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  1. #1

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    A quick google search suggests “yes”, but I’d like to hear from actual users. If I were to order a 5 pack of PL013 from reverb do you think it will be the same as the ones I’d pull out of a new set of Chromes? I currently play 12s, but the top 12 is just too brittle sounding. I don’t wanna increase my bottom strings, so I’ll experiment with 13s. Hoping they’re not very different, there’s a set of 5 advertised on reverb.

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  3. #2

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    I fully agree the DIAddario plains are brittle to me too. (Actually I find their flat sets brittle throughout.)
    IMHO the smoothest sounding plains are Thomastik Infelds. The same plains are in both the Jazz swing flats and the Benson flats. The 13s have a nice sound. Second to them just for plain strings I’d put LaBella flat set plains. However their wound flats go so far past thunky that they sound, well dead. I’ve tried those above, Pyramid, Dogal, GHS, Gallo, LaBella, others.
    Stringsbymail is a good source.

    And of course all the terms and conditions apply: my ears, my opinion, my guitars, YMMV, IMNHO, IAH, and ASPCA.

    good luck!

  4. #3

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    yes all plain strings are basically the same...swedish/carbon steel....most are coated with fine layer of tin, but brass, silver and even gold have been used...doesn't really change tone tho

    thomastik offers sets with a choice of either tin or brass coating on the plain strings

    other thing is d'addario did a plain with a reinforced ball end in addition to the standard

    other than that, not much you can do to a plain string!....how long it's been in the pack affects it more than it's design

    cheers

  5. #4

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    Neo I did a lot of side by side tests last year both playing and recording. I agree they’re all close somewhat, but listening to the recordings you (ok, I) definitely could pick out maybe three trends of sound: thinner more rock like (GHS), the vast middle Pyramids, DAd, others, and at the warmer more bell like end the TI and LaBellas. At least unlike classical they’re not all coming from a spool of Japanese fishing line!

  6. #5

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    well...

    while there maybe a few guitar string companies out there, there are fewer related wire manufacturers

    mapes in tennessee is probably the biggest in the usa...they supply steinway piano with wire! and probably most guitar string makers

    here's their list of available wire- notice there is only one type of round core wire!! no different grades! just gauge differences


    Guitar Wire

    Core Wire *

    • Round size range = .007 – .028
    • Hexagon size range = .009 – .026


    * Available already looped or ballend
    Wrap Wire

    • 80/20 size range = .004 – .026
    • Phosphor Bronze size range = .004 – .026
    • 430 Stainless Steel size range = .004 – .026
    • 2% Nickel Plated Steel size range = .004 – .026
    • 8% Nickel Plated Steel size range = .004 – .026
    • 205 Pure Nickel size range = .004 – .026




    not to say you shouldn't stick with what you prefer!...i remember when single strings were sold without gauges...just marked b string or d string...black diamond days....& players would replace only what string they snapped!

    cheers

  7. #6

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    ps- not related to op's question but important string information


    • 2% Nickel Plated Steel size range = .004 – .026
    • 8% Nickel Plated Steel size range = .004 – .026
    • 205 Pure Nickel size range = .004 – .026


    notice that the typical nickel plated steel (nps) wrap strings that come standard on most new guitars are only 2% or 8% (max!) nickel ...the rest is stainless steel

    big difference from 100% pure nickel wrap!...in tone, feel, & magnetic interaction with pickup magnets


    cheers

  8. #7

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    Yea Neo I get a laugh at how picky players are now. As I recall the only flats when I started jazz that My local guy had were Fender. Happy with them for a couple years.

    I remember buying Black Diamond strings at the factory in New Brunswick NJ... huge old brick thing. There was a door to an office and you could buy at a discount. Black nylon folk strings on my cousins guitar she lent me. If not for Patty......

    Problem is, none (or few) of us have any idea who is supplying or making what string where. All a big corporate secret. There is that big string maker in CA I forget their name they do nothing but contract work for others, so that might be a common source? I suspect, just maybe TI can find a wire supplier in the EU not TN)))

    I stand by my test results though, and TI plains have their own sound.

  9. #8

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    TI (and perhaps some other European-made) plain strings are a tiny bit thinner than equivalent D'Addario or similar US strings. Although often quoted as "0.13" the TI's are officially measured in mm and work out to a bit less.

  10. #9

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    The first thing I do with a set of Elixirs is to swap out the first 12 gauge string for a 13 from another manufacturer. The Elixir Nanoweb wounds are pretty unique but the "anti-rust" plains don't seem to last longer than or sound any different to others.

    If there are any differences, probably not worth worrying about.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Triple_Jazz
    A quick google search suggests “yes”, but I’d like to hear from actual users. If I were to order a 5 pack of PL013 from reverb do you think it will be the same as the ones I’d pull out of a new set of Chromes? I currently play 12s, but the top 12 is just too brittle sounding. I don’t wanna increase my bottom strings, so I’ll experiment with 13s. Hoping they’re not very different, there’s a set of 5 advertised on reverb.
    They're basically the same; in a blind test few if any listeners could identify the different strings. Your picks make a much bigger difference. As was pointed out above, virtually all US string makers are buying their wire at the same place. In wound strings, hex versus round cores make a difference and which wrap wire was chosen (material, single wrap, double wrap, etc.), but the plain strings are all round steel; plated or not makes little to no difference. The gold-colored plating wears off my TIs in a couple of weeks so if there is a tonal effect it doesn't last long.

    Someone mentioned StringsByMail.com, which is where I buy mine. Good selections, reasonable prices, good service. They sell single strings of almost all of their brands.

  12. #11

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    There could be minor differences in the plating - thickness, metal, etc, but essentially they're pieces of steel wire. It's possible that the steel alloy could be different between different brands, but I know of no way to find out the exact alloys. All I know is that I can't hear any difference between any of the plain strings I've used over the decades. Certainly nothing that can't be EQ'd out with a minor tweak of a tone control.

  13. #12

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    Yes the 13 TI usually mic out at 12.6mm.

    Regardless TI plains have a more bell like quality up around the 8-14 frets than anything else I a/b’ed. It may be a US source vs EU source thing.

    Get yourselves a set of D’Addario Chromes, LaBella flats, Pyramid Gold, and TI JS and spend a week or two with each. Use both an L5 and a MIJ Ibanez. Record the same mix of chord melody and single line via studio mikes to Audacity. Then cut clips of same sections. Have someone give them file names you don’t know what’s which, and a/b the heck out of them.
    Let me know what you come up with. Took me two months. We can compare notes.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by jazzkritter
    Yes the 13 TI usually mic out at 12.6mm.
    QC on plain string gauges is low, in my experience. I've been checking the sizes of a bunch of plain strings recently, with a decent micrometer and multiple measurements along the string length, and found they are often a bit smaller than the gauge as indicated on the packaging. I haven't found any that are bigger, yet.

  15. #14

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    I regularly order TI singles for my top two strings. In general their strings feel slinkier to me. I like less effort.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by jazzkritter
    Yes the 13 TI usually mic out at 12.6mm.
    I hope not--hard to play 1/2" thick strings!

    Danny W.

  17. #16

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    You play 1/2" strings with a hammer, sort of like a percussion triangle.

  18. #17

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    Yea... ever heard of a hammered dulcimer?

    Now where did those damned zeros go?
    Maybe the dog ate them, he ate a couple socks last week.

  19. #18

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    There can be differences in how well the the little washer at the end is looped. I bought a set of house brand strings from one of the string websites, and the loops had sharp ends sticking out, and the high E (an 11, IIRC) Wound up breaking very quickly. But among the name brands I've never noticed any difference in sound, feel or durability of plain strings.

    John

  20. #19

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    Now where did those damned zeros go?
    It's not just the zeros, it's a completely different unit of measurement. No millimeters involved in string gauges. I can laugh, because obviously I've never made such a mistake.

  21. #20

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    Oh my. Well you can see why I didn’t go for an EE.

  22. #21

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    Yes the plain strings are plain steel. you could try a coated plain to get lees of the plain string sound. Also a wood bridge will change how the plain steel strings sound.