1. #1

    User Info Menu

    I have a full boddied electric archtop, not very good acoustically but good with pickup. I play mainly Freddy Green / Gypsy Jazz rhythm style--'4 in the bar' style. What type of string and gauge would you choose? Possibly to get near an acoustic sound if that is achievable.

    Look forward to your replies.
    Many thanks.


    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
  3. #2

    User Info Menu

    Your best bet is Monel, it's a nickel alloy that straddles the line between what we think of as "acoustic" and "electric" strings... because that was originally the same thing.....

    Martin Retro are the most widely available choice (and what I use), but there's also Kurt Mangan ones (offered in both hex- and round-core), and D'Addario's Nickel Bronze.

    In the 1920's-30's, monel was the most common string material, before bronze was introduced midway through the 30's. They remained common for a while, before production stopped in the 1970's. Thankfully, Martin brought it back, and others have followed suit.

    When electric guitars were introduced in the mid- to late-30's, there weren't "electric guitar strings" yet. But there was the issue that the magnetic pickups didn't pickup bronze very well. So, Gibson's 1937 catalog specifically instructs people use their Monel strings (called Gibson "Mona-Steel"). By 1942 companies were offering monel in gauges that were specifically tailored to electric guitar pickups, and only in 1944 do you start to see catalogs actually offer strings they claim to be metallurgically specific to electric.

    Anyway, if you need something that will be picked up by a magnetic pickup, but has acoustic volume potential, go with a set of Monel. (And I do mean roundwound...)

  4. #3

    User Info Menu

    +1 to the above but if the string imbalance is too much for you and you don’t mind the anachronism nickel strings are always great. For feel and tone my preference is for strings with a round rather than hex core. I have been using Newtone Archtop strings for the past few years and love them on acoustic-electric archtops. The wrap is made of twice as many winds of a narrower strand, which gives them a unique sound and feel. Somewhat mellow with a slightly faster decay than standard electric strings but not thuddy like flatwounds.

  5. #4

    User Info Menu

    According to stringsbymail.com, Newtone strings are no longer available in the US.

  6. #5

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Cunamara
    According to stringsbymail.com, Newtone strings are no longer available in the US.
    I buy them directly from the manufacturer in the UK.

  7. #6
    Many thanks everybody for your very useful info--much appreciated.