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2006 Custom Christopher Reesor Classical
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Discussion Starter #1
Trying out new string types to discover the best balance on a new guitar is a convoluted affair. The new flamenco just built by my brother is a very good example. Sound bytes to follow.
If you build guitars it can be a difficult choice and can make a huge difference in some cases. This particular guitar, the one on the left seems to come alive with what most players might consider weak sounding bass strings. Savarez Alliance normal tension strings.
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On the steel string side of things I find, particularly for fingerstyle, the choice of strings can make a huge difference on a new guitar build. This guitar was a good example. It sounded best with John Pearce 12-53 silk and steels which are not exactly easy to obtain anywhere in Canada except by special order from mail order string houses. But they made this little gem of a guitar sound really great. Sound bytes are in the linked page.
D'Addario straight 12-53 light bronze sounded OK to my ears but no where near as sweet as medium gauge silk and steels which are very hard to find. The guitar was not built for light gauge strings it was constructed to easily take mediums so it really sings in the mids to highs but has a soft sweet bass voice. So it is not a typical "smoke on the water" steel string special like most new acoustics that have weak mid to upper register but lots of boom below A 220.
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What is your choice of strings and why?
 

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I've always been an elixir guy. For electric I bounce around from brand to brand, but on acoustic, I haven't found anything to sound better imo.

Currently have the full and rich acoustic strings on. Nice tone and honestly, for those with a cheaper acoustic, this is a cheap thing to do to get a great sound.

Sent from my SM-N960W using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Never did try elixir on that particular "parlor" guitar. I guess for players with acidic sweat that eat strings for breakfast elixirs are certainly a good choice because they don't corrode anywhere near as fast from finger crud. Elixir strings do clean up easier if you play with sweaty fingers for sure or if you like to only play while having the munchies! Some consider 12-53 80-20 to be light gauge but good ones can make all the difference. D'Addario 12 to 53 80-20s seem decent but they can corrode too fast if not taken care of every time you play.

On nylons in the past when times were tough and new strings hard to get I found that simply washing low e, a and d strings before they wore too much on the d and a strings and then turning them around so the wear pattern was not in the same place could make a set of expensive Savarez strings last a fair bit little longer. So cleaning and taking care of strings can help on the pocket book especially if you are wood shedding 5-6 hours a day like I was years back.
 

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Currently have D'Addario silk and steel, 11-47's, on my Larrivee but have recently put silk and bronze [same gauge] on my Boucher to see how they compare. Huge sound on the Boucher, softer on the Larrivee. Also put the silk and bronze on my S&P folk and they are wonderful, full sounding in a lowered tuning. And, indeed, finding what strings work on what guitar can take some time but it's a great way to get the 'right' sound
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Currently have D'Addario silk and steel, 11-47's, on my Larrivee but have recently put silk and bronze [same gauge] on my Boucher to see how they compare. Huge sound on the Boucher, softer on the Larrivee. Also put the silk and bronze on my S&P folk and they are wonderful, full sounding in a lowered tuning. And, indeed, finding what strings work on what guitar can take some time but it's a great way to get the 'right' sound
Is the Larrivee an OM size? 11-47's might be sweet but I am willing to bet that 12-53 bronze wound on silk John Pearce will have more bite and sound even better. The g as usual is delicate so no blues bends or Kapop for sure. A trade off not being able to bend the wound third at all without risking popping it, but the sound of the bronze over silk wound third with a delicate touch is really sweet and you can easily use the string for inner voicing in pieces almost like a tenor singing an accompaniment or a viola backing up a violin if you are playing a piece with complex interwoven harmonies.
DISCLAIMER I do not work for John Pearce but I do endorse my brother's guitar builds! 🎻🎼.
 

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Perhaps I'm not too discerning with nylons (unless...oh, never mind) but D'Addario Pro Arte hard tension never let me down.

Every time I experiment with steel strings I always come back to D'Addario EJ16 or the equivalent in heavier gauges. Sure, sometimes John Pearse. Recently I tried some monel strings on one guitar and though they certainly kept their tone forever, and sounded kind of old timey on the little slot head, I wasn't completely enamored of the tone. I have one set left to try again. I thought they held up well in humidity too. The only time I use coated strings is for soaking wet outdoor festivals, so they would go on and come right back off after.

D'Addario Flattops for the Dobro.
 

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Yes, the Larrivee is an OM-03. I like a warm sound, not metallic/twang-y so have stayed away from heavier but do have 12-53 PB's that I could try. Not Pearce but if I try these might look for a pack to see the difference. I also have some GHS thin core PB's on order since I wanted to see what they were like.
 

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For acoustic I play dreadnoughts exclusively. I am mainly a flatpicker but do a lot of hybrid, flat pick\finger picking. I have a medium to heavy approach on the left and right hand. So I've been using 13 - 56 for decades.
On my D-28 Authentic 1941 I use mainly D'addario Phosphor bronze. Although occasionaly I've put on the Martin Monel strings for a change.
On my D-18 Authentic 1939 I used to use the Martin M550 strings. They sounded fantastic but Martin discontinued them so I defaulted to the same strings as my D-28. On this guitar I'll also occasionally use the Martin Monel strings, more so than my D-28 as they sound great on this guitar.
I hate coated strings. I've used Elixir nanoweb in the past and yes they last along time. So you get crappy sound for a long time. I'd rather have great sound for a short time then change them. Fortunately, as it relates to guitar, I am very dry skinned and uncoated strings will last me 6 to 8 weeks playing at home. When I used to attend a weekly 3 hour bluegrass jam I'd get less maybe 3 to 4 weeks.
Lately I've been thinking of going to more of what they call a bluegrass set. Where the bottoms remain medium but lite on the top. Not sure why they call it bluegrass set. If I'm playing bluegrass I want medium on all strings for the fullest sound.
However now that jamming is likely on hold for a long time I'm thinking about the mixed set, lite top to make bending and playing a little easier. I don't really need maximum volume at home.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Perhaps I'm not too discerning with nylons (unless...oh, never mind) but D'Addario Pro Arte hard tension never let me down.

Every time I experiment with steel strings I always come back to D'Addario EJ16 or the equivalent in heavier gauges. Sure, sometimes John Pearse. Recently I tried some monel strings on one guitar and though they certainly kept their tone forever, and sounded kind of old timey on the little slot head, I wasn't completely enamored of the tone. I have one set left to try again. I thought they held up well in humidity too. The only time I use coated strings is for soaking wet outdoor festivals, so they would go on and come right back off after.

D'Addario Flattops for the Dobro.
@Mooh Yeah I used HT D'Addario for years but have recently switched to their normal tension EJ45FF fluorocarbons on my Tama. They also make this new Torres style guitar sound incredible. Very little difference in tension as it turns out but a better top end without the basses blasting away. A little easier to play and much better sounding and easier to balance playing octave and a half runs and larger which must cross string into at least the D and A strings. I can play runs that sounded wrong on HT D'Addario's and get my thumb in on long runs without having the bass notes stick out like my sore thumb, which I frequently had playing HT D'Addario basses on a classical both, left and right thumbs I mean. Thus my playing is now more focused and certainly much more relaxed than trying to blast away with the loudest strings possible in the bass.
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On my classical I use Augustine strings--my teacher at the time suggested them and I just got used to them--I love the sound & I get a nice bass response (Although that's also partly my guitar)

On my 12 string I love Phosphor Bronze strings--they ring out nicely.
I used to use Adamas ones--but I can't seem to find them anymore--in stores or online.
 

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@Mooh Yeah I used HT D'Addario for years but have recently switched to their normal tension EJ45FF fluorocarbons on my Tama. They also make this new Torres style guitar sound incredible. Very little difference in tension as it turns out but a better top end without the basses blasting away. A little easier to play and much better sounding and easier to balance playing octave and a half runs and larger which must cross string into at least the D and A strings. I can play runs that sounded wrong on HT D'Addario's and get my thumb in on long runs without having the bass notes stick out like my sore thumb, which I frequently had playing HT D'Addario basses on a classical both, left and right thumbs I mean. Thus my playing is now more focused and certainly much more relaxed than trying to blast away with the loudest strings possible in the bass. View attachment 328690
View attachment 328691
Oh yeah, it can totally depend on the guitar. In my case, Cervantes Crossover and La Patrie Concert. The crossover is a slightly smaller body volume and seems to benefit from the top being driven a little harder.
 

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As a person who`s only been playing for 4 years, I only have one observation to offer. I have gone through a handful of Martins, Taylors and 2 Gibson/Epiphone acoustics over the last 4 years. Tried the same 4 types of strings...Ernie Ball/Earthwood, EJ16`s and 17`s from D`Addario, Elixer phosphor bronze and 80/20 bronze. The differences were noticeable on all guitars, but subtle. Recently I tried 80/20 bronze Elixer strings on a Martin D-18V. I`ve never before experienced how one guitar can benefit so very much from a different choice in strings. You would think they were made for that model. They bring out all the best, and tighten up the voice in the bottom end...makes the guitar alot more than it was. I was very surprised. Just wondering if any of the musicians here have ever experienced something like that...
 

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I have two Taylors, a 214 for campfire duty and an 814CE Limited.
The 214 has that typical characteristic that Taylor haters love to hate.
It is bright and unforgiving.
It requires you to execute cleanly or it will reveal your poor technique.
The 814CE Limited is a completely different animal.
It is nowhere near as bright and is more forgiving.
It is quite round sounding and, if anything, leans a bit toward the bottom end.
Not quite so much that it gets boomy like a Martin Dread but definitely beefier than the 214 and by a big margin.
Being that they are quite different, I run different strings on them.
I run Elixers on the 214.
The coating keeps them sounding good for a long time and it also tames a little bit of the presence when compared to a brand new set of uncoated strings.
On the 814 I run Ernie Ball Aluminum Bronze to aid in articulation, which is something most Taylor owners never have to think about.
 

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Well, this is a huge topic as it could lead to almost any opinions...

Speaking about nylons, I am stuck on Savarez Corum HT.

I will not talk about strings for slide as I did not tried all those I wished I would try...

I came to solid wood guitars with my Taylor 510 by the end of 2006 : it wore Elixir and I tried polyweb instead of nanoweb... Big mistake as polyweb delivered a muffled sound !
I tried Martins 0,0125" to spare my brottle nails and quite loved them.

Later on I discovered other brands and types of steel strings while exploring Delta Blues on orchestra guitar models... Well, I became quite a fan of D'Addario EJs as John Hammond Jr does love them as he is sponsored for he 0,014" (yep ! He used to break too many 0,013" strings !).

But some of my (too many !) orchestra guitars work better with other strings. I tried cheap plain Martin M150, and loved them, but the did not offer a long lifetime.
I prefer ernie ball Al/Br on my Larrivée OM-09 (I tried them after an ad with Eric Mongrain) but I banned PBS because the oxydized too fast.

My Gibsons L-OO and L-1 seems to sing better with D'Addario, EJ or EXP.

I more recently tried John Pearse as they are reknown to stabilise well before the two week delay of other brands.

At the end, I would say D'Addario EJ are still my first choice.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
@mawmow I will not talk about strings for slide as I did not tried all those I wished I would try...
Mapes pedal steel strings are still a good choice for powerful slide setup without frets or on a dobro or electric slide. Provided the guitar is made for heavy tensions like a piano. Mapes stainless laptop strings at one time were readily available especially when laptop Hawaiian guitars were still common. Then later on some people bought them put them on cheap short scale stellas or other mail order guitars like 1920 and earlier Washburns which were also common back in the day. In the 1960's they became renowned as guitar killers. Many an FG180 or other new Japanese made guitar had the neck bent or the bridge pulled off by using Mapes stainless strings because they were dirt cheap. I remember that they were two dollars a set and my mother bought me a set for my birthday.

My brother raised the bridge and nut on a Kay semi hollow body ES335 clone electric that had a neck that was like a bent baseball bat well beyond fixing with a truss rod adjustment, moved the pickups up so that they were close enough to work and used open tuning to learn to play bottle neck with them, that is until a friend borrowed the guitar and it mysteriously disappeared.

Previously I had filed down the frets and it sounded like an electric sitar, much to the chagrin of my brother Chris. But I was into creating new sounds and I certainly achieved that goal I had put a set of rock slinkies on it and it had a real neat zinging sound. After turning into a slide guitar we could make it sound like a distressed coyote which was the whole point of the exercise in creating a weird sounding slide guitar in the first place. Our parents however were a little miffed with the noises we made though, especially if we interrupted my father while listening to Wagner. OR worse if my mother decided to listen to her favourite Brahms symphony!🔈🔉🔊

Slide guitar is a wonderful art and can improve a players ear and note choice because of the limitations imposed. Simple tunes with swing and the gorgeous sounds of a good steel guitar player always grab my attention and make me want to play along regardless of the style played. For me when it comes to strings and playing any style, "it don't mean a thing if it don't sing and swing!"
 

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FWIW I'm very partial to round core strings -- DR Sunbeams on my dobro and DR Pure Blues on my tele. I like the sound and I like that, as they age, they remain pleasant to the ear rather than bright-bright-dead.
 
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