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  1. #1

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    Please bear with me as I'm a relative newb to jazz guitar and I'm sure this topic has been heavily discussed here. I'm trying to decide which model of flat wound string to try on my Eastman AR580CE jazz archtop. I've been using Thomastik and D'Addario wound strings but I don't care for the screechy string noise. I'm also interested in ground wound and roller wound strings. I play mostly swing and bop and jazzy blues. I'm also interested in chord melody playing. In your opinion, what strings should I be considering? Thank you.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Pyramid flatwound strings are reliable and not expensive.

  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by jumpnblues
    I've been using Thomastik and D'Addario wound strings but I don't care for the screechy string noise.
    You’ve been using round wound Daddario and Thomastik or their flatwounds and you think even those are screechy? Those are likely the most two recommended flats here.

  5. #4

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    I think he meant roundwound strings.

    I'd suggest starting with D'Addario Chromes, since they're cheap and available anywhere. TIs are the Cadillac of flatwounds. Pyramids as mentioned are very good.

  6. #5

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    Thomastik-Infeld are really nice, and their quality of manufacture is the highest. I've also tried Dogal (I think they're made in Italy?) and I liked them even more.
    Labella flat wounds are less expensive and their sound is different, just as pleasing but subtly different. Worth getting all these kinds and deciding which works best for your own instrument. Certain instruments will match well with certain strings, there is no doubt about that so you definitely want to be able to decide what feels/sounds/lasts and fits your own tastes.

    Honestly though, these days I'm wanting a more articulate and greater expressive range to my playing and I had really liked D'Adarrio half rounds until I tried LaBella Rolled wounds. They are now my favourite strings. Not for everyone, but for what I play, a lot of chord solo and finger style, those are my choice.

    Up to you. Try and YOU decide. Good luck!

  7. #6

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    Thomastik Swings are the best I have found

  8. #7

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    The sound and feel of strings is about as subjective as anything here we argue about, I mean talk about.

    So I went through an obsessive/compulsive comparison stage last year, using my PM200 which is a lively all maple guitar. I found three main differences of comparison: the feel or smoothness of the flat wrap, the relative brightness or dullness of the bass strings and how fast they felt like wet noodles.

    I also compared E/B strings. I found the Optima Gold plain strings tone above any others; they were recommended to me by Strings By Mail. Great jazz strings, not dull not strident, defined voice, I have them mixed with the TI JS sets and love them.

    My thoughts were:
    TI JS simply the best all around, they are well respected here. Last long, keep a nice feel. Take abuse; I had a set on the PM200 while swapping pickups and stretched the heck out of them 5 or. 6 times and they played/felt fine.
    TI GB IMHO bass strings always seem a bit bright; expensive but why?!
    Chromes IMHO take too long to lose their initial metal/brightness sound. Then don’t seem to hold good tone long… my model for wet noodle feel after a month of hard playing. Bass strings felt rough compared to TI. YMMV.
    Dogal agree with Jimmy up there, a beautiful jazz sound. Very impressed, I will probably switch to them. but I have ten sets of TI JS to work through
    (Dogal classical strings are also impressive.)
    Pyramids are OK, but I found the bass strings to have a unique feel and I did not like li. IMHO, YMMV.
    LaBella. Really interesting string. To me very ‘thunky’, they almost sounded dull to me. But on a very bright guitar (Eastman?) they may be great. Play nicely, feel good, typical LaBella string, ie, well done. They’ve been around a long time so I bet a lot of our fav 40s-50s recordings are using them?
    Rotosound… could not bond with these at all. Felt odd.
    Galli… bland, YMMV
    DR, GHS, Mangan…. Um, stick to R&R guys).
    So that’s the first 6-8 months of retirement, before the sick curtain fell )
    jk

    I was in one of those half day classes with a Grammy award winning classical guitarist. You know the type of class… where people go so they can snort out “I studied with what’s his/her name”. Yea, you and 50 others for 3 hours.
    Anyways, they endorsed Galli at that time. I asked do you really play with them? Laughed and said no they’re the only ones who will give me enough free ones so I can hand them out at these master classes, makes the students feel good.’

  9. #8

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    I currently use TI GB 12s (with a wound G). The Dogal flat wound jazz sets have string gauges that don't correspond to what I'm used to; any thoughts about my trying the 12-42 or the 12-56?

    And the Dogal R40C (12-46) apparently has a wound b string? What's up with that?

  10. #9

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    I tried these:
    Dogal R40D Expressive Jazz Flat Wound Electric Guitar Strings 12-52

    No wound B in thar set. Agree their sets have their own unique strung sizes
    jk

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by jumpnblues
    I'm also interested in ground wound and roller wound strings.
    I tried a set of GHS rollerwounds recently, hoping it would be a good middle ground between flats and roundwounds but I have to say I wasn't a fan. The tone was nice but the feel was the issue for me. It seemed like my fingers would stop in the wrong place, or just get stuck, as I was sliding into a note. It became an obstacle to my playing. I found the GHS burnished nickel rockers much better in this regard.

  12. #11

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    Assuming this is not an electric-only topic: how about the TI Plectrums? They have flat-wound G D and A strings (and brass-plated plain strings). Not sure why the low E is round-wound; maybe to keep it a bit livelier?
    I love these on my spruce + maple jumbo, but would they even fit on an archtop?

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by LifeOnJazz
    I tried a set of GHS rollerwounds recently, hoping it would be a good middle ground between flats and roundwounds but I have to say I wasn't a fan. The tone was nice but the feel was the issue for me. It seemed like my fingers would stop in the wrong place, or just get stuck, as I was sliding into a note. It became an obstacle to my playing. I found the GHS burnished nickel rockers much better in this regard.
    I agree with you. Rollerwounds and ground wounds are vastly different from brand to brand.
    D'Addario grinds the outer windings to a new diameter. They're bright to my fingers and they also take a while to feel "smooth", because the edges of the treatment they accomplish this with leaves a certain kind of roughness.
    The GHS rollerwounds don't seem to come out of the rolling treatment all too well either.
    Labella's seem to have the best qualities of a good round wound string compressed to facilitate a smooth sliding along the string. But they're all different and different depending whether I've got them on a hollow, semi, solid or solid top spruce top. The guitar will bring out qualities of a string. That's why it's so problematic to get opinions from others who have string opinions; they/we are not you.
    OP, the better a player you are, the more you will know what strings bring out the qualities you develop in yourself. Sorry to say, but I'd have to recommend you pick a string arbitrarily and start forming your own assessment of whether you can make musical choices well with those strings...and change from there.
    Bet you'll wind up with something different from most others.

  14. #13

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    I really like SIT 11-50s, but their "Silencers" are noisier than their regular strings, at least at first.

    Johnny Smith used to burnish down his strings with the edge of a drinking glass, back before there were flatwounds. Another brand used to include an abrasive cloth to polish the strings and smooth them.

  15. #14

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    If you are in Europe get the TI Jazz Swings, around 15 € a pack. If you are in the US get D'Addario Chromes as they are cheaper there. Both sound great, in comparison TI uses lighter bass strings in the pack which you may like or not.

  16. #15

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    I primarily play an Eastman AR503CE, that is very similar to your guitar. I have tried numerous flat wound sets and prefer the TI Swing JS112 set. I rarely change the whole string set now. I buy spare TI 3rd and 4th strings. Although I like the TI flatwound strings, I am not that fond of the brass color plain strings. For plain strings I have been using Elixer strings.

  17. #16

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    Hi Danielle!
    Im curious what is about the brass colored strings that causes you an issue? Do you note any objective difference?
    thanks
    jk

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by jazzkritter
    Hi Danielle!
    Im curious what is about the brass colored strings that causes you an issue? Do you note any objective difference?
    thanks
    jk

    I think it's difficult to convey exactly. (I think they tend to sound OK initially, but don't hold up long when it comes to consistent note to note response) I think that brass color plain coating does not last long when compared to an Elixer plain string. I remember one luthier changing them out for me without me asking. He said he brought the guitar out in the sun light and watched the string vibrate and did not like what he was seeing. I don't think I can get more specific. I think there are others here that are not fond of the TI brass color plain strings. (Perhaps some one else will comment.)

  19. #18

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    Brass may not be as durable as tin for string coating. The strings themselves are pretty much the same, and all plain strings are coated, with either tin or brass, or something. Carbon steel rusts quickly, so some sort of coating is necessary. It has been a long time since I've had any brass plated strings, but I don't recall any difference when I used them, other than the color.

  20. #19

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    I can’t offer any advice from personal experience on most of the various string suggestions, but I have read and heard good things about the Newtone Strings – Archtop Series. From their website: “A Double wrap of Nickel Plated Steel over a Round core gives these strings a unique feel and sound. They are warm and mellow, with less string squeal.”

    Unlike other string sets, it looks like they come in 6 choices that include different string gauges within the set. And for what it’s worth, and for those of you from NJ or who know of the shop Guitars ‘N Jazz, their store brand of Archtop strings are Newtone strings in a GNJ package.

  21. #20

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    Add my vote for Chromes. I’ve found them to work well on both acoustic and electric instruments.

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Litterick
    Pyramid flatwound strings are reliable and not expensive.
    I agree. My experience with the round core version is to not trim the strings the first day. People recommend waiting, but I had to find out the hard way.

  23. #22

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    If I recall correctly, the Beatles played with flatwounds in their early days, even on their acoustic Gibsons.

  24. #23

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    Marty according to the Get Back book, Pyramid Flats!

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy blue note
    I agree with you. Rollerwounds and ground wounds are vastly different from brand to brand.
    D'Addario grinds the outer windings to a new diameter. They're bright to my fingers and they also take a while to feel "smooth", because the edges of the treatment they accomplish this with leaves a certain kind of roughness.
    The GHS rollerwounds don't seem to come out of the rolling treatment all too well either.
    Labella's seem to have the best qualities of a good round wound string compressed to facilitate a smooth sliding along the string. But they're all different and different depending whether I've got them on a hollow, semi, solid or solid top spruce top. The guitar will bring out qualities of a string. That's why it's so problematic to get opinions from others who have string opinions; they/we are not you.
    OP, the better a player you are, the more you will know what strings bring out the qualities you develop in yourself. Sorry to say, but I'd have to recommend you pick a string arbitrarily and start forming your own assessment of whether you can make musical choices well with those strings...and change from there.
    Bet you'll wind up with something different from most others.
    I agree. Rollerwounds, halfrounds, etc. - I assumed they'd be smoother than round wounds, not as smooth as flatwounds. But they are not really smoother than roundwounds and have a funny feel. I find that Daddario Pure nickel roundwounds feel better and are way cheaper. I like 11s. You learn to adjust your playing to eliminate squeaks.

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by ARGewirtz
    I have read and heard good things about the Newtone Strings – Archtop Series. From their website: “A Double wrap of Nickel Plated Steel over a Round core gives these strings a unique feel and sound. They are warm and mellow, with less string squeal.”
    I have so-so experience with their double-wounds on my jumbo (I tried custom-made 80/20 ones). They do sound a bit warmer and are a bit more comfortable to play than regular 80/20s, but not that much, and I found intonation to be iffy in the lower strings. Not a set-up issue, but rather the stability in time, after plucking a note. I asked about the principle on the AGF or Delcamp forum, and got some feedback stating that it's great in pianos and the like, but less so in plucked strings.
    Either way, I sent Neil from Newtone an email if they can do brass-over-nickelplated double-wounds (or the reverse) and if those should still work with a pickup. I'm not particularly keen on finding out if nickelplated strings give me the same skin reactions as the cheap watches I've had, and the of spectacle rims before I went titanium or plastic...