Bending, Lead, and G-Strings. Don't get too excited.

Discussion in 'Acoustic Instruments' started by FrankieSixxxgun, Sep 22, 2015.

  1. FrankieSixxxgun

    FrankieSixxxgun Member

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    Hey everybody! So I've got a Martin D-16GT that I want to play some lead on, but acoustic strings are just beastly when trying to get bends on that G. Right now it's strung up with Elixir 80/20 Nanoweb 11-52's, but I was thinking about picking up some PB 10-47's. Will that 30 be that much easier to bend than the 32? Think that 10's will sound too thin when ringing out open chords? Opinions? Suggestions on trying something else for lead?

    Also, I have tried some acoustic sets with an unwound G, but soon learned that my intonation will be way off unless I swap out the saddle. Plus the guitar kinda loses its mojo with an unwound G.

    I typically play 11-48's on my electrics, but that wound G on the acoustic set got me fighting it.
     
  2. dazco

    dazco Member

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    10's sound fine. Any change in gauge will seem odd at first, but in no time they will probably sound normal to you. I use 10's and yes, they bend much easier than even one size up, 11's. Plus once your ear is used to them they won't seem thin on oprn chords at all. At least not to me they didn't. It's all about what u r used to hearing. I think the earthwoods i was using feel even slinkier than most 10 sets. I really like them. Been using a set of martin monel alloy lately and i really like the tone, but they only go down to a 11 set and they're hard to bend. I may go back to the earthwoods because of that.
     
  3. Flyin' Brian

    Flyin' Brian Member

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    Larry Carlton is known for his pitch perfect bending and vibrato. But he said that when he plays his acoustic (with 12s) he slurs the notes and doesn't bend them because bending to pitch is so important to him and so difficult.
     
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  4. FrankieSixxxgun

    FrankieSixxxgun Member

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    Yeah, I mean I can handle slurring the notes on certain tunes, but I'm supposed to do a couple of rock tunes with my buddy on Saturday and I need some good old bends. I think the Earthwoods were the ones I tried with the plain G, but that plain G always sounded out of tune no matter what I did. I'm gonna pick up a set of 10's and give it a shot. Probably gonna go with the Elixirs because I usually leave my acoustic(s) out of the case at home and non-coated strings get funky quick if I leave the guitar out. Florida air is unforgiving to musical gear. Thanks fellas!

    Also, I think going from 80/20's to PB's on this guitar will make up for the lack of fatness that might happen. PB's just sound right on mahogany body guitars. I keep PB 10's on my Martin D-12 and it does sound a little fatter than my D-16 currently. Ain't no way in hell I'm bending the G's on a 12 string though.
     
  5. zombywoof

    zombywoof Member

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    Not a fan of 10s on any acoustic. I play agressively and like to drive the top so a heavier gauage string with what many consider a slightly higher than preferable action are the ticket. But I have never had a problem bending a wound G. I have been playing a long time and may just have strong hands but I do kind of hook the string with my finger. Not a big issue these days though as I play mostly pre-War blues where deep bends do not pop up very often. And yeah, after a long night of playing my hands can feel like hamurger.

    One thought. You might try using strings wound on a round core. They exert less tension so should be a tad easier to bend
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2015
    stratpaulguy86 likes this.
  6. tech21nyc

    tech21nyc Member

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    I've used hybrid sets and have used even a wound .018 and for some reason the wound G on an acoustic never seems to respond to bends like on an electric. I've also tried an unwound string but the unwound string on an acoustic just sounds wrong to me. To me you're better off accepting the instrument for what it is and adjust your playing accordingly. Steel string acoustic, nylon string and electric are all very different instruments and really just share the same tuning.
     
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  7. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    this is the right answer.

    a wound G no matter how thin just will not bend like a plain G, you're not gonna get a solid whole step out of it. (i don't care how awesome your hand strength is, the string itself maxes out in tension before you get there and is on the verge of breaking.)

    and yes, plain Gs on acoustic just sound like butt.

    the trick (if there is one) is to get good at "cheating" by sliding up 1/2 step on the G and then bending the other 1/2 step to get to that whole step "rock & roll" bend.
     
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  8. zombywoof

    zombywoof Member

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    It is not as much strength as you run out of room.

    The problem is you cannot play an acoustic like you do an electric. You have to use a different approach. If you feel the need to pull off some deep bends, you can always tune down or as noted above use slides instead of bending.
     
  9. dazco

    dazco Member

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    No, the earthwoods have a wound C even on the 10 set which is what i was using. I think the earthwood 80/20 are a good choice for you because 1- 80/20 has a clearer more articulate sound, and for for single note lines thats a good thing of course, and 2- they 10 set is slinkier feeling that others i have tried, i think due to a few strings being less diameter. But it may just be the way they're made. But whatever it is I found it the easiest time i ever had playing lead on a acoustic, and while bending a wound G is never going to be the same as plain, it was pretty easy.
     
  10. guitararmy

    guitararmy Member

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    I've got a set of D'Addario EJ15 10-47 PB extra lights on a Blueridge dreadnought, and they sound very close to a set of light gauge strings. You could try a set and replace the wound G with a plain one...
     
  11. choucas09

    choucas09 Member

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    Round core strings bend a little easier than hex cores. I use Newtone Masterclass, but basically you'll be better off with a plain G.
     
  12. filtersweep

    filtersweep Member

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    I do the sliding thing myself, as already mentioned by others. I found it is a great technique to sort of master, as it has carried over nicely to my electric playing.
     
  13. FrankieSixxxgun

    FrankieSixxxgun Member

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    I threw these 10's on and it gets me where I need to be. I wasn't looking for pure rock & roll fury, just some cool cowboy bends. Should suffice for the 2 acoustic tunes I have to do tomorrow night.
     
  14. FrankieSixxxgun

    FrankieSixxxgun Member

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    Did the gig with the 10's and it was good enough for government work!

    [​IMG]
     
  15. mc5nrg

    mc5nrg Member

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    To bend the wound G, pull down.
     
  16. stucker

    stucker Member

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    This is the best technique. Most listeners won't notice the slur if you do it smoothly. I do this on electric too.
     
  17. satisphied

    satisphied Member

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    what do you guys mean by 'slur'?


    sometimes when im playing lead on acoustic I will slide to the next note and just bend the half step, if you do it smoothly it sounds great
     
  18. Flyin' Brian

    Flyin' Brian Member

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    Slur=slide
     
  19. satisphied

    satisphied Member

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    doh!
     
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  20. rickenbackerkid

    rickenbackerkid Member

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    how far are you wanting to bend? 1/2 note bends should be easily done on the wound G of a medium string set. If you need to do a full note bend, move up to the B string, down three frets and bend there instead. Whole tone bends are easy and with some practice tone and a half is within reach
     

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