Jump to content
Gibson Brands Forums

2017 J45 & Hummingbird: considering trying something other than the stock Masterbuilt 80/20s

Mike CT

Recommended Posts

I apologize in advance for this long winded question, but I have been tempted to try Phosphor Bronze on both of my acoustics.  Given that both are Mahogony, would losing the “brights” usually associated with 80/20 strings take too much of the liveliness away from each guitar?   I know the PB’s are described as warmer and more balanced.

Also, if I do make a switch I have two other questions:

1) thoughts on D’addarios, vs Gibson MB vs Elixir or others

2). Also, I haven’t tried coated strings.   Do they deaden the sound any?  I see Gibson is now making coated PB strings.



Edited by Mike CT
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lots of fun coming your way....


strings I have liked for my mahogany spruce Gibsons:


elixir pb lights and 80/20 lights

DR Sunbeam lights. Comfortable and slinky. Quiet strings

DR Rare lights. Be wary  they last about a week hahaha

daddario nickel bronze. Love these.

daddario ej16. Always a good standard  benchmark string and sound.

martin retro lights. Brash at first. Sound great after a week. 

martin titaniums. Expensive. Great mellow sound like Martin retros but much better and less stiff. G and B strings sometimes break if you are playing hard. It’s happened twice to me. So I don’t buy anymore. Sounded great though.

martin SP uncoated PBs light and medium light. I like these better than EJ16s  similar sound.


I think my favorite strings have been the older Gibson Masterbilt strings and the PB Elixirs.


this time of year strings are on sale so have fun.... one mans warm is another mans muddy.  there are a few members here who love... old “dead” strings in their guitars. The older the better... some boil their strings.  Some mix and match sets...

Edited by Salfromchatham
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Playing with strings is a fun and pretty inexpensive experiment, and final selection largely comes to taste.  I do change across gages but more to balance the sound how I like (i.e. 13 vs 12 for hi e, 54 for low e vs 56) but when I change across brands its for an overall sound change.

I think going from 80/20 to PB is a subtle change, but there is a difference.  For a real big difference try Martin retro strings.  Those weren't to my liking (as much because they are all silver, and I prefer bronze color on the lower 4 strings) but there are some folks on this forum that use them, post songs and rock them. 

I say just get some, put em on and give em a go.  I also say give them a couple weeks before swapping out again if you get into an experimental phase.

Edited by billroy fineman
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I prefer Newtones (both PB and Nickel).  Problem is I now have to order them from the factory in England which requires some thinking ahead which is unfortunately not one of my strong points. 

Other than that I agree with the daddario nickel bronze strings,    The only coated strings I have been able to live with are the Cleartone Hybrids. Not cheap but  using different metal wraps on the different  strings does seem to work. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've never felt PB's were "warmer". I hear people say it all the time. They sound "duller" to me.

80/20's sound fresher, cleaner, more articulate. 

I've always thought this, so I'm not much help.

I've been using the GHS 80/20's lately, so again, not much help...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Martin MA540T Lifespan Treated Phosphor Bronze Authentic strings are my favorite on the J-45. The HBird sounds best to me with D'Addario EXP Phosphor Bronze Bluegrass strings. These are light gauge top/medium bottom strings. That's what I like on these two mahogany backed Gibsons. As someone else said, this is the time of the year strings are on sale everywhere, good time to experiment.

Edited by TomPhx
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I may try the nickels after these but I am liking these PB more and more in only a short time.

Has anyone tried the new Gibson coated phosphor bronze strings that they are replacing all of the Masterbuilt a with?   On amazon the few reviews have been very good.  I wonder if they are built/feel more like the Elixirs or the D’addario EXPs.  May give those a shot too at some point.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...