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Martin Retro Monel strings...I'm impressed!


Jinder
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Hi all,

            Inspired by the great Sierra Ferrell video shared last week, I've picked up an old style Harp mic and am planning on doing some lo-fi single source recordings using my '67 J45, once my cranky fingers allow...I thought for extra effect I would try a set of Martin Retro strings (11s to accommodate said cranky fingers) to see how they jived with the dry, old tonewoods. 

First impressions are very good indeed...the guitar is naturally a VERY loud instrument with a dry, fundamental-forward tone. The Retros really play to those strengths and sound great...I have no idea how they will bed in, but for now I like them a lot. 

Has anyone else tried them? Would love to know thoughts if so!

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I tried em a few years back and didn't dig em. I use Cleartones, and when the ones I have one wear out I am trying Cleartone EQ's.

Martin Strings I used forever they, are just to squeeky. Most of CFM's strings are not stupidly overpriced.

Edited by Sgt. Pepper
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I’m impressed too, Jinder.  Thought I would give the “Authentic 2.0 a try so I put a set on my Dove. I couldn’t wait to get the  Retro’s back on there. I just set the Authentic ‘s aside, & will use them on my Seagull, or something. Can’t really afford to throw expensive new strings in the trash. The Retro’s have really done it for me,  I put a set of the D’Addario Nickel Bronze on my Rosewood J-45. I like those too. I prefer bronze with Rosewood.

 

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50 minutes ago, Paul14 said:

I’m impressed too, Jinder.  Thought I would give the “Authentic 2.0 a try so I put a set on my Dove. I couldn’t wait to get the  Retro’s back on there. I just set the Authentic ‘s aside, & will use them on my Seagull, or something. Can’t really afford to throw expensive new strings in the trash. The Retro’s have really done it for me,  I put a set of the D’Addario Nickel Bronze on my Rosewood J-45. I like those too. I prefer bronze with Rosewood.

 

 

Thankyou for the tip off-I must try the Retros on my Dove, I tried the D'Addario Nickel Bronze on my old D18 (a standard model from the early '00s which I never bonded with...I replaced it with a prototype D18 Golden Era which was incredible, but now belongs to my good friend Richard who is much more of a Martin man than I am and really makes it sing. I seem to only be able to get where I want to go with Gibsons, but that's another story entirely) and didn't like them as much as EXPs on that particular guitar. I'm all for trying them again though, I've been wrong before!

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1 hour ago, Sgt. Pepper said:

I tried em a few years back and didn't dig em. I use Cleartones, and when the ones I have one wear out I am trying Cleartone EQ's.

Martin Strings I used forever they, are just to squeeky. Most of CFM's strings are not stupidly overpriced.

I like Cleartones a lot. Really great strings with minimal evidence of the finger noise as you mentioned. DR Veritas are the other strings I've been really enjoying recently, they're pleasing me hugely on my Dove and Sigma CF-100 copy.

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21 minutes ago, Jinder said:

I like Cleartones a lot. Really great strings with minimal evidence of the finger noise as you mentioned. DR Veritas are the other strings I've been really enjoying recently, they're pleasing me hugely on my Dove and Sigma CF-100 copy.

I have wanted to try them for a while and when I go through my sets of Clears, I will buy a set of DR's and give em run through.

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16 minutes ago, Sgt. Pepper said:

I have wanted to try them for a while and when I go through my sets of Clears, I will buy a set of DR's and give em run through.

I would say the Veritas are definitely worth a try, I have been extremely impressed. They're the best DR strings by some way, I would say. I like the Rare and Dragon Skin DRs, but don't love them as such...the Veritas are in an entirely different league to the other DR sets in my humble opinion.

Newtone Masterclass round cores are superb too, I have had excellent results with them on my SJ200 and Maple AJ. The Dove and Sigma are excelling with Veritas, the J45 with Retros and my Hummingbird 12 string is big and chimey with Martin Lifespans. I may try D'Addario EXPs on the 12er next, whatever it wears needs to be coated as I find string changes on 12s a real chore!

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18 hours ago, Jinder said:

I would say the Veritas are definitely worth a try, I have been extremely impressed. They're the best DR strings by some way, I would say. I like the Rare and Dragon Skin DRs, but don't love them as such...the Veritas are in an entirely different league to the other DR sets in my humble opinion.

Newtone Masterclass round cores are superb too, I have had excellent results with them on my SJ200 and Maple AJ. The Dove and Sigma are excelling with Veritas, the J45 with Retros and my Hummingbird 12 string is big and chimey with Martin Lifespans. I may try D'Addario EXPs on the 12er next, whatever it wears needs to be coated as I find string changes on 12s a real chore!

D'addario's I am not a fan of. I tried em and they feel really rough.

Yeah changing the strings on my 12'er blows. Once I'm at about string #8, I'm ready to be done.

Edited by Sgt. Pepper
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27 minutes ago, Brucebubs said:

Curt Mangan do a round-core Monel that I found a little louder than Martin Retro's.

I'll try those out! Most of my guitars have soundhole pickups (Sunrise mainly and a Seymour Duncan MagMic in my Dove) so nickel strings require a whole load of tweaking re polepiece heights for live performance with Nickels (I have also tried the excellent John Pearse nickels on my old AJ), but as no gigs are forthcoming at the moment it's an ideal time to try stuff out!

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10 minutes ago, Jinder said:

I'll try those out! Most of my guitars have soundhole pickups (Sunrise mainly and a Seymour Duncan MagMic in my Dove) so nickel strings require a whole load of tweaking re polepiece heights for live performance with Nickels (I have also tried the excellent John Pearse nickels on my old AJ), but as no gigs are forthcoming at the moment it's an ideal time to try stuff out!

I have a maple Huss & Dalton MJ Custom that really loves those John Pearse Pure Nickels too - here's a picture of them together with those Mangan round-core Monels.

x8zWC7yl.jpg

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Switched to Martin Monels (13s) on my J-35 a couple of summers ago and have never looked back. I think they sound great and the guitar responds well strumming or finger style.

They are impossible to get in Cyprus, so I had to have them shipped from the U.S.; with the post office screw up last fall, it only took a month and a half to get them. I needed to change strings before they arrived, so I went back to my go-to string, EJ-17s, which I've always found a good, dependably consistent string, and boy howdy, could I tell a difference. Couldn't wait for my package to arrive in the mail....

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I switched over to John Pearse Pure Nickels in 2014 and never looked back.  The best recording of these strings I have would either be this livestream I did back in April using a Tascam iM2X mic through my iPhone, or the actual guitar playing parts on the Square on Air episode I did in July - for that, skip ahead about 17 minutes or so, or just scroll past the interview bits for the other songs.  The guitar is an '05 J-45 Historic Collection, played in my usual brutalist bareknuckle fashion ...

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42 minutes ago, rustystrings said:

I switched over to John Pearse Pure Nickels in 2014 and never looked back.  The best recording of these strings I have would either be this livestream I did back in April using a Tascam iM2X mic through my iPhone, or the actual guitar playing parts on the Square on Air episode I did in July - for that, skip ahead about 17 minutes or so, or just scroll past the interview bits for the other songs.  The guitar is an '05 J-45 Historic Collection, played in my usual brutalist bareknuckle fashion ...

Just ordered a set of the John Pearce pure N. Haven’t used them before. Think I’ll Try them on my J-50. I have an 05 J-45 too. Very attached to it.

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Another Cleartone fan.  I think these are the best extended life strings I've ever tried.  They last an eternity and stay stable and great sounding,, unlike Elixirs, which I do use often, there is no shredding.  I've had a set on two of my acoustics since some time around April or May, and they're still not ready to be changed.

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2 minutes ago, kidblast said:

Another Cleartone fan.  I think these are the best extended life strings I've ever tried.  They last an eternity and stay stable and great sounding,, unlike Elixirs, which I do use often, there is no shredding.  I've had a set on two of my acoustics since some time around April or May, and they're still not ready to be changed.

I believe you clued me into Cleartone. They are my jam now.

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1 hour ago, Sgt. Pepper said:

I believe you clued me into Cleartone. They are my jam now.

👌  Nice!  I've tried quite a few "extended life" strings, Elixirs are good only for the shredding..  ugh...  These don't do that.

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2 minutes ago, kidblast said:

👌  Nice!  I've tried quite a few "extended life" strings, Elixirs are good only for the shredding..  ugh...  These don't do that.

For some reason my best friend puts Elixirs on all his 6 string stuff (acoustic and electric) and swears by them.  I have tried em and to me they are poo. On his basses he is a Rotosound guy.

Edited by Sgt. Pepper
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My Gibson J-160E is an Acoustic Electric Guitar. It was designed to be an Electric Guitar. I play it both ways about 50/50. I’ve tried many different kinds of Strings that supposedly were ideal for both Acoustic & Electric playing.. including some very expensive Strings.

Most sound good playing either Acoustic or Electric but not both.

The Martin Retro Monels .011’s sound the best played Acoustic or Electric on this Guitar..

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I use Martin Retro Monels and uncoated 80/20 bronze strings by different manufacturers, both in 12 gauge, on my J-45 Standard 2015, love how both sound on this guitar, each in a different way. The only PB string I used on this guitar was Martin Authentic, also in 12, but I did not bond with the tone -- too much 'unnecessary' overtones and huge bass. Possibly will try another PB veriety, like EJ16 or something else. 

I am a bedroom player, do not perform in public, do not use electronics and do not record myself. The saddle is original TUSQ.

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I tried them on the following guitars back in 2014-15. Must be when they hit the market. 

The 2000 HD-28V - The 2010 J-45 - The 1963 SJ - The 2010 Rio rose 12-fret. Worked best on the latter, ,  and the J-45 page in my big black book has a positive note.                                                                    But I recall finding them too otherly, , , like a set of electric strings gone wrong. Then again time has proven me a bronze-phosphor bronze fundamentalist. So count me out. 

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On 1/28/2021 at 10:02 AM, Jinder said:

Hi all,

            Inspired by the great Sierra Ferrell video shared last week, I've picked up an old style Harp mic and am planning on doing some lo-fi single source recordings using my '67 J45, once my cranky fingers allow...I thought for extra effect I would try a set of Martin Retro strings (11s to accommodate said cranky fingers) to see how they jived with the dry, old tonewoods. 

First impressions are very good indeed...the guitar is naturally a VERY loud instrument with a dry, fundamental-forward tone. The Retros really play to those strengths and sound great...I have no idea how they will bed in, but for now I like them a lot. 

Has anyone else tried them? Would love to know thoughts if so!

Looking forward to hearing your lo-fi output Jinder.  Scaled back music, you the guitar with that old time sound - I got to believe there'll be some magic in there 🙂  Hope your health continues to improve and we get to hear some output sometime.  Any chance you'd ever team up with a fiddle player for a song or two?

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  • 3 months later...

I bought a set of martins around the time of this post and just got around to putting them on - Jinder how did you find them after they broke in? I've rocked martin bronze/phosphor bronze for damn near a decade on my j45 and these sound plenty different- not sure if it's just fresh strings or what, but im still getting used to it a bit

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14 minutes ago, cunningham26 said:

I bought a set of martins around the time of this post and just got around to putting them on - Jinder how did you find them after they broke in? I've rocked martin bronze/phosphor bronze for damn near a decade on my j45 and these sound plenty different- not sure if it's just fresh strings or what, but im still getting used to it a bit

I’ve generally found the Monels take a day or so to settle in. At least on my guitars.

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