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gibson's strings of the 60's


Pingouin08
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Hello,

 

I am the owner since more than 50 years of a Gibson heritage which must be dated around 1965.

I have just a silly question about this guitar: in the 60’, what type of strings was supposed to be mounted? From the litterature I have been able to collect, I noticed that the guitars (Dove, hummingbird and heritage) were sold with Gibson strings referenced G-140/PB-3000M. Is it possible to know the gauges and the composition of these strings?: I did not find this info.

 

Thanks if you can answer my question and thanks also to forgive me for my poor english, directly coming from France!

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I couldn't find anything definitive based on a quick search, so this is just a guess.

 

Remember that the big Gibson square dreads like the Heritage were long-scale, which more often than not were used with heavier-gauge strings. Even with round-shoulder Gibsons (and others) in that period --mid/late 1960's--we tended to use heavier strings than are typically used today. When I could afford them, I used Martin medium or heavy monel strings on my J-45 in the mid/late 1960s. At other times, it was Black Diamonds, changing only the high E and B strings when they broke, which they did.

 

The coding on those strings might be read to suggest that they were phosphor bronze, medium gauge, with a high E gauge of .014. (Strings are sometimes named based on the gauge of the high E string, as you probably know.)

 

Today, a string with a high E of .014 would be considered heavy gauge.

 

Depending on the year of your Heritage, that could be a very special guitar. It was originally meant as direct competition for the D-28, with solid Brazilian back and sides, and ebony board and bridge. If you could give us the serial number, we might be able to date it with reasonable accuracy and confidence.

 

In any case, the guitar sounds like a keeper. And it sounds like you have kept it.

 

Welcome to the Gibson Acoustic forum. Your English is just fine. We have many folks here who are not native English speakers, so don't feel alone.

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I couldn't find anything definitive based on a quick search, so this is just a guess.

 

Remember that the big Gibson square dreads like the Heritage were long-scale, which more often than not were used with heavier-gauge strings. Even with round-shoulder Gibsons (and others) in that period --mid/late 1960's--we tended to use heavier strings than are typically used today. When I could afford them, I used Martin medium or heavy monel strings on my J-45 in the mid/late 1960s. At other times, it was Black Diamonds, changing only the high E and B strings when they broke, which they did.

 

The coding on those strings might be read to suggest that they were phosphor bronze, medium gauge, with a high E gauge of .014. (Strings are sometimes named based on the gauge of the high E string, as you probably know.)

 

Today, a string with a high E of .014 would be considered heavy gauge.

 

Depending on the year of your Heritage, that could be a very special guitar. It was originally meant as direct competition for the D-28, with solid Brazilian back and sides, and ebony board and bridge. If you could give us the serial number, we might be able to date it with reasonable accuracy and confidence.

 

In any case, the guitar sounds like a keeper. And it sounds like you have kept it.

 

Welcome to the Gibson Acoustic forum. Your English is just fine. We have many folks here who are not native English speakers, so don't feel alone.

Thanks for your valuable informations. I bought this guitar in 1966 and from what I see, it is solid Brazilian back and sides, with the famous adjustable saddle, which for me is not a problem. It is even a plus as you can easily adjust the action depending on your preferences and strings without need to touch to anything else.

I got also an answer from Gibson Service Europe which also think that it was medium gauge for the acoustic guitar. Unfortunately, they could not give me the characteristic of the Reference G-140/PB-3000M. But I buy your suggestion on the coding.

Thanks again

Edited by Pingouin08
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Not the PB but this should help

 

6370E416-C44C-4A8F-8263-57EFA36A829F_zps4v4fj0os.jpg

 

Those would be very light strings for a Gibson acoustic, most similar to DR's "Custom Light" designation.

 

Maybe it was just Gibson's way of protecting themselves from warranty claims. It's hard to believe anyone ever used that gauge on something like a Dove or Hummingbird.

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12/50 looks custom-custom

This pack I have (unused) is from the Norlin era

 

GUAGE_GRAPHC-01.jpg?v=1528836949

 

Hah! It was inevitable that someone here would still have some of those sitting around. I dug through my way-back box, but there were no strings there. Plenty of other oddities, however: adjustable bridge parts, hand-carved bone bridge pins, capos that looked like torture instruments, tarnished old nickel fingerpicks, etc.

 

The combination of double-X top bracing and light gauge strings may be the source of that unusual and much-sought-after "stuffed with socks" tone that made Norlin-era Gibsons so famous. (sarcasm alert)

Edited by j45nick
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Do not recall gauges but the strings would have been wound on a round core or possibly flatwounds in the guitar was an electric. This was the problem with Black Diamonds. The outer windings tended come off the core and separate so you could slide them in sections up and down the core.

 

I have an entire Black Diamond display rack from the 1950s or 1960s loaded with guitar, banjo and violin strings.

Edited by zombywoof
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If anyone cares, I have been told by one of the Gibson employees who strung a considerable number of their flat tops during the 1960's what strings were used. However, my last shot at offering primary source information met with more disdain than it was worth to share it. Since then, I've kept that sort of thing to myself.

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If anyone cares, I have been told by one of the Gibson employees who strung a considerable number of their flat tops during the 1960's what strings were used. However, my last shot at offering primary source information met with more disdain than it was worth to share it. Since then, I've kept that sort of thing to myself.

 

Thanks for the info: it was worth to share.

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If anyone cares, I have been told by one of the Gibson employees who strung a considerable number of their flat tops during the 1960's what strings were used. However, my last shot at offering primary source information met with more disdain than it was worth to share it. Since then, I've kept that sort of thing to myself.

For a primary-source-of-any-topic'n'level-aficionado, this is bad news.

May I ask : In what field, regarding which subject-matter did you meet disdain ?

 

Keep sharing ^

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If anyone cares, I have been told by one of the Gibson employees who strung a considerable number of their flat tops during the 1960's what strings were used. However, my last shot at offering primary source information met with more disdain than it was worth to share it. Since then, I've kept that sort of thing to myself.

I'm really curious especially in terms of studio and on-stage work back in the sixties. Did recording artists (playing Gibson) primarily use phosphor bronze or nickel-wound strings back then or something else entirely? I'm absolutely clueless.

 

EDIT: Found some info on vintage electric strings here: http://www.thewho.net/whotabs/gear/guitar/strings.html

 

EDIT 2: It seems for acoustics nickel roundwound strings were used predominantly. https://www.guitarplayer.com/gear/pure-nickel-strings

Edited by Leonard McCoy
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For a primary-source-of-any-topic'n'level-aficionado, this is bad news.

May I ask : In what field, regarding which subject-matter did you meet disdain ?

 

Keep sharing ^

It's been a while - about time I cut way back on posts. Had to do with factory oversight of parts and such that might have walked out of the place w/o legitimate clearance to do so - also with the (rather common) practice of slipping a line inspector a few dollars to mark an exceptionally good-sounding guitar as a second, thus enabling an employee to buy it for cheap. It seems that published histories say the place was a model of security, which just isn't the case. One lady actually smuggled most of a banjo out the door, over time, in her underware. Anyhow, I got enough of a rebuke to make me decide to quit telling what I know.

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