Jump to content


Please note: You can easily log in to MPN using your Facebook account!

Strings for a hollowbody electric


simpleman3441

Recommended Posts

So i bought the Godin 5th Avenue Kingpin. It's really a beauty. The pics they've posted online don't do it justice. Everyone I've shown it to has gawked at it. And not those bogus looks people give to make you feel good. You can always pick those out. Even my metal-head brother wants to steal it. Anyhow, I'm pretty happy about its looks, but the sound is really a great addition to my arsenal. The strings this thing has on it have got to be 12 gauge and the G is wound. I know this is pretty standard in the world of jazz and the guitar will respond better to them tonally, but I just don't wanna push my hand too hard. I've only recently been able to play for any substantial period of time pain free. Did I mention the floating bridge? Would putting lighter gauge strings on it do that much damage to the tone and the stability of the bridge (9's would be preferable but I could probably handle 10's)? I really want to play this thing extensively but with these strings I'm afraid to take the risk.
We cannot accelerate the growth of a tree by pulling on its branches. - Ricardo Iznaola
Link to comment
Share on other sites



  • Replies 42
  • Created
  • Last Reply

I'm a medium to heavy strings kinda guy, myself. On an acoustic, 12s are usually going to be too light for me!

 

But vive la differance, go with what works for you.

 

If you go to lighter strings- particularly so much lighter, as with the 9s or 10s that you mention, you'll have to loosen the truss-rod as the lighter strings will exert less pull against the neck, resulting in less relief; and you'll also have to allow a little more relief than before because those super loose, floppy strings will have a wider vibrating excursion, and tend to buzz against the frets much more easily.

 

You might consider going with some 11s with a plain 3rd/G, that might strike enough of a compromise for you, and still drive the top and not be too fret-buzz prone.

 

Try either some pure nickel on round-core DR "Pure Blues", or nickel-plated steel and bronze spiral-wound (hex cored) Dr "Zebras" (looks like yellow and silver spiral striped strings, a hybrid electric/acoustic design) in 10s or 11s, on that toboggan.

 

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Before my hand/forearm injury I liked heavier strings. 9's were just way too light. Post injury I'm playin it safe and trying not to stress the hand any more than I have to until I'm comfortably back in the swing of things. I was aware of the basic truss rod and string buzz concerns, but I've never owned a guitar like this before and wondered how it would affect the tone and particularly the bridge?
We cannot accelerate the growth of a tree by pulling on its branches. - Ricardo Iznaola
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with Caev, I have a Godin Flat 5 hollowbody and use Cleartone 11s on it and it plays very sweet. I use 11s on all my guitars, I like the tone and sustain I get with them. If I had a Kingpin it would have 11s on it. I've heard Stevie Ray used 13s.

SEHpicker

SEHpicker

 

The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it." George Orwell

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Before my hand/forearm injury I liked heavier strings...

 

...Post injury I'm playin it safe and trying not to stress the hand any more than I have to until I'm comfortably back in the swing of things.

 

:blush: Oops, I'm sorry! I forgot about that. D U U U H . . . :freak:

 

Do you bend a LOT? Or, would you bend a lot on this particular guitar?

 

If so, try some 10s, or if the change in pitch isn't a problem, try 11s tuned down a half-step to "Eb"- the feel and tone is a fantastic compromise between 10s and 11s!

 

If not- if string-bending won't be a frequent requirement on this guitar- then try some 11s with a plain (unwound) 3rd/G, BUT with as low an action and as little relief dialed-in via the truss-rod as you can get by with.

_________________________________________________________

 

It'll work well enough with lighter gauged strings; Reif- "Bluesape"- uses waaay light strings on everything, like they were ketchup, electric or acoustic- and he makes 'em work for him and sound BIG.

 

If down-tuned 11s or straight-served 10s are still too heavy for you, then try the 9s. What's the worst thing that can happen? You'll have to do a little set-up adjusting? The guitar might sound a little less full and robust? It'll probably sound no different to any non-players (and maybe even a lot of players, too) that you play for, if it even sounds different to you.

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wound G strings need to be too loose to keep a good intonation. Better the same gauge in a solid string.

 

I like heavy bass strings and lighter tops, but never lighter than a 10 on the high E.

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've been sandbaggen on this one SM3441 waiting for someone to write in and share their thoughts on the 5th Ave Archtop, please tell us more...it is great to see a comeback retro-vibe 50's guitar for like $699 @ MF...let us know how you like the feel, sound, action, quality, etc...I mean Canadian wild cherry with fholes & a single P-90 with volume & tone only controls, it sure is keeping me awake nights fighting off the GAS attack...what color did you pick?

 

I wouldn't consider anything less than 10-48's and would hold out for electric 11-49's by Elixir (but that's just me)...11-52's if you're stringing with bronze...nice looking axe...

Take care, Larryz
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I use 8-38's on all electrics, including my 60's ES175. No fret buzz, no issues, just a superb sounding jazz box that happens to be more playable than any LP or Strat with 10's or heavier. Call me crazy - I like being crazy.
Never a DUH! moment! Well, almost never. OK, OK! Sometimes never!
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I use 8-38's on all electrics, including my 60's ES175. No fret buzz, no issues, just a superb sounding jazz box that happens to be more playable than any LP or Strat with 10's or heavier. Call me crazy - I like being crazy.

 

more playable, no doubt.

 

String that 175 up with a set starting with 12s, and LISTEN to it. The difference in power and tone is pretty impressive, and anything under a 12 will start to sound wimpy to you. The pickups on most guitars were designed when players were using 12s or heavier. Lighter strings did not come into play, as far as I know, in the guitar world until guys like Page started coping banjo strings and putting them on their guitars.

 

Once you hear what the guitar sounds like using sets of 12s or better, you'll probably do what I did... start looking for the heaviest combo you can stand. I can't play with 12s, and the torn cuticles ripped down a quarter inch or so under the nails are a testament to my attempts. But I can handle sets made with 10s that get progressively more heavy than a standard commercial set, and that is what I used to use until I got lazy and just started buying commercial sets. But I really really really like the tone and power of the heavier sets. Wish that I could handle a heavier gauge.

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can handle sets made with 10s that get progressively more heavy than a standard commercial set, and that is what I used to use until I got lazy and just started buying commercial sets. But I really really really like the tone and power of the heavier sets. Wish that I could handle a heavier gauge.

 

I've been getting an Ernie Ball set called "Slinky Top, Heavy Bottom" (I think) which is exactly that. They go from 10 through 52 or maybe 56, & it seems to get the right blend of playability & heft in the low end. A few other brands have something similar now too.

 

Scott Fraser

Scott Fraser
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wish that I could handle a heavier gauge.

 

Me too. I had worked my way up to 11's and had been using them for years. I do bend a bit and I loved how the 11's gave me the perfect amount of resistance right at the whole step bend. Just perfect for what I do. I also heard that Vaughan used 13's and wished I had bigger stronger hands to try that. I was pushed by my jazz instructor to try 12's and I think that was one of the catalysts for my injury.

 

The Godin is really cool. I got the burst. I prefer a thinner neck profile, particularly since the injury, but I would compare it's profile to my LP. Maybe a little thiner? Don't have them with me to truly compare. The action isn't quite what I'd like. Right now it plays pretty close to the auditorium style Martin that I'm borrowing from one of my students (best acoustic I've ever touched, don't remember the model... my tech says it plays almost like an electric).

 

I like the tone of it. Just perfect for the chord work I've been using it for. I haven't had the stones to try lead on it yet. It really is nerve racking. I played it for a little under an hour yesterday. Got the perfect take for the track I'm workin on, but my hand wasn't feelin real great for the rest of the day.

We cannot accelerate the growth of a tree by pulling on its branches. - Ricardo Iznaola
Link to comment
Share on other sites

(By the way- did you get the one with the cutaway, or without?

 

Yeah, try some DR "Pure Blues" 10s with as low an action and as little relief as you can get by with; you'll like the warm sound and nice bendability of the round-core wound-strings, and the plain-steel 3rd/G.

 

If that's still to much tension, go to the 9s, and loosen the truss-rod by an eighth or a quarter turn or so; once the neck's settled into its new relief, adjust the intonation and have at it.

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

I've been getting an Ernie Ball set called "Slinky Top, Heavy Bottom" (I think) which is exactly that. They go from 10 through 52 or maybe 56, & it seems to get the right blend of playability & heft in the low end. A few other brands have something similar now too.

 

Scott Fraser

 

back in the 60s/70s, there was a 'light top-heavy bottom' set from someone. I used to make up my own sets from Ernie Ball singles, with the unwound G at either an 18 or a 20, and balanced around that going up to a 54, but those were unwieldy, typically probably between 48 and 50. They did make an unwound in a 22, but most nobody carried it.

so I'd be looking at 10, 11, or 12; 12 to 14 on a B, 18 to 20 on the G, then 28, 38, 48-52.

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've been playing a lot of semi-hollows lately. Some Ibanez Artcore and Gretsch and Gibson. I've only ever found one 335 that I've like but I'm not interested in spending that kind of money. I've liked a couple of the Artcore especially the AF75. Yesterday I played a Gretsch Electromatic that I like.

 

That Godin is a nice looking guitar and it has P90's like I was wishing the Gretsch and Ibanez had. The price is pretty good but I'd prefer a cutaway and it looks like the cutaway version is almost $1k which is a little more than I want to spend.

 

I'd be real interested in hearing more of your thoughts on the Godin. I don't think I have anywhere around where I live to go play one.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No, I didn't get the cutaway... It's a really well made guitar. Beautiful grain and smooth burst. The combination of the paint with that grain creates one of the most pleasing and warm finishes I've ever seen. It doesn't seem to translate well in the pictures I've seen online. Or I lucked out and got an exceptional lookin piece. It's a well crafted beast, beyond the aesthetics. I really do need to spend more time with playing it. I can't speak at length about the tone.

 

That's not to say that I don't have some complaints. The top strap button is mounted on the side. I would have preferred if the strap button were on the heel of the neck. Maybe I'm being picky but the strap would be sturdier if placed there. I use Schaller strap locks on all my guitars and I regret having replaced the button on this one. The wood isn't very thick and I'm worried that it will strip easier, having taken the screw out and put it back in.

We cannot accelerate the growth of a tree by pulling on its branches. - Ricardo Iznaola
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I use 8-38's on all electrics, including my 60's ES175. No fret buzz, no issues, just a superb sounding jazz box that happens to be more playable than any LP or Strat with 10's or heavier. Call me crazy - I like being crazy.

 

more playable, no doubt.

 

String that 175 up with a set starting with 12s, and LISTEN to it. The difference in power and tone is pretty impressive, and anything under a 12 will start to sound wimpy to you. The pickups on most guitars were designed when players were using 12s or heavier. Lighter strings did not come into play, as far as I know, in the guitar world until guys like Page started coping banjo strings and putting them on their guitars.

 

Once you hear what the guitar sounds like using sets of 12s or better, you'll probably do what I did... start looking for the heaviest combo you can stand. I can't play with 12s, and the torn cuticles ripped down a quarter inch or so under the nails are a testament to my attempts. But I can handle sets made with 10s that get progressively more heavy than a standard commercial set, and that is what I used to use until I got lazy and just started buying commercial sets. But I really really really like the tone and power of the heavier sets. Wish that I could handle a heavier gauge.

 

 

Bill,

 

I know what you're saying, and I don't disagree. But it wouldn't get played with 12's on it. I'm spoiled with guitars I don't have to fight, and I always get compliments on my tones, especially the 175, and guitarists are always shocked to learn that I'm using 8's. If I were a jazz purist, eschewing all fx AND tubes for that clean, dark tone that Herb Ellis popularized with his 175, then the string guage might need to come up. For the speed demon stuff I do, even with the 175, it's nice to have that effortlessness on tap. And I still do 5 or 6 semitone bends, which can play hell with the floating bridge. Granted, I'm not playing that guitar as it is intended, but it's setup enables me to trade licks with any badass with his tweaked Strat, Jem, Jackson, you name it, and not get left in his dust because my axe was too slow. Most folks don't buy this type of guitar for flat out stuff, but I was 19, and really dug the feedback! :love::rawk:

Never a DUH! moment! Well, almost never. OK, OK! Sometimes never!
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The top strap button is mounted on the side. I would have preferred if the strap button were on the heel of the neck.

 

So put one there. I do. Nothing requires you to remove the original from wherever it might be.

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

....but I was 19, and really dug the feedback! :love::rawk:

 

I like hollowbody electrics. I'm mostly using a 336 now. But the old 125, 335, Double Anniversary and other hollowbodys that I've owned .... niiiiiicccceeeee.

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I use Schaller strap locks on all my guitars and I regret having replaced the button on this one. The wood isn't very thick and I'm worried that it will strip easier, having taken the screw out and put it back in.

 

It should be fairly easy, cut-and-dry work for a good luthier who's experienced with acoustic guitar repairs and mods to put a small reinforcing "pad" of wood inside there, for anchoring the strap-button, even for a Schaller Strap Lock. It shouldn't be terribly expensive, either- not super cheap, but not unreasonably priced, either. It would give you security and peace of mind, especially if you could use the Strap Locks without any worries.

 

If you do use Schaller Strap Locks:

 

* DEFINITELY secure the threaded-hardware that mounts on the ends of the guitar-strap with some blue or even red Loctite thread-locker; just a tiny dab applied to the threads of the fastening hardware, snugged down reasonably tight. Otherwise, the hardware on the strap CAN and WILL eventually come loose, and the guitar will plummet to the floor despite the Strap Locks. Those hex-nuts for the strap-borne parts of the Schallers are very thin and unreliable!

 

 

* Also- and ESPECIALLY on a hollow-bodied instrument like your Godin 5th Avenue Kingpin- to virtually eliminate mechanical squeaks and squeals that the Strap Locks sometimes make as you move around, which can ring through the body and pickups of the guitar and get amplified-

 

-apply a little dab of clear Teflon gel to the strap-button and cup/stirrup receptacle that fits to it from the strap. Radio Shack has this in an Archer-brand pen-like dispenser; great stuff! Excellent for nut-slots, string-retainers, and bridge-notches, too, for improved tuning-stability and smoother, ping-free tuning.

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ive also found the fret size affects the feel. A guy here in town has 12's on his Strat, but it has huge frets, and is quite well set up. It feels like 10's. SRV had bass frets installed on his main axe, which no doubt aided the playability.
Never a DUH! moment! Well, almost never. OK, OK! Sometimes never!
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ive also found the fret size affects the feel. A guy here in town has 12's on his Strat, but it has huge frets, and is quite well set up. It feels like 10's. SRV had bass frets installed on his main axe, which no doubt aided the playability.

 

There was a version of the SG-shaped Les Paul called the fretless wonder which had, if I am remembering correctly, (I haven't seen one since 1969 or 70) very wide frets filed very flat and low to the fretboard. Really very smooth to play at the time, don't know how it would fare today.

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ive also found the fret size affects the feel. A guy here in town has 12's on his Strat, but it has huge frets, and is quite well set up. It feels like 10's. SRV had bass frets installed on his main axe, which no doubt aided the playability.

 

There was a version of the SG-shaped Les Paul called the fretless wonder which had, if I am remembering correctly, (I haven't seen one since 1969 or 70) very wide frets filed very flat and low to the fretboard. Really very smooth to play at the time, don't know how it would fare today.

 

Sound like the early/mid '50s Les Pauls, too, which also had both that extra low, flat, wide fret profile, and the "fretless wonder" nickname.

 

I got to get my hands on a couple; when the overall set-up is good, they do play very nicely.

 

But, I'd still prefer well-executed medium/large or jumbo frets with a well rounded and highly polished, smooth feel, like the fretwork on Anderson and PRS guitars.

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I use Schaller strap locks on all my guitars and I regret having replaced the button on this one. The wood isn't very thick and I'm worried that it will strip easier, having taken the screw out and put it back in.

 

It should be fairly easy, cut-and-dry work for a good luthier who's experienced with acoustic guitar repairs and mods to put a small reinforcing "pad" of wood inside there, for anchoring the strap-button, even for a Schaller Strap Lock. It shouldn't be terribly expensive, either- not super cheap, but not unreasonably priced, either. It would give you security and peace of mind, especially if you could use the Strap Locks without any worries.

 

If you do use Schaller Strap Locks:

 

* DEFINITELY secure the threaded-hardware that mounts on the ends of the guitar-strap with some blue or even red Loctite thread-locker; just a tiny dab applied to the threads of the fastening hardware, snugged down reasonably tight. Otherwise, the hardware on the strap CAN and WILL eventually come loose, and the guitar will plummet to the floor despite the Strap Locks. Those hex-nuts for the strap-borne parts of the Schallers are very thin and unreliable!

 

 

* Also- and ESPECIALLY on a hollow-bodied instrument like your Godin 5th Avenue Kingpin- to virtually eliminate mechanical squeaks and squeals that the Strap Locks sometimes make as you move around, which can ring through the body and pickups of the guitar and get amplified-

 

-apply a little dab of clear Teflon gel to the strap-button and cup/stirrup receptacle that fits to it from the strap. Radio Shack has this in an Archer-brand pen-like dispenser; great stuff! Excellent for nut-slots, string-retainers, and bridge-notches, too, for improved tuning-stability and smoother, ping-free tuning.

 

Thinking about it, the Schallers do sound futile, but I've gotten in the habit of checking the strap regularly. These suggestions will certainly help. Thank you.

We cannot accelerate the growth of a tree by pulling on its branches. - Ricardo Iznaola
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've owned and used both the Schaller and Dunlop strap-lock devices, so that was all from personal, hands-on experience (as were my thoughts on strings and set-up); glad if it helps anyone!

 

Let us know how your hands-on R&D progresses, simpleman3441 (funny, in your portrait in your avatar-image, you look more like GargantuAnt241, maaan... ;) ); keep us posted!

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nice buy, congrats. While I enjoy playing heavier strings (.12 -.13) on my hollowbody jazzboxes I have occasionally been trying out .10 sets based on recommendations from friends. Also, I use .10 on all my solid body electric guitars. I believe that it really comes down to your unique tone/sound preferences. Lighter strings in my opinion will somewhat reduce the attack of the plucked string and it also takes out some brilliance. While this may sound negative it may actually get you closer to the sound that you are personally looking for. That said and considering that you are rebuilding physical capabilities in your hand I would try out different .009 or .10 set and see how I like the tone coming from the guitar compared to the strings it came with originally. I may find that I like the sound and at that point I'll adjust the neck relief and move on...... Again just my humble opinion. Good Luck with your new guitar
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...