Strings for an archtop acoustic...
Posted 12 March 2010 - 06:40 AM
Strings: For optimum tone, archtops respond best to medium to heavy gauge strings. Even the oldest archtop guitars are remarkably sturdy for the most part, having been built to accommodate high E strings of .014 or higher. We typically string acoustic archtops with round-wound phosphor bronze strings, gauged at .013-.056 from high to low "E". Strings of .011 or lighter are not recommended for acoustic archtops, as they don't produce sufficient load on the soundboard for optimum tone. Flat wound strings have a smooth feel, but produce a tone that is distinctly more muted, and are not recommended for acoustic instruments either. For electrics, we generally use round wound nickel strings of .013 or .012. If your action feels uncomfortable with medium gauge strings, have your setup examined by a professional. We find that our customers are often surprised to discover how easily heavier strings can feel on frets that are properly leveled, radiused, crowned and polished, and when the nut slots are precisely cut to proper depth and the bridge radiused to match the fingerboard exactly. (If you have no experienced repair person in your area, feel free to contact us for a pro setup, specifically tailored to the requirements of the archtop guitar. Call us at 206-325-3737 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.)
When restringing, replace strings one at a time, to preserve precise bridge location, which determines intonation.To prolong string life, wipe strings with soft cotton cloth after use. String rust and scale may be removed with a small piece of 000 extra fine synthetic steel wool (3M Scotchbrite), available at most hardware stores. If your guitar has an Epiphone Frequensator tailpiece, make sure that the brand of string you purchase has a "D" string that is long enough to reach the tuning machine. (Approximately 42" for a vintage Emperor). It's not necessary to have the wound portion of the string threaded through the tuner shaft, as the string will tighten and tune just as securely on the unwound (plain wire) end portion of the string. Bronze strings will generally produce a brighter acoustic tone, while nickel-wound strings generally respond better to most magnetic pickups. Bronze strings may be amplified very successfully, however, with pickups that have adjustable pole pieces, or piezo pickups like the PUTW. See our Accessories page for more info.
I like medium gauge 80/20 bronze round-wound myself. Not much of a phosphor phan.
Posted 12 March 2010 - 09:32 AM
Posted 12 March 2010 - 11:10 AM
Thomastik-Infeld JS112 flat wounds. They are a Jazz Swing type of string,
I really like them. Easy on the fingers and no squeaking when you slide
your fingers along the strings. They are spendy but last forever if they are
anything like their mandolin strings.
Gibson J45 True Vintage - 2007
Weber STE F-Style Mandolin - 2006
Weber Custom Yellowstone A-Style Mandolin