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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2019 4:45 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:13 pm
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Hi everyone.

I've recently acquired a 1935 acoustic archtop. It has a carved adi top with solid maple sides/back. Martin Silk and Steel are usually my goto strings, but I've found that they don't last on this guitar. The "G" in particular, breaks within 2-3 days.

I know that these guitars should be able to withstand more string tension than a flattop guitar. I've read that the string diameter was much larger for an archtop, than the mediums that we use today. This particular guitar is in great condition. I believe she can handle medium strings.

But, although Clementine is in great shape, she is 84 years old, and this is my first archtop. So my question is, given her age, should I string her with light strings and/or strings meant for vintage guitars?

What would you recommend?


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2019 8:43 am 
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Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2006 7:09 pm
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Location: Hegins, Pa
silk and steel are too light for this
try a light or med light set
You may have to try a few sets to get what you like but I think the 80/20's would be a good choice to help
brighten it up

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Blues Creek Guitars Inc
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2019 8:57 am 
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Thanks John.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 13, 2019 8:09 am 
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Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 8:03 am
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Location: Chestertown Maryland
Hey all

Why would the type of guitar determine how quickly a string breaks? If it is tunes to the correct tension/note it should not matter where it is. Perhaps there is a burr on the tuner post??

Ed


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 13, 2019 8:53 am 
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ruby@magpage.com wrote:
Hey all

Why would the type of guitar determine how quickly a string breaks? If it is tunes to the correct tension/note it should not matter where it is. Perhaps there is a burr on the tuner post??

Ed

Ed, the first thing I checked were the tuners and I wore my Donegal magnifiers. There are no burrs. Also, as I changed strings, the D string broke before I could loosen it. I think the Martin Silk and Steel Strings are simply too delicate for this particular guitar.

My question was more about her age and body type, rather than string breakage. As a rule I use light strings, usually Silk and Steel, on very old guitars, because of their tension (lack of). Since this guitar is an archtop, which is traditionally strung with very heavy strings, I wanted to know what to use, factoring in her 85 years of age. I've never owned an archtop, so I needed guidance on proper string size.

I have her strung with Martin SP lights right now, and there is no sign of immanent breakage, the tuning has settled down, and she's staying tuned.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 13, 2019 12:21 pm 
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Location: Chestertown Maryland
It shall remain a mystery

Ed


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 13, 2019 6:16 pm 
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ruby@magpage.com wrote:
It shall remain a mystery

Ed

I think you're right Ed. I've strung a set of medium light Earthwood strings on her, with no issues. I bought several packages of Silk and Steel strings together. Maybe Martin had run of bad strings.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 14, 2019 7:56 am 
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Diane Kauffmds wrote:
ruby@magpage.com wrote:
It shall remain a mystery

Ed

Maybe Martin had run of bad strings.


It's conceivable. GHS had a problem, a while ago, with corrosion that was causing strings to break. If I'm remembering this correctly, they traced the cause to the envelopes they were packaging the strings in. They have since changed their packaging, of course.

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When things are bad, try not to make them any worse, because it is quite likely they are bad enough already. - French Foreign Legion


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 14, 2019 8:59 am 
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MaineGeezer wrote:
Diane Kauffmds wrote:
ruby@magpage.com wrote:
It shall remain a mystery

Ed

Maybe Martin had run of bad strings.


It's conceivable. GHS had a problem, a while ago, with corrosion that was causing strings to break. If I'm remembering this correctly, they traced the cause to the envelopes they were packaging the strings in. They have since changed their packaging, of course.


Yes, they did. The manufacturer of the paper envelopes changed the type of paper, which encouraged oxidation. But GHS has new packaging now that protects the strings; they're nicely packaged in sealed plastic.

I thought about this problem, which occurred about 3 years ago. But the Martin strings that I used were sealed in plastic and not boxed. All of the manufacturers who had the paper problem, used boxes for their strings.

It was strange that the G string broke 2x, which made me think along the lines of Ed's thinking, that there was a burr, even though they're new tuners. But all of the tuners are smooth. When the G string broke the third time, I decided to change all of the strings. As I started to loosen the other strings, the D broke too. The strings never "settled in". They never stayed tuned right.

So, I may have run into bad sets, or at the very least, a bad set.

I've since replaced them with medium light 80/20 bronze, and the strings settled right in and sound great. There are no signs of abrasion or wear on the G, or any others for that matter.


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