Other guitar-y things

What strings for an acoustic archtop with floater pickups


I wonder if the Ernie Ball Cobalts might be worth a try? I personally prefer round wounds over the alternatives and it sounds like you do too.

Martin used to make a set of bronze strings they called bluegrass, because the gauges were 12-56, ie a medium low end with a light top end. Maybe nickels in a 12-56 set would help the lows a bit. I would probably stay with whatever worked with the pickups best and if that's nickel then console myself that in the olden days that's all they had.


Huh? What happened to the OP??


Oh Heck I'm so sorry It looked like nobody was interested and I had maybe come to my own conclusions so I deleted the post just as you answered it. &^%(&^$*^%#^%$($^!!!!

I might just stick with regular D'addario round wounds, though I could see if Long and McWeasel could order me in some Pickels (Pure Nickels) They cost more though .Somehow it's easier of all my electrics use the same strings too.

Synopsis of original post. Carved solid wood 50s 18" archtop, Hoyer Special with floater pickups. I like roundwounds, not flatwounds, 12-52 wound G typically used. Not trying to get a conventional 'jazz sound' I like top end!

Tried: -Phosphor bronze - need to really raise the wound string poles, remove the B entirely and lower the high E to achieve a balance, bass strings a little thinner sounding.

  • D'addario steel strings (nickel plated) Lower the lowest wound strings, raise the D an G bottom out the B and raise the high E a lot to achieve balance, decent acoustic tone, maybe a little thinner

  • D'addario nickel bronze Almost the same as the Phosphor bronze above electrically, maybe very slightly more balanced, slightly better acoustic tone than the steels strings.


Hilarious that our posts crossed each other in space!


I felt bad that no-one else had answered! This place is so dead right now.


Have you tried D'addario half rounds? I've just fitted a set of these to an Epi Masterbilt archtop (round soundhole) to replace the original Cleartone strings for a 'mixed bag' gig of stuff I do from time to time with a couple of mates -- a bit of old style comping and some more conventional acoustic strumming and picking. Hoping it'll work, maybe it won't -- hard to tell at home.


I use D'Addario silk and steel. Assuming your pickup is electromagnetic I prefer using steel to bronze for this kind of hybrid application for an even amplified response.


I did ask L&M to bring in a set of the martin monels.

I'm maybe going to try the nickel bronze on a recording session tonight. Internet opinion seems to suggest they become lifeless pretty quickly.

I'm not trying to get an acoustic tone out of the guitar plugged in. However I can't help but feeling that any of the neither fish nor fowl choices are a compromise and it might almost be better to consider the guitar an electric guitar with substantial acoustic properties and just use the steel strings. My only difficulty with that was at my show last saturday my high E kept getting hung up on the neck pickup High E pole (bink bink)which to achieve balance needed to be raised a fair amount..

The next thing I might try are pure nickel electric strings (D'addario, maybe DR Blues)

Has anyone tried them on an acoustic archtop with a floater pickup(s)?

I've only tried them on my Electro 2 to see how they tame the giant bottom end potential of the old DeArmonds

I must admit I like having a guitar which can be a full on 2 pickup electric guitar, but which is also a handcrafted acoustic guitar with a strong and unique sound. I can use it for shows but also use it for practicing acoustically with my singer..


I like Daddario Nickel Bronze on my archtop I think the gauge is like 12-56.


I used those on my guitar at a session a couple weeks back and they sounded good. I'm not sure if they were that much better sounding acoustically than straight up D'addario steel strings(nickel wound). I did have to adjust my pickups and remove the B poles to get a balance. I'll post the recording when I get a finished cope, probably next week.


I put a floating pickup on my G400JV and found that these strings work nicely. For my purposes, 13s are best.


I felt bad that no-one else had answered! This place is so dead right now.

– JimmyR

It happens. Lot's of times I don't have anything to contribute, so I just stay out of it.


Are you going after a more old timey clangy/chunky sound? If so pure nickel is where I would start and then try monels. Flats help get there, but if you're prone to doing lots of bends, not ideal. Good luck!


I like heavier strings 12-52 ish with a wound G. Not much bending or blues playing. Clean sound. I don't know if I'm going for an old-timey sound. I like to have a versatile sound with nice top and bottom. I did get some Dr pure nickels but haven't put them on yet. I look up the zebra strings too.


The Martin retro monel electrics seem to sound good if slightly overpriced. Hoyer Specials were designed to be be BRIGHT and it can overpower the bottom end a little. Most archtops tend to be a bit edgy. The monels tame a bit of that top end allowing the guitar to be warmer acoustically. Seems more balanced. I found, acoustically I enjoy them more than most of the other types I've tried. Electrically they are slightly better than the nickel bronzes for balance. I'm going to give them a try for a bit. I think they'd be a good choice for an electric acoustic archtop that you like to play both ways, if you can adjust your pickups pole pieces.

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