Light Gauge Strings

Bluesful

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
41,379
Hi All,

Looking for recommendations for light gauge strings to try on my SJ-200.

0.10 preferably but 0.11 will work.

What are your thoughts?
 

tamader74

Member
Messages
3,675
I use Elixir .11's on most all my acoustics (nanoweb's), I find them to give me a very full sound/tone plus give me some flexibility for some 'Bluesy' bends. I don't really like Cutaway acoustics, so I feel I have a bit of an advantage there (IMHO Cutaway's compromise sound/tone WAY more than .11 gauge strings over /12's).

There are some folks here that feel your not 'Manning up' if you play less than a .12 gauge string on a acoustic, and some are using those strings against Manufacture's Warranty recommendations when it comes to certain Small Body acoustics,...I feel you need to play whatever makes YOU sound great with YOUR Instrument,...

...with all that being said though, and being a owner of a Dove/previous owner of a SJ-200, I believe .10's would definitely 'Castrate' the sound/tonal value of that guitar,...and I LOVE the Nano .11's on my Dove. I really want to try a set of J. Pearce strings on this particular acoustic, I've heard some great things on how they respond on/with Maple guitars according to a couple of other pickers I know, one having and using these now on his SJ-200. Tom
 

Lucidology

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
27,227
Have .10's on my steel string acoustics .. work great!!
Have used 'em in the studio for sessions many times.
Nobody but you will know BTW
 

Trickstaaah

Member
Messages
888
What are you looking for with the lighter gauge? Less tension? More bendability? More sparkle?

I'm a big fan of John Pearse Pure Nickels for my acoustics -- I use them on everything from a Size 2-style parlor up through a 000 and even on a baritone. Great, great strings that I discovered about 20 years later than I should have. However, not everyone likes nickels on acoustic instruments -- they're warm and a little thumpy (some would say "dark"). I think you hear more "wood" and less "string" with nickels, which means the instrument doesn't cut as much in a mix. However, with the SJ-200, you'll have plenty of power to be heard, whatever string you use.

For a SJ-200, 10s might be a little light, but you won't know until you try. The Pure Nickels have a little less tension than phosphor bronze or 80/20s, so 11s in the Pure Nickels might do it for you. If you're having trouble finding the John Pearse sets, you could try a set of 11s for electric guitar (like the Ernie Ball Power Slinky or Beefy Slinky sets). The Pure Nickels are superior (to my flawed ear), but a plain ol' set of electric strings will give you an idea of what nickels on acoustic sound like.
 
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Bluesful

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
41,379
I use Elixir .11's on most all my acoustics (nanoweb's), I find them to give me a very full sound/tone plus give me some flexibility for some 'Bluesy' bends. I don't really like Cutaway acoustics, so I feel I have a bit of an advantage there (IMHO Cutaway's compromise sound/tone WAY more than .11 gauge strings over /12's).

There are some folks here that feel your not 'Manning up' if you play less than a .12 gauge string on a acoustic, and some are using those strings against Manufacture's Warranty recommendations when it comes to certain Small Body acoustics,...I feel you need to play whatever makes YOU sound great with YOUR Instrument,...

...with all that being said though, and being a owner of a Dove/previous owner of a SJ-200, I believe .10's would definitely 'Castrate' the sound/tonal value of that guitar,...and I LOVE the Nano .11's on my Dove. I really want to try a set of J. Pearce strings on this particular acoustic, I've heard some great things on how they respond on/with Maple guitars according to a couple of other pickers I know, one having and using these now on his SJ-200. Tom
I actually have the Elixirs you mention on the guitar now. I like the feel and tonal qualities, however for me I don't get the 'bendability' that I desire from them. Even though it's an acoustic I still like to bend. This may be a tension thing with the Elixirs.

Yeah I actually tend to agree that the 0.10s wouldn't probably exploit the great bass qualities of the SJ-200.
 

Bluesful

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
41,379
What are you looking for with the lighter gauge? Less tension? More bendability? More sparkle?

I'm a big fan of John Pearse Pure Nickels for my acoustics -- I use them on everything from a Size 2-style parlor up through a 000 and even on a baritone. Great, great strings that I discovered about 20 years later than I should have. However, not everyone likes nickels on acoustic instruments -- they're warm and a little thumpy (some would say "dark"). I think you hear more "wood" and less "string" with nickels, which means the instrument doesn't cut as much in a mix. However, with the SJ-200, you'll have plenty of power to be heard, whatever string you use.

For a SJ-200, 10s might be a little light, but you won't know until you try. The Pure Nickels have a little less tension than phosphor bronze or 80/20s, so 11s in the Pure Nickels might do it for you. If you're having trouble finding the John Pearse sets, you could try a set of 11s for electric guitar (like the Ernie Ball Power Slinky or Beefy Slinky sets). The Pure Nickels are superior (to my flawed ear), but a plain ol' set of electric strings will give you an idea of what nickels on acoustic sound like.
I'm looking for less tension and more 'bendability'. I suppose I'm looking for playability over tone.

Thanks for the suggestion of the John Pearse. I'll check those out.
 

rvf263

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
170
I've tried D'Addario phosphor extra lights and Martin SP phosphor extra lights....I like them both.
I have John Pearse but haven't tried them yet.
 

tamader74

Member
Messages
3,675
What are you looking for with the lighter gauge? Less tension? More bendability? More sparkle?

I'm a big fan of John Pearse Pure Nickels for my acoustics -- I use them on everything from a Size 2-style parlor up through a 000 and even on a baritone. Great, great strings that I discovered about 20 years later than I should have. However, not everyone likes nickels on acoustic instruments -- they're warm and a little thumpy (some would say "dark"). I think you hear more "wood" and less "string" with nickels, which means the instrument doesn't cut as much in a mix. However, with the SJ-200, you'll have plenty of power to be heard, whatever string you use.

For a SJ-200, 10s might be a little light, but you won't know until you try. The Pure Nickels have a little less tension than phosphor bronze or 80/20s, so 11s in the Pure Nickels might do it for you. If you're having trouble finding the John Pearse sets, you could try a set of 11s for electric guitar (like the Ernie Ball Power Slinky or Beefy Slinky sets). The Pure Nickels are superior (to my flawed ear), but a plain ol' set of electric strings will give you an idea of what nickels on acoustic sound like.
Ah Ha,...Love your post, as your stating what my acoustic nut Best Friend stated, it's the little extra 'Thump' he's enjoying using the John Pearce string's,...he though did not state that these were Nickel (I wish he had), as that would make perfect sense and get the 'extra' sound/tone I want on my Dove for picking Blues (finger style), and Country (pick),...by reading your post I now HAVE to have a set of these for that particular guitar at least.

I have been thinking of putting D'Addario's on my Martin HD-28LSV, and my 'Ol Gibson AJ, I've been using them for years on my Tele.'s and Strat.'s since I quit endorsing a certain Steel guitar string, and besides some 'issues' with the ball end coming off (mostly when buying multiple set packs), they seem to last forever,...

...maybe I can enjoy that factor on my acoustic's, plus save some $$$ on top of it. Tom
 

Trickstaaah

Member
Messages
888
Well, you can always try 11s in another brand of nickels (i.e., "electric guitar strings," as if there were such a thing) and see what you think. I tend to buy singles to put together my own sets to accommodate the balance I want with the tunings I use:

http://www.juststrings.com/nickelwoundjohnpearseguitarsinglestrings.html

If what you want is bendability, you can always switch out the top two or three strings for something lighter. The lighter tension of nickel strings won't matter on the plain strings (typically the top two).
 

tech21nyc

Member
Messages
1,740
The problem for me is that most light to extra light gauge acoustic strings have at best a wound .022 G string which never works at all for bending. I often make up custom sets for acoustics for live use. Many times I'll use electric strings and I've found .018 wound strings but prefer .019-.020 for the G string. An unwound G string on an acoustic never sounds right to me. If you're running a UST or SBT or a sound hole pickup the electric strings will sound fine and actually improve performance for a sound hole magnetic pickup.

GHS makes some acoustic sets that are really light and have a .020 wound G string.

Keep in mind that even a .018 wound G will have a different response when bending verses an unwound G of the same gauge.
 

Flyin' Brian

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
30,248
Curt Mangan. Phosphor Bronze.

As far as bendability, I remember Larry Carlton talking about how he just slurs instead of bends on his acoustic because he's so finicky about bending in tune and that's hard with a wound G.

He uses 12-52 on acoustics. The B and E are ok to bend but you might get a semi tone at most with the G, and you'd do better with 11s.

String gauge really means a lot of acoustics. I have a friend who strings an ES-175 with 8s and it flat out sounds terrible. The light strings don't provide enough pressure on the bridge to drive the top. I'd think that maybe that would also be the case with the SJ-200 with that big bridge and pickguard on the top.

Go all the way - I'm not even looking back

Really? Did you actually READ and UNDERSTAND the guitar the OP was talking about?
 

RustyAxe

Member
Messages
3,012
While electric guitarists use strings as thin as angel hair, acoustic guitarists consider 12's to be light. 13's are mediums. Anything lighter than 11 sounds like crap on a large bodied acoustic guitar, unless you plug it in. Acoustic guitars are very different animals, they need some vibrating mass to get that top to resonate as it should. Not a chance I'd even try 10's on an SJ-200.
 

sinner

Member
Messages
3,935
I know someone who puts slinky electric 9s on his acoustic guitar--it sounds nice and plays easy, it's a lot of fun!

Do whatever you want, try it, as long as you play play play your guitar!
 

TheoDog

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
19,947
John Pearse phosphor bronze are great strings.
I find the larger the surface area of the top, the more a guitar benefits from bigger strings. In my mind, it is something to do with more vibrational mass getting the soundboard to "speak"
I will recommend the biggest strings you can stand for a jumbo.
I will add that my wife's 00 Blueridge with PB .011's is a special sound
 
Messages
979
While electric guitarists use strings as thin as angel hair, acoustic guitarists consider 12's to be light. 13's are mediums. Anything lighter than 11 sounds like crap on a large bodied acoustic guitar, unless you plug it in. Acoustic guitars are very different animals, they need some vibrating mass to get that top to resonate as it should. Not a chance I'd even try 10's on an SJ-200.
What Rusty said. I've got a couple of smaller acoustics, that I use "lights" on. That's .012-to-.053. My J-200, and the rest of my dreadnaughts, get mediums. .013-to-.056.

I had a Martin D-35, that needed a neck set--Before Martin started using an adjustable truss rods. The neck was at such an angle, I went down to .11's, and my D-35 sounded like dooky. Neck set, and the return of medium gauge strings, brought it back around.
 






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