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That new guitar string sound

DrugCrazed 30 Jul 11 - 08:35 AM
John MacKenzie 30 Jul 11 - 09:03 AM
saulgoldie 30 Jul 11 - 09:11 AM
Crowhugger 30 Jul 11 - 09:12 AM
DrugCrazed 30 Jul 11 - 09:38 AM
saulgoldie 30 Jul 11 - 09:45 AM
Will Fly 30 Jul 11 - 09:46 AM
Bernard 30 Jul 11 - 10:34 AM
Bernard 30 Jul 11 - 10:36 AM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 30 Jul 11 - 11:12 AM
Big Al Whittle 30 Jul 11 - 11:25 AM
olddude 30 Jul 11 - 11:33 AM
GUEST,Jack Campin 30 Jul 11 - 01:27 PM
John MacKenzie 30 Jul 11 - 01:27 PM
Big Al Whittle 30 Jul 11 - 01:30 PM
Crowhugger 30 Jul 11 - 02:21 PM
GUEST,Rob, Deerhorn Valley, CA 30 Jul 11 - 03:12 PM
DrugCrazed 30 Jul 11 - 03:38 PM
Ebbie 31 Jul 11 - 04:13 AM
GUEST,fossil at work 31 Jul 11 - 04:35 AM
Backwoodsman 31 Jul 11 - 05:20 AM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 31 Jul 11 - 05:41 AM
GUEST,Roger Knowles 31 Jul 11 - 07:47 AM
Bonzo3legs 31 Jul 11 - 07:55 AM
PHJim 31 Jul 11 - 09:17 AM
Crowhugger 31 Jul 11 - 09:34 AM
Stringsinger 31 Jul 11 - 11:11 AM
Backwoodsman 31 Jul 11 - 01:02 PM
Art Thieme 31 Jul 11 - 03:18 PM
PHJim 31 Jul 11 - 04:21 PM
Ebbie 31 Jul 11 - 10:32 PM
C-flat 01 Aug 11 - 04:04 AM
Roger in Baltimore 01 Aug 11 - 03:27 PM
PHJim 01 Aug 11 - 05:50 PM
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Subject: That new guitar string sound
From: DrugCrazed
Date: 30 Jul 11 - 08:35 AM

I've just replaced 2 guitar strings (protip: guitar strings can snap when you tune from open C to standard tuning), and I've just remembered that wonderful sound you get when you have strings replaced.

Am I alone in finding it a wonderous thing? Please tell me I'm not alone. I like to feel sane.


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Subject: RE: That new guitar string sound
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 30 Jul 11 - 09:03 AM

No you're not. Put a new set on my 12 last Monday, and it rang like a bell.


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Subject: RE: That new guitar string sound
From: saulgoldie
Date: 30 Jul 11 - 09:11 AM

DC,
I also love the new string sound. If I have not restrung my axe for a while, I do my own sound check in anticipation of a public event and often put in new strings so I can sound my best.

Saul


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Subject: RE: That new guitar string sound
From: Crowhugger
Date: 30 Jul 11 - 09:12 AM

If I break 2 strings, unless the remainder are pretty new I much prefer to change all of them so the sound is consistent through the full range. If the strings are middle-aged or older and I don't have a full new set, I'll probably clean the remaining ones with rubbing alcohol to brighten their sound, which BTW lasts longer if I've used a soft toothbrush not just a rag. Yes, wood-lovers, I protect the fret board with plastic slid between it and strings so as not to remove the finger-oil patina.

Oh, and to answer Dee-Cee's question: "No." Feel better?
;-)


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Subject: RE: That new guitar string sound
From: DrugCrazed
Date: 30 Jul 11 - 09:38 AM

I just broke the one (D string if you care), so thought I may as well restring the whole thing.

I usually do it over 3 days, but can I do it all at once with no ill effects? Because my sister is a violinist and she said "DON'T DO THEM ALL AT ONCE" when I was restringing for the first time.


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Subject: RE: That new guitar string sound
From: saulgoldie
Date: 30 Jul 11 - 09:45 AM

I don't know about instrument damage, DC. But unless I broke one string that I am replacing, I usually sit down and replace all the strings at the same time. And I remove all of them together, then put them back alltogether. But I could be wrong...

Saul


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Subject: RE: That new guitar string sound
From: Will Fly
Date: 30 Jul 11 - 09:46 AM

I always change strings as a set - but I change them one at a time unless I want to clean the fretboard at the same time.


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Subject: RE: That new guitar string sound
From: Bernard
Date: 30 Jul 11 - 10:34 AM

I refer to change them as a set, too.

On a steel strung guitar I usually do mine when I arrive at a gig if I think they've gone 'plunky'... even my 12 string! I usually have two sixes and a twelve with me, plus mandolin and 5-string banjo, but I usually manage to work it so only one will need doing (oh dear, what have I said?!!).

As long as you make sure the ball-ends are properly seated - the pin merely deflects the ball end, it doesn't actually hold it in - and be sure to have at least three NEAT turns on the barrel of the tuner, finally pulling a little on each string as you bring it up to pitch... a few more tugs and re-tuning will be needed before it settles, but that's rarely more than a few minutes work.

I've never had tuning or stability problems on gigs (for over 40 years) doing it this way - and I often see 'know-alls' smirking, because they think they know what's going to happen!! I really love watching their faces when it doesn't...! Better still, when they come up to me afterwards and ask me why!

A classical (nylon) strung guitar, on the other hand, usually needs around a week to settle in properly, but if a steel-strung takes more than, say, half an hour to settle, you're doing something wrong.

I've never bothered with an eletronic tuner, either, I rely on standard issue lug-hole - but that's another thread!


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Subject: RE: That new guitar string sound
From: Bernard
Date: 30 Jul 11 - 10:36 AM

Forgot to mention... many years ago I used to save money by boiling the strings in defergent and vinegar - that made them sing like new! The snag was, they tended to go off more quickly, and were prone to breaking due to rust... but I was young, and knew it all!


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Subject: RE: That new guitar string sound
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 30 Jul 11 - 11:12 AM

.. conversely [perversely ???] I never change strings just for the sake of it.

I own & play far too many guitars to be able to afford to do anything so extravagant.

If I ever break a string through clumsy experimental over-tuning
I'll just root about in a spares box for an approximate pre-used replacement.

My main gigging instrument hasn't seen a new string in the 10 years I've owned it,
and who knows how long before it's previous owner decided to get rid of it ???

I did buy a multi-pack of Newtone 12 string electric sets [10s & 11s] about 12 years ago
which I'd dip into from time to time for any suitable individual strings as required...
But lost the box somewhere in the back storage room
when the junk discarded music gear boxes eventually built up too high.

I only ever play electric instruments
and any time worn dulled tone don't bother me.
I don't like over-bright squeaky sounds anyway,
and usually prefer to roll the tone control off almost completely
for that classic 1960's Rangemaster boosted dark tone.

My instruments stay in tune and sound ok enough to me
playing through lovely hot glowing valves and crankily unreliable vintage germanium transistors.

Our bass guitarist never changed strings either.
The same set lasted about 25 years until a headstrong younger singer bullied him into buying some new ones.
Then he just moaned on for ages about how he'd lost his 'special' bass tone.


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Subject: RE: That new guitar string sound
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 30 Jul 11 - 11:25 AM

Its a sensual thing. Very personal - what ever works for you is the right thing.

I used to change strings about every month, probably less. I had a little battery hand drill with a special bit in it for turning the machine heads. I did that for about 20 years, Nowadays I use Ernie Ball titanium coated strings and they seem to last a lot longer


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Subject: RE: That new guitar string sound
From: olddude
Date: 30 Jul 11 - 11:33 AM

I as well replace all of them each time. you bet the sound is right from heaven(especially on a vintage D-28 Martin)


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Subject: RE: That new guitar string sound
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 30 Jul 11 - 01:27 PM

Only the player ever hears any difference. From three feet away you might as well not have bothered.

I have a parallel issue with clarinet reeds. I used to wear them out quite quickly and change them every couple of weeks. Snce I discovered the trick of keeping them in a medical sample bottle full of gin, they last so long that my preferences in reed type change faster than I can wear the reeds out.


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Subject: RE: That new guitar string sound
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 30 Jul 11 - 01:27 PM

Violinists never change all the strings at once for a good reason. The bridge isn't fixed to the table, and the sounding post is likely to drop out. It's a pig to replace!


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Subject: RE: That new guitar string sound
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 30 Jul 11 - 01:30 PM

Ah Yes, but it would take a lot of gin to submerge your guitar strings (once they are on the guitar). A good idea, but i believe I have spotted the flaw in the logic.


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Subject: RE: That new guitar string sound
From: Crowhugger
Date: 30 Jul 11 - 02:21 PM

I've also settled on 3 neat turns on the peg, a tug or two on each string as I get it close to its first tuning, re-tune once the strings have been in place a few minutes. Sometimes a final tuning is needed, sometimes not for all the strings.

As for only the player hearing the difference, very true for older audiences who hear fewer high frequencies and those with no understanding of the instrument. I should think it less true for younger audiences and those who can tell what a dead-stringed thumper sounds like.

Now that I think about it more though, the value of newer strings also depends what music is being played; I can think of 2 songs I've sung that go nicely with a thumpier sound, Sin to Tell a Lie and Sunny Side of the Street. On the other hand I'd be disappointed if, say, Bruce Cockburn played a concert or recorded an album on old (or new) thumpy strings since I find his music usually takes advantage of the broader resonance in newer strings.


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Subject: RE: That new guitar string sound
From: GUEST,Rob, Deerhorn Valley, CA
Date: 30 Jul 11 - 03:12 PM

New strings sound great, I'm always surprised, even after forty years of playing. And the new sound tells me what a cheap guy I am for not replacing them since . . . I can't remember when. I always replace all the strings, but, one at a time. Never take all of the strings off at once. Never leave a stringed instrument un-strung unless you're installing a pickup or refinishing, etc. Never cut them with wire cutters / the sudden snap and release of pressure approaching 50 lbs. for the mid-strings) can be death on a guitar's intricate structure. If I break a string in a gig, I tune the new one a little sharp (half note or so), wait about 30 seconds, and bring it back down to pitch; It seems to take some of the "wanderlust" out of it. I play a steel Taylor.

Rob


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Subject: RE: That new guitar string sound
From: DrugCrazed
Date: 30 Jul 11 - 03:38 PM

I've restrung them all. SOUNDS SO NICE AND CLEAN.

I tend to restring every 6 months or so, only did this restringing because of the aforementioned snap.


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Subject: RE: That new guitar string sound
From: Ebbie
Date: 31 Jul 11 - 04:13 AM

Years ago I broke a string and called my local supplier, and said I'd be in later.

He said, How long has it been since you replaced the whole set?

Me: Well, quite awhile.

He: Change them all. You'll fall in love with them all over again.

I did and I did.


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Subject: RE: That new guitar string sound
From: GUEST,fossil at work
Date: 31 Jul 11 - 04:35 AM

Be careful when you change strings... my own preference is, when a dull tone or worn-out look makes a change necessary, to buy a set and change the lot, but one string at a time.

To my way of thinking, it can only be bad for the bridge and neck to remove all the strings at the same time: the tension release must move things around. Doing them one at a time limits the tension change. You can always work round with a duster to get the headstock clean if necessary.

Anyone have views on the new coated strings? I now use Elixirs and they certainly last far longer than the uncoated Martins I used to play. I like the sound better, as well.


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Subject: RE: That new guitar string sound
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 31 Jul 11 - 05:20 AM

It does not harm a guitar to remove all the strings at once. Period.

It was built without the strings on there, the strings are removed if any work needs to be done inside the body without any harm being done. Why, therefore, would removing them to re-string do any harm? It is an old wives tale that taking them all off at the same time 'damages' a guitar.

If in doubt, check out this widely-used and highly-respected resource:-

Frank Ford's Comments on Frets.com


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Subject: RE: That new guitar string sound
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 31 Jul 11 - 05:41 AM

Older stings are also harder to tune, specially if you migrate to different tunings - it's the early-stages of metal fatigue (strings are in motion when you play them, remember). Guitar strings are, effectively, elastic, and have a memory. This is why they take time to settle when first brought to tension, and also when you change from say standard to DADGAD.

I use the 'twice round the peg then thread' method (three times - neatly, on the post - for 12 or less, 1.5 for more than 50 - they'll get another wind when I start turning the peg).

I pull the string up tight before I start winding and keep the tension on while threading too. As the strings comes to tension I also pull, as hard as I can - (one method is to hold the string in your fist and dangle-bounce the guitar from it - you'll never be able to pull as hard as the winder). Bernard's advice about the position of the ball is key too.

I'd never, myself, restring just before a gig - though Napper often did (boy is HE fast)! The difference is that his strings stayed put once on (paired strings are also more forgiving - you just get a nice chorus effect), whereas mine had to cope with four or more different tuning through the night. Actually I broke a string in Guernsey the other day - first time ever since I stopped playing in rock bands (when I did two or three a night) so I kept talking and put on a new string pulling like crazy all the time. It did behave itself, but I had to use the 'pre-de-tune method:'

In this, when changing the tuning on a guitar mid gig, you have to slightly overdo the tuning - so dropping from E to D, you go just below the D. The string will relax slightly over the next minute or so (according to age, temperature etc), and settle where you want it. So the opening verse will be out, but the bulk of the song will be ok.

The general rule is never to retune a string more than one tone in any five minutes (IE per song). My sets were designed so I never had to tune more than one string one tone up or down between songs - and ideally I would detune at the end of the guitar song, put down the guitar, plays something else for a bit, and only then fine tune and play the guitar in the new tuning.

This is where a lot of folkies fall over (no names). In and out of DADGAD, Modals, STD, Dropped Ds - and no wonder the poor thing struggles to cope.

So here's a protip for the OP. Never go from C modal to standard in one hit. Go to DADGAD or whatever and play a few songs before you move on to STD. The strings should not break unless they are really old.

As for the sound - I don't like the very new jangle myself. I EQ it out on my on-stage mixer if doing a plugged in gig, or otherwise rub the strings with the palm of my hand to dull the tone slightly. On mandos a duller tone is definitely nicer - I know one well-known performer who puts his used guitar strings on his mandola, and I can see why.

I do like the response of new strings though - and the ability to get the tuning just so - which gets harder and harder the older the strings are.

Once again a plug for Newtones / Eaglenewtones seems appropriate.

Tom


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Subject: RE: That new guitar string sound
From: GUEST,Roger Knowles
Date: 31 Jul 11 - 07:47 AM

Great sound isn't it?


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Subject: RE: That new guitar string sound
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 31 Jul 11 - 07:55 AM

I put the strings removed from an accoustic in 1995 on my diy Gibson SG electric guitar , and there there still are! I clean them up every so often with WD40. I always play the guitar through a Rat distortion and then a Yamaha SPX50D effects unit which gives it a nice chunky stereo sound, so the "new strings sound" never arises.


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Subject: RE: That new guitar string sound
From: PHJim
Date: 31 Jul 11 - 09:17 AM

I use the twice around the peg and through the hole method. I can often replace a broken string before the song is over using this method.
Unless I'm giving the guitar a good cleaning, I usually replace the bottom three, then the top three.
I hate the unbalanced sound of new and old strings on the same guitar so I replace a set at a time.
My used strings go right in the garbage when they come off the instrument.
I usually change them the night before a gig.
I find that guitars and octave mandolins need changing sooner than mandolins or banjos. My Autoharp strings have been on there for 7 or 8 years and I've never changed my piano strings. My wife has never changed her hammered dulcimer strings. I figure the more your fingers come in contact with the strings, the sooner they go dead. I've also noticed that some people seem to make strings go dead right away. Maybe their body chemistry? I have one friend who will play my guitar for ten minutes and the strings will be dead.

And to answer DrugCrazed's original question - Yes, I love playing new strings.


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Subject: RE: That new guitar string sound
From: Crowhugger
Date: 31 Jul 11 - 09:34 AM

Backwoodsman, as you say harm to the guitar isn't an issue. It always seems to me that changing one at a time calls for less retuning before they stay tuned. Certainly this could be my imagination or some other thing I might do alter in my method causing the difference, but it sure does seem that way.


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Subject: RE: That new guitar string sound
From: Stringsinger
Date: 31 Jul 11 - 11:11 AM

I think that the changing of the strings affects the psychology of the player but in a recording situation, I wonder if it really matters that much unless the older strings tend to go out of tune.

Using standard P.A. equipment also distorts the natural sound of a guitar which was not designed with the purpose of accommodating a Shure mic or speaker system. In an attempt to modify this problem, I prefer a good condenser mic on a guitar rather than those tinny pickups, easily recognized by their artificial sound, though so much is contingent on a sound person at the console.

There are no hard and fast rules about changing strings and when to change them. Adaptation is the name of the game.


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Subject: RE: That new guitar string sound
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 31 Jul 11 - 01:02 PM

"Backwoodsman, as you say harm to the guitar isn't an issue. It always seems to me that changing one at a time calls for less retuning before they stay tuned. Certainly this could be my imagination or some other thing I might do alter in my method causing the difference, but it sure does seem that way."

I take them all off, put the new ones on , tune them once, stretch them by pulling up at the 12th fret a few times, tune them again. They stay in tune from there on. Whole job takes max. 20 minutes.

One of the other causes of tuning instability on new strings, especially on modern guitars which have slotted pins instead of solid pins and slotted pin-holes, is the ball-ends not being pulled up tight to the bridge-plate. The initial stretching which I mentined above helps to ensure that the ball-ends are firmly in contact with the bridge-plate.


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Subject: RE: That new guitar string sound
From: Art Thieme
Date: 31 Jul 11 - 03:18 PM

I'd always change all nine strings at the same time.


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Subject: RE: That new guitar string sound
From: PHJim
Date: 31 Jul 11 - 04:21 PM

All right Art, I'll bite.


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Subject: RE: That new guitar string sound
From: Ebbie
Date: 31 Jul 11 - 10:32 PM

me too.


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Subject: RE: That new guitar string sound
From: C-flat
Date: 01 Aug 11 - 04:04 AM

It usually depends how much playing I do, but I tend to change all the strings every few weeks. It certainly does affect, not only the tone, but sometimes the intonation, as strings get worn.
Unlike most of the posters on this thread I dislike brand new strings, they give off too much extraneous noise as my fingers move over them. An hour of playing-in usually settles them down.
One concern with not regularly changing strings is the high risk of a string snapping at a critical moment. Fine if you're a bedroom player, but no good if you're a gigging musician.
If I've ever left a guitar for a long period between changes the state of an old cruddy string makes me shudder and wonder how it made a sound at all!!

C-flat.


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Subject: RE: That new guitar string sound
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 01 Aug 11 - 03:27 PM

PHJim,

In case Art doesn't get back to you, I'll fill some of it in. Art converted his 6 string guitar by "doubling" three of the strings as one would on a Twelve String Guitar. It is an unusual, but not unheard of, set up. At least one of the old blues singers used this modification. Hope this helps. You can release the bite now.

Roger in Baltimore


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Subject: RE: That new guitar string sound
From: PHJim
Date: 01 Aug 11 - 05:50 PM

When I was in high school I had a recording of Big Joe Williams (not the jazz singer who played Bill Cosby's father-in-law, but the blues singer) on which he played a 9-string guitar. I had a friend who also had a Big Joe Williams record and I was always jealous since on his record Big Joe had taken the trouble to tune his guitar accurately, but on mine, the guitar was badly out of tune. One of his songs I recall was Baby Please Don't Go.


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