Jump to content
Gibson Brands Forums

Martin Retro Strings


mking

Recommended Posts

Have any of you tried the Martin Retro strings on your J-45, specifically the light gauge strings? I use D'Addario J16 lights and wondered what some of you that have used these strings and switched to the Retro strings thought in comparison. Thanks.

Michael

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have - and tried them on several guitars. They have character and are significantly different.

The brains behind them tell they point towards a more authentic tone. The same says Tony the Ace Rice. Perhaps - and no matter what, a question of taste.

 

What they showed me is that I am bronze / phosphor bronze person.

To these ears b and ph. b bring up the genuine acoustic voice in the woods - even when long dated - faded - jaded.

 

Might bring a set of Monels back on my 12-fret a some point - never on the G's & M's again.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I tried Retros and I too thought EJ-16's were still the better strings. But D'Addario sent me a set of experimental strings to test and I've had them on my J-50 since October 20. I think D'Addario wanted to create something to compete with the Monel Retros only raising the bar while they were at it. They seem to be some alloy of the monel in the Retros and phosphor bronze. Monel is a natural occurring combination of nickel and copper and has great corrosion resistance, especially to saltwater, which is why it's used in a lot of marine applications. Anyway I think what they are shooting for is the sound of phosphor bronze with the longevity of a coated string without having to coat the string (I personally REALLY don't like coated strings). They don't sound like straight PB's. A much woodier tone comes through but you still get a lot of the crispness of PB's. At the two month mark I still like them a lot. They are being identified right now as N6 alloy strings and I've heard they will be available for sale sometime after Winter NAMM, so late January plus or minus. I will be buying more when they become commercially available as I like the way they feel too. I can't wait to put a set on my J-185.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I tried Retros and I too thought EJ-16's were still the better strings. But D'Addario sent me a set of experimental strings to test and I've had them on my J-50 since October 20. I think D'Addario wanted to create something to compete with the Monel Retros only raising the bar while they were at it. They seem to be some alloy of the monel in the Retros and phosphor bronze. Monel is a natural occurring combination of nickel and copper and has great corrosion resistance, especially to saltwater, which is why it's used in a lot of marine applications. Anyway I think what they are shooting for is the sound of phosphor bronze with the longevity of a coated string without having to coat the string (I personally REALLY don't like coated strings). They don't sound like straight PB's. A much woodier tone comes through but you still get a lot of the crispness of PB's. At the two month mark I still like them a lot. They are being identified right now as N6 alloy strings and I've heard they will be available for sale sometime after Winter NAMM, so late January plus or minus. I will be buying more when they become commercially available as I like the way they feel too. I can't wait to put a set on my J-185.

 

I like the "Juber" Monels on my 0-15, but these new D'addario strings sound interesting. Has D'addario given them a product name?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I used the custom light retro strings on my 2008 J-50 for awhile. They seemed to work better with my vintage DeArmond pickup than phosphor bronze. Acoustically, the sound is really different for phosphor bronze though. Not bad for blues, but I didn't like it for other styles.

 

String choice is such a personal thing though. Try some and see what you think. Personally, I have gone back to Phosphor Bronze and probably won't be using the retros much in the future.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

vacamartin, to my knowledge they haven't released the name yet but apparently they will do the official unveiling at NAMM. The packaging mine came in was very cryptic but reading from others that got some test strings they all had the common "N6" alpha numeric on the box so that's what most refer to them as. If they are going to be available in January then I'm sure the name and packaging has been decided long ago but it's all under wraps.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Anyway I think what they are shooting for is the sound of phosphor bronze with the longevity of a coated string without having to coat the string (I personally REALLY don't like coated strings). They don't sound like straight PB's. A much woodier tone comes through but you still get a lot of the crispness of PB's. At the two month mark I still like them a lot.

 

Thanks or this info - look forward to check them out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm curious enough to try a set. I've heard of Monel and may have tried them once before, back in the 70s....pretty sure they were Gibson strings but that was 1000 years ago, I recall nothing other than it saying Monel on the package.

 

They market them as "retro".... makes me think. And wonder.

 

Why retro? is there a suggestion that they sound like strings did years ago? And is that a good thing as to being historically accurate?

 

I'm befuddled. I am genuinely curious as all get-out what a set of 70 year old strings would sound like and I DO have a bunch here; not sure if I have all 6 (more like 20 of everything but the G).

 

I wonder about weird stuff like that sometimes. About 30 years ago I read an article where a guy had a chance to play Eddie Lang's L-5 and it had the last set of strings Eddie had on it. I think it even had a wound B string. Could be wrong but they were whoppers.

 

I think about walking into a music store in 1938 and buying picks and strings and I wonder if I would be favorably impressed or not. I tend to believe we're in a much better place in 2015 as far as strings but I'm still curious.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I got a free set of these a couple years ago at a Martin demo but they're 13's which I do not use.

 

I still remember the early 60's - going to the corner drugstore to get my string (one at a time as needed, Black Diamond) and a guitar pick after I broke off all three corners.

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like the Retros a they bring the character of the guitar to fore without brightening or shading that character. I use 80/20 on a dark guitar and phosphor on a bright guitar but the Retro or While Phosphor GHS string brings the natural sound of the guitar out in a very nice way. I have a very dark Larivee OM that sounds great with them and a L-00 that sounds good with Gibson 80/20 Masterbilts on it but also sounds good with Retros. Just not as bright.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I haven't tried them on my J-45 yet (just got it) but I have the Tony Rice Monels on my D-18 and the Retro lights on my CEO-7. They sound great on both of those and have lasted forever. The ones on the CEO-7 have been on there since May and they still sound good and that guitar is played almost every day (finger style blues mainly and I don't use picks) I have heard a few people say they didn't like them initially but after they played in they sound good. Mine sounded pretty good from day one but got better as they wore on. Now they really have a nice old time blues sound to them.

I picked up a couple of packs of Retro custom lights (11s) to try out when they were on sale when Martin changed the packaging a little while ago. Got them for $1 each along with a bunch of others (marquis, sp, fx, etc) so far the only ones I dislike are the FXs. The good thing is that if you try the Retros and don't like them, just change them out again. You can usually find them for $6 or $7 on sale so not so much to spend to experiment.

-Jim

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...