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Big Wimp


jedzep

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The difference between string guages has long been a sore spot for my wimpy fingertips, as I don't callous hard for all the years and hours I have played. That's OK. I feel I've toughened up a bit in the last year and have just ordered my first set of 12-54's after having exclusively used 11-50's. I'd like your thoughts on which guitar I should try them out on for a possible difference in sound dynamics. All three guitars are sound with comfortably low action. Would you string up an LG2, J45, or D18 first if you were feeling out a heavier gauge. I get a lot of technically sound opinions from you geeks and really can't decide where I'll start when the strings come in. If they aren't comfy I'll go right back to 11's, but otherwise I'll changover. Your acoustic nerditude is appreciated.

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"Nerditude"? Hey I resemble that! [biggrin]

I am not familiar with the LG2 but I have a D18 and a 45. I would suggest the 45 since the 45's short scale has less string tension than what the D18 will provide. Might be an easier way to work up to 12s.

 

Thanks...that extra half inch or so of draw length might have a noticeable feel. Tone differences may be negligable.

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"Nerditude"? Hey I resemble that! [biggrin]

I am not familiar with the LG2 but I have a D18 and a 45. I would suggest the 45 since the 45's short scale has less string tension than what the D18 will provide. Might be an easier way to work up to 12s.

Agree with that. Do the J-45 first. You don't mention what strings you are using, however.

 

You may be surprised at how different the guitar sounds.

 

I'm wondering if you shouldn't invest in a setup as well, however. If your fingertips bother you, the action of the guitar might be a bit high. This could be made worse by the string switch, since heavier strings will tend to pull the neck up a bit more due to the additional tension. The further you have to depress the strings, the more pressure it takes.

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Agree with that. Do the J-45 first. You don't mention what strings you are using, however.

 

You may be surprised at how different the guitar sounds.

 

I'm wondering if you shouldn't invest in a setup as well, however. If your fingertips bother you, the action of the guitar might be a bit high. This could be made worse by the string switch, since heavier strings will tend to pull the neck up a bit more due to the additional tension. The further you have to depress the strings, the more pressure it takes.

 

Maybe you're right about a setup, though current action is quite low and the D18 has a fresh neck reset done in Nazareth.. The Martin has DR Rares and the Gibson sports Sunbeams. The tone variations are what I'm looking for as much as the comfort factor. I won't be switching brands and will closely monitor any changes in string height. Thanks for all your advice.

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Maybe you're right about a setup, though current action is quite low and the D18 has a fresh neck reset done in Nazareth.. The Martin has DR Rares and the Gibson sports Sunbeams. The tone variations are what I'm looking for as much as the comfort factor. I won't be switching brands and will closely monitor any changes in string height. Thanks for all your advice.

In my non-scientific experience Sunbeams seem to pull a bit less tension as well. Plus they sound good to me on the J45. I don't know what others have experienced but having played with different strings in 11s, 12s and 13s, I found a more noticeable tone difference going from 11s to 12s than from 12s to 13s. 11s seemed to have more of the "string" tone where the 12s seem to bring out more of the "wood" tones if that makes any sense. A little richer sounding to me. 13s just seemed a bit louder than 12s. For that reason I have settled on 12s.

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Maybe you're right about a setup, though current action is quite low and the D18 has a fresh neck reset done in Nazareth.. The Martin has DR Rares and the Gibson sports Sunbeams. The tone variations are what I'm looking for as much as the comfort factor. I won't be switching brands and will closely monitor any changes in string height. Thanks for all your advice.

Also, I've seen a website, but can't think of it, that listed different string brands,types, weights and tension. It appealed to my nerditude!

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In my non-scientific experience Sunbeams seem to pull a bit less tension as well. Plus they sound good to me on the J45. I don't know what others have experienced but having played with different strings in 11s, 12s and 13s, I found a more noticeable tone difference going from 11s to 12s than from 12s to 13s. 11s seemed to have more of the "string" tone where the 12s seem to bring out more of the "wood" tones if that makes any sense. A little richer sounding to me. 13s just seemed a bit louder than 12s. For that reason I have settled on 12s.

 

 

That's a reasonable way to look at it. As I understand it, the round-core Sunbeams pull a little less tension, but they are also 12-54 rather than the 12-53 of most light sets, so you may end up with similar total tension. The Sunbeam 12-54's are also labelled as mediums, rather than lights, which can be confusing.

 

I have them on my J-45 right now, and like them. The seem to have a bit more longevity than the Masterbuilt Premium 12's I usually use.

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Also, I've seen a website, but can't think of it, that listed different string brands,types, weights and tension. It appealed to my nerditude!

 

I might be going that route to hear the 11 to 12 vibrations. It would be worth the comfort adjustment. I hope.

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That's a reasonable way to look at it. As I understand it, the round-core Sunbeams pull a little less tension, but they are also 12-54 rather than the 12-53 of most light sets, so you may end up with similar total tension. The Sunbeam 12-54's are also labelled as mediums, rather than lights, which can be confusing.

 

I have them on my J-45 right now, and like them. The seem to have a bit more longevity than the Masterbuilt Premium 12's I usually use.

 

That might be OK. The wound strings don't wreak as much havoc on my fingers as the solid steel does.

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Why do you want to switch to heavier strings?

Also Im curious to see what you think about the difference after they are on for some days (at the begining new set feels less tight,but later stiffens).

If the J45 is a short scale neck they will feel less stiff usually on that.

 

I've got a hunch the next bump up in guage will boot up the already fine sound of these old boxes. Also, I have no life and crave the adventure. I'll let you know though, as I've never ventured from light strings and should be able to detect a difference. I know I have a good ear. My first guitar teacher kicked me out of lessons because I relied on it too much.

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Ive been using 12s on my 45 for along time, and its always sounded good. I went to change strings a few days ago, just to find that I only had 13s, so I put them on, and WOW, it went from a good sounding guitar to a great one

 

Ill use 13s from now on ( not much different on the fingers ) but lots on the sound

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Ive been using 12s on my 45 for along time, and its always sounded good. I went to change strings a few days ago, just to find that I only had 13s, so I put them on, and WOW, it went from a good sounding guitar to a great one

 

Ill use 13s from now on ( not much different on the fingers ) but lots on the sound

 

I guess I'm too overprotective of my senior citizen guitars to put extra stress on the neck and bridge with 13's.

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The D-18 will inhale these strings - tune them 1/2 step down, for a little less tension. You may find that stepping up a string gauge may cause a wee bit change (higher) in your action- if tuned to missionary position - and you may need to tighten the truss rodd ever so slightly - maybe an 8th of a turn. Your J-45 should have a bit of a more noticeable growl on the low end with 12s.

If your fingers look like this, after switching to the heavier gauge - its time for a setup, unique to that gauge.

AintGotTimetoBleed.jpg

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The D-18 will inhale these strings - tune them 1/2 step down, for a little less tension. You may find that stepping up a string gauge may cause a wee bit change (higher) in your action- if tuned to missionary position - and you may need to tighten the truss rodd ever so slightly - maybe an 8th of a turn. Your J-45 should have a bit of a more noticeable growl on the low end with 12s.

If your fingers look like this, after switching to the heavier gauge - its time for a setup, unique to that gauge.

AintGotTimetoBleed.jpg

DIG that pic. THAT'S a guitar man!

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I might be a little weary of putting on heavy strings on a Martin, BUT, I would do it anyway if it made it sound really good.

 

Aside from that, you might tune a guitar up a step to put more tention on the top to see if it sounds better. It won't hurt anything, and it could tell you something.

 

I recently put some heavier strings on a little hog OM style, and it really came alive as a whole new experience. Not what I expected.

 

I don't think there are really any "rules" as to which particular guitar will like which gauge of strings, or maybe I am just always wrong when I predict.

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Ditto to all comments on the 45. The 45 really needs 12-53 or 12-54. I don't use extra lights on anything but vintage parlours.

 

It's funny that Sunbeam and some others term 12s "medium." That is a wee bit confusing.

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