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Best strings for J-160e to keep the Beatle tone


DanielJ-160e

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Hi everyone! I'm new here and I'm very happy to be here. I just got a 2013 Epi J-160e JL signature model on eBay! I used to have one a while ago but sold it :( very happy to have another! I would like to do a string change soon, but I'm wondering what strings to get. It came with D Addario 11-49 strings. It has that very jangly tone like John Lennon's, but I think it's a little too much for my personal taste. I notice some fret buzz while doing soloing. I think it's because the guitar was set up for 12s from the factory. I'm thinking about getting a set of D Addario 12-54s ( 12-16-20p-32-42-54) but I'm afraid it will make that jangle go away. It has a plain G and that's where JL got the jangly tone on Beatles For Sale, so I'm thinking it will still have that tone.

 

Does anyone else use 12-54s and still have that jangly tone? Any suggestions would be appreciated! Thanks!!

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Does anyone else use 12-54s and still have that jangly tone? Any suggestions would be appreciated! Thanks!!

 

I found switching to 11s gave me more "jangle" - 12s were louder of course but a bit bass-heavy

I have mine strung with elixirs but am going to try Gibson Masterbilts next as they sound superb on my Terada J200

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Reportedly, the Beatles used flat-wound electric guitar strings on their acoustics, and favored the Pyramid brand.

 

Paul used Hofner brand bass strings, but was said to have experimented with piano strings on his bass, to try and achieve a heavier bass sound.

 

The bottom line is this;

If you want to achieve a truly authentic Beatles sound, bring George Martin in to produce your recordings.

 

[scared]

 

6319272_800.jpg

 

bassstrgs.jpg

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I use Pyramid Flats in 11's on my Gibson Fuller Reissue J-160E. I started with the Epi version, still have it, and I believe I used some GHS "Brite Flats" .11's before I got the Gibby. The biggest difference I think is also in the adj. bridge the reissue has and I changed to a hard Tusk (cuz I refuse pay $125.00 for a part beat up ceramic which prolly is the best Beatles sound). Just keep steel electric guitar strings on the Epi if you're going to amp up. It really IS an electric guitar by make/design.

 

Aster

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Thanks for the replies! I'm still wondering about if I should get the 12s or 11s. I really don't want to loose that jangle! Someone mentioned that 12s will be a little more bassy and louder, but that's not JLs tone, so I may stick with 11s. Right now I'm leaning towards keeping the 11s

 

The ones on the guitar now are 11-49s and I'm thinking about getting 11-52. The bottom strings are the same, but the top strings are slightly bigger. What I'm thinking is it'll bow the neck a little more to eliminate any fret buzz, but it'll keep the Lennon jangly tone! Thoughts?

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The ones on the guitar now are 11-49s and I'm thinking about getting 11-52. The bottom strings are the same, but the top strings are slightly bigger. What I'm thinking is it'll bow the neck a little more to eliminate any fret buzz, but it'll keep the Lennon jangly tone! Thoughts?

 

I don't think it will affect the neck at all... you aren't really increasing the tension by much between the two string gauges you are describing.

 

Perhaps try 80/20's if you want more "jangle", but Monels will darken the sound.

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I also have an EJ-160e Lennon model, and I currently use GHS White Bronze 11s (after much research). As these are somewhat of a hybrid, I really love these strings for both a straight unplugged acoustic tone, and plugged in electric sound. Yes, one is giving up a bit of tone in the acoustic realm, but not enough to matter in my humble opinion. It's the best of both worlds. I learn material acoustically, but plug in when I'm with my duo act in rehearsals and performance. I know there are some who use strictly electric guitar strings, and that's cool if you're plugging in most of the time. Yes, Pyramids are the best...they're also very expensive. 11 gauge is just right for me in regard to playability, tone, and jangle.

 

I know this next subject has been beaten to death on this forum previously, but when plugging in the EJ-160e there are a few options. When plugging in to a PA system directly; 1. Use an active direct box as the P-100 is a passive pickup system. 2. If you do use a passive DI box, the PA must have phantom power turned on for that channel. 3. Use a small amp with a line out to the PA...this is what I do, and really like it. Specifically, I use a Vox Pathfinder 15r amp and I'm glad I've got it, as you can only seem to find the Pathfinder 10s now. The little amp has reverb, tremolo, boost, line out, headphone jack, etc. Plus, I bought the Vox footswitch to go along with it. With this setup, I can also plug in my Inspired by Lennon Revolution Casino for a few tunes.

 

I've made a number of modifications to my EJ-160e as well. I put on Gotoh Vintage Tuners, and they're great...a big upgrade. Replaced the white nut with a black self-lube Graph Tech nut, because there was an audible buzz coming from the old nut. It sounds, and tunes much better now. I also replaced the plastic bridge pins with ivoroid pins with abalone dots. Replaced the amber knobs with the more accurate gold top hat volume and tone knobs, plus I put the nickel pointers on...way better to see my tone and volume settings now. I've noticed that Epi has a Limited Edition EJ-160e out again, and they've put the correct knobs and pointers on it this time.

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I'd like to add another comment...the EJ-160e is really a great little guitar for a backup or second guitar. With the mods I've described above, its' a great #1 guitar! Congrats on the re-acquisition of yours. I'm really glad to have grabbed a new one at a clearance price last year, after they were discontinued. I'd previously been trolling and bidding on eBay for these guitars, but the price always went higher than I was willing to pay...a good sign for resale value I suppose.

 

For anyone out there contemplating a second acoustic, or even wanting a first by making a little project out of it, I'd highly recommend getting one of the new Limited Editions. I don't know where these are being made, but mine was from Indonesia, and I really love the neck, frets, playability, etc. I put about $175, including labor, into mine for the upgrades. Epiphone seems to discontinue special issue guitars rather abruptly, too. I guess that's why they're called Limited Editions!

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Has anyone tried the Gibson Vintage re-issue nickel wound strings? Right now I have a set of Pyramid Gold on my EJ-160e. I like them, but they have been on a long time,

and I was intrigued by the Gibson hype about this model string, so I thought I would try them out. I also am planning on going from the 10s to 11s when I do.

Do you think this might require a truss rod adjust?

 

Thanks!

Best Regards,

Bob

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The learned folks who suggested Pyramid strings were right on the money,they were the preferred strings of all John and George on their electrics and acoustics.Having said that I find D'Addario EXL110-W 10-46 nickel wound strings with a wound G to be excellent for nailing the electric tone of John's and George's J-160-Es.The first time that I played my EJ-160-E through my AC-15 using these strings I got immediate goosebumps when I played the intro to "I Feel Fine" ,the tone was spot on.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi everyone! I'm new here and I'm very happy to be here. I just got a 2013 Epi J-160e JL signature model on eBay! I used to have one a while ago but sold it :( very happy to have another! I would like to do a string change soon, but I'm wondering what strings to get. It came with D Addario 11-49 strings. It has that very jangly tone like John Lennon's, but I think it's a little too much for my personal taste. I notice some fret buzz while doing soloing. I think it's because the guitar was set up for 12s from the factory. I'm thinking about getting a set of D Addario 12-54s ( 12-16-20p-32-42-54) but I'm afraid it will make that jangle go away. It has a plain G and that's where JL got the jangly tone on Beatles For Sale, so I'm thinking it will still have that tone.

 

Does anyone else use 12-54s and still have that jangly tone? Any suggestions would be appreciated! Thanks!!

 

 

Just watched this - It's 2 Gibson models compared with electric and acoustic strings - interesting

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I thought I was finished with my EJ-160e modifications, but I've decided one more was in order. I removed the GHS White Bronze 11 strings, and decided to try electric guitar flatwounds. Before completely taking the plunge on Pyramids, I just put a set of D'Addario Chrome 12-52s on it, which are essentially less than half the price of Pyramids. So far, so good! It definitely removed some of the brightness and thus some of the jangle, but I'm actually liking the overall sound much better...they're noted for warm/mellow tone right on the package. Upper register lead work is markedly improved in tone as well. I've only had them on one day, so I'll report back after giving them a good workout through the Vox amp at rehearsal next week.

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I thought I was finished with my EJ-160e modifications, but I've decided one more was in order. I removed the GHS White Bronze 11 strings, and decided to try electric guitar flatwounds. Before completely taking the plunge on Pyramids, I just put a set of D'Addario Chrome 12-52s on it, which are essentially less than half the price of Pyramids. So far, so good! It definitely removed some of the brightness and thus some of the jangle, but I'm actually liking the overall sound much better...they're noted for warm/mellow tone right on the package. Upper register lead work is markedly improved in tone as well. I've only had them on one day, so I'll report back after giving them a good workout through the Vox amp at rehearsal next week.

 

Well, I just gave EJ-160e with the D'Addario flatwounds a good workout through the Vox Pathfinder using a direct line out to the PA system. At first, I was taken aback by the completely different tone from the GHS strings. The jangle is essentially non-existent now, which was startling at first, but after spending about an hour playing different songs, I began to get used to it more. The strings are exactly as advertised...warm, mellow tone. Don't know if I'm completely sold on them yet, but will leave them on until the next string change for sure. I'm sure I'll keep getting more and more used to the tone...it really is like having a different guitar now.

 

2/29 Update: Totally enjoying the D'Addario flatwound 12s now. I've had a few rehearsals with the guitar, and I've really got the best tone dialed in now. I'm loving the overall feel, playability, and different sounds being produced with the amp setup after a period of adjustment as noted above. Yes, it is more mellow and quieter from a strictly acoustic standpoint, but as mentioned, I really only learn material this way when needed. If I want the big natural acoustic sound when sitting around with friends, I pull out my Gibson J-45. Different tools for different jobs, for sure.

 

On another subject, I bit the bullet and bought Pyramid flatwound 12s for my Rickenbacker 325c64 when it arrived, and they're really quite beautiful from both a sound and play viewpoint. They're absolutely made for this guitar, and I won't buy anything else for it. Even with the fretboard sizes being drastically different, the similarity of string feel is very nice when switching back and forth from the EJ-160 to the Ric. I can really get used to these flatwounds...I'd forgotten what they feel like, it's been so long since last playing them.

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