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2 Q's: How long between string changes? Darkest acoustic strings?

Sean

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
791
Let me preface this post with the fact I am a long time electric player that hates dead strings and changes them every gig (usually 1-2 gigs per week). If I don't change them they have a higher chance of breaking and they are just dead sounding. I also get 'fret bumps' in the string- mostly on the G, B & E strings.

Lately, I find myself doing more and more acoustic duo gigs. I'm typically playing 3 hours on these where I loop and play over songs while a singer sings.
On an acoustic guitar, I don't like the tone of new strings much. I much prefer older strings.
I will get 'fret bumps' on the high E and G strings, so I have just been changing those while leaving others alone.
My question is for those that are gigging- how often are you changing your strings? Is it common to leave the same set for a long period of time as long as they aren't totally dead?

ALSO- what are the darkest/least trebley strings that you can buy?
I have been using phosphor bronze. I tried a set of silk & steel, but they were only available in a lighter gauge than I like. They were darker, but had more 'zing' because they were lighter. So it was hard to gauge how much darker they were.

I never imagined I'd be playing acoustic duo gigs, but I'm enjoying them as much (and sometimes more) than full band gigs.
 

Bluedano1

Member
Messages
7,045
I really wonder if the way I play the acoustic guitar...

(NOTE: in my case, very steady all- purpose Rock/folk/blues/bluegrass gigs or home play- hard picking/strumming lead and rhythm, and all over the fingerboard)

...literally is a much larger variable, in terms of the way any guitar I play is going to sound (once I get a hold of it for a few days) than what the guitar shape, woods, or strings used are.

It seems like after about 6-8 hours of hard playing on new strings, the strings lose their brightness, the guitar loses some zing/harmonics and gets its mid, dry, full tone- and THAT tone will last about as long as I want it to- which is maybe 3-4 duo gigs, or a couple weeks of home play.

I use different fave brands of 80/20 or Phosphor Bronze lights going on either a spruce/mahogany Martin D or a 000 spruce/Santos Blueridge.

The guitars both develop a full tone with maybe the zing rolled off- clear yet warm.
I bet a different style player could perhaps bring out a different tone(s)- with my guitars...using same variety/gauge strings

** I kind of came to this conclusion, precisely from trying out these different strings, then really listening after a few days- so I go for what my fingers like best in terms of tension/playablity and wrap on the wound strings, MORE than how they sound, as they all sound good/last to my liking
 

Frozen Rat

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
2,189
I use Martin Monels on both of my guitars: one has an EIR back and the other Cocobolo (both have spruce tops) and I can tell you that monels pair beautifully with those woods. Are they dark sounding though? I think they are fairly warm sounding and they are my all time favorite strings. You should definitely try them. To my ears they sound great new and get better over the next few days. They even sound great when they are near the end of their life. I keep trying other brands and always come back home to the monels.
 

Mister Natural

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,554
re: dark - I like the silk & steels that you really didn't love OP
perhaps if you allow your fingers & ears to adapt to them for a minute or two . . .
 

Sean

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
791
The silk and steels I found were really light gauge. Like 10-47 or something. Far too light. I didn't order them online, I found them at a store and that is the only gauge they had. I'll find a heavier set online (no store stocks anything anymore...but that complaint is for a different thread!)
I will try round core strings. Ty for the recommendation.
 

Sweetfinger

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
12,225
You want dark? Put some flats on there. Less dark? Half-rounds, or "Flat Tops" in the D'Addario vernacular.
 

Tidbit

Member
Messages
1,052
I generally have electric gigs but this summer I’ve had quite a few acoustic gigs.
It really depends. I had three acoustic gigs in a week this summer and, due to excessive humidity, I had to change them before each show.
Generally speaking, I’m good for 2 gigs before a change unless the shows are far apart (which historically they have been up until this year).
 

kludge

The droid you're looking for
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
7,109
John Pearse Phosphor Bronze & Silk might be right up your alley. I more or less despise the sound of new acoustic strings, so I want something that sounds broken in from the start. Even new, they sound like they've been played in a few weeks. They don't last as long as regular strings, of course, but if you like something darker but still overtly "steel string", they're well worth trying. After a brief flirtation with Monels, I'm back to the John Pearse almost exclusively.
 

Adagietto

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,163
If looking for darker tones, don't ignore the contributions that picks make. Try a Dunlop 207 or other thick, rounded picks.
 

Rockerduck

Member
Messages
3,247
I change my Elixir coated strings every 6 months or so. Mine sweat is not acidic so much that my strings last longer than usual. Thick picks make it darker and thin picks make it brighter.
 
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Bluedano1

Member
Messages
7,045
If looking for darker tones, don't ignore the contributions that picks make. Try a Dunlop 207 or other thick, rounded picks.
The strings I use ( even different alloys and brands, and I do change often)
all seem to sound very similarly after a few days and broken in- then my guitar ' sounds like my guitar'- its inherent tone.

But changing pick gauge and materials (with identical gauges), as well as size/shape ( though I stick with trad Teardrop) really can affect tone.
Including the percussive 'thwack' when contacting strings, ( which you may not think of, but right there, can be the difference-maker between dull and bright tone) big time, as well as just the way you attack.
 
Last edited:

mccreadyisgod

Member
Messages
420
I prefer the D'Addario EXP coated strings, because I can put them on and let them stay for a relatively long time. They still have a brightness for a day or two, but they can stay in that sweet spot for months. However, it sounds like you have a particularly heavy fretting hand, which makes me think that you'll be replacing strings fairly often, coated or not. I've been recommended the Monels before, and I keep intending to try them out. Hopefully they do the trick for you.
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
37,590
those pricey martin titanium strings sound old and dead right out of the package!

just don't use them on anything with a magnetic pickup (including the older taylor ES) because they won't have much output.
 

Zounds Perspex

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,788
Definitely try some Monels. I use the Martin Retros on everything except my mahogany-topped acoustic, and to me they have just the right amount of treble without too much of that zing.
 




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