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A Little Ramble about Guitar Strings for Bottleneck


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I enjoyed Larry58's ramble, and also very much enjoy Camleye's 'pieces', so here is my rambling contribution.


I have been attempting bottleneck playing for quite a while. I played a metal dobro for years with railroad tracks for strings. Tone!


I had a bicycle accident 5 years or so ago (land developer put a chain across the access road over night and in the morning I hit it at full belt), and I came off at warp speed, broke my right hand and left ribs in a tangle of handlebars, me and cement. Weeks later, in plaster cast and not to be deterred anymore from playing guitar, I somehow got a thumbpick on, then taped it on. I had been playing fingerstyle for many years, but now all I could do was play with a VERY straight thumb. This is when I began to explore playing the higher strings with my thumb, a delta technique apparently.


7 weeks or so later, when the cast came off and off to therapy I go etc etc etc, the thick strings on my dobro felt impossible to play and I got really sore fingers on both hands. I started using 12 - 56 guage strings again and have been using that on all my guitars since. The only exception is an Epi EL00 I had set up for slide with mediums.


SO.... last April I bought my Gibson Blues King. I have played standard tuning, g tuning, d tuning on it, and like to keep my options open without setting it up for bottleneck. With the light guage strings, playing slide on the first string is a real challenge. Previously I had changed the first string ONLY on my Martin 000 hogtop to a Second string (17?) and the guitar remained stable and sounded great for g tuning RJ stuff. Link: http://www.youtube.c...h?v=iTowGuwwGE8


I thought I would give the Blues King the same treatment for d tuning. Tuning up the thicker string was like blowing up a balloon to bursting point, and did not matter what I did I could not get it to stay in tune. When it was in tune it sounded absolutely DELTA!

I sounded like I knew what I was doing with the slide at last.


But, after struggling a few weeks later to get the string in tune, something MOVED. Too scary, I put the guitar back in it's case, and had to think about it until me heart stopped jumping. Well I WAS having a lot of fun 'til that happened.


Later I gently took the Blues King out of the case to have an inspection, but could not see anything wrong. I decided to take the thicker first string off and replace it with a standard 12. The bottleneck playing on this string is not as good - nowhere near the authority I had over it with the thick string, but the string, and the whole guitar has been in tune almost ever since......


I may build up a bit more courage and change the string to a '13'.


I attached a video to 'Acoustic Performances' last week with me playing bottleneck on the Blues King with standard light guage strings(and standard height setup).

Link: http://www.youtube.c...h?v=XLz-Nj32d5w


I still love my scary Blues King.






After walking down the main street full of cafes and coffee drinkers on a Saturday morning last year with my brand new Gibson Blues King in its gigbag claiming "Blues King" in HUGE letters and everyone staring and perhaps sniggling I am prepared for anything and happily adopted the avatar BluesKing777. Bye for now.

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