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Best strings for a resonator guitar

Green Man 30 Nov 10 - 06:13 AM
Leadfingers 30 Nov 10 - 06:39 AM
mandotim 30 Nov 10 - 07:28 AM
evansakes 30 Nov 10 - 08:19 AM
GUEST,Ray 30 Nov 10 - 08:29 AM
Bobert 30 Nov 10 - 08:36 AM
mandotim 30 Nov 10 - 10:47 AM
Bobert 30 Nov 10 - 12:26 PM
Mavis Enderby 30 Nov 10 - 02:43 PM
Bobert 30 Nov 10 - 06:17 PM
Zen 30 Nov 10 - 08:04 PM
reggie miles 01 Dec 10 - 01:52 AM
Mavis Enderby 01 Dec 10 - 02:39 AM
Bobert 01 Dec 10 - 08:46 PM
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Subject: Best strings for a resonator guitar
From: Green Man
Date: 30 Nov 10 - 06:13 AM

Greetings All,

I bought a resonator, not an expensive one but it does sound good. The strings are a bit naff so before shelling out on a set or two thought I would ask the advice of the Mudcat. I live in the UK and, although ordering from the USA is possible I would prefer a British supplier.

It is a biscuit type so just to give you an idea. Ozark (yes I know cheap) but then I am only one step up from beginner.

Also I hear there are compensated bridges for reso guitars, if you know of such things your advice would be welcome.

GM

Alcester Winter Folk Festival.Click Here


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Subject: RE: Best strings for a resonator guitar
From: Leadfingers
Date: 30 Nov 10 - 06:39 AM

Check out Nigel at Highly Strung - http://www.highlystrung.co.uk/ -
A retired maker AND Gigging Muso he will tell you what is what !
There ARE cheaper sites , but he has a GOOD stock and sends out on day of order


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Subject: RE: Best strings for a resonator guitar
From: mandotim
Date: 30 Nov 10 - 07:28 AM

Depends what you want to play; is it set up with 'normal' action, or does it have a nut riser for 'dobro' action? What tuning will you be using?


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Subject: RE: Best strings for a resonator guitar
From: evansakes
Date: 30 Nov 10 - 08:19 AM

The important factor is whether it's a round or square neck.

I've just picked up a chrome (Ozark) square neck to complement my wooden (Stagg) round neck. Got 13's on the latter (normal tuning or DGDGBD) but will be aiming for a much heavier set on the square neck (to play lap style in GBDGBD tuning)


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Subject: RE: Best strings for a resonator guitar
From: GUEST,Ray
Date: 30 Nov 10 - 08:29 AM

If you rush down to your local branch of WHSmith and look for Acoustic Guitar Magazine, you'll find that there's an article about setting up reso guitars - you need to be quick, I already have the next issue but I'm a subscriber.

I use EJ17s on mine - the same as I've used on my other guitars for 30 odd years. You could try EJ16s if you want something lighter or go for the EJ18's if its a square neck or you're a masochist.
Ray


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Subject: RE: Best strings for a resonator guitar
From: Bobert
Date: 30 Nov 10 - 08:36 AM

I depends on what sound you want outta yer reso and what style of playin' yer gonna do...

I play mostly open tunings with and without slide and use John Pearce 13s because they are heavier which works better with the bottleneck and they seem a little more "organic" than something like an Elexer...

B~


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Subject: RE: Best strings for a resonator guitar
From: mandotim
Date: 30 Nov 10 - 10:47 AM

You can play 'dobro' style on either a square or round neck, it just depends on how you have the action and nut set up. (Although it's more common to play this style on a squre neck, which is built for the purpose. There is a wide range of tunings, including open G, open D, open E and a whole bunch of pedal steel tunings. Strings will depend on what you want to play. Once you've decided, get in touch with Malcolm Newton at Newtone Strings in Derbyshire, and he'll sort you out with the perfect set for your purposes.


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Subject: RE: Best strings for a resonator guitar
From: Bobert
Date: 30 Nov 10 - 12:26 PM

Be careful about mixin' guages of strings on reso because certain combination will make yer reso not play correctly... Just learned that from Paul Beard of Beard Guitars who makes some of the finest reso geetars on this side of the pond...

B~


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Subject: RE: Best strings for a resonator guitar
From: Mavis Enderby
Date: 30 Nov 10 - 02:43 PM

I play a couple of cheap but good-sounding resonators, both mainly for slide, both in variations of open D or E. I've been using D'addario flat tops and I've been reasonably happy with them.

If you are asking about compensated bridges I'm guessing you aren't exclusively playing slide. It might be worth finding a friendly luthier to adjust the bridge or possibly to make a new saddle - this might need to be stepped back on the bass strings, particularly if the action is high. I needed to do this on one of mine (also an Ozark).

Another thing to watch out for if you are going to heavier strings than it was supplied with is to widen the string slots on the nut and also on the saddle. Strings sticking in the nut will make it hard to tune but if they stick in the saddle this can pull the resonator cone off its seat. Again, something a luthier could help with.


Don't worry about it being an Ozark! I've been told by no less an expert than Johnny Dickinson that you wouldn't get a better sounding reso than mine!

Cheers,

Pete.


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Subject: RE: Best strings for a resonator guitar
From: Bobert
Date: 30 Nov 10 - 06:17 PM

The thing about resonators is that they do tend to play different from one to another, even when they are supposedly the same make and model... I've played an Ozark that played real nice and another that was junk... But same goes fir the Washburn ES-10 that I play... Don't know how that happens but I'd guess it's how it is set-up...

B~


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Subject: RE: Best strings for a resonator guitar
From: Zen
Date: 30 Nov 10 - 08:04 PM

I use D'Addario flat tops as well on my Regal.


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Subject: RE: Best strings for a resonator guitar
From: reggie miles
Date: 01 Dec 10 - 01:52 AM

Green Man, congrats, it sounds as though you have National type resonator guitar. Many Blues players choose to play a National style resophonic guitar. It has a similar but distinctly different sound from the Dobro type resonator guitars.

Know that string choice is generally a personal thing, but as others have already offered, it can also greatly depend upon how you choose to tune your guitar. A standard tuned guitar can generally use most any standard set of strings but when you alter your tuning to open tuned forms, sometimes it can require a customized set of strings. Many string makers offer their own custom string sets but you can also play with various string gauges until you find what suits your needs.

Different materials, used to make strings, can offer different types of responses, from mellow to bright. I like my strings to sound bright. The perspiration in my hands can dull a set of bronze or brass strings quickly. So, I use a nickel wound string. Actually, I believe these are merely nickel plated. Normally, nickel type strings are used by electric players.

Though my homemade 'Nobro', my own hybrid of the Dobro and National type resonator guitars, has a pick up on it, I rarely plug in. My Nobro has a square neck but the strings are not raised. The action is high enough for me to play bottleneck slide but low enough for me to also add modified chord shapes in the open tuning I use.

How you choose to tune your guitar is determined by the kind of music that you wish to explore. I enjoy playing bottleneck slide Blues. Many of my friends chose to explore the open G tuning that many early Blues artists used. I wanted to try something different. So, for the last 30+ years, I've been exploring an open E form of tuning. I've just recently started exploring a slight alternate to that tuning, open E minor and I'm very pleased with the difference that even this slight change has made to some of my songs.

I modify the open E tuning that I use. Though the form is the same, I'm generally tuned four half steps high of E, in open Ab. Because of this alteration, the tension on my strings is near their breaking point. This also exerts an enormous amount of pressure on the cone that I use, a Dobro type Quarterman brand cone. I'm happy to say that my cone has held up for over 20 years under my punishing approach to tuning and playing.

It's the amount of tension that the strings place on your particular cone that is critical to how well your resonator will respond. There is a fine line between too much tension, just enough and not enough. Finding that sweet spot takes some work. Getting the help of someone who can set up your guitar so it can respond its best, with the type of strings you choose and in the tuning you wish to use, is good advice.

You might alter your tuning to suit your vocal range, though in many cases a good quality capo can assist you in this.


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Subject: RE: Best strings for a resonator guitar
From: Mavis Enderby
Date: 01 Dec 10 - 02:39 AM

Very true Bobert - sometimes on the same guitar even. My other resonator, a Republic Miniolian bought by mail order, sounded very thin and tinny when I first played it, making me think I'd made a pretty big mistake buying it. After a few hours playing though,it warmed up considerably and now gives a warm, rich sound. I reckon it must be the cone "bedding in". I think you are right - there's a lot of room for improvement on some resonators via a good setup or just plain "playing in".

Pete.


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Subject: RE: Best strings for a resonator guitar
From: Bobert
Date: 01 Dec 10 - 08:46 PM

If ya'll got any questions about set-ups contact Paul Beard at Beard Guitars.... He is da' man!!!

Also, he makes his own cones and they are great... Make yer reso sound like whatever you want it to...

B~


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