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Discussion in 'Acoustic Heaven' started by E5RSY, May 17, 2020.
I've been using the 10s for years on my dreadnought Cort.
I'm using 13's but tuning down two half-steps to DGCFAD. A lot of what I play is key-specific and some tunes sing easier for me in the dropped tuning. I've found that I prefer the tone and feel of mediums tuned down over lighter gauge strings and can always capo up for standard tuning.
I looked on the Martin page and was surprised to see they ship dreadnoughts with .013s. I always had thought .012s were standard.
I hate stereotypes, but the typical dreadnaught player is a flat picking blue grasser with a fairly heavy attack. She is trying to compete with a banjo and a mandolin, so she needs volume. As I said in my previous post, many traditional dreads are braced that way - often unscalloped or slightly scalloped 5/16 braces. Yes, I know some are more lightly braced and I know that some folks finger pick them and I know that with a onboard pickup it really doesn't matter. But traditionally a flat picker will probably be running 13's, a finger stylist 12's.
The bottom line is that you won't hurt anything with 10 other than possibly getting some buzzes if it had been set up with heavier strings. I have one friend who insists on extra light strings on his acoustics - thats how I set them up and he is happy. I couldn't play them but he loves them.
I'll add one other consideration, if you ever plan to down tune or use altered tunings you are probably at the limit of what the strings can do. I'm constantly changing tunings and frequently run heavier gauge strings to facilitate that. But as long as you aren't hurting the guitar and as long as you like the results, go for it.
One more comment before I crawl back in my hole. I build guitars, mostly acoustics and mostly smaller sizes (dreads don't work for me). I brace all of my guitars intending that they will have about 165 pounds of tension on them. My personal feeling is that my guitars will get very muddy sounding if I go much below that - I want the tension to drive the top. I happen to have two old Martin dreads that I rarely play but I can't bring myself to sell. I do string them with lights (12) and finger pick them.
Your milage will vary
I alternate between 12 and 11 on my great cheap acoustic.
my hand- fingers and all are very very strong so I have no problem playing 12's and bending on the top two strings easily.
And on the other strings except the G can be little to taught
But the 11's allow more nuance of vibrato and etc... and just the feel.
Very little give with the 12s.
I guess it depends what you want
I adored my Martin Dreadnought, but it didn't boom unless it had 13s on, and I cannot do my thing with 13s
I got an OOO copy, which can work with 10s, just about, but it is not a dreadnought boom
I wrote separately about finding my own balance in the M36 that Martin do. I adore that, but even then it has 12s on today. Next go will have 11s
I use extra light D'Addarios, but I swop the 10 for an 11. Over the years I've tried manfully to use as least 12s, but my left hand has never been able to take it, so back I go to lighter strings. These days I find that I'm putting 11s on my acoustics and electrics. I swapped 10s for 11s on my Dot yesterday and I was surprised at how rich it sounded. Didn't seem to affect playability at all.
Twelves are lights. That's what I use. I know I'm sacrificing tone and volume, but the lighter strings are worth the trade-off.
Strings lighter than twelves sound like zithers - at least, when I play 'em.
i bet it depends on how stiff the top bracing is.
If you like 10s...use 10s.
They might break more easily, so you'll have to keep some spares in your purse.
Really, though...if you like them, use them.
I tried some on a resonator once...very interesting, but very different sound.
Kind of cool.
There's nothing in the rule book about string gauge
12s?! 13s?!!! Do you know what they call a .012 or .013 in my house? The G string.
I tried .10s and even .09s a few years back on my acoustic. Ended up back at .11s. The lighter gauges were just too thin sounding for me.
Your guitar sounded the same going from 12’s to 10’s? Unplugged?
I guess if you played with super low action, it wouldn’t matter.
Listened to a great interview a few months ago w Ken Parker.
He talked some about the number of players using the heavier than 12 gauge strings....
Their hand, arm injuries and such.
He must have seen a lot cuz he did not recommend using heavier than 12 in standard tuning, not dropped of course
I bend strings a lot and strum with vigor. My action is not super low. If anything, my guitar was a little louder. Plugged in or unplugged, the tonality didn't change much. Perhaps the lessened tension allows the top to vibrate more freely. I am very happy with the 10-47 D'Addario EJ15s.
Yup! Bluegrass players have a short shelf-life. And their guitars are so bellied they look like they're about to have triplets.
I used to play a friend's cheap Epiphone dread. It had electric strings on it. We just pretended it was an electric and wailed away. Good times.
I tried 10s on my D18 and went back to 12s pretty quickly. To be fair I think it would work if you tweaked the set up for that gauge string. Electric or acoustic my experience is a change of more than one gauge may need but or saddle work. Or both. Just my two cents.
13's here... with a plain third... yes
I find that hard to believe but to each his own, if it makes you happy!