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Phosphor bronze vs 80/20 brass wound strings Thoughts and Opinions?

#1 User is offline   double0blues 

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Posted 23 July 2011 - 03:00 PM

Any thoughts on phosphor bronze wound vs 80/20 brass wound strings?

#2 User is offline   larryp58 

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Posted 23 July 2011 - 03:59 PM

80/20's are "brighter" with shimmering highs, Phospher Bronze are "warmer" with more enhanced mids. IMHO!

#3 User is offline   Clayfingers 

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Posted 23 July 2011 - 04:09 PM

I use John Pearse 80/20 new mediums on my NIck Lucas & Roy Smeck, and love the sound: kind of hollow mids. They sound vintage more than modern to my ears, and the odd occasion I've put PBs on I haven't enjoyed them. I get about 6 weeks out of a set too.

Before I tried the pearses I used Martin SPs, which I thought were good, but they're no match. As it has been said many times before, a different set of strings is the cheapest guitar mod out there, and the easiest way to get a new sound.

#4 User is offline   chasAK 

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Posted 23 July 2011 - 04:39 PM

80/20's are "brighter" with shimmering highs, Phospher Bronze are "warmer" with more enhanced mids. IMHO![font="Times New Roman"][size="3"][/size][/font]

That has been my experience too.


chasAK

#5 User is offline   double0blues 

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Posted 24 July 2011 - 11:01 AM

I was looking at John Pearse 80/20s on line and they're calling them "Bronze Wound" instead of "Brass Wound" - but I thought 80/20 referred to the alloy composition...

brass is 80% copper and 20% zinc
bronze is 88% copper and 12% tin

Anyone understand what's going on with this?


I just checked on "phosphor bronze" and that is made up of:

Zinc – 9.9%
Tin – 2.2%
Iron – 1.9%
Phosphorus – 0.03%
Copper – 85.97%

Still haven't found an "80/20 bronze???"...

#6 User is offline   EuroAussie 

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Posted 24 July 2011 - 11:25 AM

Yep, that pretty much sums it up for me also. I would also describe 80/20's as somewhat 'clinical'.

View Postlarryp58, on 23 July 2011 - 03:59 PM, said:

80/20's are "brighter" with shimmering highs, Phospher Bronze are "warmer" with more enhanced mids. IMHO!

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#7 User is offline   j45nick 

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Posted 24 July 2011 - 12:10 PM

View Postdouble0blues, on 24 July 2011 - 11:01 AM, said:

I was looking at John Pearse 80/20s on line and they're calling them "Bronze Wound" instead of "Brass Wound" - but I thought 80/20 referred to the alloy composition...

brass is 80% copper and 20% zinc
bronze is 88% copper and 12% tin

Anyone understand what's going on with this?


I just checked on "phosphor bronze" and that is made up of:

Zinc 9.9%
Tin 2.2%
Iron 1.9%
Phosphorus 0.03%
Copper 85.97%

Still haven't found an "80/20 bronze???"...


We used various bronze alloys in the marine industry for many years, and it is fair to say that bronze vs. brass is a blurry line. "True" bronzes are zinc-free, as zinc is a freely-corroding material that is not commonly used in a marine environment. Tin is the material most commonly alloyed with copper to form bronzes, but other materials include nickel, aluminum, silicon (not silicone, mind you) and phosphorus, as well as other trace metals.

80/20 bronze, if the "20" is zinc, is technically what we would call a "high brass", in that it has a higher copper content than most brasses, which run 60-75% copper. You won't find a specific 80/20 "bronze" alloy in any standard metallurgical charts. It may be something that was specifically developed for strings, although that seems a little too specialized for a specific alloy to be developed.

Phosphor bronze is usually specified as 85-95% copper, 5-10% tin, and very small amounts of phosphorus. Outside of guitar strings, its common application is in the manufacture of non-ferrous springs. Makes sense if you think about it.

Considering the metallurgy, phosphor bronze strings should be a more reddish "coppery" color, and 80/20 strings should have a slightly more yellow, "brassy" look.

And, in case you are wondering, bell bronze is an alloy of 78% copper and 22% tin. That's the closest "standard" bronze alloy I can find with just about an 80/20 alloy ratio.

#8 User is offline   double0blues 

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Posted 24 July 2011 - 01:20 PM

View Postj45nick, on 24 July 2011 - 12:10 PM, said:

We used various bronze alloys in the marine industry for many years, and it is fair to say that bronze vs. brass is a blurry line. "True" bronzes are zinc-free, as zinc is a freely-corroding material that is not commonly used in a marine environment. Tin is the material most commonly alloyed with copper to form bronzes, but other materials include nickel, aluminum, silicon (not silicone, mind you) and phosphorus, as well as other trace metals.

80/20 bronze, if the "20" is zinc, is technically what we would call a "high brass", in that it has a higher copper content than most brasses, which run 60-75% copper. You won't find a specific 80/20 "bronze" alloy in any standard metallurgical charts. It may be something that was specifically developed for strings, although that seems a little too specialized for a specific alloy to be developed.

Phosphor bronze is usually specified as 85-95% copper, 5-10% tin, and very small amounts of phosphorus. Outside of guitar strings, its common application is in the manufacture of non-ferrous springs. Makes sense if you think about it.

Considering the metallurgy, phosphor bronze strings should be a more reddish "coppery" color, and 80/20 strings should have a slightly more yellow, "brassy" look.

And, in case you are wondering, bell bronze is an alloy of 78% copper and 22% tin. That's the closest "standard" bronze alloy I can find with just about an 80/20 alloy ratio.



Thanks for the breakdown, j45nick, I can't imagine that they would make up a special alloy just for John Pearse strings either!

I've found other string manufacturers listing their 80/20s as brass wound so I'd really like to know why John Pearse is calling their 80/20s bronze wound - maybe I'll try to call them on Monday - has me very curious now...

#9 User is offline   j45nick 

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Posted 24 July 2011 - 01:31 PM

View Postdouble0blues, on 24 July 2011 - 01:20 PM, said:

I've found other string manufacturers listing their 80/20s as brass wound so I'd really like to know why John Pearse is calling their 80/20s bronze wound - maybe I'll try to call them on Monday - has me very curious now...



It may be a case of "you say potahto, and I say potayto": one man's brass is another man's bronze.

#10 User is offline   double0blues 

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Posted 24 July 2011 - 02:02 PM

View Postj45nick, on 24 July 2011 - 12:10 PM, said:

And, in case you are wondering, bell bronze is an alloy of 78% copper and 22% tin. That's the closest "standard" bronze alloy I can find with just about an 80/20 alloy ratio.


I just went to John Pearse's website and on there they list them as "80/20 BELL BRONZE"...

#11 User is offline   j45nick 

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Posted 24 July 2011 - 02:58 PM

View Postdouble0blues, on 24 July 2011 - 02:02 PM, said:

I just went to John Pearse's website and on there they list them as "80/20 BELL BRONZE"...

I'm not sure if that clears things up, or makes it more complicated. That would suggest that some 80/20 might be brass, and other might be bell bronze. Now it's getting more interesting!

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