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Larry W

Went from PB to 80/20 on my SJ-200

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I have been using the factory spec of phosphor bronze on my 2017 SJ-200.   I have been disappointed in the tone of it since buying it.

I had made a bone saddle for it to replace the factory Tusq.  Did not solve the problem.  Basically it sounded like the strings were dead all the time, even when new.

 

So, I stopped by GC and picked up some Elixir 80/20 Light today.   put them on.    W O W ! ! ! ! ! ! !

I use those strings on all my Martins.  But I thought Gibby had chose what was best for this one.  They were Wrong!

 

Happy player now!

 

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One of my favorite things is experimenting with strings, and for several reasons.

I find in a complicated life, the routine of taking your guitar, and mindlessly changing strings and cleaning it, is very relaxing.

Anyways, on my Gibsons I have tried so many different strings, liked so may different ones - including Gibson Masterbilt 80/20 lights, Curt Mangan PB Light - mediums, Elixir PB Lights, Elixir 80/20 lights, D'addario Nickel Bronze lights, and even DR Sunbeams. I can't even always predict what I think will be the right strings for my guitars. Two recent surprises were  the Curt Mangans on my J45 right now, and the Sunbeams I put on my cheap LG-2 knockoff that just radically changed the guitar.

 

Have fun experimenting! But I am not surprised that 80/20s sound great on your J200. By the way, I always thought Gibson shipped nearly all their new guitars with Gibson 80/20 lights.

Edited by Salfromchatham

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16 minutes ago, Salfromchatham said:

 

I find in a complicated life, the routine of taking your guitar, and mindlessly changing strings and cleaning it, is very relaxing.

 

Wait...

Here we go with the "cleaning" again.....

😁

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I'm waiting on some Authentic Blood-Stained (Nickel Bronzes (IIRC) to come from an eBay seller from NJ. A little steep at $50, but you only live once and they did include shipping.

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11 hours ago, Larry W said:

I have been using the factory spec of phosphor bronze on my 2017 SJ-200.   I have been disappointed in the tone of it since buying it.

I had made a bone saddle for it to replace the factory Tusq.  Did not solve the problem.  Basically it sounded like the strings were dead all the time, even when new.

 

So, I stopped by GC and picked up some Elixir 80/20 Light today.   put them on.    W O W ! ! ! ! ! ! !

I use those strings on all my Martins.  But I thought Gibby had chose what was best for this one.  They were Wrong!

 

Happy player now!

 

The 80/20's do not do well in the room where I normally play guitar, and worse in my home project studio with shorter ceilings. The awful comb filtering combined with the extra brightness made everything sound far too harsh. I ended up hopping around various string types and landed on the Nickel Bronze for the SJ. However, in all seriousness, I did buy a set of those mondo expensive Titanium strings. I was going to put them on the 2018 'bird (standard), but I think I've decided to put them on the 2018 SJ (also standard).

I did, recently, but a set of the Gibson 80/20 (not the new ones) on the bird. At first I hated them, but they simmered down after a few days and continue to do so a few weeks later.

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Strings make a huge difference, and are a personal choice.

If you don't like the way a guitar sounds, try different types of strings to see if you can get the tone you are after.

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13 hours ago, Larry W said:

I have been using the factory spec of phosphor bronze on my 2017 SJ-200.   I have been disappointed in the tone of it since buying it.

I had made a bone saddle for it to replace the factory Tusq.  Did not solve the problem.  Basically it sounded like the strings were dead all the time, even when new.

 

So, I stopped by GC and picked up some Elixir 80/20 Light today.   put them on.    W O W ! ! ! ! ! ! !

I use those strings on all my Martins.  But I thought Gibby had chose what was best for this one.  They were Wrong!

 

Happy player now!

 

I put the same strings as you on my J-45 and was really pleasantly surprised,also.It seems to go against everything I'd heard about 80/20's.

 

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I recall discussions here about who makes Gibson’s strings.

Was it clearly established as being GHS?

I had a left over case-candy set of 80-20s from a new Gibson purchase.  Popped them on a guitar for an experiment & ended up liking them a lot!

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46 minutes ago, bobouz said:

I recall discussions here about who makes Gibson’s strings.

Was it clearly established as being GHS?

I had a left over case-candy set of 80-20s from a new Gibson purchase.  Popped them on a guitar for an experiment & ended up liking them a lot!

Interesting. There are 3 sets here, also from case-candy, but they are Gibson Masterbuilt Premium phos-bronze. Also- they are all 12-53's. Looking at GHS' website, their lights are gauged 11-54. So either, Gibson strings not GHS, or a special order for Gibson, or a gauge not currently in production?

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4 minutes ago, 62burst said:

Interesting. There are 3 sets here, also from case-candy, but they are Gibson Masterbuilt Premium phos-bronze. Also- they are all 12-53's. Looking at GHS' website, their lights are gauged 11-54. So either, Gibson strings not GHS, or a special order for Gibson, or a gauge not currently in production?

 

Hmm - My Gibson set was from 2014 & they were light Masterbuilt Premium 80-20s, gauges 12-53.  Things have clearly changed!

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I love 80/20s. It's worth remembering that Phosphor Bronze strings were invented in 1974, and most of the guitars we play were designed a long time before that...in effect, the SJ200 was designed for use with round core 80/20s. I have round core Newtones on mine at present and it sounds fantastic, different to hex core EXPs as I normally use but once the ears recalibrate, it's a gorgeous tone.

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Not surprised. I prefer my Elixir 80/20 nanoweb lights (.12-.53) strings on every guitar I have owned in a lifetime, some 40 guitars, for that clear unmuttled, crisp sound, particularly when they are worn in. Did plenty of experiments with PB's, and many brands, but still always return to 80/20's no matter the brand of string. 

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8 hours ago, Jinder said:

I love 80/20s. It's worth remembering that Phosphor Bronze strings were invented in 1974, and most of the guitars we play were designed a long time before that...in effect, the SJ200 was designed for use with round core 80/20s. I have round core Newtones on mine at present and it sounds fantastic, different to hex core EXPs as I normally use but once the ears recalibrate, it's a gorgeous tone.

Hum, In late sixties, the gibson Dove, Hummingbird, Heritage and J200 were sold with G-140/PB-3000M strings. I thought PB meant Phosphore Bronze...

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I did not think to look at the pack of strings that came in the case pocket.  Hmmm.......go to look when I get home.

It seems I will be using Elixir 80/20 on everything except the Taylor 914.  I admit the PBs do sound better there.....but it is a bright guitar design.

 

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Looks like I could have saved myself some heartache (earache).     The pack of strings in the case, from Gibson, are the Materbuilt 80/20.    

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I am getting confused.  I bought a SJ-200 a couple months ago.  It had been in the store for a long time and the strings weren't in very good shape.  Salesperson said they would give me a new set and put them on before I took it home.  They recommended D'Addario 80/20 Bronze (diamond drawn 80/20 bronze alloy according to the package), but I didn't care for the tone.  Bought a  set of Gibson Masterbuilt 80/20 Bronze (copper/zinc alloy according to the package) and liked the tone much better.

I had used Elixirs for many years on a couple different Taylor guitars that I owned and they worked well with those guitars.  The first one I had was maple with spruce top, and the second one was rosewood with spruce top and they sounded good on both.  So while I like these Gibson Masterbuilts I am currently using, when they wear out I may try Elixirs on this Gibson and see how they sound to me.

So after 57 years of playing guitar can someone educate me on what is meant by PB  vs. 80/20?  The Gibson strings that are called "80/20 bronze wound" don't mention bronze at all in their own description.

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 from  https://www.gearank.com/articles/guitar-string-types

Brass and Bronze 

There are two main types of string for steel string acoustic guitars: brass plated and bronze plated. The actual wires are made from steel, hence the name “steel string acoustic guitar.” There isn’t a ton of difference in feel between these two types of strings, but there’s a huge difference in response.

As a general rule, brass strings are always going to be brighter than bronze strings. Though, counterintuitively, many brass strings go by the moniker of “80/20” bronze. These strings are actually the one in the same. Brass, or 80/20 bronze as it’s often known, is made from 80% copper and 20% zinc. This gives the strings a bright and cutting voice, though when used on guitars that already have a prominent high-end response it can make an instrument sound thin and tinny. For best results, use brass strings on a guitar that’s an OM size or larger (so this would include OM guitars, dreadnoughts, and jumbos).

Phosphor bronze strings have a warmer sound with a smooth (if somewhat understated) high end response. This makes them a great fit for genres that benefit from a mellower tone, like a lot of folk or finger-style work. These strings pair well with smaller bodied guitars, though many musicians who play more relaxed genres prefer these strings on larger bodied instruments as well.

So basically, if you want a brighter tone go for brass (80/20 bronze) guitar strings. If you want a richer and more mellow tone go with phosphor bronze.

 

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Thanks Dave for posting that - shed a lot of light on the differences.  But tone is up to each of our ears.  When Elixir first produced a phosphor bronze string they sent me a set and asked me to try them and let them know what I thought.  I put them on my Taylor and didn't like the tone as it seemed too bright to me compared to the 80/20s I'd been using.  The above article says they should be the opposite.  But it also says best on smaller bodied guitars which mine was not.

Thanks again for the info.

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On 1/21/2020 at 10:23 AM, Pingouin said:

Hum, In late sixties, the gibson Dove, Hummingbird, Heritage and J200 were sold with G-140/PB-3000M strings. I thought PB meant Phosphore Bronze...

My mistake: it was in 1975...

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14 hours ago, generaldreedle said:

That's interesting, looking for new strings for my Guild Maple Jumbo, this seems to say I should get Phosphor Bronze

Why not get a set of each, , , and even spend a weekend goin' back'n'forth while listening/learning.

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