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Martin Titanium Strings on my Hummingbird

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I'm 2-3 years behind the times, but I finally got a set of Martin Titaniums last Christmas strung up on my 2018 Hummingbird Standard.

(For a bit of a perspective reference, they replaced a set of Martin Silked 80/20 that I thought were fantastic (while they lasted) and a set of DR Sunbeams I liked very much before that. I'm much more of a strummer than anything, but I do try to vary things a little bit. )

In short, the Titanium strings do work well for some things, but not all things.

  • They were very nice for passages like "Angie" with it's semi-lead riffy rhythm pattern, as well as anything at all that used any variation of an arpeggio approach. 
  • Strumming could be somewhat harsh at times. While the notes picked during an intro like "Wish You Were Hear" may be pleasing, a rude awakening awaited as the verse strumming started. Just not the same levels of being pretty, warm and clear. This may sound weird, but there was too much sustain supporting what was too bright of a string.
  • If the low-end thump is getting in your way, these might help. If you like the low-end thump, these will not help.
  • I would call the low end on these strings nothing more than "supportive" in nature. It's there, but lacks interesting timbre.
  • Note that almost every pick below 0.88mm was thin and harsh. No supporting bottom end. A Gibson Heavy, for example, sometimes didn't cut it. These strings were far more interested in thickness than material, especially when compared to other strings I have tried. That said, if you have a thick pick that can be screechy at times, just do a slight miss-hit and you will get all the screech you ever wanted.
  • Noisy, is what I would call these the first few days. After the noise settled down (day-4), any sort of strumming became too full, bordering on too much sustain. Harsh gave way to less harsh, but didn't really drop in volume.
  • Tuning, even just 10-15 cents resulted in a situation where the strings had to settle in a bit through the first 4 days at least.
  • Barre chords were warmer than open chords to an extent of obviousness that I've not heard before.
  • The Hummingbird "motor" was boring and obtrusive.

 

It's easy for me to want to compare these to the EQ when discussing the bottom end, but the bright harshness of strumming was a character not shared by the EQs. Nor was the timbre. While the Titaniums COULD be very pretty at times, they do not have that woody, growl warm tone. My second bullet point was the most important one for me, though. I dod not enjoy some of what I play with these strings on it.

Conclusion is TBD. This guitar is going back into it's case for a couple of weeks. It's a NGD here today, which means the new one will get two straight weeks on the stand to open up a bit and allow for some bonding time. I'm hoping that the Titaniums will somehow settle down a bit by just being stretched for a few weeks, but I'm not holding my breath. I expect to remove this in quick fashion when the 'bird comes out in 2-1/2 weeks.

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Thanks Patriot, I have been curious of how these strings are...Keep us posted please as you use them more.   Sure seems like a lot to pay for strings.JMHO 

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I have a 99 bird that was my Dad’s before he passed away.  Someday I will have to tell the story about how that guitar could bring my Dad back to us for awhile as he was afflicted with dementia, but that for another day.  So I have experimented with strings on mine and always end up going back to the old D’Addarios.  Look forward to what you find.


But NGD?  Okay what you got over there?

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34 minutes ago, kelly campbell said:

Thanks Patriot, I have been curious of how these strings are...Keep us posted please as you use them more.   Sure seems like a lot to pay for strings.JMHO 

I was/still hoping that they would be worth it after XX months of playing. An expensive experiment, though I didn't purchase them myself. Close enough, though. 

32 minutes ago, J185cat said:

I have a 99 bird that was my Dad’s before he passed away.  Someday I will have to tell the story about how that guitar could bring my Dad back to us for awhile as he was afflicted with dementia, but that for another day.  So I have experimented with strings on mine and always end up going back to the old D’Addarios.  Look forward to what you find.


But NGD?  Okay what you got over there?

That sounds like a wonderful story for a thread, if you ever feel up to it.  

The object of the potential NGD is marked as "on vehicle for delivery". Trying not to jynx - what I ordered was a Gibson SJ-200 Pre-War Historical Series. gone will be the Taylor 614CE.

29 minutes ago, generaldreedle said:

I haven't tried these yet, in COVID I went a little nuts and got a lot of strings, but the Sunbeams sound great on my Southern Jumbo

I stock up like that every year or so. It's fun to experiment with them. I have two orders placed right now for this year's batch. I especially want to see if Monels tame the Taylor before it's gone. It's astonishing to see how many folks have opposite attributes for same materials as other folks. IMO, it illustrate how often the only way to determine how strings turn out is to try. To that end, I was also wondering how much detail was not being shared and to what extent that could help with typical forum knowledge exchanges.

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Thanks for the review.  It was thought provoking in a good way.   To be completely honest I rarely consider all of the tonal qualities involved with strings.  But reading your review, I was like, yeah, that all makes sense!  I've started playing my  L-00 with a thumbpick of late, after literally years and years of bare finger playing.  I'm noticing many different tonal possibilities.  I'm especially surprised by the amount of bass I can get out of this little guitar that just isn't there playing with a bare thumb.

Edited by northcntryblues

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Hey PB since I live next door in Raleigh I know I don’t have to tell you this but, it is hot as Hades out there today.  Fight the urge as hard as you can and give that guitar time to adjust to house temperature.  That sounds like a terrific get and can’t wait to hear about it.  Just be cautious.

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2 hours ago, northcntryblues said:

Thanks for the review.  It was thought provoking in a good way.   To be completely honest I rarely consider all of the tonal qualities involved with strings.  But reading your review, I was like, yeah, that all makes sense!  I've started playing my  L-00 with a thumbpick of late, after literally years and years of bare finger playing.  I'm noticing many different tonal possibilities.  I'm especially surprised by the amount of bass I can get out of this little guitar that just isn't there playing with a bare thumb.

I've tried a thumb pick before. I am an awful finger picker to begin with, but that thumb pick downright startled me. I do use for for lap steel, but that's a whole different thing that I stink at. (good fun, though)

31 minutes ago, J185cat said:

Hey PB since I live next door in Raleigh I know I don’t have to tell you this but, it is hot as Hades out there today.  Fight the urge as hard as you can and give that guitar time to adjust to house temperature.  That sounds like a terrific get and can’t wait to hear about it.  Just be cautious.

Indeed! 49 down, 71 to go. I'm passing the time by using my 'bird and these titaniums to do what it's seems to be best at. Golden Era Stones. "Sister Morphine" was strong.

I did luck out that it was delivered before getting too blistering hot out. The box was 79.4 with my IR gun, and the case was 78.3 when I got it out of the box. Could have been much worse. Still waiting the 2 hours, though. Might give it some more time if there's any hint of warmth coming from it.

Ok, time for some more Stones.

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