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Flatwound Electric guitar strings on Beatles acoustics?

#1 User is offline   capn_gaz 

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 11:30 PM

Hi there,

I'm just wondering if anyone can give me some advice on acoustic guitar strings.

I love the sound of the beatles acoustic recordings and have heard from a couple of forums in the past they used flatwound electric guitar strings on their acoustics.
Does anyone know if this is true? I never tried any on my acoustic and wondered if anyone had an recommendations on what variety would give a nice tone.
I currently have .12 guage 80/20's on my acoustic and find the strings a bit tough to press down, would some similar guage electric flatwounds be easier?

Also whilst im on the string thing does anyone have an recommendations for strings on an Epiphone Casino?
If flatwounds are good idea for the acoustic would the same be a good choice for the Casino?

Kind regards,

Gareth

#2 User is offline   abbeyroadman 

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Posted 22 January 2010 - 02:30 AM

Hello capn-gaz:

I too share your appreciation of that "early-Beatle acoustic sound". It's well documented their Gibson's were strung with Pyramid-brand steel flatwounds (today available in 11' or 13' gauge??).

I have experimented a bit on my DR500M to find that "Beatle acoustic sound", trying D'Addario Nickel Round Wound XL Lights, then D'Addario Chrome Flat Wound Lights. In my opinion, both gave an immediate sound resemblance to the "Beatle sound" when compared to standard phosphorous/bronze acoustic strings.

The "round wounds" were brighter and more correct in sound resemblance than the "chrome wounds" (which seemed very warm and mellow); however the chromes were amazingly easier to play, due to the flatwound construction.

I intend to continue trying different "flatwounds", and even some "half-round wounds" - but it seems the steel and/or nickel composition is critical to replicating the sound.

Sometime ago I contacted both Epiphone and Gibson Customer Service Depts. re their respective choice of strings on their current Beatle replica acoustic guitar models. They both answered that Gibson steel strings are used.

Hope this helps,

Regards

#3 User is offline   taxman 

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Posted 22 January 2010 - 02:34 AM

I have flatwounds on my Beatle guitars: flats on my Casino and flats on my Epi EJ-160 acoustic.

Honestly, on an acoustic, flatwound electric strings sound like blah; but for a Beatley tone flats sure are the way to go. I went with the expensive Pyramid 11s for my acoustic (Beatles are supposed to have used Pyramids) and, yeah, it sounds Beatley. Plus they are sooooo easy to play. If you don't want to spend the money on Pyramids, I fully recommend GHS Brite Flats -- they are kind of a mix of rounds and flats and they are amazing. In some ways I actually like them more than the Pyramids and I have Brite Flats on many of my guitars.

However I have found it is a lot more than the strings that get you that Beatley acoustic tone. Amp (a VOX if you have one) with bass practically on zero and treble up gets you closer to their tone, and, believe it or not, the way John and George held their guitars helps you get the tone. They both had their guitars extremely high on their chest and when you play that way it makes you strum closer to the bridge rather than over the soundhole. In doing that you get a crisper, slinky, trebly tone. Also with the guitar that high up, your strumming arm doesn't swing freely as much, rather it chops down on the strings as you strum. That chop also adds to the Beatle tone...it makes it more percussive. Listen to "I'll Be Back" for a perfect example of that percussive acoustic chop tone.

Get some flats, adjust your amp, and raise up your guitar as high as it can go and you should nail a Beatle acoustic tone.

As for the Casino, once again, the flats are soooo easy to play. I feel the guitar has more of a vintage 60s rock tone. On my Casino right now I have D'Addario 10s Chromes; but in my guitar case I have a set of GHS Precision flatwounds that are the exact same gauge as the factory set up the Casino came with (.010 .013 .017 .026 .036 .046). I like the smaller bass strings gauge and those GHS strings are going on next.

#4 User is offline   bluelake07 

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Posted 22 January 2010 - 04:57 AM

The current set of strings on my Taylor are Thomastik-Infeld Plectrum strings described as:

Thomastik-Infeld Plectrum Acoustic Guitar Strings are soft sounding and have low tension on the bottom end. The plain strings are made of brass coated steel. The wound strings have a silk inlay combined with a highly flexible steel core. A, D, and G strings are polished bronze flatwound, while the low E is polished bronze roundwound.

Nice-sounding set of strings, but not inexpensive at $16 a set. The three flatwound strings reduce finger squeaks which is appreciated. I haven't tried electric flatwounds on the guitar.


#5 User is offline   stone1281734000 

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Posted 22 January 2010 - 06:48 AM

Many of the Beatle-purist EJ160E and J160E players at BeatGearCavern.com recommend Pyramid flat wounds.

I have my J160E strung with regular phospher bronze 12s as it is a solid top and play it mainly acoustically.

#6 User is offline   capn_gaz 

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 10:57 PM

Brilliant, thanks a lot guys, im going to give some a go and see how they sound!

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