about guitar setting i am sure you know this is the way to measure the action ) . I ask cause this value, 3,5 mm, seems really high to me. I know that a higher action let the strings resonate better but about this i am agree with @gleepglop, you need to have a high action and a good resonance mainly if you play with the intention to have an "acoustical tone", then it's really necessary to have space for the string to resonate and also a heavier gauge is better. I also think that is more difficult to play with a soft-attack picking on high action. I love soft-attack picking i can have more control on the sound and more dynamic. I also really prefer a long sustain sound instead than a short one. I am not "dogmatic" just trying to express what i have discovered, not pretending to say:" this is the absolute truth" : )

    Another thing about the action, especially about the Ibanez, cause we have similar guitar, you have the AGS73 and i have the AGS83B ( and i love this light guitar with a good sound and good neck ): http://www.dv247.com/guitars/ibanez-ags83b-semi-acoustic-guitar-antique-burst-flat--34795 .
    Same shape of the body, probabilly same neck, maybe just some different material. Mine has two seymour duncan 59 ( great pick up! ) and factory frets, if i am not wrong medium frets. I have read from the ibanez web site, on user manual, that they suggest to measure the action on 14th. and they suggest really low value:

    TREBLE SIDE BASS SIDE
    SOLID GUITARS 1.5mm 2.0mm
    SEMI ACOUSTIC GUITARS

    FULL ACOUSTIC 1.7mm 2.3mm
    GUITARS

    BASSES 2.0mm 2.5mm

    This is the link to the manual: http://resources.ibanez.com/resourceservicehost/images/Ibanez/web/support/manuals/Maintenance.pdf

    Last thing about the strings resonance, cause i suppose that we all play with an amplifier ( that in my opinion is another instrument that i need to learn to play ): maybe to have a really high action and great resonance is not a good thing if the comfort of playing is missing.

    Jut my humble opinion.

    BTW: killer playing on the video with the Gibson es 347, i love Pat Martino too : ).

    All the Best
    Animitta

  17. JorgeRubiales
    Member

    @bigalthefly ok, I didn't know there was another model, your 73 looks very nice. I've got a maple body hollowbody already, and have played some ibanez maple semihollow too, so I know it sounds really nice.

    @animitta did you try the bubinga one when you bought your ags83? I can't find anyone reliable who tells me what's the difference in sound, lol.

    About the settings, my Ibanez AF75 with .012-.052 flatwounds is 2mm on the bass side and 1.5 aprox on the trebles, with medium frets.

  18. animitta
    Member

    @JorgeRubiales: i have not had the chance to try that guitar before buying, cause i bought that using a web-site about used instrument. I had a long phone talking with the seller, he sent to me some more photos and explained that he has changed the picks-up. I was quiet curious about that pick-up and cause i was seeking for a lighter guitar, to use for practicing instead of my 175, i risked to buy.
    When the guitar arrived was in really almost mint condition, but with a very bad set-up. The neck had too much relief and so also a high action. Cause i was trying to set-up a low action guitar, i adjusted the trussrod, making it flat ( actually i use flat neck , no relief on my 175 too). I also adjusted the intonation and the string height.
    At first i put on a set of Thomastik swing 0.13 and the guitar sounded good. I tried that together with the amplifier and i have discovered that these pick-ups are really really great: high output and sustain, i love that. Comparing the PAF pick-up of my 175 - 1988 with these, they are really low output and absolutely short sustain. The long sustain on the Ibanez i think depends not only from the pick-ups but also from the inside block and the little body. The result is that i find really comfortable to play this Ibanez AGS83, so much that now i seldom use the 175. I can't stand for the short sustain and too low output :(. Surely the neck of the 175 is superior and these are two different kind of guitars that could not be compared. But the freedom to have a little light box with a good sound is really an advantage. Recently , as i wrote on my previous post, i have also changed the strings from flat to round on both guitars, gaining some harmonics and sustain, but also some finger noise. You can't have everything : ).
    So, in conclusion, for now i am glad about this little guitar and the setting i did, i can have a kind of sound ( amplified ) that is what i was seeking for.
    I have never tried the bubinga type body and so i can't help for this.

    @bigalthefly
    Did you refretted the guitar by yourself? if not, how much you spent? I am interested to make a refretting ( not needs for now ) and if i will i will choose the jumbo fret too.

    All the Best
    Animitta

  19. add4
    Member

    Hey Bigalthefly,
    First of all, very nice playing man, great tone and lines, congrats.
    Secondly, i'm also really curious about what you said about strings height.
    when you say 3.5 mm, do you mean 3.5 mm between the top of the fret, and the bottom of the string, or the middle of the string, or the top of the string. it changes a lot :)
    I'm using an ibanez AS93 and i would like to have a more acoustic sound out of it. my strings are low and i'm using 0.13 strings.
    i will try to find an old 0.11 or 0.12 set and lift up the strings, but the guitar feels so great to play now that i'm afraid to change the settings :)
    THanks in advance
    arnaud

  20. bigalthefly
    Member

    @ animitta
    hey man you know i almost bought the gtr you have but for some reason i took the other one, if i had had money i'd probably buy both. when i had refretted the baby i spen very little money couse a gtr maker from my home town did it for 100 euro including the frets and the changing of the pick up so it was a very good deal, here in rome i would have spent at least 200 euro. send me some video of you playing man i'd love to see it.

    @add4
    yes i measure from the bottom of the string to the beginning of the fretboard, it took me a while to get confortable but when i did i found a very good feeling and i switched to lighter strings, the gibson is anothe thing, its easier to play with lower action and heavyer strings........i dont know man i'm always on the search and that drives me crazy........send me some video of your playng man i'd love to watch it

    one more thing , when i play on my fender reverb deluxe vintage (blackface) i have more control and dynamics over the picking becouse of the tubes but when i play on the ac 601 mark acoustic the picking is less controlable but the sound is so much cleaner. usually i play this on trio gigs with an added speaker a rocktron holdsworth 250W, i put them in a stereo design like the amp on the left and the speaker on the right 3 mt away and the sound is just killing

    yes, good night here in rome is 2 in the morning and tomorrow i have to teach some students............cheers and lets talk soon

  21. animitta
    Member

    @bigalthefly
    Sorry to be so annoying : )
    You wrote that you measure the action: "yes i measure from the bottom of the string to the beginning of the fretboard".
    Did you mean the wood of the fretboard or the top of the 12th fret? Cause this make absolutely a great difference.
    For example, if the following is a schematic image of the fretboard and the E string on top of it:

    E String _________________________

    Neck ^_____^_____^_____^_____^ 12TH Fret

    Let's assume for example that the distance from the bottom of the string and the top of the 12TH fret is 2,5 mm, then the distance from the bottom of the string and the beginning of the fretboard ( wood between the frets ) would be 2,5 mm plus the height of the fret ( 1,5 mm? ). So, 4mm.

    Which distance you mean when you say 3,5 mm : )?

    All the Best
    Animitta

  22. bigalthefly
    Member

    fretboard from the wood not the fret

  23. animitta
    Member

    @bigalthefly : Then is not a so high action : )

  24. add4
    Member

    Wow, good to know :) i had already decided not to change my setup because it sounded VERY high.
    i THINK that usually people measure between the top of the fret and the bottom of the string :)

  25. JorgeRubiales
    Member

    Yes, the action is measured from the bottom of the string to the top of the fret, it doesn't make sense to measure it in any other way since that it the distance you have to push the string, and it's independent from string gauge or fret size.

  26. bigalthefly
    Member

    #jorge
    you are right man that's what i meant.....mine is 3,5 from top of the fret to bottom of string, but only with lighter strings otherwise its 2,5 with 013/52


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