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PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2015 3:53 pm 
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I don't know if this is the proper place in the forum, but I thought I'd review some strings, as I try them, on my OM. My frustration, is finding strings that I'm happy with on a small bodied guitar. I thought others may benefit from my experiences.

I start by saying I play fingerstyle, with some strumming. I don't play with a pick.

The first strings on my OM were Medium Martin bulk strings; I thought this best since I had to intonate and adjust the instrument. Since I'm a newby, I will confess that I went through 5 sets. LOL I kept tweaking the guitar, including redoing the bone nut and saddle, until I was satisfied with the tone. For obvious reasons, these were a good choice and hopefully, in the future, I will only use 1 set. They were good for this purpose, but they go dead pretty quickly.

ERNIE BALL EARTHWOOD 80/20 BRONZE LIGHTS. These are the first non-bulk set that I put on the guitar.

The good and bads:

Good:

1. Much Warmer sound, with deeper bass and trebles that weren't twangy; next time I will use medium lights though.
2. Economical
3. Broke in easily with minimal retuning by day 2

Bad:

1. I hate dirty fingers and I ended up with dirty fingers. I always wipe my strings after playing, but ended up wiping before as well. Next time I'll make sure they're phosphor bronze.
2. Unsure about lifetime; to be fair, I was still tweaking the intonation, so this contributed to
premature string breakage.
3. Could be richer sounding, but I attribute that to the light strings; I prefer medium lights for this guitar.

In the end, I think Ernie Ball Strings are a contender and I'm willing to give them another try with, what I think is, the appropriate gauge and composition.

ELIXIR HD Phosphor Bronze STRINGS:

I had high hope for these strings, since they were developed with Taylor for their smaller bodied guitars.

The goods and bads:

Good:

1. The strings are medium lights, which I think are perfect for a smaller bodied instrument. Medium bass strings can sound a bit heavy on these instruments. The richness in the bass strings are lost, instead of combining with the balance that these guitars are known for; they are not dreads.
2. Minimum squeak for fingerstyle playing
3. Longevity. They took the abuse of my further "tweaking" of the guitar, very well.
4. Sound. They brought out the beautiful balance of tone, that the OM guitar is known.
5. Clean fingers!

Bad:

1. Cost, if you compare them to the bulk or Earthwood strings. However, for strings that will maximize my build, I'm willing to pay (to a certain extent).
2. Sound. While they brought out the balance between bass, mids and trebles, the sound was "muffled" compared to the Earthwoods and bulk strings. I'm not sure if it's the nanoweb coating or not. But, they just didn't ring...

This was a huge disappointment for me, especially since I use Elixir mediums on my dread; I won't buy them again for the OM.


Last edited by Diane Kauffmds on Sun Mar 15, 2015 5:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2015 4:35 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2006 7:09 pm
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Location: Hegins, Pa
great post , as when it comes down to it , you have to find what suits you on your guitar. In a way it is like dating. Once you learn what works and makes her happy she can make you happy.

Also Diane note the RH . You will soon see that there is a balance on the rh level also. Too wet they loose the attack to dry they can get tight and tinny

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Blues Creek Guitars Inc
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http://www.bluescreekguitars.com


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2015 4:51 pm 
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Posts: 1308
I visited my favorite online guitar string store and bought GHS Vintage Bronze Light (.012-.054), Ernie Ball Earthwood Medium Light 80/20 bronze (.012-.054), and Newtone Heritage Series (.012-.051), strings. I have the Newtone's on the guitar now.

NEWTONE HERITAGE SERIES (.012-.051):

I've been intrigued by these strings and the reviews I've heard. So, I put these strings on the guitar about a week ago, after the G string on the Elixir HD's broke. I think I'm in "string love". For those of you who have vintage instruments, or instruments that you would like the sound of heavier strings, yet want minimal stress on the instrument, these may be the ticket.

I have physical challenges involving my hands, so playing a guitar with a lot of string tension and heavy gauge strings, can be a challenge. The Newtones make it very easy to play; it's like the instrument has been tuned down across all of the strings. I wish I'd known about these strings before I had calluses. I also play a couple of pieces with drop D tuning; even with the reduced tension, the guitar sounds great in drop tuning.

I cannot find the proper adjectives to describe the sound: rich, complex, ringing but with deep, rich, bass, lovely bell-like mids, bright trebles (but not BRIGHT, if you get my drift). Plus, the strings have "that vintage" sound that I think many of the people in this forum are after. But, they have the appropriate sound for "Cannon" or "Fur Elise", "Blackbird", or the blues such as "Georgia on my Mind" (I'm eclectic). Unlike the Elixir HD's, the Newtone's ring out loud and clear; there is nothing muffled about them, plus they allow the well-balanced tone for which the OM is known. These are good and bads:

Good:

What can I say?

1. Reduced tension, for those with physical challenges or older instruments.
2. Very quick break-in: These puppies held their tuning the next day
3. Minimal daily tuning tweaking: They seem to react well with the change of weather, humidity, etc.
4. Minimal finger squeak when playing fingerstyle.
5. Did I mention SOUND!: I love the combination of richness and complexity, combined with the slight vintage tone, but not too vintage.
6. Price. This made both lists. The strings are priced just under the Elixir HD's, but I think they're worth the money. I've spent much more on sets in which I've been unimpressed.

Bad:

1. Fingers get dirty, and I really don't like dirty fingers after I play (I wash my hands before picking up my guitar, always). I've minimized this by cleaning the strings before and after. The problem is lessening, as the days go by.
2. Cost. Some might think that the $13 cost is high; I would argue that I've spent a whole lot more on a sets of strings that I've disliked.

I've heard good things about the GHS strings, so I really shouldn't say that these are my absolute favorite, but they rank #1 right now. I'll monitor how long they last and update this post, because longevity is the last criteria.

I've made recordings at every step that I've changed the guitar. So, I'm able to verify changes in sound at each string change. I've only got my cellphone to record the sound, unfortunately. But, I duplicate my location and position, as well as the phone location and position, as much as possible. I play the same chords, in the same order. I try to play them at the same speed and with the same motion, but those are variables, as we all know.

Although I've bought 3 different brands of strings, I still have a small "bucket list" of strings I want to try.


Last edited by Diane Kauffmds on Sun Mar 15, 2015 5:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2015 4:52 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:13 pm
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tippie53 wrote:
great post , as when it comes down to it , you have to find what suits you on your guitar. In a way it is like dating. Once you learn what works and makes her happy she can make you happy.

Also Diane note the RH . You will soon see that there is a balance on the rh level also. Too wet they loose the attack to dry they can get tight and tinny

Ain't that the truth. I'm a bit ahead of you John; I'm making notes of the RH when I do the recordings. LOL


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2015 6:40 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 03, 2010 2:14 pm
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Location: Creedmoor, NC
You should include Cleartones on your bucket list, coated but don't have the "muffled" sound Elixir's or grime on fingers of the types. I use them on all my smaller bodied guitars, I had one set on for over a year, still sounded good.

You shouldn't be breaking so many strings in your setups. Do you have one of these?:

http://www.stewmac.com/Luthier_Tools/To ... ifter.html

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2015 8:21 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2006 7:09 pm
Posts: 5419
Location: Hegins, Pa
also John Peirce and I heard some good things about the aluminum strings

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John Hall
Blues Creek Guitars Inc
Authorized CF Martin Repair Center
Board of Directors of Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans
http://www.bluescreekguitars.com


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2015 8:53 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:13 pm
Posts: 1308
Ben-Had wrote:
You should include Cleartones on your bucket list, coated but don't have the "muffled" sound Elixir's or grime on fingers of the types. I use them on all my smaller bodied guitars, I had one set on for over a year, still sounded good.

You shouldn't be breaking so many strings in your setups. Do you have one of these?:

http://www.stewmac.com/Luthier_Tools/To ... ifter.html


No I didn't, but now I use an old wire with a dogleg to do the same thing. Live and learn. Thanks for the Cleartone suggestion.


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