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  1. #1
    Hi,

    A Les Paul is my my main guitar and while I find the neck excellent for playing jazz, I've never been fully satisfied with the bright & bouncy tone I get. I find tone to be be an issue with all solid body electrics I've tried. I'd like to buy a hollow archtop at some point. I love their sound. But I've so far not found one with a neck I like anywhere near as much as the Les Paul & I just don't think I'll ever play a guitar much if I have another with a neck I find nicer.

    Because I also use the guitar for other styles of music, I've been reluctant to put heavy, flat wounds on the guitar. But I'm going to give it a try. I currently use .11 gauge round wounds. Do people think moving up to .12 gauge flats will cut some of the springy brightness? Does any body else use heavier strings on a solid body electric and has it noticeably impacted your tone?

    Thanks!

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Keep whatever gauge you’re used to. The tone change will come primarily from the fact that they are flats.

  4. #3

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    I imagine it would sound a little something like this:



    But now the pressure is on!

  5. #4

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    If you find the LP comfortable to play, lower those pickups and slap some 12 gauge flats on it. Mine sounded glorious thus (pity about the discomfort playing seated). You may need to tighten the truss rod.

    Be warned: if you get used to flats, any other string type is prone to feeling rough and "what's with all these squeaks" (that never bothered you much before).

  6. #5

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    I put some .012 Chromes on my SIL's LP when I had it, years ago, and AFAIK they're still there. They improved the sound immensely, and I know of some pro musicians he played with who did the same when they heard it. If you find you don't like the flats, it's not an earth-shaking event to change them.

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by VanEpsInDeChirico
    Hi,

    A Les Paul is my my main guitar and while I find the neck excellent for playing jazz, I've never been fully satisfied with the bright & bouncy tone I get. I find tone to be be an issue with all solid body electrics I've tried. I'd like to buy a hollow archtop at some point. I love their sound. But I've so far not found one with a neck I like anywhere near as much as the Les Paul & I just don't think I'll ever play a guitar much if I have another with a neck I find nicer.

    Because I also use the guitar for other styles of music, I've been reluctant to put heavy, flat wounds on the guitar. But I'm going to give it a try. I currently use .11 gauge round wounds. Do people think moving up to .12 gauge flats will cut some of the springy brightness? Does any body else use heavier strings on a solid body electric and has it noticeably impacted your tone?

    Thanks!
    Inspired by Pat Martino, I ran custom sets of 0.015 - 0.060s on my Les Paul Custom for years - round, flat, and compound-wound. Heavier strings are going to give you a darker sound regardless, so experiment until you get a combination you like. Les Pauls are great for jazz, and pretty much everything else.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robertito
    I imagine it would sound a little something like this:



    But now the pressure is on!
    One thing's for sure, I'll bet GB wishes he still had that guitar! A '58-'60 LP burst!

  9. #8

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    Chromes in .012 work wonderfully on an LP. That’s what I have on mine. Love the tone and feel.

  10. #9

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    That one is a 1960 burst.

  11. #10

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    I use Thomastik 12-50 flats on my Les Paul Recording - great sound and feel. Comes in handy for gigs where I'll experience feedback issues with my archtop guitars.

  12. #11

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    What you could do if you use this guitar for everything is you could install a push pull pot to put a 100 or 200k resistor in the circuit. And that will make it dark and jazzy but you'd be able to keep the round wound strings on. You'd get the benefit of changing between dark and bright sounds for either style of playing.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clint 55
    What you could do if you use this guitar for everything is you could install a push pull pot to put a 100 or 200k resistor in the circuit. And that will make it dark and jazzy but you'd be able to keep the round wound strings on. You'd get the benefit of changing between dark and bright sounds for either style of playing.
    I like how you think.

    Here is my attempt to put as much as possible into a single guitar. The neck and bridge pickups can be split by a push-pull knob. Another knob will activate or deactivate the middle pickup, which is a Phat Cat. Turning that knob adjusts the volume of the middle pickup. This provides the possibility of many combinations. Pyramid round core flatwounds in 12s have enough vibrating mass to drive the output.

    There is some success with this approach. The difficulty is the learning curve. There are numerous pickup combinations, only one tone knob, and then the whole amplifier control panel to memorize for each sound.

    Heavy flat wound strings on Les Paul-51493583153_405f009bea_c-jpg

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by blille
    Keep whatever gauge you’re used to. The tone change will come primarily from the fact that they are flats.
    And not change the tone of the plain strings much (though the jump from a 10 to a 12 on the high E gives a more pronounced change than with the other strings, IME)

  15. #14

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    Not only do 12 gauge flats work very well on a Les paul, a wound third makes good intonation possible on a traditional TOM. Nashville TOM's work fine with a plain third.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by VanEpsInDeChirico
    Hi,

    A Les Paul is my my main guitar and while I find the neck excellent for playing jazz, I've never been fully satisfied with the bright & bouncy tone I get. I find tone to be be an issue with all solid body electrics I've tried. I'd like to buy a hollow archtop at some point. I love their sound. But I've so far not found one with a neck I like anywhere near as much as the Les Paul & I just don't think I'll ever play a guitar much if I have another with a neck I find nicer.

    Because I also use the guitar for other styles of music, I've been reluctant to put heavy, flat wounds on the guitar. But I'm going to give it a try. I currently use .11 gauge round wounds. Do people think moving up to .12 gauge flats will cut some of the springy brightness? Does any body else use heavier strings on a solid body electric and has it noticeably impacted your tone?

    Thanks!

    Hello, I have a Greco LP which is practically my main instrument. You may want to try some of this.

    1 - I have the pickups very low, especially on the bass side. Balance the string to string volume with the pick up screws.

    2 - I use a mixed set of TI flatwounds, High E is a 12, b = 16, the rest is a set of 10's

    3 - Try this (how well it works depends on the wiring/guitar). Both pickups, roll bridge tone and volume to 0, have neck pickup all the way up. Start rolling up the bridge volume. It adds a interesting warm sound, at least on my guitar.


    When in doubt, plug into a polytone,

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by pdfiddler
    That one is a 1960 burst.

  18. #17

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    I found best results with roundwound 12's but 13/17 for the E/B strings, and swapping out the tune-a-matic for a wooden saddle. I think rounds do a better job than flats of sounding less like an electric guitar.

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Grass
    I like how you think.

    Here is my attempt to put as much as possible into a single guitar. The neck and bridge pickups can be split by a push-pull knob. Another knob will activate or deactivate the middle pickup, which is a Phat Cat. Turning that knob adjusts the volume of the middle pickup. This provides the possibility of many combinations. Pyramid round core flatwounds in 12s have enough vibrating mass to drive the output.

    There is some success with this approach. The difficulty is the learning curve. There are numerous pickup combinations, only one tone knob, and then the whole amplifier control panel to memorize for each sound.

    Heavy flat wound strings on Les Paul-51493583153_405f009bea_c-jpg
    Thanks, that set up is great! I had HHH with a Phat Cat in the middle also only I put them in a Strat. The look of your guitar is very nice.

  20. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Peter C
    If you find the LP comfortable to play,
    Ugh, not really, its a nightmare to sit with. I do it anyway though. I just have to sit in the exact same classical style position at all times. But man, I really love the neck so.....I put up with it

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by VanEpsInDeChirico
    Ugh, not really, its a nightmare to sit with. I do it anyway though. I just have to sit in the exact same classical style position at all times. But man, I really love the neck so.....I put up with it
    Why not just use a strap? I sit with my lp (on a tall stool) all the time.

    TI Benson’s on my guitar are approaching 3 years old and still sound and intonate very well. I have replaced the top two strings. The last time my tech did some work for me he commented on the “perfect intonation”.

  22. #21

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    You might want to check out Ulf Wakenius here with Michael Brecker - he used the same "cheapo" old japanese LP Copy with flats (can't really tell which gauge...) for many years when he was with Oscar Peterson and the tone he gets is not what you might expect ....


  23. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by whiskey02
    Why not just use a strap? I sit with my lp (on a tall stool) all the time.
    I use a strap. But yeah, I should try a stool. I think a higher seat would help.

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by vintagelove
    Hello, I have a Greco LP which is practically my main instrument. You may want to try some of this.

    1 - I have the pickups very low, especially on the bass side. Balance the string to string volume with the pick up screws.

    2 - I use a mixed set of TI flatwounds, High E is a 12, b = 16, the rest is a set of 10's

    3 - Try this (how well it works depends on the wiring/guitar). Both pickups, roll bridge tone and volume to 0, have neck pickup all the way up. Start rolling up the bridge volume. It adds a interesting warm sound, at least on my guitar.


    When in doubt, plug into a polytone,
    Acting on advice from Paul Reed Smith, I set up my '69 Les Paul Custom with a 0.047pf capacitor on the neck volume control, and a 0.220pf capacitor on the bridge VC. In the middle position of both pups, bridge 8-10, neck 2-3 gives a super fat tone great for jazz and very Plexi-friendly, should the occasion arise.
    Last edited by citizenk74; 12-11-2021 at 01:31 PM.

  25. #24

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    FWIW, resistance is measured in ohms, capacitance in farads, or fractions thereof. Since tone controls are variable resistors, I assume you meant capacitors.

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by VanEpsInDeChirico
    I use a strap. But yeah, I should try a stool. I think a higher seat would help.
    Oh yeah, the difference between a chair and higher stool makes for a much improved playing experience. Perhaps the taller you are the better it is. Fwiw I’m around 6’1”.