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  1. #1

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    So because I have covid downtime on guitar, no work at the moment. I have a couple of old sets of 11's in my box, I thought I'd slap them on just to use them up and see what it would be like. Sadowsky 24.75 archtop. I usually use TI GB 12 round.

    I have 2 sets: D'Addario XL, and Dean Markley, both labelled "Medium."

    The D'A is pretty standard, 11-14-21w-28-38-49.

    The DM is kinda goofy: 11-13-18p/20w-30-42-52. (13 B on a medium set?)

    So I put on the D'As. Not bad. Had to raise the bridge because of the lower tension, they were choking down at first. (I didn't want to mess with the tr, because I have it buttery straight for my regular strings.) I kinda like the brighter sound, which is something I've been striving for, to get a more "acoustic" sound out the the electric archtop. Of course single note lines fly. But banging on chords sounds "thwacky," and a couple of times the bridge moved because of the lower tension. The lowest strings feel just a bit floppy (49 is pretty skinny).

    I must admit I sorta like the lighter touch for quick runs. Will work with it a little more this week.
    Last edited by Woody Sound; 04-22-2021 at 11:52 AM.

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  3. #2

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    Technique adjustment- banging on the chords may not work as well.

    Seriously, though, since I have always tend to have a light touch and often pluck a la Ed Bickert, I find light gauges easy to work with. Plain Gs on my wooden bridged archtop are a problem with intonation.

  4. #3
    In my "previous life" I was a clarinetist/saxophonist. There's this macho thing among those people about using heavy reeds. But you have to blow really hard to get a sound. A famous reed instrument jazz pedagogue told me, "There's nothing wrong with using lighter reeds, it actually takes more control, but you have greater tonal flexibility."
    Last edited by Woody Sound; 04-22-2021 at 11:50 AM.

  5. #4

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    I want to dig in too - I have to have my action high enough so playing hard doesn't generate a metallic fret-sound

    I know exactly the sound you mean if you play a chord hard - I hate that. and sometimes, I do want to play a chord 'hard'.

    how heavy you play is a huge part of determining the vibe you generate

    Django wore out his guitars didn't he?

    I have the sense that, in the seventies, the bass players tended to turn their amps up and play very lightly - very different vibe.

    (I use swing 12s - with heavier B and E strings)

  6. #5

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    Rick Beato has a video on YouTube about how light strings record better (in a rock context). I prefer heavier strings, especially on archtops and flattops, and don't feel inclined to switch (at least until some hand arthritis starts to kick in some sad day).

    But the video was interesting and surprising to me.


  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flat
    Rick Beato has a video on YouTube about how light strings record better (in a rock context). I prefer heavier strings, especially on archtops and flattops, and don't feel inclined to switch (at least until some hand arthritis starts to kick in some sad day).

    But the video was interesting and surprising to me.

    Having watched the Beato video I cannot see that it provides any helpful information other than all strings sound very similar when subject to heavy distortion...... it would have been more helpful to provide clean sounds to compare. If you play with distortion all the time then why not go for the comfort of lighter strings? Not sure that most forum members would fall into the "distortion all the time" category though......
    Last edited by Ray175; 04-23-2021 at 07:00 AM.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray175
    Having watched the Beato video I cannot see that it provides any helpful information other than all strings sound very similar when subject to heavy distortion...... it would have been more helpful to provide clean sounds to compare. If you play with distortion all the time then why not go for the comfort of lighter strings? Not sure that most forum members would fall into the "distortion all the time" category though......
    Seems like what they were listening for is overtones instead of the fundamental. I want a strong fundamental, like making a good broth. The overtones are the seasoning that brings the broth to life but without the quality base the flavor is hollow. Or like whacked-out IPAs which are all hop and no malt. Yuck.

    The trend in string instrument tone in most genres seems to be towards emphasizing the overtones, though. Heck, electric bass players don't even seem to have a fundamental note any more, it is all overtones. Sounds like crap to me, as do most modern rock guitar tones.

    Excuse me while I go yell at the clouds.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cunamara
    Heck, electric bass players don't even seem to have a fundamental note any more, it is all overtones. Sounds like crap to me, as do most modern rock guitar tones.

    Excuse me while I go yell at the clouds.
    Mid-rangey Jaco!

    Different strokes for different folks. Stand-up basses just sound like a thud to my ears, might as well be just playing a bass drum. And trying to transcribe from a stand-up bass, what note is that thud, often can't tell. Probably why I don't care for those dog houses.

  10. #9

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    ...regarding the "had to raise the bridge"... agree, the action should not be on the minimum, but I only would touch the bidge *after* I adjusted the truss rod to the lighter strings (of course only in case thare *is* a truss tod)

    Changing to lighter strings calls for some truss rod release, unless only unnecessary high bridge can prevent the zingie-zangie, and results a definitely wrong setup.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by fep
    Mid-rangey Jaco!

    Different strokes for different folks. Stand-up basses just sound like a thud to my ears, might as well be just playing a bass drum. And trying to transcribe from a stand-up bass, what note is that thud, often can't tell. Probably why I don't care for those dog houses.
    I had a long conversation with Jorge Roeder after seeing him play with Julian Lage. He plays electric fretted bass and upright bass but not electric fretless. He stated that "Jaco ruined that sound for everyone, because everybody has to sound like Jaco now when they play that instrument." But Jaco still had a strong fundamental note and knew the job of a bass player. He could fit right into the pocket in a rhythm section effortlessly. Tone-wise though it's the growl and the harmonics that people seem to notice.

    The upright bass to my ears has a resonance and a sonority unmatched by electric bass (at least a good upright bass; there are some that are just a thud no matter what). I love playing with an upright bassist because of that resonance. Listen to the Jim Hall-Charlie Haden duo record, or Gene Bertoncini with Michael Moore. But granted as the band gets larger the bass gets covered up and becomes a thud, sorta like Freddie Green does. You end up feeling rather than hearing their input.

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cunamara View Post
    I had a long conversation with Jorge Roeder after seeing him play with Julian Lage. He plays electric fretted bass and upright bass but not electric fretless. He stated that "Jaco ruined that sound for everyone, because everybody has to sound like Jaco now when they play that instrument." But Jaco still had a strong fundamental note and knew the job of a bass player. He could fit right into the pocket in a rhythm section effortlessly. Tone-wise though it's the growl and the harmonics that people seem to notice.

    The upright bass to my ears has a resonance and a sonority unmatched by electric bass (at least a good upright bass; there are some that are just a thud no matter what). I love playing with an upright bassist because of that resonance. Listen to the Jim Hall-Charlie Haden duo record, or Gene Bertoncini with Michael Moore. But granted as the band gets larger the bass gets covered up and becomes a thud, sorta like Freddie Green does. You end up feeling rather than hearing their input.
    A good upright bass...

    I asked Bob Magnusson how much his bass cost him... He said about as much as his house. Maybe he was joking? But, there are a lot of not that good upright basses out there. It's a very expensive instrument.

  13. #12

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    Expensive strings too. I used gamut guts. $$