View Poll Results: What strings are you using on your go-to guitar?

Voters
90. You may not vote on this poll
  • Flatwound

    44 48.89%
  • Roundwound

    39 43.33%
  • Coated Roundwounds

    3 3.33%
  • Halfrounds

    1 1.11%
  • Some kind of acoustic guitar strings

    2 2.22%
  • something completely different

    1 1.11%
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Posts 1 to 35 of 35
  1. #1

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    I'm doing a bit of experimentation with strings right now, so I'd like to know what you are using on your go-to guitar and why?
    Please elaborate in the comments.

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  3. #2

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    I was advised to use Elixir coated strings on my LP so i put them on and took them off the same day. Even though the guitar was turned to concert pitch, it sounded odd from wound to the unwound. Like playing a Exzilaphone with a Marimba. The coating deadens the sound to me. I would rather change my strings every month than have coated of any kind

  4. #3

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    I voted "something completely different," and am tempted to say "a man with a tape recorder up his nose" , but ...

    I really have two go to guitars, an archtop and a semi. Semi has roundwound 10's ; archtop is my test-bed and currently has "rollerwound" 12's, which are slightly flattened roundwounds, but experimentation is on-going.

    John

  5. #4

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    As far as flat or round wound strings, its up to you and the flat , as far as i know will cut down the sound of your finger prints.
    I don't want my wound strings to have an extra coating like a clear plastic/rubber coating on top of that. It mutes the sound like putting a bed comforter over your entire AMPLIFIER.

  6. #5

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    GHS Burnished Rockers - 10-46. Been using them exclusively for 30+ years. Nothing else feels or sounds right to me. In an absolute emergency I'll use Fender 150s. Been trying the 11-50 set lately on my 'jazz' Tele.

  7. #6

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    I use nickel roundwounds on a couple guitars and Chrome flatwounds on my jazz box. My Tele has 12s on it. My Holdsworth has tens. My basses use half rounds, but I have used flatwounds on the bases as well however I was not pleased with the lifespan of a flat wound on a bass.

    Brands differ, when I was playing strats I used Fender Bullet strings because I like the way the bullet fit up into the trem block and made for more mass, if I could not find bullets the workaround was to snip the bead off the end of the string and stack it to add a little bit more mass.

    Other than the Bullets for stratocasters, which is what they were designed for, I have used Fender strings I have used D'Angelico, D'Addario, D' Aquistro, Ernie Ball, Snarling Dawgs, and for nylon it's a different but I have pretty much settled on D' Addario for classical as well.

    I have purchased strings in bulk out of the big box music online stores and I was not dissatisfied with those, they fulfilled the mission requirements. When I'm working with one guitar a lot, the strings get changed out roughly every two weeks sometimes it will go 3 but rarely. It's been awhile since I've done that so I just rotate guitars and put them away when the strings need changing and when I bring it back out in the rotation I will change them at that point, I might go a couple of months now because I am not playing my guitars several times a week plus practice at this point in time, however I do keep the Holdsworth out to work on all things Martino.

    I prefer the sound of flatwounds on a jazz box, actually I prefer the sound of flat rounds just about all the time but I only have one guitar that is set up and strung with those and that is the FA-71. I had an old Gibson L-48 years and years ago and I used to use the heaviest Gibson strings I could find for that one and I did put electric guitar strings on occasioally although it was an acoustic archtop model. My uncle who was a professional musician told me that the orchestra guitars of old is the heaviest rains they could find because they projected well and so I went with that I think I had 13's on that thing. back in the late 60s Gibson 13 gauge strings were common. When are Ernie Ball hit the market string gauges started to be reduced and they were very popular, and still are.

    That's about it for Strings I keep lots of strings around though, my Acoustics have some bronze things that I got at the big box music store in bulk and I think they're 11 they might be 12, but I generally don't play that much of acoustic flat top these days and it stays cased as I really enjoy my little living room Cube 30X and an electric played very lightly and very low. By lightly I mean although I have tens and twelves on my Electrics the volume and the tension that I apply to the neck into the strings is far less than acoustic calls for.

    For heavier strings, when I'm not in a group setting, I tune down a half step sometimes a whole step from standard tuning. And that gives me a little bit more flexibility and I like to lower tuning as far as my ear is concerned.

    Mancini's Slow Hot Wind sounds awesome tuned down to D.
    Last edited by geogio; 07-06-2019 at 11:01 AM.

  8. #7

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    I've been using pure nickel roundwounds for a long time, of one brand or another. I used D'Addario EPN sets for several years, but I've experimented with Pyramid, Newtone, TI, Martin, and more than I can remember. I've been using Martin Retro monel strings for awhile, and just put a set of GHS rollerwound nickel strings on it. I'm not sure I can hear much of a difference between any of them when new, but the Pyramid and Newtone strings went dead more quickly than the others. It will be awhile before I have an opinion on the GHS set. I've tried flats of various brands - TI, La Bella, D'Addario, and some more, but I just don't like the dead sound of any of them. I've also tried half-round - groundwound, etc, but I haven't liked them much. The GHS might be okay, I'll see.

  9. #8

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    Not sure how to answer this. I divide fairly evenly between playing an old (prewar) 16" archtop and a couple of electrics. I use D'addario roundwound acoustic strings (can't remember any more details - phosphor bronze, I suspect) on the archtop, and TI flatwounds on the electrics. To be honest, I probably would prefer to use flatwounds on the archtop, but since my understanding is that they weren't invented (or at least in common use) when the guitar was made it seems the wrong thing to do.

  10. #9

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    I've tried a lot of different things, but I return to roundwound. I can't really tell any difference between brands. Maybe on an AB comparison with two identical guitars (if there is such a thing). But, I never think, "these strings are better (or worse) than my last set".

    There's a big difference between rounds and flats. I find flats a little dull for my taste and instruments. Rounds give a little more finger noise, but I learned from Joe Pass, you rub your scalp or the side of your nose to get just a little bit of oil on your fingers and it reduces the noise.

  11. #10

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    Currently Chromes, a .013 set with a .015 and .018 on the first two strings. The tension let’s me get the action extremely low with no buzzing (assuming good level frets) while still retaining wide dynamics. I’d probably use the Benson TI set but the gauges are too light on the low strings. I should probably look into buying single strings but Chromes sound fine.


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  12. #11

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    I use nylon strings.

  13. #12

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    D addario 10s and 11s on electrics, Thomastik Infeld 12 swing on archtops, Elixir nanoweb 12s on acoustics, D addario hard and extra hard tension on nylon guitars.

  14. #13

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    I gotta throw my hat in the ring and shill D'Addario.

    Had a nasty surprise just now. Opened up my stash of 10 sets of Brand X Pure Nickel roundwounds and picked out one set randomly. I have had them in a ziplock bag with the air squeezed out of it as much as I could, in a shoebox.

    The plain strings were badly rusted and down the length of them. The nickel wounds felt like aged nickel would, a kind of rough texture to them. No fault of Brand X's, I guess, as I live in a humid climate, close to the sea, and I bought them over a year ago. What is unforgivable is this: the first 0.013 string was a LOOP end string, not a ballend. This would be massively inconvenient if your act depended on it. No, I didn't get them off ebay...

    I never had this problem with D'Addario strings. No rust. No loop ends in a ballend set. No surprises. The Ibanez AF105NT had D'Addarios and the plain steels were Just Strings Bulk Pack generics. Not a spot of rust! Gosh, I last strung them up over 6 months ago.

    The other 9 packs of Brand X all had loopended e strings, both plains were rusted-you can see rust rings on the paper envelopes. That's $57.20 down the drain. I just don't feel like salvaging what I can now.

    I won't buy Brand X again but I know it just may be me. So, I leave Brand X undisclosed.

    D'addarios have never failed me. Shoulda kept the faith.

  15. #14

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    The only complaint I have with D'Addario Pure Nickel strings is that it's hard to find the .013 sets, or even the .012 sets, in stock locally, so I have to special order them. That's really not D'Addario's fault, though. Otherwise they're fine. I tend to alternate between them and Martin Retro strings, which tend to be in stock at the local GC, even in .013 gauge. I don't hear a difference in sound, and have had no problems with corrosion, even in a very humid environment very near the Gulf of Mexico. The fact that both are packaged in sealed plastic probably helps with this. I have found rusted plain strings in some other brands in the past. It's far past time to stop using paper envelopes to hold strings.

  16. #15

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    The only trouble with D'Addario strings: too many counterfeit strings on ebay and elsewhere. I can only trust buying them from an authorised dealer.

    That goes for Elixir strings too: counterfeits abound on ebay.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barrie View Post
    I was advised to use Elixir coated strings on my LP so i put them on and took them off the same day. Even though the guitar was turned to concert pitch, it sounded odd from wound to the unwound. Like playing a Exzilaphone with a Marimba. The coating deadens the sound to me. I would rather change my strings every month than have coated of any kind
    ”Exzilaphone” – that’s great!

    Sorry to hear Your bad experience. I have used Elixirs since I stopped playing weekly rock gigs. My ex-go-to strings were D’Addario Nickel .010s, but I changed them for almost every gig. Nowadays the Elixirs just last longer without oxidicing and getting dull.

    I got my Elixirs dull once after changing. I had stretched them too heavily. They have to be stretched, but not too much. Normally they are bright for weeks.

    In my ES-175 I use nowadays Pyramid .013 Flats. Nice even mellow sound. I have played Chromes, Bensons & TI Swings but Pyramids are the winner – at this moment.

    The flats give me the ’jazz feeling’ so I can play jazz. The rounds give me the ’rock feeling’, can’t play jazz with them. I hope I could!

  18. #17

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    For the last 6 months I've been using TI Swing flats (11s) on my three main guitars, all of which are S-style solid bodies. I've been really loving flats on strats! Wish I'd tried it sooner. For my PE-175 I use TI Benson flats.
    On the Turntable: Steve Reich - Phases (box set), Fred Frith Guitar Quartet - Ayaya Moses
    Guitar:
    Fender AVRI '59 w/ TI Swing 11s and Tyson Tone pickups
    Through: Polytone Mini Brute II

  19. #18

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    Chromes on my archtops, both acoustic and electric, and GHS Brite Flats, SITs, and D'Addario rounds on my solidbodies. My two Martin Dreadnaughts wear Martin bronze strings. String experimentation is an ongoing thing, but I'm pretty happy with the current line up.
    Best regards, k

  20. #19

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    Generally I'm using flats on my electric guitars (Thomastik Jazz Swing 12-50s). I sometimes swap the two top strings for a 13 and 17.

    On acoustic archtops I like the Elixir 80/20 bronze set - smoother feeling than uncoated strings. For the Freddie Green rhythm guitar style I find they project nicely.

    I'm going to try the GHS Nickel Rockers Pure Nickel (wound 3rd) set on one of my electrics for a change. Apparently these are considerably smoother and less squeaky than ordinary roundwounds.

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barrie View Post
    I was advised to use Elixir coated strings on my LP so i put them on and took them off the same day.
    This was my experience exactly. I wasn't looking for different 'sound', I just wanted my strings to last longer. There was really nothing I liked about them. I am not fussy about strings generally but those were a total 'no go' for me in both feel and sound.

    I couldn't get them off quickly enough.

    I can understand if people have a different experience.

  22. #21

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    I haven’t used them for a very long time but I remember liking the elixir polyweb strings. They definitely sounded like they were coated but they were smoother than roundwounds due to the heavy coating and a little more subdued. I thought they matched an archtop well, although I don’t remember what guitar I was playing back when using them for a bit. I think I left them because although they didn’t feel bad per se, they did feel plasticky and I prefer that strings feel like strings and not plastic.

    One coated string that I tried that I remember not feeling like there was a coating and retained brightness well was Cleartone. I like the sound of broken in strings though so didn’t stay with them.


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  23. #22

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    I had ruled Elixirs out after trying the Polywebs some time ago, then stumbled on some comments on the Nanowebs, which have been on my main guitar for months now. They were (90%) what I had been looking for for ages: roundwound with just about bearable squeaks, thanks to the coating.

    Still have another guitar strung with Chromes, which gets 10-15% playing time.

    None of which is likely to be of any use to another player. 'Tis a lonely quest, this one

  24. #23

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    I agree with Peter, my ideal string is not yours, nor yours mine. I still haven't found the perfect string, although the field has been considerably narrowed over the years.

  25. #24

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    I'm kinda indifferent to strings which might be laziness on my part.
    I used D'Aquisto round nickels forever, usually 13-56 bought by the dozen, they were just over $2 a set and were as good as Daddarios imo,
    The factory's been closed for many yrs but I only recently ran out of my stash of electric strings, still have a decent stash of acoustic 13-56 sets left and some 12's for a couple smaller archtops.

    Recently tried Daddario nickels and pure nickels and they'll probably be my go to strings from here on out, but the $2 a set days are gone.
    Have no idea how you guys pay Thomastic prices especially gigging alot, but I get it, still cheaper than say violin strings.

  26. #25

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    I use a mixed set and it's perfect for what I want from my Eastman AR803

    Let's see

    D'addario Prosteels (that's round woundies) for the following

    14 high e (thank you rio, the 14 feels great)

    17 b (I don't think I need the 18 on this setup)

    26w g (that's my umph string, it's a better name than a "g-string")

    Okay, the rest are John Pearse Nickel Wound (also round woundies--no ]flats, and that's that)

    32 for the D

    42 for the A

    52 for the E

    The John Pearse strings sound great in the bottom because they are really warm and easier to play than the D'Addario's of the same gauge. I've heard that "you're not supposed to play jazz with steel strings" but I like them. Through the right amplifier, the guitar comes alive. I figured out that I needed a speaker with more wattage, now I can hear more of her natural brightness--and I love it! I just have to buy the darn speaker! And she sings acoustically as well.

  27. #26

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    On my main gigging guitar? TI Swing flats .13-.53.

  28. #27

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    For those of you that use flatwounds – which brand do you think has the brightest wound strings. I have only used D'Addario chromes so far. I like them but would like to know if there is a brighter flatwound available.

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by guavajelly View Post
    For those of you that use flatwounds – which brand do you think has the brightest wound strings. I have only used D'Addario chromes so far. I like them but would like to know if there is a brighter flatwound available.
    Over the years Ive used Chromes, GHS, Labella, TI Swings and Bensons and probably a couple others I’m forgetting and Chromes have been the brightest to me, particularly on the newer side. I actually stayed away from them for a long time because of that but now I like a brighter sound, possibly because of my hearing getting worse.


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  30. #29

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    I only used Chromes as flatwounds so far, but as the Thomastik Swing set is now like 25 % cheaper than the D'Addarios I thought I give it a try. I do not think they are darker or brighter than the chromes. BUT I think the set is poorly balanced with the plain strings significately louder and also feel stiffer than the wound strings – which are thinner than the respective strings in the Chromes set. I'm not impressed.

  31. #30
    Dean Markley rounds, 10-46 on all my electrics except my WesMo where I use Thomastik flats 13-53
    Midnight Blues

  32. #31

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    For people who didn't care for polywebs, you should try optiwebs! I was going back and forth between string types until they released the optiwebs a couple of years ago, and I've found my string I think I've told the story before of how shocked I was after being away from my ES for a month and then when I got back, I found I preferred the epiphone - that is, until I remembered that the tech had put slinkies on the ES instead of optis. Sure enough, I restrung it and it was back at no.1

  33. #32

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    Started using flats in 2014 when I was playing through a guitar synth. They are best for that, so the notes don't "miss-cue."

    Don't play the synth anymore, but really got used to the tone of the flats, and stayed with them, on all guitars.

    LaBella 12s, and Diaddario 11s--both sets I go about 0.002 heavier on the low E.

    Flats are smoother, less biting tone than roundwounds. Plus I hate that screechy sound when you slide to fret the rounds.

    Flats cost more, but last longer.

  34. #33

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    I just put some D'Addario nickel-coated steel roundwounds on my archtop, just the the hell of it, and I think I like them. I had to adjust the polepieces, and they're now more even in height, and the tone change between the wound and unwound strings is less pronounced. They're brighter than the pure nickel I've been using, but a minor adjustment of the treble on the amp takes care of that. I'll give it more time, but I may stay with them. They're cheaper and readily available, so I don't have to mail-order and wait for delivery. That's not a deal-breaker, but convenience does count for something, and I think I may end up preferring the sound of the steel-wounds.

  35. #34

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    TI Jazz Flats (12s) on almost everything. Works for me.
    "Talent is a pursued interest; anything that you're willing to practice, you can do." - Bob Ross

  36. #35

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    Here's a reply with WAY too many numbers. My apologies in advance.

    For about 30 years, on archtop, I have bounced between D'Addario Chromes - .011's, Chromes - .012's, a combination of the 2 (Chromes .011's with a .012 and .016 E and B string, occasionally - roundwound .012-.052.

    I, too, am experimenting right now. One of my students bought me a set of "balanced tension" D'Addario .011's. He knows that on my money guitar - currently a hard tail Strat, I have played XL 115's with plain G string for 30+ years. He suggested I try them on my 575. (archtop and jazz are a hobby for me, but I play that guitar most). I looked at them in the package for about 3 months, and finally put them on. I like the way it plays, and it sounds better than it ever has. I even put the on tune-o-matic bridge (Is that what it's called?). So far, I love it.

    I always thought it would a be a sin to play a plain G on an archtop (something about "real men"or some shit.) Should I be embarrassed?
    Last edited by ScottM; 08-01-2019 at 06:34 PM.