Acoustic archtop strings

nickmm

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The newish Nickel Bronze D'Addario are a nice string. Not my thing for an Archtop but they work well and sound good. More like the old Monel strings.
 

DaveG

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Interesting reading some folks saying they use nickel-wounds on "pure" acoustic guitars, including flat tops. Did I read that right? That Tony Rice used nickel wound strings on his flat top? Wow. Did he say that in an interview someplace? Did/do other country and jazz acoustic players do the same? When did everybody "switch" to bronze wound? When did that become the received wisdom?

Now that I'm typing that I'm recalling that one of my earliest teachers, in about 1967, who was an old school Jersey Italian acoustic archtop player, had nickel strings on his guitar. And I had them on the cheapo F-hole Harmony I had at that time.

Now I'm questioning my whole guitar life! Maybe I should try some nickel wounds on my Guild D-40...? Heresy?!?!
 

bottlenecker

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Interesting reading some folks saying they use nickel-wounds on "pure" acoustic guitars, including flat tops. Did I read that right? That Tony Rice used nickel wound strings on his flat top? Wow. Did he say that in an interview someplace? Did/do other country and jazz acoustic players do the same? When did everybody "switch" to bronze wound? When did that become the received wisdom?

Now that I'm typing that I'm recalling that one of my earliest teachers, in about 1967, who was an old school Jersey Italian acoustic archtop player, had nickel strings on his guitar. And I had them on the cheapo F-hole Harmony I had at that time.

Now I'm questioning my whole guitar life! Maybe I should try some nickel wounds on my Guild D-40...? Heresy?!?!

Monel was more common before wwii, when nickel was more needed for the war, so bronze was the replacement. This is common lore I am passing on to you, unverified, so take it for what it's worth.
 

mike stanger

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Interesting reading some folks saying they use nickel-wounds on "pure" acoustic guitars, including flat tops. Did I read that right? That Tony Rice used nickel wound strings on his flat top? Wow. Did he say that in an interview someplace? Did/do other country and jazz acoustic players do the same? When did everybody "switch" to bronze wound? When did that become the received wisdom?

Now that I'm typing that I'm recalling that one of my earliest teachers, in about 1967, who was an old school Jersey Italian acoustic archtop player, had nickel strings on his guitar. And I had them on the cheapo F-hole Harmony I had at that time.

Now I'm questioning my whole guitar life! Maybe I should try some nickel wounds on my Guild D-40...? Heresy?!?!
Tony said it many times. Any good video of him shows them, as does a clear promo photo.
But I'm positively sure there were at least a few times when he was forced to string up with other strings because he toured so much. Guys like him buy strings in boxes, not single sets, but unexpected things always happen on a tour.

Professionals also play their guitars a LOT more than amateurs. When they're not performing, they practice constantly, so they can use up a new set in days, not weeks or months. Their strings seldom sound like they're new, so for Tony, the nickel string's ability to sound broken in when fresh was a desirable quality.

I'll never know for sure, but I'm fairly certain that Tony may have followed his idol Clarence White in his string choice. White always used nickel strings, so they were probably on the old D-28 of White's that became Tony's famous guitar.

For years, the Gibson Monel strings were his favorites until he switched to the D'Aquistos, which were more durable. Monels are still preferred by the guys who back up contest fiddlers for a different reasons; they don't break as quickly, and the half-dead tone creates a good rhythm texture that makes the fiddle really stand out clearly. Those guys typically play heavy gauges and use hard flat picks. They all try for maximum guitar volume so as to keep the fiddler's rhythm solid. Bass-heavy guitars are the best.

There's actually quite a lot of money to be earned in those contests. A consistent winner has to travel constantly to hit the big jackpots, but they can come away with $30,000 or more over a few summer months. The fiddlers always split their win with their guitarist, though it's seldom 50/50.

But there's no doubt that phosphor bronze strings are by far the most popular, and rightly so. Bronze produces a rich harmonic set of overtones that compliment the guitar in ways that can't be matched by any other metal, and while it's hard enough to provide good durability, bronze is more flexible, so the strings feel better under the fingers.
regards,
stanger
 




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