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E-minor7

Lights <----> Extra lights

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You take a big fat dread and switch the 12s to 11s.

! What happens ?

 

 

. . . . . . . . . . . .   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ~ ITzEbYt.jpg  

 

PROS :

CONS :

OVERALL THOUGHTS & EXPERIENCES :

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I don't know about on a dread, but I love elixir custom lights (between x light and light if memory serves) on my bk L-00, tuned down half a step.  All bare fingers. This puts very little stress on the guitar, and is very comfortable to play.

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I suspect it goes a bit thin, and a lot more quiet.  But I've never used anything  lighter than "lights" on a full-sized guitar.  I've got three slope-J's, a 000, and an L-00.  All get lights, and it seems to work for all of them.

A long-scale dread might be another issue, although Martin is spec'ing lights on all the D-series guitars, as far as I can tell. EL's would seem to be a non-starter on one of those if you care at all about tone and volume.

I used to put mediums on my "old" 1950 J-45, just to try to hold my own with Martin D's. I wouldn't even think of that today.

Why would you even bother with EL's? What are you trying to gain? (not saying you would, other than as an experiment to satisfy your curiosity.) I'm betting few here have used EL's.

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4 hours ago, E-minor7 said:

You take a big fat dread and switch the 12s to 11s.

! What happens ?

 

The guy that used to setup and/or repair my guitars would slap me upside the head.

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As a fingerpicker, I use lights on all my guitars.  I like Martin SPs the most.  I've tried extra lights, but for me they're too thin and tinny sounding.  I once thought that extra lights might be easier on my fingers, but they're not.  I've got fifty-years of callouses and with a good setup I can probably barbed-wire............Anyway,  I like lights better than extra lights or barbed-wire.  The extra lights are too thin and the barbed are too "sharp." :-({|=

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PROS : slightly easier on the left hand, brighter tone if the guitar is excessively dark, reduces the volume of a very punchy instrument which can be useful for a quiet singer looking for an instrument for accompaniment

CONS : ...just about everything else! A higher action required to prevent buzzing, lower volume for general purpose playing, less bass, less definition and note separation in chords, less of the sound of the driven top, can sound overly splatty and tinny with a heavy pick, everything gets very loose in downtuned altered tunings

OVERALL THOUGHTS & EXPERIENCES : anything less than 12s isn't for me. Perhaps on a small bodied guitar 11s could work, but not a dread in my experience...it feels a bit like putting bicycle tyres on a Harley Davidson, to me.

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You take a big fat dread and switch the 12s to 11s.

IME, you'll be putting 12s back on in about 2 days..

 

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Even though that whole “driving the top” thing is lost on me, I’m sure it’s always going on to some extent. .. Not much  into the whole “you gots to stomp ‘em”- thing, either.

Jinder had some good thoughts on the topic  where 11s could be useful : 

PROS : slightly easier on the left hand, brighter tone if the guitar is excessively dark, reduces the volume of a very punchy instrument which can be useful for a quiet singer looking for an instrument for accompaniment.

 Also- if “someone” was enamored with the sound of an early 60s Square with a ceramic saddled ADJ bridge, an a/b with a contemporary Gibson with 11s would be an interesting comparo to hear (hint, hint).  About as likely as hearing that recently played version of Galveston, oh Galveston🐠.

 
Edited by 62burst

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3 hours ago, generaldreedle said:

Why don't people use mediums anymore? Just asking

I use D'Addario EXP Mediums on my Maple AJ, that guitar really sings with a big chunky ol' set of wires on it.

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1 hour ago, Jinder said:

I use D'Addario EXP Mediums on my Maple AJ, that guitar really sings with a big chunky ol' set of wires on it.

I have mediums on my newly acquired guild JF 30 Maple, southern Jumbo, and Martin HD 28 VTS and they sound great on all of them.  I like lights too though.  

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5 hours ago, generaldreedle said:

Why don't people use mediums anymore? Just asking

 

I use Mediums (13s) on my 2006 CS J-45 1964 Reissue.   I also use either Light-Mediums (12.5s) or Mediums (13s) on some of my small bodied guitars.  Otherwise I use Lights (12s) on my other dreads/Jumbos or small bodied guitars.  It depends on the instrument.  Some respond better to one of the three mentioned gauges.  In terms of playability, volume, or its tone/sound.

QM aka “ Jazzman” Jeff

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20 hours ago, 62burst said:

Even though that whole “driving the top” thing is lost on me, I’m sure it’s always going on to some extent. .. Not much  into the whole “you gots to stomp ‘em”- thing, either.

Jinder had some good thoughts on the topic  where 11s could be useful : 

PROS : slightly easier on the left hand, brighter tone if the guitar is excessively dark, reduces the volume of a very punchy instrument which can be useful for a quiet singer looking for an instrument for accompaniment.

 Also- if “someone” was enamored with the sound of an early 60s Square with a ceramic saddled ADJ bridge, an a/b with a contemporary Gibson with 11s would be an interesting comparo to hear (hint, hint).  About as likely as hearing that recently played version of Galveston, oh Galveston🐠.

 

For me it's the feel when finger picking.  11s are hard to get the right articulation,  I don't have nails or use finger picks.  I finger pick more than I flat pick

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Well, thanx for the thoughts and replies gentlemen.  And pardon for the delay - things have been busy here. 


A lot of you say what I expected to hear, , , and it must be confessed that I fished for a little variation. 
Have recently been experimenting with goin' back to 11s after at least 20 years of 12s and it's not that risky at all. 
If the guitar has pondus and isn't too vague in it self, the 11s can add an elegance which gets kind of over-rolled by the slightly thicker steel.  Something airy that shouldn't necessarily be confused with thinness occurs and it makes a good solid acoustic maneuver slightly different. The step down isn't as steep as we tend to believe. 

To test my  observations I took my Mart. D-18 to an acoustic jam the other night and asked my pal (a sworn 12-guy) to play it a bit. He got caught and kept clinging to the hog  without noticing the D'Addario 85-15 bronze 11-15-24-32-42-52s at all.  Quite a surprise when he found out after half an hour or so.  Must say they suit this special slope so well. 

 

Point : don't be afraid to try it out.  Yes, you will feel slightly lighter, , , but it'll take you somewhere else.  All a bit like changing to summer shoes.
Just wait and see. . .  
 

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2 hours ago, E-minor7 said:

Well, thanx for the thoughts and replies gentlemen.  And pardon for the delay - things have been busy here. 


A lot of you say what I expected to hear, , , and it must be confessed that I fished for a little variation. 
Have recently been experimenting with goin' back to 11s after at least 20 years of 12s and it's not that risky at all. 
If the guitar has pondus and isn't too vague in it self, the 11s can add an elegance which gets kind of over-rolled by the slightly thicker steel.  Something airy that shouldn't necessarily be confused with thinness occurs and it makes a good solid acoustic maneuver slightly different. The step down isn't as steep as we tend to believe. 

To test my  observations I took my Mart. D-18 to an acoustic jam the other night and asked my pal (a sworn 12-guy) to play it a bit. He got caught and kept clinging to the hog  without noticing the D'Addario 85-15 bronze 11-15-24-32-42-52s at all.  Quite a surprise when he found out after half an hour or so.  Must say they suit this special slope so well. 

 

Point : don't be afraid to try it out.  Yes, you will feel slightly lighter, , , but it'll take you somewhere else.  All a bit like changing to summer shoes.
Just wait and see. . .  
 

Very interesting! I may try some on my D18 too. It has a thick, chunky tone with 12s which I love, but 11s could open up some air as you suggest.

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