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Martin strings: Bronze vs. Vintage

Discussion in 'Acoustic Heaven' started by 6String69, Mar 20, 2020.

  1. 6String69

    6String69 Tele-Holic

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    What are the best strings for Martin? I keep going back and forth between the coated bronze strings and the vintage style. I really like both. What you guys think? Help me decide.
     
  2. Fretting out

    Fretting out Poster Extraordinaire

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    I guess I shouldn’t answer but here’s the typical response that tells about a different brand or personal preference

    I haven’t found any Martin strings that impress me all of them especially the vintage monel ones sound dead to me, maybe that’s what an acoustic is supposed to sound like?
    I never bought into the coated string thing , but so far the only acoustic strings I really like that have a bright snappy tone that stays for weeks and are about twice as loud as Martin strings are Elixirs

    I haven’t tried Martin coated, chances are they are probably made by another coated string company unless they are made in Mexico with the rest
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2020
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  3. 6String69

    6String69 Tele-Holic

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    Cool, I will try the elixers!
     
  4. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have owned my Martin D-1 dread a long time now, and after many years gravitate to a few string types.
    But this is all personal stuff, as it involves how well or badly your guitar responds to strings tonally, along with the kind of music you play, and how your fingers feel ( wrappings and tension of strings.
    So for me ( just an example):

    - I use light gauge strings as they are just more comfy playing lead and rhythm all over the fingerboard- I kind of play ' a lot of everything' on acoustic

    - my hard-callused fingertips just don't like the smoothness of the wrap on wound strings - even Elixir Nanoweb Phosphor Bronze ( a great string IMO, sound great, last forever) - my fingertips slide off these strings- so COATED strings are OUT!

    - With the exception of John Pearse 80/20's ( 'bright Bronze' type) and only that brand for those ( love tone, slightly reduced tension vs. Phosphor Bronze) , I really prefer Phosphor Bronze strings- they just sound great on my Martin.

    My current faves are John Pearse and Martin Authentics.
    I used D'Addarios for many years, but in comparison with the 2 brands I just mentioned, the D'Addarios wound strings are a little rough/ friction- noisy and bug my fingers! ( just never knew this 'till you try something else!)

    - lastly my fave strings all last plenty of time; I change ALL strings more than I need to, 3 gigs (4 max), or say 3 weeks of home play. But strings always sound good doing this, never break strings

    Just me and my routine
     
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  5. rand z

    rand z Friend of Leo's

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    I've tried lots over the years and now use Elixer Nanoweb 80/20 Bronze.

    They're a bit brighter than the phosphor bronze and I prefer that sound.

    I use these on my $$$$ acoustic guitars. I always wipe them off after ANY session and they generally last 2 to 3 months.

    On my stage guitar (a performance Martin), I use cheaper bulk strings (80/20 bronze) as i change them every 2 or 3 shows, which could be once a week.

    I've tried the Monels and kinda like them. They have less ring but are, IMO, true to the recorded sound of old acoustic guitar's.

    It depends what you're looking/listening for...
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2020
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  6. BBill64

    BBill64 Tele-Afflicted

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    i like the daddario nickel bronze sets a lot more than any phosphor bronze i've ever heard
     
  7. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    The best strings for your guitar are the ones that sound best to you. Duh. But that has some interesting ramifications - older strings sound different from new strings, different gauges can have a difference, and it is very hard for the human ear (and mind) to remember what something sounds like.

    What I did a long time ago was first settle on gauges that I like to play - the combination of ease of fretting, drive into the top, ability to go into altered tuning.... Then I bought a set of uncoated PB's and 80/20's in the same gauge from the same manufacture, played and recorded them on one of my guitars. Them put the others on and recorded them - same mic, recorder, settings, pick, yadda yadda. Listened to those recordings back to back to back - decided which composition I liked.

    Then I bought some coated and long life and different strings in that composition and gauge and did the same thing with them - put them on that same guitar (happened to be my old D-18 but that is beside the point). Do coatings make a difference? If so, what?

    Once I decided on a couple of sets that I liked I played the hell out of them until I felt they were starting to go dead. Again, recording, comparing with when they were new. What kind of life did I get? Did coating give me longer life? Is it worth it for whatever I might have lost with the coating? Was the cost difference worth it?

    I settled on a string which has become my bench mark. But I did one more thing - I experimented with them on my other guitars. I currently own around 12 acoustic guitars - flat tops, arch tops, resonators, twelve strings. How many guitar can use the same strings that I just selected for my D-18?

    What I settled on was a compromise - with two standard sets of one manufacturers strings and a few singles I can string most of my guitars - that means I've always got spares. I can cover alternate tunings, my resonators and even the low tuned twelve string. A few of the guitars may not be optimal but that is a compromise I'm willing to make.

    Your milage will vary as it should.
     
  8. jonnyfez

    jonnyfez Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I've also had a D-1 for ages (22 years actually.) Never liked Martin strings at all but I do like the new Martin Retros. They don't last long but do sound great. But to echo the above, Johns Pearse have always sounded the best to me. When not available I use D'addarios.
     
  9. bob mason

    bob mason TDPRI Member

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    I used to like the marquis
    Can't get em around here any more & the retro don't sound or feel the same.
    Back to the hunt
     
  10. Dobronaut

    Dobronaut Tele-Meister

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    I no longer worry about strings. I like most of the big names on my Martins. After a few days they all sound the same, so I buy on price. D'addario, Newtone, Martin, John Pearse, Ernie Ball are all good. I've even had some good Marshalls (!). Some might last a bit longer than others. Coated strings have never felt or sounded like real strings to me.
     
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  11. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    I swore by Marquis early on, back when I had acoustics. Recently got a 'real' acoustic, a Martin D-10E, and I really like the coated strings they use, FWIW. I remember the Marquis went dull very fast--sticking with the new coated ones. They aren't as clear and crisp as Marquis but they are certainly bright and seem to hold up longer...
     
  12. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Poster Extraordinaire

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    I posted my faves earlier,
    but I agree -
    Most strings that I like do sound much the same after 2-3 days of playing, and that's when I feel like my guitars' true sound ( a Martin D, a Blueridge 000) comes out. And a good guitar is just gonna sound good!

    So my taste in strings has to do more with minutia ( probably in my head), like string wrap/friction or maybe tension or tightness- do strings 'give a little' just allow for good fretting/bending/ vibrato?

    They may be all be similar ( by definition of alloy used and design) but there are maybe little differences? At least I seem to feel that.
     
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  13. 6String69

    6String69 Tele-Holic

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    I have a D-18 too. So glad I went with that one!

    F0DCAF79-4D9B-4DBE-B219-993F16584A05.jpeg
     
  14. Thinline casket

    Thinline casket Tele-Meister

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    My guitars are bright, so I stay far away from the strings I'm about to mention. But for a dark Martin, I would certainly give Monels or Pearse 80/20s a try. Newtone strings are great; their 80/20s are up there with Pearse.
     
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