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R2Guitar

Xtra Light strings on my Dreadnought..An experiment.

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R2Guitar    0

I did something that many may find unorthodox but it worked for me.

Summary:

Bought a dreadnought 5 months ago, a Yamaha FG700. 5 months down the line my playing is leaning far more to fingerpicking than strumming. I've since gone back to the shop and played 2 amazing sounding smaller bodied guitars.

Parkwood PW 320

Guild GAD 30

Both guitars have IMO a really nice balanced tone with a prominent midrange.

Going back to my dreadnought I was disappointed in the rather "boxy boom and hard treble tizz" sound.

Problem, need to save a few months for a new smaller bodies guitar, what to do in the meantime.

Well I had on my Yamaha Dread a set of typical gauge strings so I put on a set of x-light strings. The number on the left is what I had, on the right is what I'm using now. They were and are phosphor bronze.

e: 0.012 to 0.010

B: 0.016 to 0.014

G: 0.024 to 0.023

D: 0.032 to 0.030

A: 0.042 to 0.039

E: 0.053 to 0.047

The result? While it's nowhere near as classy sounding as the more expensive smaller bodies guitars, I have no bass heavy boom, a softer treble and a far more open and prominent midrange. Obviously I've lost some pure raw power but I can live with this tonal balance while I save for a better guitar.

I figured I can't reduce the size of the box but I can reduce the gauge on the strings.. and as a temporary tide me over it's done the job!

I'm curious if anyone else has ever done similar?

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Lcjones    8

Hi R2,

I'm glad you found the guitar. No doubt in my mind, you have found a life long companion. No matter the circumstance your guitar will never fail you. Unless, of course, you fly

.

Guild Guitars:

I highly recommend Guild guitars. You're ROI will most certainly be multiplied. Many-fold. I cannot emphasize enough how well built Guild guitars are. I cannot emphasize how well balanced the tone is from a Guild guitar.

X-Light Strings:

You will find them sweet for short time playing..... when you play alone. The life span of light gauge strings is very limited. You will find they die relatively quickly. I would give them right around eight hours worth of life. By life I mean resonance. You will hear the crisp, clear ring of XL's for several hours and then the ring will go away. Then they thud.

XL's have no volume and do not take advantage of the sonic abilities of your guitar. Keep in mind, the manufacturer of the guitar installed a specific gauge of string on your guitar for a reason. To get the best sound from the guitar as possible. (in most cases - $39.00 guitars do not count)

Finger Picking:

I admire anyone who follows this path. It is certainly an art form in and of itself. If you have not already, you should visit with Doc Watson,

, Paul Stookey,
, Jim Hurst,
,
,
and of course, saving the best for last, our most favorite finger picker,
himself, and many others for inspiration.

**

LC

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almaink    1

I put some special strings on my Kay that might interest you. They R special lights. As only the lower strings R thinner they seem to last a whole lot longer than the 10's I had on there and they removed that bassy sound.

11-14-22w-30-36-46

Dean Markley 2034 Blue Steel

Buy Dean Markley 2034 Blue Steel Cryogenic Light Acoustic Guitar Strings | .011 Gauge | Musician's Friend

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carol m    64

Try and find a cedar top guitar at a store to play, I think they tend to have a mellower sound, esp if you go for something a little smaller than a dreadnaught - eg OM or Concert size or similar.

And let us know how your strings fair - where you using the XLs on your youtube recordings?

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R2Guitar    0
I was searching for the same answer, but for a slightly different purpose. I found some strings that I like pretty well for what you're describing. Here is a review about them:

John Pearse Silks Acoustic Guitar Strings Review

Maybe it will help...........dunno

hb

I put some special strings on my Kay that might interest you. They R special lights. As only the lower strings R thinner they seem to last a whole lot longer than the 10's I had on there and they removed that bassy sound.

11-14-22w-30-36-46

Dean Markley 2034 Blue Steel

Buy Dean Markley 2034 Blue Steel Cryogenic Light Acoustic Guitar Strings | .011 Gauge | Musician's Friend

Thanks guys for the heads up I'll look into those. Ultimately I am saving for a better quality guitar. Either a Cort/Parkwood PW 320 (amazing tone) or a Guild GAD 30, both smaller than a dreadnought.

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hb    0

Lcjones:

If you're giving the XL's around 8 hrs., how would you rate heavier gauges in terms of length of life?

thanks,

hb

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R2Guitar    0
Try and find a cedar top guitar at a store to play, I think they tend to have a mellower sound, esp if you go for something a little smaller than a dreadnaught - eg OM or Concert size or similar.

I'm saving for a Cort/Parkwood or the Guild. Both are more mellow due to their smaller size.

And let us know how your strings fair - where you using the XLs on your youtube recordings?

So far these xtra lights sound ok. It's done what I wanted, taken the low end "boom" out of the dreadnought and mellowed out the treble. Not the same as a nice smaller bodied guitar but it'll do for now while I save my pennies!

The strings in the video were classed as light by D'Addario

e: 0.012

B: 0.016

G: 0.024

D: 0.032

A: 0.042

E: 0.053

Pretty "typical" set of strings I'd say.

I'd not use the lighter strings on the smaller bodied guitar, I'd use minimum of the above on that due to the smaller body size.

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scotty_b    16

hey guys

sorry if this has already been mentioned, but I kind of skimmed the responses as I am struggling with the flu...but of course cannot drag myself away from this site.

The brand of strings that were on the guitar in the first place may not have been that crash hot to begin...or they may have been months old before you purchased it.

A smaller body can be nice for fingerpicking. I have a Taylor DDAE which has a Grand Auditorium body, and that is a wonderful guitar for fingerstyle.

I used to use Elixirs, but recently switched to GHS laurence Juber signature strings. They also last a long time, but do not go fuzzy (which the Elixirs do).

D'addario strings seem to have really dropped in quality of late, so I would say avoid those.

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mynewguitar    0

Great post! Great topic!

I don't think I'll ever stop searching for the right string set-up or brand. However, what I always seem to come back to is the brand / gauge of what the guitar was shipped with. It never fails that while one set of strings provides a better bass response, and another brand or gauge provides better treble or middle, the strings the guitar was shipped with always seem to give the best overall results.

I also think that just trying new strings brings a sense of a fresh start, so there is always a seductive element to new and different strings - which I am, in no way, averse to.

The ongoing experimental approach, in itself, contributes to the musical results.

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shonie777    3

I've always used Martin lights on my acoustics and have had no problems and they seem to last. I have a Guild DCE5, an Alvarez 12 String Silver Anniversary and a Seagull S12. All use Martin lights. All my electrics use standard Gibson strings. Extra lights on my acoustics just don't cut it for me. They may be nice to my fingers but they are too weak all the way around for what I want.

Shonie

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