Best Strings for a Martin?

Discussion in 'Acoustic Instruments' started by Npop32, Apr 20, 2013.

  1. dazco

    dazco Member

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    I would suggest you at least try a set of 80/20's. Not all guitars or all ears will agree with them, but i have found that on many guitars after using them once it's really hard to go back to phosphor. They have a certain sound i find on many guitars just sound more natural while they make phosphor sound sorta contrived. I don't know how else to put it. Plus i find earthwood 80/20 at least last so long i literally don't have to change them for a year if i don't play a heck of a lot. Other 80/20's not so much. And the earthwoods are dirt cheap too at about $5 a set, so i'd say give em a try before you just blindly surrender to phosphor.
     
  2. McStrats

    McStrats Member

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    The Tommy Emmanuel signature set sound pretty fantastic to my ears. They also feel great under my fingers.
     
  3. RustyAxe

    RustyAxe Member

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    I play my Martin D-18GE (K&K mini) using D'Addario EJ19 "Bluegrass" strings. Sounds great strummed, flatpicked, or fingerstyle. I wouldn't ever use 11's on any Martin dread.
     
  4. Clark GriswoId

    Clark GriswoId Supporting Member

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    D'Addario PB's - on my Martin D45. Every time.

     
  5. Lo Blues

    Lo Blues Member

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    I basically agree with this. I use 80/20 and can no longer use phosphor bronze. I won't bother you with useless adjectives. I've been using John Pearse lately but Martin makes a good string as well.
     
  6. Edmond

    Edmond Member

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    I used JP strings as well, the PB silks in light/medium, to be more specific. Stopped because at $7 a set, they were much too expensive. I ended up going with Martin PBs, got 10 sets for $25 last year during the GC Black Friday sale.
     
  7. dazco

    dazco Member

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    I since tried those martin retros with the "monel" alloy. I gotta say, very similar to 80/20 but with a lot more punch and clarity. I think they may be the best string i've tried so far. As to the pearse, i used thier PB for years but when i discovered how much i like 80/20 i found the pearse 80/20 didn't seem as good as earthwoods. I know thats crazy...earthwood, a main stream budget set while pearse is seen as a sort of high end boutique string. But i went back and fourth and i just couldn't deny it. Give the earthwoods a shot if you haven't yet. They're cheaper too.
     
  8. Lo Blues

    Lo Blues Member

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    I actually didn't like the earthwoods (sorry). I'll give the retros a shot sometime. I like punch. Interesting you say they have more clarity as Martin advertises them as being warm and mellow. I suppose the two aren't necessarily exclusive of each other. And who knows, every guitar is going to take each string type differently.

    In other news... The Santa Cruz Guitar Co. recently released a line of strings called Santa Cruz Parabolic Tension Strings. Looks like they don't provide different gauges (.012 etc) but offer the sets based on their tension. It gets rather scientific so I'll just post the link.... http://www.santacruzguitar.com/scgc-strings/
    Anybody try a set yet?
     
  9. dazco

    dazco Member

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    Yeah, i dunno how that works. It's one of those mysteries, but there are tones that cut and punch w/o being horrifically bright. Mellow? I dunno if i would call them that any more than other strings, but they certainly have no harsh edges so maybe thats what they mean. And don't take what i said as meaning they sound like earthwoods. They don't. I just meant to say they sound similar to 80/20 more than PB. I play my 000-15M in a noisy environment a lot, and as you can imagine a hog top 000 is a pretty quiet guitar that doesn't cut thru well at all. But one nite when i was playing with earthoods on it, which cut better than most other stings on that guitar, it was buried in the noise and sounded soft and undefined. I threw the retros on and the difference was rather shocking. It was as tho the noise in the environment was gone or at least most of it. I could hear it almost as tho it were being played in a quiet room. So call it what you want, i thought punch/clarity. But whatever you wanna call it they really cut.
     
  10. ajeffcote

    ajeffcote Supporting Member

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    Since I tried monels on my D18 I have been trying to unload my box full of Marquis. In other words it's monels for me light gauge.
     
  11. Lo Blues

    Lo Blues Member

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    I hear ya. I'd like to give those monel's a spin. Do you guys have any idea if they work with a magnetic soundhole pickup?
     
  12. sshan25

    sshan25 Supporting Member

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    I don't give advice on string gauge or brand since what works for me may not work for you but there is no "best" string for any particular make of guitar. Get it set up properly and pretty much anything that you're used to should be fine.
     
  13. FrankieSixxxgun

    FrankieSixxxgun Member

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    I play Elixir Nanoweb Phosphor Bronze strings on my two Martin dreadnoughts. Really any phosphor bronze strings sound good on a mahogany body guitar. Grab whatever gauge feels right to you. I have 10's on my D-12 and currently 11's on my D-16, but I'm thinking about going to 10's on the D-16 for a little more bendage when playing lead. Nothing sounds fatter than a dreadnought with 13's on it though, especially when playing a bunch of old school cowboy chords.
     
  14. stephenT

    stephenT Member

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    Try the new Martin Retros, excellent strings, my new favorite for mahogany guitars.
     
  15. Sigmund

    Sigmund Member

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    Depends on what you like soundwise and feelwise.

    My D28 had a lot of power with 13s but frequencywise it wasn't doing any good.
    It was very loud, but the loudness was boomy and a little too bass heavy.
    I settled on 11-54, they were maybe 90% as loud as the 13s - still plenty loud.
    The thing is that the lighter gauge shelved the EQ of the guitar upwards and that made a much bigger difference for the instruments sound than the 10% volume loss.

    A rosewood Martin dreadnaught is a very bass heavy instrument, especially if you have scalloped bracing.
    Bass can be good especially when playing alone, but in a band context it doesn't always jive too well.
    My guitar felt just as loud acoustically with 11s as with 13s, as it cut better and the bass frequencies didn't drown out the rest.

    A D-18 with it's mahogany will have a little different EQ from the get go, but i don't like those with too heavy strings either.
    If you are heavyhanded and only play bluegrass 13s might be killer, but i think you kinda lose the sweetness and clarity with too heavy strings.
    If you go to heavy or to light I also feel that you kinda lose the dynamic range of the intrument.
    Ran 10-47 because of tendonitis for a while, and that completely killed the guitar.
    While 11s were perfect, 10s with it light bass strings just didn't give back dynamics when you dug in.
    It felt like a completely different instrument.

    I think you should experiment with both brands and string gauges but i firmly believe that you don't need super heavy strings.
    Think about what you are looking for and what context you are using the guitar in. People like different strings.
     
  16. guitarjazz

    guitarjazz Member

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    Thank you for sharing. OK by gosh I'm gonna try silk and steels on my Martins.
    Do have any thoughts regarding round-core vs. hex? I've run into a few people who are emphatic that round-core vibrate more 'true'.
     
  17. guitarjazz

    guitarjazz Member

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    I bought a couple of sets of silk and steel to try. They seem to only be available in .11 or .115....will these work on my D-28? Seems like they might be too light?
     
  18. guitarjazz

    guitarjazz Member

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    The silk and steels were fun but too light.
     
  19. broken_sound

    broken_sound Silver Supporting Member

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    I recently put a pair of MSP4200's on my HD-28 and I'm thinking they're the perfect string for that guitar. The inside of the guitar is printed with a note that says to only use light to medium gauge strings, I'm guessing because of the scalloped bracing, and these things just sing.
     
  20. Makalu

    Makalu Member

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    I searched MartinGuitar.com for his signature set and it doesn't look like he has one (anymore). He apparently endorses Martin's SP Flexible Core strings:

    https://www.martinguitar.com/acoustic-strings/itemlist/category/278-fx.html

    "Martin SP Flexible Core strings marry our thinnest core wire to our standard tensions. Our SP Flexible Core strings feel soft to the touch, making them ideal for beginners. But don't be fooled by comfort! Just ask Tommy Emmanuel who performs with our SP Flexible Core strings night after night. With SP Flexible Core, you get total flexibility and total control."


    ... which doesn't mean much if he still subscribes to this (questionable) theory:

    While T. was re-stringing before a show I asked him about his prefs for strings. He said that he thinks that a guitar can get used to repeatedly using the same strings so he changes brands nearly every time he re-strings. Since it seemed logical I've done the same. Anyone else like to swap brands often?

    http://forum.tommyemmanuel.com/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=447


    Was his signature set discontinued?
     

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