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OT:Overtones/Harmonics: Which strings to best maximize these?
Author
Post
DannyGoneandPop

Total Topics: 3
Total Posts: 9

On a 000 sized guitar that's OEM recommended 12-53's/Lights?

I'm hoping that D'Addario Phosphor Bronze's are good for this as Sam ash has a deal on some now. Should I attempt Med/13-56's?

Thanks for your knowledge.

Jun 02, 10 | 5:21 pm
DannyGoneandPop

Total Topics: 3
Total Posts: 9
Might I add that the guitar in question is a 12 fret slothead?

Jun 02, 10 | 5:22 pm
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
If the action and saddle compesation are not correct and do not match the set of strings (tension) --- the intonation will be off and it will not matter what strings are used, the guitar will not exhibit its full potential.

A skilled set-up/repair person is worth a visit ---- plus in many cases playability will also be vastly improved. $.02

Ken Cierp

Kenneth Michael Guitars est. 1978


Jun 02, 10 | 6:49 pm
Freeman

Total Topics: 27
Total Posts: 668
Danny, all you have to do on any active guitar forum to start a flame war is say "what is the best string for...", put on your asbestos underwear and sit back. People can't even decide on nomeclaiture - different string manufacturer disagree on whether PB's are "warm" or "bright"

But those are the two terms that are used most often, "overtone" and "harmonics" have different meanings (from a physics standpoint are easier to define). "Harmonic" of course is the same note as the fundimental, only one or two or three octaves higher - and is caused by the string vibrating at different nodes than just the endpoints. Overtone" usually implys that there are frequencies in the sound wave other than the primary not necessarily just the harmonic. Harmonics are primarily the result of how the string is vibrating, overtones can result from the constructio of the instrument - now you get into all the top modes and glitter patterns and voicing and that other stuff that luthiers love to argue about. It is probably related to strings, maybe more mass and tension, but I think it is pretty much fixed by your guitar construction.

Back to "warm" and "bright" and the actual sound of the strings. Some years ago in an attempt to bring a little science to the discussions I recorded several of my guitars, including my 12 fret long scale heavily scalloped sitka over rosewood 000 (my first kit) with several different sets of strings. I used the same gauge, mic, picks, recorder settings - tried to keep everything exactly the same. My primay test mule was my D18, but I also did some clips of the 000. I posted these without telling people what they were and boy did that open the worm can LOL.

You can here them here

http://www.thekrashsite.com/annex/StringTest.htm

and form your own opinions. One very interesting thing is to load a clip into a graphical program like Audacity (free download) - you can actually see the strength and frequencies of different notes and partials (obviously doing a Fourier analysis would be better but most of us don't have the software).

Ken is right that properly compensating and setting up the guitar is important - both to the sound and playability - my little test was simply an attempt to quell the debate about what different strings and coatings sound like (btw - I did a similar test on 5 different pin materials in the same old D-18)

String gauge mostly affects tension, which affects volume and playability. I happen to like lights on everything I own (including the dreads) but I'm a finger picker. In general increasing the size by one standard gauge increases the tension about 12 percent for the same tuning (from the UMGF String Tension FAQ)

http://theunofficialmartinguitarforum.yuku.com/topic/5339

Last thing that I tell people is that IMHO strings are the cheapest and easiest way to change the sound of your guitar. Buy several in different compositions and coatings, try them and record them as I did. Let your ears guide you, not what someone posts on the internet.

Jun 03, 10 | 11:22 am
DannyGoneandPop

Total Topics: 3
Total Posts: 9
Thanks Freeman!,

You're answer gave me exactly the answer I was looking for and your string test is an elaborate demonstration that must've been a ton of work. Did you keep your test conditions ( microphone distance, levels and relative humidity) the same for each recording?

Danny

Jun 03, 10 | 5:34 pm
Freeman

Total Topics: 27
Total Posts: 668
Glad it was helpful, Danny. I originally posted the results on another discussion forum and it created a long and fairly active discussion. I also did a similar comparison of different pins (using the same D18) and had considered one on saddles (but for several reasons, never did). I've also thought about going back and adding some other popular strings, but as you said, it was a fair amount of work.

I'm an engineer by training so I approach building (and playing) these things a little differently than many folks. One of the reasons I build is to try to understand the how and why - so I experiment with voicing tops and all the other fun little parts of lutherie. This test was just a part of it.

My experiment was as controlled as I could make it. The same SM57 mic with a 12 inch piece of string tied to it which I would use to position it pointed to the upper bout in the same place. Recorder settings the same, same pick and fingernails, same room acoustics. As you could hear from the test, same notes and chords played the same way - even my little slide test to see how much string squeek there was.

If you want to here the differences between pins, go here and click on the Tech Tab - there are a couple more articles archived away. Btw - the Acoustic Music tab has some pretty good (and not so good) guitar music by people who hang at that other forum.

http://www.thekrashsite.com/annex/

Jun 04, 10 | 5:43 am



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