Jump to content
Gibson Brands Forums

String question for Hoss... and others too!


Recommended Posts

What do you string your L-7 with? It seems to be your favorite and I know you've been known to play 23 hours a day. I've been spending a little more time with my homemade archtop now that I reshaped the neck and tweaked other things. I think it's strung with bronze 13s right now and of all my guitars, this one is plagued with string squeak. I mean serious string noise. I don't know why it's so sensitive to me shifting my left hand but it is loud.


I want to say I remember you using flats on the L-7 but I'm not sure. If so, what brand? As you know, flats aren't as cheap and available as $3.99 Mexican Darcos and I figured you'd know what was a good bet. Withot a doubt I'll have to order them... the only flats I have on hand are GHS 10-46 and that's out of the question.


I've used D'Addario chromes and they were good for the price. I don't really care for Gibson flats, they seem stiff and dull. I've used Thomastiks ($$) and they were wonderful. Now all of those were on electrics; I know some use nickel flats on acoustic archtops but I'm still trying to get my head wrapped around it.


Ergo my query.


Since you drive that L-7 hard and fast I figured you'd have some insight. Anyone else feel free to chime in as well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For the last couple years, I've used Bronze Wounds- Medium. 13 -56 standard issue. I've gotten into the D'Angelico brand for my 'bronze wound needs'. I do change the strings on the archtop once a year- every June1st.


I've never run into string noise--are you remembering to remove the latex gloves before playing?


Man, I love that archtop. I was at a weekend jam out on Marrowstone Island with some great old time players-- a real treat for me. The more you play it, the better it responds. You'd think a 70 year old guitar would be ready to go as soon as you opened the case, but no. You always need to get the top loosened up and humming. And then it just takes over.


Flat wounds are not really that effective on acoustic archtops- IMO. THere's a local used guitar store that has some wonderful old Harmony/Wards Dept store archtops. Usually set up with Flat wounds and very low action. It seems that people today have no idea what an archtop is supposed to look like- they equate 'electric' guitar with them, and go from there. So most never sound to their potential.


Was just back in New England, Scott, visiting family. Good thing you're not closer to the rest of the U.S., or you would have had to deal with me knocking your door down and talking guitars till all hours.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank for the info. I peeked under the tailpiece and saw multi-colored balls so they're D'Addario 13s. Maybe it's just the blend of material D'Addario uses that cause the squeak. I recall getting a couple 'bum' sets of D'Addarios on the Tele back in the early 90s that had a very rough ragged texture and I'm sure that caused noise. 13s seem to work out well for this guitar so I may just try a couple different brands. I may treat myself to a set of Thomastiks. Strings last me forever unless someone else plays one of my guitars so I guess $20 for a set won't hurt.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Flat wounds are not really that effective on acoustic archtops- IMO.


I feel just the opposite, I think you need flat wounds to really bring out the true voice of an archtop, acoustic or electric. I also think there is an aclimation process, that's takes time (kind of like a first marraige).


When I got my first archtop (Washburn J-6) it came with flat wounds. I played for a few tunes on a couple of gigs, and couldn't wait to restring it with the same D'Addario round wounds I used on my other guitars. It felt more comfortable and the sound was more what I was used too. When I got my L-5 I did the same thing, but decided that I really wanted that traditional jazz flat wound sound. I finally got up the balls to put D'Addario Chromes 13's on it. The difference in sound was incredible, and after a a while I actually got used to playing them.


A few "major" jazzers I know swear by La Bella Nylon Tape Wounds, so I had to try them. There's no turning back for me now, these are the sweatest sounding strings on a jazzbox I've ever heard. They're really expensive, but like Hoss said, you only have to change them once a year. For the last few years I've been using the La Bella Nylon Tape Wound 14-67 on my L-5 (CES) and L-7 acoustic (with pickguard mounted floating Benedetto pickup). I now have a local Mom & Pop shop that special orders them for me at about $18 a set (they retail for like $36). Call Greg at Tower Music, 636-343-2222, and tell him you want some of Larry's stash, he'll drop them in the mail to you.


The 14-67 set sounds like it would feel real heavy, BUT, the nylon winding does not add to the string tension. They feel like at set of 11 or 12's. Plus the nylon winding also feels like permanent Finger Ease. The 1st and 2nd strings are unwound (of course), and La Bella gives you an extra of each for spares. I chunk chords on my L-5 in a 20 piece big band on some really wild charts, and they play great.


Give them a try, I think you'll be amazed at the sound.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've never 'gotten' the flatwound sound. Maybe because I don't play jazz? My intro to the world of archtops came during a visit to 'archtop.com . Joe was very patient and let me play about $150,000 worth of inventory and answered many questions. That's where I first played several vintage 30's Gibson archtops-- L5's and an L7 like the one I have.


I should have mentioned that site - a good source for info on setups, amplification, etc.


I don't use phosphor bronze strings. With my playing style, the 80/20 bronze or Nickel strings work well for traditional stuff.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...