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monte65
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« on: January 23, 2014, 09:40:50 PM »

I have an OM-09 Italian Alpine Spruce purchased from Wildwood from a limited run supposedly all from a single log (and for added color the log came from the same grove as the Strad violins of yesteryear...I was told).  It is a gorgeous instrument with a sound far different than anything I have experienced.  Another poster used  "piano like" and that is as good as anything I can think of.  It is bright and clear but not like my Martin (a Hog) or a rosewood Taylor or my rosewood Guild.  I think describing guitar sound is like describing wine tastes, esoteric with a bit of flimflam.  That said, I am an olde guy with hearing in decline from loud machinery, music and Army things in my youth that went BOOM!  So after 2 years of allowing it to open up (but not played exclusively) what I am hearing (and probably not anyone else) is a great sound when individual notes are struck but some dissonance with certain chord combinations.  The sustain is go-get-a-beer-and-come-back forever, and could be relevant.  And thus my question:  Are there suggestions as to what strings might be better for toning this down just a taste so I can appreciate it more.  I have been using D'Addario phosphor bronze .011 lights.  I have some DR rare lights and John Pearse phosphor bronze .011's that I haven't strung.  Finally, for you purists that cringe at the thought of detracting from the intent of a great guitar, I play only for myself (the world is better for this) and I get much contentment from a session of noodling on the couch.  So, kindly and respectfully requested, do you string gurus have any suggestions for what I might try?
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bobw
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« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2014, 10:11:47 PM »

monte65,

I'm no string guru but I do believe the strings can make a big difference.  I have a OO from Wildwood with the same woods.  AND I had the same issue as you... almost too much resonance... perhaps a better guitarist could have managed it better than I but I started trying different strings.  I am currently using DR Sunbeams on it and they have made a significant difference.  I will continue to experiment but am staying away from any "bright" sounding strings. 

Someday I'm going to time the sustain on mine....  it goes on forever... sweet...  I attribute it to the Italian Spruce.  I've had sitka, engleman and adi guitars with EIR b/s and the only one close to my OO was the adi topped one and it was an outstanding guitar in every way, too.  It was an OM and just too big to wrestle with the old shoulder issues.

BobW... 
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ducktrapper
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« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2014, 10:16:34 PM »

The trouble with asking about strings is that by page three every string known to man will be mentioned and no one is any farther ahead. My advice is always .... Strings? Yes, six new. 
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abalone at last
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« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2014, 11:42:03 PM »

Martin Brand...Eric Clapton strings are very good!! He plays an OM size guitar....
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flatlander
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« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2014, 04:26:22 AM »

The trouble with asking about strings is that by page three every string known to man will be mentioned and no one is any farther ahead. My advice is always .... Strings? Yes, six new. 
At least the gauge part of it makes a signifigent difference. Different amount of tension. And of course coated or not. Just experiment with gauges to start with. Maybe you can figure a certain string is causing the unwanted overtones and user lighter, I would think, but maybe thicker string. I buy bulk strings and use different gauges on the different guitars.
On my octave mando it made a big big difference when I read somewhere to use Mandola strings if you had the scale length I had, instead of octave strings. Boy was I glad I stumbled across that. Bought it to life.
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hadden
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« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2014, 02:15:17 PM »

Go up a gauge. 11-52 isn't enough for acoustics.
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ducktrapper
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« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2014, 02:53:31 PM »

At least the gauge part of it makes a signifigent difference. Different amount of tension. And of course coated or not. Just experiment with gauges to start with. Maybe you can figure a certain string is causing the unwanted overtones and user lighter, I would think, but maybe thicker string. I buy bulk strings and use different gauges on the different guitars.
On my octave mando it made a big big difference when I read somewhere to use Mandola strings if you had the scale length I had, instead of octave strings. Boy was I glad I stumbled across that. Bought it to life.

Of course, it all makes a difference so ... six new strings of whatever brand and guage you wish to try and if you don't like them try another. I think we're saying the same thing basically. Changing strings is a relatively cheap experiment. But these threads occur with regularity and my experience is that if they go on a few pages my answer is as good as any. Asking which kind is like asking what flavour of ice cream everybody likes, isn't it? My saying that I prefer vanilla may not do much for your chocolate taste buds. I have a box of probably thirty sets of strings upstairs. Different brands and guages. I have another with every pick known to man and another with ten or so different capos. I almost never go into a music store without trying a guitar or buying something. In the end, as in most things, you have to suit yourself and hopefully have some fun doing it.        
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Mr_LV19E
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« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2014, 07:50:53 PM »

My guitars sound great with every kind of string I have put on them, some just seem to last longer and have a little different tone than others. I have to say though that I would use a heavier gauge string than 11's. If you have a problem with the increased tension get someone to set the guitar up properly for you because you shouldn't have any problem with 12's at the lightest  and 13's are easy if the nut and saddle are adjusted correctly.  I remember in the summer of '69 I played till my fingers bled.
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monte65
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« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2014, 10:34:00 PM »

Thank you gentlemen,  appreciate the responses. And particularly interesting that BobW had similar observations with his Wildwood 00.   I'll probably get online at Just Strings and drop a few bucks on experiments. And if I don't like the result there are plenty of street musicians hereabouts that will be pleased to accept very slightly used strings.  I had never considered going up to 12's--didn't know if I was man enough for it.  The action on my OM-09 is definitely a tad high with plenty of room for adjustment so I have to get the action dropped anyway and I"ll try them.  Again, thank you.  And Mr_LV19E, I, too did a few things in 1969 till body parts bled   

PS  Saw Tommy Emmanuel last night from the 7th row.  Didn't notice his face until the 4th song.  Incredibly technically clean, fast and amazingly versatile.  NBA size hands..I swear his thumb comes over the top of the neck to the D string and meets his middle finger at the 2nd knuckle.  I have room for a pencil when I do that
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flatlander
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« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2014, 01:41:55 AM »

Of course, it all makes a difference so ... six new strings of whatever brand and guage you wish to try and if you don't like them try another. I think we're saying the same thing basically. Changing strings is a relatively cheap experiment. But these threads occur with regularity and my experience is that if they go on a few pages my answer is as good as any. Asking which kind is like asking what flavour of ice cream everybody likes, isn't it? My saying that I prefer vanilla may not do much for your chocolate taste buds. I have a box of probably thirty sets of strings upstairs. Different brands and guages. I have another with every pick known to man and another with ten or so different capos. I almost never go into a music store without trying a guitar or buying something. In the end, as in most things, you have to suit yourself and hopefully have some fun doing it.        
Mr. Duck. First off he's talking about a specific problem with harmonics which are caused by physical characteristics, not a flavor or opinion of how a string sounds.
2nd in my opinion what does it hurt to hear pure opinion of a well worn topic anyway? Just skip threads about strings. I skip plenty of topics.
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ducktrapper
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« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2014, 05:41:15 AM »

Mr. Duck. First off he's talking about a specific problem with harmonics which are caused by physical characteristics, not a flavor or opinion of how a string sounds.
2nd in my opinion what does it hurt to hear pure opinion of a well worn topic anyway? Just skip threads about strings. I skip plenty of topics.

Doesn't make my advice less sound even if you don't like the sound of it. That advice is, by the way, try six new strings of different brands and gauges until you find one you like. And sure if all we want to do is chat, I'm guilty of raining on that parade. Sorry.   
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Danny
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« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2014, 02:26:12 PM »

     First of all I have used the term "piano like" to describe my Italian spruce/mahogany LS-03. Since it is a mahogany guitar it has a faster decay than my rosewood OM-10. Rosewood does have the lasting resonace that tends to blend the last note with the next one, especially with strummed chords. That really is the constitutional fundemental element of rosewood. So the answer may be one of tonewood and not of strings.
      Having said that I do believe strings make a difference. My beat up old hands prefer 11/52s or 12/53s. My favorite brand of strings are no longer made and I only have a few sets left. But D'Addario EXP16 OR EJ-16s are always a safe bet. I am going to restring my OM-10 with Dean Markley Alchemy GoldBronze CLs and lower the action for fingerstyle playing. Those are the strings I had on my Martin OM-21 as well, if you can find a set try them out. But they are no longer in production.
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« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2014, 04:23:34 PM »

So after 2 years of allowing it to open up (but not played exclusively) what I am hearing (and probably not anyone else) is a great sound when individual notes are struck but some dissonance with certain chord combinations.  The sustain is go-get-a-beer-and-come-back forever, and could be relevant. 
Well maybe I read this wrong, truly. But my take from what he said above is that he hears dissonance from certain chords and only certain chords. What I myself would do is try to isolate which note combination is beating against itself. Play the chord and then mute one string at a time and see if I could isolate exactly which notes are creating the bad harmonics. If I was able to isolate then, see if putting different guage on that string or strings helped. May or may not. Could be something else funny on guitar too. That being said the first thing I'd probably do, like mentioned already is indeed put a heavier set on. 
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Queequeg
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« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2014, 05:43:36 PM »

I've read this thread with some interest. I say "some" because I am not very fussy about the brand of strings I use, although I generally go with a Phos.Bronze rather than 80/20 or coated strings.
But since monte65 (the OP) has self-described as an "olde guy with hearing in decline", I am going to recommend a digital tuner first. (For the record, I could describe myself that way, too.)
And when the tuner indicates that your guitar is in tune, check the intonation on it by comparing the fretted 12th on each string against the 12th fret harmonic on each string.
You didnt say what gauge strings are on your other guitars and you didn't mention anything about your playing style, but if you are a heavy or hard strummer when you are hearing this dissonance, you could be overdriving it and/or pulling the strings out of tune with your powerful right hand. You can also pull the strings out of tune with the fingers of your left hand, either by pushing them to the side a bit as you fret instead of straight down, or if the action is too high simply by pressing them down to the fretboard.
And it hasn't escaped me that if some of what I suggested were true that you could expect to experience it on your Taylor or your Martin, but apparently you are not. So, it could be the set up and it could be an intonation problem.
Really light strings like .011-.050 will be more suseptible to pushing and bending out of tune.
I'm guessing you have guitar playing friends. Let them play your guitar while you listen. Can you hear this when they play it?
As ducktrapper says, strings are an inexpensive investment. Try some .012-.053 and see if the problem is resolved. And for <$20.US you can get a Snark tuner or similar model.
An out of tune guitar can make you crazy.

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DonW
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« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2014, 12:06:53 AM »

I use Daddario phoshor bronze light gauge on my L09 but I swap out the B and E strings for heavier gauge (.17 and .13). I play fingerstyle and find this really sounds nice.
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« Reply #15 on: January 28, 2014, 06:09:05 AM »

I've read this thread with some interest. I say "some" because I am not very fussy about the brand of strings I use, although I generally go with a Phos.Bronze rather than 80/20 or coated strings.
But since monte65 (the OP) has self-described as an "olde guy with hearing in decline", I am going to recommend a digital tuner first. (For the record, I could describe myself that way, too.)
And when the tuner indicates that your guitar is in tune, check the intonation on it by comparing the fretted 12th on each string against the 12th fret harmonic on each string.
You didnt say what gauge strings are on your other guitars and you didn't mention anything about your playing style, but if you are a heavy or hard strummer when you are hearing this dissonance, you could be overdriving it and/or pulling the strings out of tune with your powerful right hand. You can also pull the strings out of tune with the fingers of your left hand, either by pushing them to the side a bit as you fret instead of straight down, or if the action is too high simply by pressing them down to the fretboard.
And it hasn't escaped me that if some of what I suggested were true that you could expect to experience it on your Taylor or your Martin, but apparently you are not. So, it could be the set up and it could be an intonation problem.
Really light strings like .011-.050 will be more suseptible to pushing and bending out of tune.
I'm guessing you have guitar playing friends. Let them play your guitar while you listen. Can you hear this when they play it?
As ducktrapper says, strings are an inexpensive investment. Try some .012-.053 and see if the problem is resolved. And for <$20.US you can get a Snark tuner or similar model.
An out of tune guitar can make you crazy.



 +1  I think you nailed it, Queequeg.
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monte65
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« Reply #16 on: January 29, 2014, 08:07:29 PM »

At risk of overly extending this conversation, particularly since Queequeg has spoken (and I'm honored) I offer my final 2 cents. I have number of tuners which I use regularly as I never completely trusted my ear, but the Larrivee holds tune incredibly well.  My "style" is suspect, but normally flat picking with minimal fret hand bending (I left my left thumb tendon on a ski run during my feckless youth).  I have been using primarily .11 lights but like the idea of mixing sets using 12's in the higher strings.  I have a friend who gave up rock and roll semi-stardom to pursue formal classical guitar training and although not a big fan of the steel string flat top he says my guitar is extraordinary and one of the best he has ever heard.  Bottom line......there is probably nothing wrong with the guitar that a little experimentation wont cure, not to mention better fret hand technique by its owner.  And yet again, thanks for the time and info.  You are obviously a knowledgable and thoughtful group of folks and this Forum has as much class as the guitars it speaks to.
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Danny
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« Reply #17 on: January 29, 2014, 09:00:14 PM »

I noticed you have a set of DR Rare lites. I sure would give those a try. They worked very well for me when I tried them.  I'm over 60 and just can't handle too heavy a string.
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O,OO,OOO,LS,D02
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« Reply #18 on: January 30, 2014, 02:38:52 PM »

Thank you gentlemen,  appreciate the responses. And particularly interesting that BobW had similar observations with his Wildwood 00.   I'll probably get online at Just Strings and drop a few bucks on experiments. And if I don't like the result there are plenty of street musicians hereabouts that will be pleased to accept very slightly used strings.  I had never considered going up to 12's--didn't know if I was man enough for it.  The action on my OM-09 is definitely a tad high with plenty of room for adjustment so I have to get the action dropped anyway and I"ll try them.  Again, thank you.  And Mr_LV19E, I, too did a few things in 1969 till body parts bled   

PS  Saw Tommy Emmanuel last night from the 7th row.  Didn't notice his face until the 4th song.  Incredibly technically clean, fast and amazingly versatile.  NBA size hands..I swear his thumb comes over the top of the neck to the D string and meets his middle finger at the 2nd knuckle.  I have room for a pencil when I do that

I noticed that you say your guitar's action is a  "tad high with plenty of room for adjustment".  Getting that guitar properly set-up should "tame" some of that resonance.  It will also make it easier to play.  A higher action will increase string tension and usually make a guitar louder.  Take it to a good setup shop and then play with the strings.
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