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brass vs steel guitar strings

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mkebenn 12 Nov 05 - 06:34 PM
DonMeixner 13 Nov 05 - 05:25 AM
Mooh 13 Nov 05 - 07:38 AM
Leadfingers 13 Nov 05 - 10:42 AM
GLoux 13 Nov 05 - 11:34 AM
mkebenn 13 Nov 05 - 12:40 PM
Richard Bridge 13 Nov 05 - 12:45 PM
kendall 13 Nov 05 - 02:05 PM
Hand-Pulled Boy 13 Nov 05 - 07:45 PM
Justa Picker 13 Nov 05 - 07:51 PM
Mooh 13 Nov 05 - 08:16 PM
yrlancslad 13 Nov 05 - 11:35 PM
Bert 14 Nov 05 - 12:14 AM
mooman 14 Nov 05 - 06:33 AM
Richard Bridge 15 Feb 09 - 12:10 PM
Will Fly 15 Feb 09 - 12:38 PM
Richard Bridge 15 Feb 09 - 12:48 PM
Will Fly 15 Feb 09 - 12:54 PM
Richard Bridge 15 Feb 09 - 12:59 PM
eddie1 15 Feb 09 - 02:03 PM
cptsnapper 15 Feb 09 - 02:33 PM
Richard Bridge 15 Feb 09 - 02:37 PM
GUEST,Jonny Sunshine 16 Feb 09 - 07:49 AM
cptsnapper 16 Feb 09 - 11:24 AM
cptsnapper 20 Feb 09 - 03:27 AM
Richard Bridge 20 Feb 09 - 04:31 AM
cptsnapper 20 Feb 09 - 08:58 AM
Richard Bridge 20 Feb 09 - 09:47 AM
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Subject: brass vs steel
From: mkebenn
Date: 12 Nov 05 - 06:34 PM

Recently bought brass wound strings instead of steel. I don't care much for them. Wondered what you were using, and the reason. Used on a Martin dreadnought, if that's relevent. Mike


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Subject: RE: brass vs steel
From: DonMeixner
Date: 13 Nov 05 - 05:25 AM

I have used Martin Bronze Lites for 30 years. They suit my style and I can always find them. No other reason.

Don


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Subject: RE: brass vs steel
From: Mooh
Date: 13 Nov 05 - 07:38 AM

Regular D'Addario phosphor-bronze. They stay bright enough, long enough, to my ears, under my fingers with my body chemistry. Years ago there was a Takamine lawsuit "Martin" that liked bronze wounds, but all my current axes are solid wood all round and seem to prefer the phosphor-bronze. Don't usually use coated strings, though sometimes will for recording if finger noise becomes an issue.

The electrics get D'Addario nickel strings, the classical hard tension nylons, and the fretless bass gets Rotosound nylon coated tape wound strings.

Strings are pretty individual to the hands, ears, and instrument, so your milage may vary.

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: brass vs steel
From: Leadfingers
Date: 13 Nov 05 - 10:42 AM

I am another D'Addario addict - Use their Phosphor Bronze on all my guitars and mandolins , though i tend to use John Alvey Turner for banjo !! Martin strings break too quickly for me !!


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Subject: RE: brass vs steel
From: GLoux
Date: 13 Nov 05 - 11:34 AM

John Pearse Phosphor Bronze...if I can't find them, I use D'Addario.

-Greg


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Subject: RE: brass vs steel
From: mkebenn
Date: 13 Nov 05 - 12:40 PM

Thanks, and thanks for assuming I meant bronze and not brass, which, of course is what I meant. Mike


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Subject: RE: brass vs steel
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 13 Nov 05 - 12:45 PM

D'Aquisto do a string they call their "Brass Master" series.


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Subject: RE: brass vs steel
From: kendall
Date: 13 Nov 05 - 02:05 PM

D'Addario works for me too. I am trying a set of Pyramid that are very loud and seem to be holding up well, but they are expensive. The jury is still out on them.


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Subject: RE: brass vs steel......guitar strings
From: Hand-Pulled Boy
Date: 13 Nov 05 - 07:45 PM

I'll stick to Newtone strings.


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Subject: RE: brass vs steel......guitar strings
From: Justa Picker
Date: 13 Nov 05 - 07:51 PM

I fluctuate between Newtone phos/bronze, John Pearse 80/20s or Elixer Nanowebs, depending on the need and useage. The bronze GHS Laurence Juber cryogenics are nice too.


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Subject: RE: brass vs steel......guitar strings
From: Mooh
Date: 13 Nov 05 - 08:16 PM

Heard good things about the Newtones...should order some from 12th Fret. Thanks. Mooh.


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Subject: RE: brass vs steel......guitar strings
From: yrlancslad
Date: 13 Nov 05 - 11:35 PM

Thanks for clarifying "guitar strings". I was going to weigh in with my opinions about 'tina reeds, steel versus brass.


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Subject: RE: brass vs steel......guitar strings
From: Bert
Date: 14 Nov 05 - 12:14 AM

Is there really much difference? Try a blindfold test.


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Subject: RE: brass vs steel......guitar strings
From: mooman
Date: 14 Nov 05 - 06:33 AM

I used to use Elixirs but now all my instruments are strung with Newtone phosphor bronze strings. Because Malcolm Newton uses a round core wire rather than a hexagonal one, they tend to accumulate less moisture and last well with an excellent sound. Considerably cheaper than Elixirs too (I order them direct from Malcolm and tend to buy about 12 - 16 sets in my own custom gauges (he will make up sets with the gauges you specify as well as having a number of "standard" sets) at a time to keep postage to a minimum). All his strings are still made by him personally.

I tend to find steel wound strings a bit lacking in character and clangy although they last forever. In the days I used to have a tenor banjo, I tended to use nickel-wound strings on that,)

Peace

moo


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Subject: RE: brass vs steel......guitar strings
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 15 Feb 09 - 12:10 PM

Out of the "guitar strings" threads over the years, this seems as good a one to re-start as any.

How about a systematic review concentrating on TYPES (not makers) of guitar strings - there will have to be some mention of makers because some makers almost monopolise certain types. What I'm looking for is a heuristic feel for the direction in which a type of composition or structure or coating would influence sound.

Here goes: -

First off can anyone summarise the sound differences between: -

bronze,
80/20 phosphor-bronze,
brass, and I have recently seen
92/8 phosphor -bronze and
strings allegedly alloyed with titanium?

I once tried D'Aquisto Brass masters (the D'Acquisto Bronze Master 13/58s were my string of choice at the time) and found that although there was a quite attractive bright "ring" to them, they did not "shimmer" like 80/20s.

I have used straight "bronze" and for me I do not hear an increase in bottom end thud, but I do hear less shimmer and maybe marginally less brightness.

I have not tried 92/8.

I have not tried titanium.



Coatings - I have tried the D'Addario EXP and found them a bit greasy sounding. Elixir Polywebs sound lke they are coated in a thick polymer (suprise!) and so are a bit dull and thudding, without good brightness or shimmer. Elixir Nanowebs feel and sound bright and not honking to me - but I just put a set on my Mugen THE78 and the G is dull already - out of the box.

Elixir are VERY overpriced in the UK - is there a cheaper alternative?


Size matters!

I like a big bassboom. Elixir do light/mediums ie 12/56, and D'Aquisto do both 12/5s and 13/58s - but not coated.

I've recently started trying out some DADGAD stuff, so I'd really like a set 14/18/24/32/44/58 which is not a standard DADGAD set.
The only maker I know who will do custom sets (quite a few do do DADGAD sets) is Newtone, and I don't like his strings (see below). Anyone got suggestions?


Structure - Newton uses a round core AND a low-tension philosophy. I'm unconvinced by the round core view - I'd ahve expected teh "bite" of a hex core into the winding to keep a good unity of vibration. More importantly, his low-tension approach seems to me not to get the top of the guitar throbbing properly - inf act one of his sets (I think 13/56s) were one of the only two sets ever I put on, played for a day to give them a chance, and took them straight off again.


Strings to avoid: Tho only other strings I ever I put on, played for a day to give them a chance, and took them straight off again had a name a bit like (I forget exactly) "Redwing" (presumably composed by someone who never read pulp novels about the Hell's Angels).



Open to suggestions!


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Subject: RE: brass vs steel......guitar strings
From: Will Fly
Date: 15 Feb 09 - 12:38 PM

Richard - my experience is that some strings sound OK on some guitars and less OK on others, but I'll summarise what I use and why.

I play a Martin XC1T electro-acoustic with a Baggs iBeam pickup, and a Larrivée OM-03RE with a Baggs pickup, and I play these both electrically and acoustically.

When I bought the Martin, it was fitted with "Eric Clapton Martin phosphor bronze strings - .012-.054 gauge (I think). I have fairly acidic hands, and these would retain their brightness and zing for about a day. Now, some players don't do brightness and zing - preferring a duller sound - but not me. So the Martin strings had to go, and I decided to try both Elixir coated strings and D'Addario EXP coated strings.

The D'Addario's suit neither guitar nor me. They sound completely dull. I recently had the pickup in the Martin changed from Fishman Ellipse to the iBeam and the techie who did the change also put new strings on for me. He commented on the difference that the new Elixirs made when he took the not-so-old D'Addarios off. Much cleaner and less muddy.

The Larrivée came factory-fitted with Elixir Nanoweb Lite strings - .012-.053 gauge, and I've stuck with these ever since. When the coating starts to fray over the soundhole on the 3rd and 4th strings is when I change them - or when the 3rd string breaks. Elixir 3rds have a reputation for breaking early, and I now order 3rds by the half-dozen from my supplier. This breakage applies to both guitars and can happen at the nut or bridge ends. I wrote to Elixir in Germany about this recently. They wouldn't admit there was a fault, but sent me two complimentary sets... Polywebs just fray faster. However, in spite of these minor complaints, I still prefer Elixirs to any others at the moment. I will never use EXPs again.

My supplier has been recommending the new Ernie Ball coated strings as being very good, and I may well give these a go. However, it seems to me that any comment on strings will vary from player to player and from guitar to guitar - so experimentation with what suits you best seems to be the rule.


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Subject: RE: brass vs steel......guitar strings
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 15 Feb 09 - 12:48 PM

Will, does anyone do DADGAD sets or custom sets in Nanowebs, do you know?

Has anyone tried teh various coated strings now surfacing on ebay?


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Subject: RE: brass vs steel......guitar strings
From: Will Fly
Date: 15 Feb 09 - 12:54 PM

I doubt whether any manufacturer does specific sets for "open" tunings - simply because there are so many possible tunings, and I've never personally spotted any advertised as such. :-)


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Subject: RE: brass vs steel......guitar strings
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 15 Feb 09 - 12:59 PM

Gordon Newton does do DADGAD sets, and I have seen others. I agree, though, yes, a DADGAD set will be fine for DADF#AD, but put it in CGCGCE and that C on the second string will be dangerous!


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Subject: RE: brass vs steel......guitar strings
From: eddie1
Date: 15 Feb 09 - 02:03 PM

Hi Richard
Next time you're in a CGCGCE mood, try dropping that E down to C. Yes, it's very slack but gives a wonderful "sitar" kind of sound. Play melody on 1st two strings with other four as drones. I've used this for "Bells of Rhymney", "Sally Free And Easy" and a few other songs.

Eddie


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Subject: RE: brass vs steel......guitar strings
From: cptsnapper
Date: 15 Feb 09 - 02:33 PM

I've tended to fluctuate between medium gauge D'Addario 80/20 & 85/15 but I'v also just tried the D'Addario Acoustic flat tops phosphor bronze & I rather like them.


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Subject: RE: brass vs steel......guitar strings
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 15 Feb 09 - 02:37 PM

What difference can people actually hear between straight bronze, 80/20, 85/15, and 92/8?


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Subject: RE: brass vs steel......guitar strings
From: GUEST,Jonny Sunshine
Date: 16 Feb 09 - 07:49 AM

I've been using D'Addario 80/20 phosphor bronze for some years now, and they do the job just fine, last long and sound good. I tried Martin bronze wound strings a while back, mainly because they were cheap- they somehow sounded more "old-fashioned" than phosphor bronzes, and didn't last as long. They didn't suit my regular guitars at all, but were just right for an old guitar belonging to my Dad.


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Subject: RE: brass vs steel......guitar strings
From: cptsnapper
Date: 16 Feb 09 - 11:24 AM

I definitely find that the 85/15's are brighter but they don't suit all guitars. I've got a Thornbory Knighton 120 which they suit, in my opinion, but I remember suggesting to someone that they try them on their Gibson but we agreed that they were too bright for it. I've never tried 92/8s.


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Subject: RE: brass vs steel......guitar strings
From: cptsnapper
Date: 20 Feb 09 - 03:27 AM

I REALLY like the D'Addario Acoustic flat tops phosphor bronze strings: I think that they're the best that I've ever used.


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Subject: RE: brass vs steel......guitar strings
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 20 Feb 09 - 04:31 AM

Are they a flat finish, unlike a roundwould string? All the flatwounds I have previously played had a notably absent top end - apart from being flat under the fingers, they sounded like old old old dull strings...


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Subject: RE: brass vs steel......guitar strings
From: cptsnapper
Date: 20 Feb 09 - 08:58 AM

This is what I got from the website.
D'Addario Flat Tops are round wound, then precision ground, leaving the outer surface smooth and "semi-flat." This produces a smooth, flattened playing surface, but does not sacrifice the superb tone and sustain associated with phosphor bronze strings. Flat Tops greatly reduce finger noise and are excellent for recording and flatpicking.

All that I can say is that they really ring for me but that's on my guitar so it may well be different for someone else.


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Subject: RE: brass vs steel......guitar strings
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 20 Feb 09 - 09:47 AM

Maybe I should try them, and put up with the short life...


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