Reply to Thread Bookmark Thread
Posts 1 to 12 of 12
  1. #1

    User Info Menu

    I've tried a lot of different makes and models of string, but every time I find I want to come back to silk-and-steel strings (brass-wound in my case), and when I do it feels like coming home. They're more comfortable to play, sound so much better (to my ears) and don't see to have less power or longevity.
    I guess what I would really want is a set of nylon-like strings that have sufficient tension to drive an acoustic guitar (archtop included).

    Anyone else feel the same?

    Also, does anyone know when these strings were first developed?

    EDIT: several brands now offer steel strings with nylon tape winding. To what extent do those have a similar sound when played acoustically (I think they're officially intended for electric guitar)?

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

    User Info Menu

    Hi

    i have used silk and steel on my Seagull Parlour almost exclusively for years - though at the moment i am enjoying TI plectrum flatwound 11's which have slightly higher tension in the bass strings but not excesively so. I use Martin Silk n Steel and Galli V-27. i play fingestyle having come from nlyon string playing but silks are great for the parlour size. I did have a Martin D-15s Dreadnoguht and i found the silks were a bit thin and lost on trying to move that mahogany top - it was probably ok but felt thin compared to bronze 12's or 13's which felt powerful even if they were hell on my fingers... I would be interested to hear what silks are like on an archtop seeing as people seem to talk in gauges such as 13, 14 and 15's with acoustic archtops!

  4. #3

    User Info Menu

    Hi,

    Interesting, I used Earthwood Silk & Steel for a long time (Soft 11-52 or so) but am also using Plectrum AC111s at the moment (except I didn't catch the fretwear on the G string in time so that's an Earthwood Extra Soft now). First type I tried were the ones from La Bella which have a really classical sound (on the wound strings) but I find I prefer the sound signature brass winding gives, and certainly their better longevity.
    The guitar in question is the Seagull Performer mini-jumbo, which in fact opened up surprisingly (at least for me as the player) when I put the lower tension AC111s on it. They do sound great, once broken in, but I'll be trying the extra-soft Earthwoods next because they're just that bit less expensive.

    I'll admit that I was hoping to hear from archtop players using this type of string because it's definitely what I plan to put on that Loar if and when I get one. Probably a set of Earthwood Softs from my stash, possibly with a 12" high E if that's required for a fuller/rounder tone. I've seen several vendors who ship the Eastman AR805 and AR605 with 11s so I'm guessing the Loar should work with them too if you don't have a mix to cut through.
    EDIT: the Plectrums may be too short for use on a typical archtop as they have silk-wrapped peg-ends that could extend over the nut.

    BTW, I managed to get access to the brass-plated trebles from GHS's former Laurence Juber signature set (now called Americana I think). I don't know if they really have a rounder sound than the usual tin-plated trebles but at least they look better (and are cheaper than individual Plectrum trebles, which are also brass-plated).

  5. #4

    User Info Menu

    I would be curious too about the archtop effect as i quietly hanker to try a Loar or Eastman - but i made a promise not to buy another guitar unless it was to replace one and my seagull has been going strong for 20 years or more now. Seagull are great value for money in my mind.

    Galli Silks have silver bass strings and are bright probably not unlike the La bella ones you mentioned but i only tried la bella once years ago. I note Galli also do silk and steel Gypsy Jazz strings so i wonder are Silk and Steel popular on Manouche guitars if that is not hijacking the archtop question you pose?

  6. #5

    User Info Menu

    I have no idea, but I do think that many of those guitars are strung with nylon (Kremona make 2 Reinhardt signature models, at least one of which is for nylon strings). I see that those Galli Gypsy Jazz strings are extremely low tension, which probably means they're safe to put on a nylon stringer, and get a bit more brightness and/or sustain.

  7. #6

    User Info Menu

    i tried a set way back when (before i really established my tastes) and i thought they were terrible. they sound like oatmeal.

    i like them conceptually, but i just need huge strings and a lot of tension, so they are a no go for me. not even with my smaller guitars. if i want a mellower sound, i just don't change my strings. if there is such a thing as extra heavy, super tense silk and steels, then i'd be interested for sure. a mellow guitar sound with controlled/fewer overtones could be useful.

  8. #7

    User Info Menu

    The Earthwood Silk & Steel exist in "Regular" (13-56), the Thomastik plectrum in 13-61 . That's not really extra-heavy but maybe heavy enough to get what you want?

    If not, you could try Newtone's double-wounds. They have a somewhat comparable sound signature but without most of the comfort benefits (which apparently you don't need anyway ) They don't usually have them in 80/20 but they can make them at no extra cost since they produce all orders on command anyway (and so I presume they can also make heavier versions).

  9. #8

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by RJVB
    I have no idea, but I do think that many of those guitars are strung with nylon (Kremona make 2 Reinhardt signature models, at least one of which is for nylon strings). I see that those Galli Gypsy Jazz strings are extremely low tension, which probably means they're safe to put on a nylon stringer, and get a bit more brightness and/or sustain.
    I wouldn't recommend the Galli GJs on a nylon string, the tension is low for a manouche or steel string but still a good bit higher than something like Pro Arte extra high tension classical strings so you could do serious damage to the neck. TI John Pearse Folk strings can be put on a classical guitar but they are a very unusual string!

  10. #9

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by RJVB;[URL="tel:1162438"
    1162438[/URL]]The Earthwood Silk & Steel exist in "Regular" (13-56), the Thomastik plectrum in 13-61 . That's not really extra-heavy but maybe heavy enough to get what you want?

    If not, you could try Newtone's double-wounds. They have a somewhat comparable sound signature but without most of the comfort benefits (which apparently you don't need anyway ) They don't usually have them in 80/20 but they can make them at no extra cost since they produce all orders on command anyway (and so I presume they can also make heavier versions).
    that's interesting. Anything that can be tuned down to b or c might suffice. I just got a set of martin retros for my guild m20, which is the most likely recipient for something like this, given how much it hates bright strings. If those retros don't work out, I'll look into those. Something about the all hog makes it weird about strings. It just sounds better with old strings. Yay, Nick Drake.

    I've heard good things about newtone, as well. But I prefer to use strings that are a little more commonly available, if at all possible. I hate having an esoteric favorite and not have any way to find them when they stop stocking them or they don't make my gauge anymore or they go out of business or whatever. I might have even used newtone in the past at some point for electrics? It's sounding more familiar to me as I think about it.

  11. #10

    User Info Menu

    The low E down to B or C? I never tried, but my mini-jumbo is currently in drop-d tuning, with the 50" low E of the TI AC111 set. It works (but only because I have a relatively high action on that guitar).

    I'm curious what you'll think of the Retros, if the guitar you'll put them on doesn't like bright. To my ears, that's exactly what those strings are: not the brash, zingy bright of PB (which they never seem to loose) nor the shimmering, bell-like brightness of brass (when new), but a metallic bright. In fact, to me the neutral that everyone claims for Monel stems from the fact the winding does almost nothing to the sound signature of the core; identical notes played on the G or B sound really similar.

    If you do try those "brass-and-steel" strings, give them some time. They'll sound really bright at first too, but they'll lose that in a few days, once they develop an "old gold patina".

  12. #11

    User Info Menu

    ok, i strummed a few minutes on the retros and... well, i hate them less than i hate the last things i had on here... the d'adarrio nickel bronze strings. i wanted to punt those into the sun. but i put the guitar away for like a month or more and when i came back to it all the newness was gone and they mellowed into something a really enjoyed. it just takes forever to get there. i wonder what the case with these will be. i suspecting whenever the zingyness leaves i'll be left with something i like, but who knows when that'll be. it's just that i heard so many people talk about the retros and how magical they are and well, i'm not overwhelmed thus far. and since they aren't all shiny and bronze it's going to be harder to tell how old they are by looking at them. they look like electric strings. they were even recommended for my archtop with the floater.

    i'm starting to wonder if it even matters what i put on this guitar; anything will do once they are old, and just leave those on until they don't hold the tuning anymore. i'm a long time john pearse guy and i might as well go back to those, since that's what i use with most of my acoustic guitars. it's only the m20 that's fussy, though those nickel bronze seem very love it/hate it until they mellow out. i had that same experience with them on a different guitar, too.

    yeah, all my guitars start a whole step down and then go lower from there (but never higher, that's why they make capos). i'm not the most ham fisted player, but i do need a certain amount of tension to keep up.

  13. #12

    User Info Menu

    I've seen the NB and Retros compared a lot, even the marketing slogan (bring out the voice of your instrument) is similar.

    I've very limited experience with the NBs, they seem to have a warmer sound which is not surprising since they're PBs with a nickel coating. I'd be curious to know how much effect that nickel really has on the sound (= how thick can it be) rather than on how we perceive their sound. All I know is that Doug Macleod swears by them and puts them on all his guitars (quite heavy ones too; he also tunes back and forth all the time).