Bright strings on my archtop - rockabilly, not jazz

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by moosie, Sep 25, 2016.

  1. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    So, I got this ES-175, and I slapped a ABR-1 on there, for some intonation.

    I like things bright, with punchy attack, so I don't do flats, or half rounds. On my other guitars I use D'Addario EXL110 (10-46) or EXL115 (11-49), regular rounds, with plain 3rds. I even use the 11s on my Gretsch 6120 (trestle bracing), and they sound great, AND I can still bend.

    I'm currently playing D'Addario EJ21s on the 175. 12-52 rounds, wound 3rd. I realize I want some girth on these strings, for a guitar like this. But remind me why I need a wound 3rd again? Is it just because a plain 20 or 22 won't intonate in the expected travel of a normal saddle? Or even worse, a fixed compensated saddle?

    In other words, if I do have enough travel on the third saddle for a plain 20 or 22, to intonate in standard tuning, is there any reason why I shouldn't go that route?

    But... when I review the available 12s and 13s for "rockers", not "jazzers", they say "optimized for drop tuning". Yeah, I don't care about that. Or do I? Will these typically intonate OK in standard? Will it be too much tension for the big box?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Thin69

    Thin69 Friend of Leo's

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    Personally I would go against the grain and use an unwound 3rd. I use bends extensively on all top 3 strings and I've never had much success with wound 3rd. Plus when I've used wound 3rd and bend them the outer wire breaks fairly quickly.
     
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  3. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Care to recommend a set?

    I gotta say, I really love this place.

    I thought I'd be smart, and post this on what I think is a popular jazz forum. It's the only one I'm aware of anyway. jazzguitar.be.

    I don't think I sounded like a make-no-eye-contact madman, but it's been FOUR days and not a single response to a simple question like this. I guess because I said 'rockabilly' in the subject...

    Thank goodness for the Tele Forum, Reissued.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2016
  4. Thin69

    Thin69 Friend of Leo's

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    For me it would be a set probably beginning with an .011. Light top/heavy bottom would probably work well but not sure if D'Addario makes them beginning with an .011. I have used their .010-.052 light top heavy bottom with good results.
     
  5. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Yeah, they do. EXL116. 11-14-18p-30-42-52. That's a thought. Should intonate perfectly, be bendable, and still drive the top.

    I was also thinking of D'Addario EXL145. 12-16-20p-32-42-54.

    Then there's also EXL117s. 11-14-19p-32-44-56.
     
  6. metalicaster

    metalicaster Tele-Afflicted

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    String sets can be found in up to a 12-52 - with an unwound 3rd.

    I believe ernie ball make a serviceable set called not even slinky or some variation on that

    I have a guitar set up with them, and I only use normal tuning. The only thing is, with a large plain string of around 18 or 20, the g string is extra "spicy" so can mess with chords.
     
  7. neatone

    neatone Tele-Holic

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    i'd use a pure nickel set..for authentic vintage tone..and a plain g should intonate fine with a tune-a-matic..just move that saddle back


    cheers
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2016
  8. Tony Done

    Tony Done Friend of Leo's

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    A plain 3rd is popular with some dobro players, so it isn't unheard of in fairly heavy sets. I've tried it and didn't much care for it. - Too much like cheese wire, and you might find that string-to-string balance is a problem, depending on the pickups and how picky you are about such things.

    If you want bright and aggressive try EB Cobalts or M Steels. I really like the Cobalts.
     
  9. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Yeah, you guys make a good point that I might not care for the balance. Now I remember I did have that issue with some T-I Bebops, where the 3rd was crazy loud. But that was on a Collings City Limits (think Les Paul). I wasn't sure if it would be as much of an issue on the archtop. But I didn't want to risk another friggin $20 on a set.

    Good options. Thanks.

    I may just start with EXL116s or EXL117s, where I've got heavy wound strings, good tension, but the third stays under 20. And I can bend the top two. And since they're actual sets, perhaps string balance is taken into account somewhat. I dunno about that, but...

    I'll have a look at the Cobalts and M Steels. I like bright.

    Worst case, I can fall back to the EJ21s. They're actually not bad. Just a bit... round and warm.
     
  10. Walter Broes

    Walter Broes Tele-Afflicted

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    I don't see why you absolutely need to have 12's on a 175? I play 17" Guild Hollowbodies for non-jazz music too, and I use 11's, plain G.

    One other thing : a 20 plain G string is going to be awful loud (magnetically/plugged in). It'll be pretty hard to balance with your other strings, volume wise.
     
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  11. jjudas

    jjudas Tele-Meister

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    I'm using Gibson brights with an unwound 3rd
     
  12. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Good. Thanks for chiming in. You're a perfect example (because I have videos of you playing).

    See, I use plain old 11s on my 6120, too, but I got this idea (probably from somewhere on the forum :rolleyes: you know who you are -- I don't) that my 175 would reach it's potential or sound better, with heavy strings. Beginning to sound like a jazzer's myth LOL.

    Know what? I think I'll put straight 11s on next time, see if I like 'em. Go from there.
     
  13. Blazer

    Blazer Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    It's funny though, Duane Eddy and Eddie Cochran both played Gretsch guitars but it was two decades later with Brian Setzer that the Gretsch 6120 truly became a rockabilly staple.

    As for the ES-175 being a fitting guitar for Rockabilly?

    Well if the late great Scotty Moore was anybody to go by on Rockabilly tone (And you can bet your behind that he was!) it isn't so much the strings which made the difference. Because when Moore recorded those songs with Elvis there simply were not roundwound strings (pardon the pun) around.

    Nope what made THAT tone happen were THESE.
    [​IMG]
    And yeah...
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    That was that spikey Elvis tone.
     
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  14. cboutilier

    cboutilier Tele-Afflicted

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    At least with a p90 you may be able to tame a loud G with the pole piece.
     
  15. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Nah, I'm good, thanks. Already have a box with P90s, and one with dynasonics.

    I'm just trying to understand how to get the most out of this one, leaning to the bright side. I don't want to change what it is.
     
  16. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Billy Gibbons and BB King swapped guitars one evening and BB King asked Billy why he 'worked so hard' with those heavy strings? Billy switched to a set of 8s and has used them ever since and still gets great tone.
     
  17. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    But Billy doesn't play an archtop. Would you play 8s on your flattop, too? If BB said to, I guess...
     
  18. GuildX700

    GuildX700 Tele-Holic

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    I've used 10's on my archtops with great results and great tone. The idea that you NEED heavy strings on an archtop is BS IMO. And sometimes a wound G is no better for intonation with a wood bridge. Been there more than a few times.
     
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  19. Tony Done

    Tony Done Friend of Leo's

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    Most jazz players, even those with very expensive acoustic archtops, seem to be using light gauge strings these days. The heavy strings were good when the guitarist had to cut through in an acoustic band, and the good ones certainly did, but most now seem to be content to have a functionally- electric guitar that just looks like a trad archtop.
     
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  20. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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