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What kind of acoustic strings do you play?

  • Phosphor Bronze

    Votes: 23 53.5%
  • 80/20

    Votes: 6 14.0%
  • Other

    Votes: 2 4.7%
  • It depends on the guitar

    Votes: 12 27.9%
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Discussion Starter #1
Having recently switched to playing guitar with my fingers instead of a pick I decided to try some 80/20 acoustic strings instead of the phosphor bronze that I normally use. I made this decision after reading that 80/20s are allegedly brighter, which I think I need if I am no longer using a pick.

My local L&M had all kinds of PB strings in stock, but only one kind of 80/20 (I've ordered a couple of different kinds of 80/20s so that I can figure out which I like). The lack of 80/20s was surprising which got me to wondering if PBs really were that much more popular, so I decided to start a thread and a poll.

So which acoustic strings do you play, and why?
 

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I use phosphor bronze. I have been meaning to try 80/20's but, like you said, they are a bit harder to find. My Simon and Patrick is not very "top endy" so I like nice new bright strings on them. That being said, the guitars have been hanging on the wall, unplayed, for almost 3 years now. They probably need new strings.
 

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Heuuu... A bit confused now... 80/20 are not P/Br ? Aren't 98-2 replacing 80-20 ?
Anyway, I came to use different brands depending on how they sound on different guitars.
I would use non coated on a guitar I use frequently, while coated would appear on others.
Martin 000-18 : MSP-4100 as recommended by Martin (though D'Addario EJ/EXP-16 would do)
Gibsons Ls, Larrivée L, Guild F-30 and Alvarez AP66 : D'Addario EXP-16, but ernie ball Al/Br on the Larrivée OM-09
Taylors : Elixir nanoweb as recommended by Taylor (polyweb sound a bit less bright), though I am pleased with Martins 0,0125 on dreads.
Boucher OOO : probably D'Addario EJ/EXP-16 (not sure yet)
Godin 5th Avenue : currently pleased with Dragon Skin DSA-12.
NB GHS P/B sounded quite like ernie ball Al/Br, but rusted too fast under my fingers.
 
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Almost exclusively phosphor bronze. I say almost because I sometimes experiment but virtually always return to my usual D'Addario EJ-16 phosphor bronze. My bouzouki sports DRs at the moment but that won't last much longer.
 

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For the last 100 years I have used Martin MSP 4200s on all my acoustics. They are a medium PB string which cost about $6.50 per set if bought by the dozen. These last maybe 2 weeks if not pushed too hard.

I have used Martin 80/20s and they last about one week if left alone. Last time I put a set on maybe a year ago I didn’t think they sounded all that bright but maybe that’s just me just burning out.

Anyway, at the spring riff raff jam this year I had a fresh set of 4200s. It wasn’t that humid but I noticed late in the evening I was getting all kinds of string noise and my fingers were getting hung up on runs that I can nail without thinking about.

A few weeks later I was playing an hd28v at Cosmo which had a fresh set of elixir pb nanowebs on it and those things are slick with no string noise.

Tried a set on the guitar that I used at riff raff and they worked well on it.

The elixirs last a long time but I don’t mind changing strings so that isn’t the point. What they did was solve the problems I referred to above.

Moreover, with the MSP 4200s and the 80/20s optimum is maybe a week if you don’t make a living as a session player. The elixirs might not sound as good as the 4200s or 80/20s at their best but nevertheless they maintain their optimum sound for a lot longer and are slick with very little string noise.

I never thought I’d use them and feel stupid paying 20 for a set of strings but there it is.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I use Elixir nano-coated 80/20 and I like them but I'm starting to wonder if the nano-coating is akin to condoms.

My Yamaha LL6 came with those Elixer strings. When I tried other strings I didn't like them as much so I tried the Elixers again but just cannot get past how slippery the wound strings feel.
 

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I've tried a few types of PB over the years (incl. coated), but I always come back to EB Earthwoods 80/20 (12 - 54).

This is my preference whether the guitar has a spruce top with rosewood back & sides (like my old 1970 D-28) or a spruce top with mahogany back & sides (my 1958 Harmony Sovereign).

- One thing maybe worth mentioning is that I always need the strings to settle in and warm up a bit before I really like them. I hate the sound of any set of new strings right after I install them. It doesn't matter whether it's for an acoustic or an electric guitar.
Maybe I'm just weird! o_O
 

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I'm a PB guy. I've tried 80/20's a number of times and just can't stand them. I've dabbled with nickel with the monels and liked them a lot but I always find my way back to PB. Right now my favorite string for my D-18 is the Martin M550 and for my D-28 its the D'addario EJ17.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I've tried a few types of PB over the years (incl. coated), but I always come back to EB Earthwoods 80/20 (12 - 54).

I ordered a set of those and a set of Rotosound Tru Bronze. They have arrived at my local L&M so I just have to find the time to get in there to pick them up. I am also going down a gauge so my friend who is the guitar tech at the store is going to give my guitar a mini setup when I do the switch. He rarely does much real work on a Saturday, and certainly not on the Saturday right before Christmas, but he told me to bring the guitar if I make it into the store tomorrow and said that he would take care of it for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
The top 3 things I fear as I get older.

3. Losing my hearing.
2. Losing my eye sight.
1. Having to switch from medium to light gauge on my acoustics.

If I have to I can live with 3 and 2.

My main problem is arthritis. My second problem is that I usually can't play acoustics worth a shit. My theory is that going down a gauge will help with both of those issues.
 

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My main problem is arthritis. My second problem is that I usually can't play acoustics worth a shit. My theory is that going down a gauge will help with both of those issues.
Yup I hear you. As I said its my #1 fear of getting old. I've already got a hearing aid and my eye glasses are getting stronger by the year. My full initiation in to the golden years would be having to go to light gauge strings. I just hope its a few years away yet.
 

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My main problem is arthritis...
Consider a Martin D35. They have lighter bracing so it doesn’t take as much to drive the top and accordingly light strings should be less of a disaster on that guitar. I’ve read posts from people saying that lights worked well on their 35s but the one time I tried them on my D18 I took them off after a couple of hours.

The 35s are also pretty nice sounding guitars and I’ve played a couple of standard 35s that i came close to buying even though I already have an HD35 Custom Shop that will stampede the cattle and rattle the walls.
 
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