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Any of you guys kind of always felt that .012's, and acoustic guitars in general,tuned to pitch too stiff & hampers your playing?


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And eventually settled on a good solution..?

 

I don't know exactly what it is ?

I have an L5CES Reissue58 made in 1997 with .011s and it plays like a dream. And other L5's Ive played usually are set up with really low action & most feel real good..

but flat top guitars strings feel stiff in comparison.

 

I dont really fingerpick..I usually flat pick chords but much of the time like running over notes ,scales & bending strings.

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I'm slowly moving all my acoustics except the '70 D-18 to 11's, and if I down tune, 12's.....my fingers just too old to fight those honking strings!!!

newtones also do a low tension string

btw merseybeat , and anyone else who may be reading , the volume loss mentioned here ,and many other places online is certainly there , but it really is close to unnoticable in my experience ... i ch

And eventually settled on a good solution..?

 

I don't know exactly what it is ?

I have an L5CES Reissue58 made in 1997 with .011s and it plays like a dream. And other L5's Ive played usually are set up with really low action & most feel real good..

but flat top guitars strings feel stiff in comparison.

 

I dont really fingerpick..I usually flat pick chords but much of the time like running over notes ,scales & bending strings.

Do you get the same sense of stiffness if you slap a capo on the first fret? Maybe the nut needs a wee bit of attention. I play 12s and 13s, but I press too hard - I'd probably go sharp on everything using 11s.

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You can use lighter strings, but you will lose volume. That's not an issue with an electric or acoustic/electric like your L-5.

 

Most "normal" acoustic strings are wound on a hex-shaped core wire. I find round-core strings like DR Sunbeams easier to bend than hex-core strings of the same nominal gauge.

 

As Dan mentioned above, having the strings a bit too high at the nut can also make them feel a bit stiffer, especially on the lower frets near the first position. You have to watch when lowering strings at the nut, since you can quickly generate fret buzz on open strings if you strum or flat-pick aggressively.

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you need to find not light strings, but light TENSION normal gauge strings. it comes down to tension, not gauge.

 

back in the 1960's, in my country, we used to buy German strings that came in different TENSION Sets, High, Medium, Medium light. { Not GAUGE mind you, but TENSION}.

 

same gauge, different tensions. It was a lot better in the 1960's. Less marketing, more product. What you have nowadays is the same strings packaged in different brands, that's all. When I hear anybody say "I love my So & So strings", I can't help smiling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Do you get the same sense of stiffness if you slap a capo on the first fret? Maybe the nut needs a wee bit of attention. I play 12s and 13s, but I press too hard - I'd probably go sharp on everything using 11s.

 

Thanks.I find putting on a capo generally feels better..but the nut slots are down there.

On Electrics I have .009's-.036 Gibson Nickel Platted steel Strings and the action is low, ive had people say action..what action? And "he wants the strings below the fingerboard"..but really I am after near 0 resistance, flexible strings as I play with a light left hand but heavy pick, which feels like Im playing the fingerboard, not the strings.

The L5 is .011's Gibson Pure Nickel Strings with heavy pick low action straight neck..I usually play it un amplified. Always perfect.

Acoustic is different..thin pick..low action..Some times of the year guitars feel pretty good but at certain time of the year they (or I) seem to change.As house got clammy and chilled during Oct till now where heat has not kicked in..stiffness.

Im always thinkin about sellin so acoustic or another at this time of year..

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You can use lighter strings, but you will lose volume. That's not an issue with an electric or acoustic/electric like your L-5.

 

Most "normal" acoustic strings are wound on a hex-shaped core wire. I find round-core strings like DR Sunbeams easier to bend than hex-core strings of the same nominal gauge.

 

As Dan mentioned above, having the strings a bit too high at the nut can also make them feel a bit stiffer, especially on the lower frets near the first position. You have to watch when lowering strings at the nut, since you can quickly generate fret buzz on open strings if you strum or flat-pick aggressively.

 

Nick..I use the Elixer which I think are round core and feel much better than D'Addarrio I used to use.

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you need to find not light strings, but light TENSION normal gauge strings. it comes down to tension, not gauge.

 

back in the 1960's, in my country, we used to buy German strings that came in different TENSION Sets, High, Medium, Medium light. { Not GAUGE mind you, but TENSION}.

 

same gauge, different tensions. It was a lot better in the 1960's. Less marketing, more product. What you have nowadays is the same strings packaged in different brands, that's all. When I hear anybody say "I love my So & So strings", I can't help smiling.

 

Can you recommend some ?

Thanks : )

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Can you recommend some ?

Thanks : )

 

try searching online for Medium or Light TENSION strings, like this: +medium +tension +guitar +strings -gauge

 

the "minus" in front of "gauge" is to try to filter all the guitar string ads you will get. Don't search on google, it's a waste of time, all you get is exactly what you are not looking for;

 

try www.duckduckgo.com which gives less but more relevant results.

 

LaBella makes medium and light tension strings but the quality of their strings is terrible.

 

personally I like SIT Strings (Akron Ohio) they are well made strings, might not be someone else's BEST, but are decent strings.

 

 

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try searching online for Medium or Light TENSION strings, like this: +medium +tension +guitar +strings -gauge

 

the "minus" in front of "gauge" is to try to filter all the guitar string ads you will get. Don't search on google, it's a waste of time, all you get is exactly what you are not looking for;

 

try www.duckduckgo.com which gives less but more relevant results.

 

LaBella makes medium and light tension strings but the quality of their strings is terrible.

 

personally I like SIT Strings (Akron Ohio) they are well made strings, might not be someone else's BEST, but are decent strings.

 

Thanks Zurdo ..I will.

Have you tried the Elixir version of the SIT Strings you use?

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btw merseybeat , and anyone else who may be reading , the volume loss mentioned here ,and many other places online is certainly there , but it really is close to unnoticable in my experience ...

i changed to 11's a/ to experiment and b/ to see if they were easier on the fingertips ....

again , like the volume, its all tiny changes

the thing i noticed more than anything was that its much easier to squeeze the strings making the note slighy sharp ...

i'll use the 11's that i have bought because the differences arent big enough to bother me

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merseybeat1963: no I haven't, I'm still using their "Royal Bronze" sets for acoustics.

 

you could try the Newtones mentioned by blindboygrunt.

 

I perceive a loss of volume between .012 and .010, but not between .012 and .011.

 

maybe I'll be hung for this comment but this tension-stiffness issue is the reason I like necks with Zero Frets, like Gretsch, Hofner, and other guitars. It eliminates the string stiffness and relieves the tension.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mersey,

 

Have you checked the neck relief with a good flat straightedge? I was finding the same problems often and when I'd check (always around a season change) my necks had way too much relief. Then it would go the other way and I'd have a neck buzzing like a hive of bees. A quick touch-up of the truss rod and I'm good to go. The only git's I have that don't grieve me like this are both RIC's. I can't seem to play .12's anymore myself. Weak thumb joints & fingers from working too many years with tools & injuries make me a .11's guy on the acoustic and lighter on the electrics.

 

Aster

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my fingers just too old to fight those honking strings!!!

 

fingers too old? were you born in 1963? Don't laugh but I was born in 1952, talk about "old"... In any case my fingers are more "trained" today than ever before, not "old".

 

Back in 1967 I saw an Ad for a Finger Dexterity Course sold by The Cowling Institute in England. They are a series of exercises designed for symphonic string players, (old school Victorian kind of training for the hands, fingers, and wrists); (NOTE: The Institute closed its doors around 1980 when its founder died).

 

I ordered the course back then and have been doing the hand exercises since, the exercises keep my fingers suple and responsive, no arthritis, because the exercises bathe the hand muscles in fresh blood everytime you do them. When my hands get stiff and swollen from working with heavy tools in my car for example, I do the exercises and my hands and fingers feel refreshed and light again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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fingers too old? were you born in 1963? Don't laugh but I was born in 1952, talk about "old"... In any case my fingers are more "trained" today than ever before, not "old".

 

Back in 1967 I saw an Ad for a Finger Dexterity Course sold by The Cowling Institute in England. They are a series of exercises designed for symphonic string players, (old school Victorian kind of training for the hands, fingers, and wrists); (NOTE: The Institute closed its doors around 1980 when its founder died).

 

I ordered the course back then and have been doing the hand exercises since, the exercises keep my fingers suple and responsive, no arthritis, because the exercises bathe the hand muscles in fresh blood everytime you do them. When my hands get stiff and swollen from working with heavy tools in my car for example, I do the exercises and my hands and fingers feel refreshed and light again.

 

 

You raise a really good point here. There are a number of online videos and articles on finger and hand exercises for string players of all types. It would be nice if you could post a link or any info you have on these or any other exercises you use.

 

At almost 66, I have wicked arthritis in my hands and fingers, as well as an old left-hand injury (motorcycle accident and a lazy/incompetent doctor in the late 60's) that left me almost incapable of playing for many years. I am always looking for better hand/finger exercises, which are pretty key to comfortable playing as you get older.

 

I have switched almost exclusively to round-core strings, but still like the tone and volume I get with 12's on my flat tops, despite the hand and finger cramps I can get after about an hour of playing.

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You raise a really good point here. There are a number of online videos and articles on finger and hand exercises for string players of all types. It would be nice if you could post a link or any info you have on these or any other exercises you use. At almost 66, I have wicked arthritis in my hands and fingers, as well as an old left-hand injury (motorcycle accident and a lazy/incompetent doctor in the late 60's) that left me almost incapable of playing for many years. I am always looking for better hand/finger exercises, which are pretty key to comfortable playing as you get older. I have switched almost exclusively to round-core strings, but still like the tone and volume I get with 12's on my flat tops, despite the hand and finger cramps I can get after about an hour of playing.

 

 

 

 

I'm going to scan the 1st Lesson (pictures and text); (have to find them first, they are packed away somewhere), I've been doing these exercises for so long it has become "second nature". (there are 12 Lessons, one after the other, a succession of lessons which were mailed to me every 3 weeks from 1967 thru 1968, each Lesson needs to be done every other day for 2 weeks, and always away from the instrument). The pictures look like something from the 1920's, black and white low resolution pics, and the text Instructions look like they were typed with a late 1800's typewriter!!, that's why I say "Victorian-old school". The hardest lessons are the ones for the Wrists, it hurts, you have to concentrate hard on every movement otherwise you can hurt your muscles. In every Lesson, TOTAL MENTAL CONCENTRATION is emphasized over and over, hard to do if you are thinking about what kind of strings are better!!

 

presently I do the Fingers lesson before playing, (Lesson 1), I still play live music and carrying/setting up the equipment really hurts my hands and wrists, I'm not 18 anymore; Lesson 1 is the lesson that makes my finger joints and muscles feel "revived" with fresh blood, you can feel a "burning" sensation after you do the exercises and it has become "addictive" in the sense that you can feel the results. After the exercises you relax your hands for about 5 minutes, the symptoms like cramping and stiffness slowly dissapear but you have to be consistent. After setting up my equipment, I go to my van, sit quietly, and do the exercises for 10 minutes. By the time I start playing my hands are "relaxed".

 

 

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Not to hijack things, but I'd love to see those if you find them. My body can't stand to take anti-inflammatory meds so anything that would help with the finger & joints I'm all in! [thumbup]

 

Thanks if you can find, & post. I know how it goes with the "finding" part as I have too much of a "collection" of things! :rolleyes:

 

Aster

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It's funny, but I play my electric guitars with very heavy strings, but I use very light strings on my acoustics. I started with my pre-war Kalamazoo - it is built very lightly and does not have a truss rod, so I don't dare put on anything heavier than 10s. Out of necessity, I got used to that and needed to also use these lighter strings on a variety of older and vintage guitars I've owned. I've learned how to get the sounds I want out of the lighter strings.

 

Maybe you just need to spend more time with a lighter set. Your fingers and guitars may thank you.

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Not to hijack things, but I'd love to see those if you find them. My body can't stand to take anti-inflammatory meds so anything that would help with the finger & joints I'm all in! [thumbup] Thanks if you can find, & post. I know how it goes with the "finding" part as I have too much of a "collection" of things! :rolleyes: Aster

 

 

 

 

are you 66 years old? then I know how your hands must feel; personally I believe the medications are causing the inflammation, sometimes the cure is worse than the symptom. You need to "refresh" the joints and muscles with fresh blood by exercising the fingers and joints, like the Cowling Institute philosophy says, not with man-made chemicals. I'll start to look for these lessons today, and if they can help you, I'll be satisfied.

 

 

I refurbish old cars as a hobby, and I work with heavy tools and hardware, steel does a lot of damage to guitarists' hands. Just like lifting weights makes your wrists stiff, the opposite of what a guitarist needs to have. I've learned to protect my hands such as wearing gloves and wrist braces. We only have two hands and 8 usable fingers! Remember Django? By the way, I think his Macaferri guitar had a zero fret. (I could be wrong).

 

 

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Not to hijack things, but I'd love to see those if you find them. My body can't stand to take anti-inflammatory meds so anything that would help with the finger & joints I'm all in! [thumbup]

 

Thanks if you can find, & post. I know how it goes with the "finding" part as I have too much of a "collection" of things! :rolleyes:

 

Aster

 

Howdy Aster...old player here too! With injuries to my fret hand I've been thru a bunch of options for pain, swelling, stiffness, etc...here is my solution that is without meds and very low tech...a warm towel wrap with massage to the joints. That's it! After a day of practice - or inbetween playing- when the swelling and pain go up, I wrap the hand for a few minutes and it works for me. Hope it works for you too. Zurdo is spot on with the blood refresh. That's what the heat does. J.D.

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It's funny, but I play my electric guitars with very heavy strings, but I use very light strings on my acoustics. I started with my pre-war Kalamazoo - it is built very lightly and does not have a truss rod, so I don't dare put on anything heavier than 10s. Out of necessity, I got used to that and needed to also use these lighter strings on a variety of older and vintage guitars I've owned. I've learned how to get the sounds I want out of the lighter strings.

 

Maybe you just need to spend more time with a lighter set. Your fingers and guitars may thank you.

 

I like a .010 Set but with a .011 E string. The volume loss with a .010 E is very annoying in both acoustic or electric. Funny how the B string is always so loud no matter what the gauge. Someone should invent a B string that is not louder than the rest of the strings.

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Thanks Wily.Do you find the string feel an obvious difference in flexibility?

How about sound compared to .012's?

Mersey....I really like that I can "bend" chords and strings with the 11's. I'm playing more blues these days and really appreciate that. For amped and pickup situations, what difference does it make??? I'm playing lighter these days anyway, even at my cafe gig, and after 1 1/2 hours of playing, it really makes a difference. On SOME guitars the 11's sound a little thin, so I use 12's and downtune 1/2 or one step. I use 10's on my '23 L-2 which has a 24" scale length, and that is fun.....I guess I'm not going to any "jams" any more, so don't need the heavy strings to be heard over 4 Dreads and a couple of banjos.....I just don't play as hard anymore......like the subtleties of the guitar more now.....but that being said, I don't even use picks anymore, so it may just be my "style" of playing....

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