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ksdaddy

New strings on the L-5...wow.

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In January 2019 I bought a 1947 L-5. No idea what it had for strings. I tried a few different strings with boring results. I tried a few different brands of 12s and 13s. It was okay but lackluster. Today I put on a set of  14-59 D’Addario PB. My lord, it’s not the same guitar. I mean it just woke up! Not just a minor change. It explodes now. I need to clarify, I’m not a caveman with strings. I use what works best on the guitar, regardless if it’s 9s, 10s, whatever works best on the guitar.  I don’t default to “heavier is better” but lord almighty, this guitar is alive now.  Super responsive and sustains all day. 

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Nice! I had a 1947 L-7, and never found the right strings for it.

Sounds like I may not have gone heavy enough.

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That guitar might just have been designed for heavier gauge strings.  I wasn't around in 1947, but not sure they had as light a gauge strings back then as we are used to seeing.

Glad you found what works.

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Given what those guitars were meant to do, heavy strings make a lot of sense. I was impressed by the top structure of my '47 L-7, which would be the same as the L-5.  The carved dome top and back  form a really stiff beam, plus the top has a pair of longitudinal braces.

The trap tail means that the top is almost in pure compression from the tailblock forward along the string tension path.

Those guitars also have big necks--essentially the same as Gibson flat tops from the same period, but with long scale. The have a great feel--big, fat C-section.

If any guitars could take heavy strings, those would be the ones. I'm ashamed to say I never tried that on mine.

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It’s a hard pill to swallow when (some) people say to go heavy. Really? You think I should make my guitar more difficult to play so I can get a tiny bit more volume? Funny thing about that. The 12s felt weak, the 13s felt much stiffer with no appreciable increase in volume, but the 14s....wow. (I hate that word wow but here we are). They maybe felt stiff but at the same time felt “right”. And it’s not so much pure volume as it is sustain. I’m sure I could “dig in” and get a crapton of volume, but I was looking more for the tone, vibe, feel.....they’re just “right” for this one. 

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