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Strings - Nut - Saddle - Pins - They are essential to TONE!


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I put on a set of the new D'Addario Nickel Bronze 12-53 last night. I was expecting them to be a sort of silvery-gold colour but they are silver like the other nickel strings I've used in the past (John Pearse).

First impressions are positive. In particular the low end seems to be devoid of overtones, and when I mute the bottom strings with my right hand, they gave a very pleasant dry thump that suits the way I play. A quite dead sound but in a good way. I guess it will take a few days for them to settle in so I'll report back when that has happened.

 

I've had them on just over a week now. They are quite dark sounding and still devoid of overtones. As much as I like them, I find myself missing the sparkle and the feel of Elixirs sometimes. The nickel bronze will be staying on for a while yet though and I would certainly give them another go.

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had a j 45 for a few months and then went and had the action lowered a bit to 6-64s low e, (was 7-64s) and stayed with 80 20s, also switched to bone saddle, now Im back to the stock tusk, 6-64s and find it seems a bit more articulate, then put on phosphor bronze and for me they are much nicer and smoother sounding, I found the 80-20s nice and bright at first then after a few sets found them too bright, so its phosphor bronze 12s, john pearse, and stock tusk - observations from obsessed canuck cheers

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Several years ago, on a recommendation...I decided to 'experiment' just a tad, replacing the plastic bridge saddle on my 1993 J-180 Collectors Series with a quality aftermarket bone saddle. Some time later, on my 2011 J-160E John Lennon 'Peace' model...I decided to replace the original adjustable 'corian' bridge saddle with a nearly pristine, vintage J-160E ceramic saddle...(which you might guess took some concerted searching and effort to acquire.)

 

Both guitars have since also had their factory plastic bridge pins replaced with quality brass pins. The J-180 carries 'Everly' brass roundwounds (maximum 'ring'). The J-160E is strung with Pyramid flatwounds (maximum 'early Beatles' tone).

 

The result was a slight but discernable increase in sustain and clarity in the 'voice' of both instruments. For some reason, this appears considerably more noticeable when the guitars are RECORDED and the recordings evaluated. Another slight 'benefit'...not initially apparent...is that the brass bridge pins do not 'deform' over time via repeated string changes, creating subsequent 'issues' as plastic pins at times, will. And perhaps, to some eyes...the brass pins yield a bit more 'lux' to the guitar's overall appearance.

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Where can I find a long saddle for an AJ that has a through the bridge saddle slot? I'd like it to be radiused and compensated so all I have to do is adjust the height and trim the ends. Stew Mac has one but it says it has a 10 degree radius and I thought the Gibson AJ has 12 degrees. It also doesn't look to be compensated. Thanks.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Congrats on the ceramic saddle, they are special ^

 

Apart from that - any thoughts on the isolated sonic effect of the brass pins ?

I'm a fan. Greater volume and sustain especially on vintage guitars. Also they tend to counteract the effect of a slightly worn bridge plate in terms of balance and tone. They haven't done much to supercharge three or four mahogany top Martins, all newer, of different dimensions that I've since unloaded - so can't say whether they'd benefit newer guitars with spruce tops or not.

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I'm a fan. Greater volume and sustain especially on vintage guitars. Also they tend to counteract the effect of a slightly worn bridge plate in terms of balance and tone. They haven't done much to supercharge three or four mahogany top Martins, all newer, of different dimensions that I've since unloaded - so can't say whether they'd benefit newer guitars with spruce tops or not.

 

Must say you tempt me to try a set - maybe a summer project there.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I've now had the D'Addario Nickel Bronze strings on my J15 for over two months, playing two to three hours a day. They are a little duller and a little harder to keep in tune than they were but still sound and feel pretty good. I feel no need to replace them yet. I sometimes give them a quick wipe down after playing but not always. I've never had a set of uncoated strings last this long.

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Wanted to report that I gave the Nickel Bronze lights a try on my J-15. I was disappointed, because they did not sound broken-in out of the box like I'd hoped. They remind me a lot of the Martin Retros, which many people swear by, but to me, they are rather garish, bright, and just never seem to tame down.

 

Sadly, I have been doing a lot of alternate tuning back and forth on my J-15, and I think I have a g-string nut snag (whoa! tmi!), so my g-string snapped before I ever found out if the Nickel Bronze would break in or not. I do plan to try them on some other guitars (I bought more packs than I should have), but for someone like me who likes warm and tame strings, and was hoping they would be that, they are not.

 

I bought some Dunlop PB lights (I didn't even know they made strings) to try, so I might try them next, and bought some Gibson Masterbuilt PB. Right now I have replaced the Nickel Bronze with D'Addario 80/20 Mediums on the J-15. I think I like PB on the J-15 best, though (and 80/20 best on the Hummingbird--go figure--that is what each came with for me, so maybe I'm biased).

 

Edit: PS I did want to agree that I think these "non-traditional" traditional strings (Nickel Bronze, Retros, and the only ones I truly like, the JP Pure Nickels) really last a lot longer than PB and 80/20. I think they handle humidity and corrosion a lot better. Seems like I have to change uncoated 80/20 and PB fairly regularly, even if I don't play them a whole lot, but I can leave these "silver" strings on forever.

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  • 2 months later...

Yesterday I encountered a 1978 Mart D-35 on a shop wall. Took it down and it sounded excellent.

 

An old D-35 rider myself, I asked about the strings and it turned out they were Everly Sessions ph. b. 12-53's.

 

Of course bought a set for my own 1984'er to try and see where that one would go with the same steel as the splendid 78'er - and to compare.

 

Anyone knows these strings ? , , , as I remember it they haven't been mentioned on this Board and I wasn't aware of them at all.

 

Just curious here.

 

 

 

 

 

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Yesterday I encountered a 1978 Mart D-35 on a shop wall. Took it down and it sounded excellent.

 

An old D-35 rider myself, I asked about the strings and it turned out they were Everly Sessions ph. b. 12-53's.

 

Of course bought a set for my own 1984'er to try and see where that one would go with the same steel as the splendid 78'er - and to compare.

 

Anyone knows these strings ? , , , as I remember it they haven't been mentioned on this Board and I wasn't aware of them at all.

 

Just curious here.

I've heard good things about Everly, but haven't tried a set.

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Wanted to report that I gave the Nickel Bronze lights a try on my J-15. I was disappointed, because they did not sound broken-in out of the box like I'd hoped. They remind me a lot of the Martin Retros, which many people swear by, but to me, they are rather garish, bright, and just never seem to tame down.

 

Sadly, I have been doing a lot of alternate tuning back and forth on my J-15, and I think I have a g-string nut snag (whoa! tmi!), so my g-string snapped before I ever found out if the Nickel Bronze would break in or not. I do plan to try them on some other guitars (I bought more packs than I should have), but for someone like me who likes warm and tame strings, and was hoping they would be that, they are not.

 

I bought some Dunlop PB lights (I didn't even know they made strings) to try, so I might try them next, and bought some Gibson Masterbuilt PB. Right now I have replaced the Nickel Bronze with D'Addario 80/20 Mediums on the J-15. I think I like PB on the J-15 best, though (and 80/20 best on the Hummingbird--go figure--that is what each came with for me, so maybe I'm biased).

 

Edit: PS I did want to agree that I think these "non-traditional" traditional strings (Nickel Bronze, Retros, and the only ones I truly like, the JP Pure Nickels) really last a lot longer than PB and 80/20. I think they handle humidity and corrosion a lot better. Seems like I have to change uncoated 80/20 and PB fairly regularly, even if I don't play them a whole lot, but I can leave these "silver" strings on forever.

Dean Markley used to be the king of warm and tame - and a friend of mine years back said you could leave 'em on forever....

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  • 2 months later...

Guys, which type of strings do you prefer for Gibson guitar, 80/20 bronze or phospohor bronze?

 

On the sites I was reading that 80/20 are more like traditional sounding strings and has thin layer of coating on it while phospohor bronze has quite thick layer of coating and has maybe less high bell like tone but leasts longer.

 

I need to change the strings on my songwriter (rosewood) and don't know which to put on it.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Guys, which type of strings do you prefer for Gibson guitar, 80/20 bronze or phospohor bronze?

 

On the sites I was reading that 80/20 are more like traditional sounding strings and has thin layer of coating on it while phospohor bronze has quite thick layer of coating and has maybe less high bell like tone but leasts longer.

 

I need to change the strings on my songwriter (rosewood) and don't know which to put on it.

Traditionaly for me, Rosewood = 80/20 and Mahogany = PB

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  • 3 months later...

Just replaced the saddle on my mahogany/spruce 1995 J-100 Extra with a new pre-shaped bone saddle from Bob Colosi. After sending along accurate measurements of the original saddle, I only needed about 30 minutes of minor sanding and fiddling to get the new one to fit beautifully - a little off the bottom and a little more off an end with sandpaper is all it took. The one I was replacing had some string wear grooves along the top that were, I thought, giving me some unwanted overtones. I couldn't be happier with the results: loud, even, clear tone before I even changed the strings (I had left the old set on so I could tweak the height to preference a few times) and my ol' cannon really came alive with a new set of Elixir Nanoweb Phosphor Bronze Custom Lights after that.

 

I only mention this becuase I'd procrastinated for about a decade on this simple procedure - I was too chicken to attempt it for many years, but it really couldn't have been easier or the results more pleasing if you're in the same boat and "considering" like I was. Colosi was great to work with, does good work and was very helpful to me.

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  • 1 month later...

I'll repost my question in this thread. I have a J45 Custom/Rosewood. I was wondering what other owners of this fine guitar used for strings and why. I am learning (or trying to learn) bluegrass flat picking. Thanks in advance.

 

I also have the J 45 Custom/Rosewood and the set of strings that I have on now are the Gibson Masterbuilt Premium 80/20. I usually use the D'Addarrio PB Lights, but the Gibson are sounding pretty darn good so I might bite on them again.

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I dug out my '89 J200 for a little bit last night. Strings are dead and the saddle is way too high for my liking. I made that saddle myself out of bone several years ago but it must have been during a dry time! It still has the original rosewood pins and they are some kinda ratty now. They look okay when installed but they have serious chips, missing slivers and such where they contact the guitar itself. I would like to give "better" pins a try to satisfy my curiosity and either validate or refute my skepticism. Trouble is, I don't know which pins to order. I'm sure there are size charts out there but would Gibson have a 'default' size, at least in any given era?

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  • 2 months later...

I got me 2004 Martin D-28 and i believe it has a Bone nut, but couldnt find on the spec sheets what the Saddle is made of? I dont feel like joining a Martin forum just for one question, seems kind of silly. Was wondering if anyone here knows? I think its plastic and i believe some kind of bone saddle should be in its place. Also wondered do the nut and saddle need to be the same bone material? Id like to get the most out of my high end git, and tho ive never replaced a saddle on a guitar, this is probably the one time i would. Here is a picture.

bZ3q46p.jpg

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  • 1 month later...

I got me 2004 Martin D-28 and i believe it has a Bone nut, but couldnt find on the spec sheets what the Saddle is made of?

Almost 100 it's a plastic saddle.

Carving a new one in bone would probably make quite a difference - not necessarily to the better depending on taste.

But it would be worth it - and yes, let the saddle follow.

You can always combine your way forward when you have all 4 components.

I'm awaiting a nylon/plastic-material from China for one of my vintage Gibsons as I speak.

Made a replacement in bone, which changed the sound drastically, but this nylon thing should be very close to the original - we'll see.

(doin' it for wider spacing)

Enjoy the experiment ^ and congs on the classic Mart.

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I've read this thread with great interest. My Martin is currently in the shop getting the action adjusted. I'm contemplating a bone saddle (and now after reading this thread, a bone nut and different pins!). One thing that was lightly touched on in a couple of comments, but not really elaborated on was: has anyone considered what the manufacturers intentions were? Are Martin and Gibson using plastic bridges because they are cheaper, or because they think they sound the best? My Martin was very expensive when new and I'd like to think they weren't being cheap with the materials! (but would not be surprised if they were).

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