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Strings For Most Bass Possible


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Hi Gang,


I am really enjoying my two recent purchases, an Epi EJ200 Artist and an Epi Hummingbird Artist. Both are still stock except for string changes, but I have something in mind I would like to do.


What could I do to get as much bass out of each one as possible? (I'll explain in a minute...) I am thinking about trying a bone saddle on each and I have the blanks to cut. I am looking for some bone or basswood pins for each, but both use a very small diameter pin and finding the pins I want might be hard.


THEN, what's left to do is find the best strings for the purpose and that's where you all come in.


What are the most mellow and "bassy" acoustic strings you know of?


The reason for all this consideration, (some might say making a silk purse from a sow's ear), is that I have some other guitars I think I could sell for pretty good prices if I got the tone of either one of these Epiphones to come closer to that of the Martins.


I'm also inclined to put a K&K Western Mini pickup system in one, letting me then sell off a Taylor jumbo, my only A/E.


What are your thoughts?




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Phosphor bronze are marketed as being more mellow than 80/20.

On the 200 I'D TRY A BLUEGRASS SET.Some makes have a 57 bottom string(Ovation,D'angelico).

The Bird I'd be inclined to Martin or Darco or a medium light set.

Neither guitar can replace the Martin.................

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Does your name come from owning an El Capitan bass? Those things are dynamite!


Right now, the EJ200 Artist has a set of Elixir Nanoweb 12-53's on it and it actually sounds really good. It's about 1/8th the price of my Taylor jumbo, sounds totally different from the Taylor and I've set it up to play as easily. If it only had a 1-3/4" nut, it might just be the perfect guitar for my tastes and I'd probably get the whole set in assorted colors. Honestly, I prefer the tone of the Epi to the tone of the Taylor, not that I dislike the Taylor, just one of those subjective things.


The Hummingbird is something in which I hear a great deal of potential. It's a young guitar with a solid top that isn't booming yet, but I know someone with one that's a year old and has turned into an extraordinary sounding guitar, and I don't mean just for the money. Of course, the person I am talking about is a super player, not just an old strummer like me, so I suspect she could make a cigar box guitar sound good.


I really think the Hummingbird is the one I want to attack from the standpoint of experimentation. I'm doing a bit of research on sound hole pickups, but looking for one to install with a jack instead of dangling a cord. If I can get the jumbo and the bird to record effectively, I may just sell the Taylor. Pretty expensive to leave on the wall, huh?

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I use Elixir nano's. I play Bluegrass on a hunnert dollar Yamaha. I really like playing in A and E. I get a real satisfying 'boom' out of the open, low E string when playing boom-chuck.


I've had them on for over a year and still like their tone. They are looking a might shabby. I will probably change them over the Christmas break. I think they are 13's. I asked for mediums and that's what they gave me. The ultra-lights or lights the guitar came with sounded awful. With the mediums, it was a whole different guitar.


Increasing the string size is likely to help yours as well.

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My Forum name is the result of running out of Epiphone names to get back on here!

I agree with Tommy re mediums for bluegrass,but I've got used to 12 & 16 plain strings.

J200 size guitars usually sound good simply because of the size,but need hefty bass strings to

drive that board.

I,too have a new Epi I'm hoping is going to really improve.

It's an IB Texan on it's 3rd set of strings in as many weeks.

I took 2 sets off & put them on other guitars & Darco light PB's brought it to life!

Keep us posted,



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Silk & steel will be easier on the fingers; that's why they're often recommended for beginners. But they will sound pretty thin, and won't last very long. A good-quality set of phosphor bronze 12s is about as good as it gets. The bass response is a character of the guitar, not the strings. I've used phosphor bronze and 80/20 brass in gauges 10-12, and aside from the 80/20 being a bit brighter, no huge difference, except the aforementioned intonation problems with the lighter gauges. If your guitar doesn't have enough bottom for your satisfaction, replace it with something that does, like a Martin.

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[biggrin] FL,

Curb your enthusiasm,man!

You,Dennis & I are all Martin owners,

but this is an Epiphone Forum,


Actually, I'm not a Martin owner; I was just using it as an example of a guitar that's not an over-braced, poly-dipped, um, "thing". Yes, this is the Epiphone forum, but the guy is asking how can he make an Epiphone sound like something else.

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Not so much sound like something else, but just to accentuate the bass as much as possible. Using Martin as an example is generally the only way to get some people to understand what direction you're aiming at.


Oddly, your comments about the silk and steel sounding thin are contrary to advice from some folks in the AGF and Guild Forums. I guess all I can do is wait and see.

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I once had a '70's Gibson Blue Ridge 12-string.Sad, I know,but I did manage to trade it in on a Martin D18-12.The ONLY strings that worked on that Gibson were silk & steel.

I bought a Gibson Dove on the 'phone from a dealer,having made him jump through hoops to convince me it wasn't a '70's.(It's an '80's tobacco sunburst)During our discussions he let slip it wasn't the loudest acoustic he'd ever handled.Sure enough when it arrived it had dead light gauge strings on it.A new set of mediums & to this day it is the loudest Gibson I've ever heard.I'm talking Dobro volume here!

I've played it at no mikes Bluegrass gigs and even at miked gigs I've had soundmen wave & mouth at me to turn it down when it's not even miked.

The Martin is the usual choice at these affairs-it LOOKS right & sounds right!

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I got some Ernie Ball Earthwood Silk & Steel 13-56's and put them on the Hummingbird Artist. I wouldn't say they are boomy, but there is a noticeable difference in the texture of sound coming from the guitar. We'll see how they sound after I can put a few hours of play on them, but for the moment, I don't have time to really dig into them and see what happens. I do like what I hear though.


Following the string installation, I loosened them and put in the bone saddle I shaped for the guitar. The tone remained about the same, but there is a perceived volume increase. It hasn't taken much to turn this inexpensive guitar from good towards great. I'm really enjoying it.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Funny your last post mentioned Ernie Balls. I have been using Ernie Ball Medium and Light Gauge strings on a AJ-500RE (Don't ever buy this guitar!) and they sound great.. Also same strings on a cruddy old 250.00 Mahogany bodied Yamaha I have. The ernie ball strings have great low-end!

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