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  • Guitar Strings

    Posted by Greg_F_Lee on August 12, 2022 at 3:41 pm

    Please let me know if you have any advice or recommendations for guitar strings for a Washburn dreadnought. I usually play 6 to 7 times per week for about 30 minutes. Here is a list of items that are confusing me. Explanations would be greatly appreciated.

    – Gauge/thickness

    – Coated

    – Tension

    – Composition

    Thanks,

    N-lightMike replied 1 year, 8 months ago 6 Members · 17 Replies
  • 17 Replies
  • MoochasPoochas

    Member
    August 12, 2022 at 4:13 pm

    I really like Santa Cruz strings. They are fairly expensive but have a tremendous long life and unbeatable sound. My current set is over nine months a old and still sounding fine after lots of daily play time. For a dread use mid tension strings. I’ve used Ernie Balls and Martins, which sound good but that have to be changed much more often.

    • Greg_F_Lee

      Member
      August 12, 2022 at 4:43 pm

      Thanks @MoochasPoochas ! About how long will the Santa Cruz strings last under daily playing?

  • Cadgirl

    Member
    August 13, 2022 at 3:09 am

    I have only changed the strings on one of my guitars and that is only because I had to make a repair to it (bridge pulled up). I only have been using light strings on my guitars and I let them go dead before I change them.

    • Greg_F_Lee

      Member
      August 13, 2022 at 6:29 pm

      @Cadgirl , thanks for your advice. After hearing people talk about changing strings every two weeks or monthly, I was too embarrassed to admit to using the same strings for almost two years of constant playing. So it was good to hear you and @MikeGaurnier talk about going much longer between string changes.

      • Cadgirl

        Member
        August 14, 2022 at 3:53 am

        @Greg_F_Lee , thank you for your reply! I almost didn’t post because I thought i’d get a lot of criticism on this one.

      • N-lightMike

        Member
        August 14, 2022 at 10:56 am

        The cool thing about TAC and music in general, @Cadgirl , is that everyone is allowed to have an opinion because there is no science lab or court of law that can “prove you wrong”. 🤣

        MG 😀

  • Bill_Brown

    Member
    August 13, 2022 at 7:31 am

    Hi @Greg_F_Lee , I’m currently using Martin – Lifespan 2.0 Treated – Phosphor Bronze – Custom Light (11-52). I prefer the light gauge strings because I can bend notes and do other things much more easily than standard gauge strings. I put this current set on in October of ’21, and with occasional cleaning (every 3 months), they still sound good. I purchased them at my local music shop for $12.99. I mention price because a set of Santa Cruz Parabolic Tension strings are around $18.99? plus shipping (for me, around $5.00 added). I have 2 sets of these strings, but have yet to put them on either of my guitars, because I’m waiting for the Lifespan strings to go sour. Anyways, I hear great things about the Santa Cruz Parabolic Tension strings, that’s why I decided to buy them. They come in 2 varieties (although I believe they added a 3rd), Low Tension & Mid Tension. Santa Cruz recommends that the low tension strings are for short scale guitars (less than 25.4 inches scale length), and the mid tension strings are for full scale guitars. Scale length is measured from the nut to the “bone” (where the strings rest on the bridge). I have the low tension and hope that when I do put them on my guitar, I’ll be able to bend notes easily, if not, I’ll be disappointed in my decision regardless of sound.

    Good luck with your decision Greg.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 8 months ago by  Bill_Brown.
    • Greg_F_Lee

      Member
      August 14, 2022 at 4:26 pm

      Thanks for your help @Bill_Brown . I’m leaning towards taking the plunge with the Santa Cruz Low Tension strings. I too like bending the strings and @MikeGaurnier said they were better for barre chords, which I need to get better at, and fingerpicking, which I like. I would love to know how you like the Santa Cruz strings once you get them on.

  • N-lightMike

    Member
    August 13, 2022 at 11:30 am

    @Greg_F_Lee ;

    Here are the scoops Greg:

    Gauge: Thicker gauge give a louder, more distinctive tone for those using flat picking and they are popular in Bluegrass and typical on dreadnoughts.

    Lighter strings are easier on the fretting fingers and are better for barre chords, bends, strumming, finger picking, and work just fine on dreads.

    Coating: Hype, in my opinion. Many swear by it. They are more expensive and supposedly last longer. You will have to make that call.

    Tension: All strings get to whatever tension it takes to tune them. This is another marketing hype. Santa Cruz uses this term instead of gauge. The truth? Lighter strings will be at less tension to get up to tune. That’s all.

    Composition: Makes little difference to playing, makes a significant difference to tone. Try different ones and see what you like. There are general guidelines that tell you what is “brighter” or more “mellow”. I like mellow. Think of the difference between the finger strummed sound compared to the flat pick strummed sound.

    Brand: Again, most of the companies are distributors, not actual manufacturers. So, I buy Martin strings because they are excellent strings for an excellent price and that way I have narrowed the field enough to try different options and figure out what I like. If all companies and all their models were on the table, I would never have figured out what I like. I’d live in permanent confusion. Again, each to his own.

    I hope this helps. All of the above is my opinion. Take it as you want.

    MG 😀

    • Greg_F_Lee

      Member
      August 13, 2022 at 6:50 pm

      @MikeGaurnier

      Thanks for the helpful and clarifying responses to the bewildering questions about strings! I now have a much better idea of what I’m looking for. Although I love bluegrass, like you, I like to bend the strings. And Lord knows I need as much help as possible with barre chords. Because I’m also looking to do more fingerpicking, lighter strings with a brighter sound might be just the ticket.

      Thanks again, Mike

      Greg 😎

      • N-lightMike

        Member
        August 14, 2022 at 11:05 am

        I am very glad I was able to help, @Greg_F_Lee .

        One thing I will say about Santa Cruz strings is that I will never try them out of stubbornness. I don’t want to find out they are so cool that I have to buy them. Of course, for someone who keeps their strings on for a year or more, it wouldn’t be that bad. But the more a person spends on something, the more they want that product to be great. Sorta the whole self fulfilling prophecy idea. But there are an awful lot of people who have tried them and say they are great. But my Martins are great. So, I just don’t wish to open the door. That’s all. I can’t say they don’t have the most amazing tone because I’ve never tried them. Just to be clear. 🤓

        MG 😀

      • Greg_F_Lee

        Member
        August 14, 2022 at 4:10 pm

        At least you’re being honest, @MikeGaurnier . I probably will buy the Santa Cruz strings just because of the personal TAC endorsements. However, the Scottish blood in my veins keeps telling me, “You’ll never know the difference, laddie.” 😁

      • N-lightMike

        Member
        August 14, 2022 at 5:36 pm

        🤣

        What I’m afraid of is I WILL know the difference. So, just avoid the whole thing. Like I said: stubbornness. 😁

        MG 😀

  • Cadgirl

    Member
    August 14, 2022 at 4:21 am

    @Greg_F_Lee , I wanted to add one more thing. One very important thing! Your guitar may not be able to accommodate heavy gage strings. I just pulled up info on the Washburn guitars and it said all their guitars are shipped with light gauge strings, except for the travel guitar it’s shipped with extra lights. It’s just something to keep in mind, the extra tension in heavy strings could cause damage.

    • Greg_F_Lee

      Member
      August 14, 2022 at 4:00 pm

      Thanks @Cadgirl for the timely info! I was leaning toward light gauge strings anyway because of @Bill_Brown and @MikeGaurnier ‘s advice that lighter strings bend better. Mike also said they were better for barre chords and fingerpicking, which I’m trying to get better at. Still, it’s hard to imagine a dread couldn’t handle the heavier gauge. I don’t know what my current strings are.

  • Mrfredsporty

    Member
    August 14, 2022 at 6:07 am

    ever since I got my Martin hd 28 Named Marty) Ive been using one type or another of Martin Authentic acoustic strings. They are great. However, I recently switched to Santa Cruz and they are terrific! (and that is putting it mildly.) After having your strings on for so long you will think you bought a new guitar. The price is between 18 and 24 dollars but with all the money you’ve saved by keeping your strings so long it is absolutely worth it . I recommend the low tension ones. Dont worry about gauge or anything like that from Santa Cruz

    • Greg_F_Lee

      Member
      August 14, 2022 at 4:12 pm

      Thanks for the endorsement @Mrfredsporty ! I’m leaning toward the Santa Cruz light gauge.

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