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Hi all

Trying to find the right place to post this and the Unwound Third looked like the best option.

Iíve just bought a new Gibson L-00 12 fret for playing in standard and will likely use Martin lights. Do you have any preference as to string types, and why?

Also, was now planning on using my (horribly named) Blues King for playing in vestapol, fretted and slide. Up until now Iíve been using Martin lights (80/20 SP lifetime - Iím not keen on the feel, but they do seem to last and the bronze and the coating seem to balance each other out). As Iím now going to be using this guitar solely for playing in vestapol tuned to D, will it be able to handle mediums? Wouldnít use anything else on my J-200 - I donít mind the coating here as Iím playing with finger picks - but on a small body guitar Iím a little nervous about adding medium strings.

All help gratefully appreciated.


I use Martin, Cleartone, DR Brand  all lights and 80/20 or PB depending on the guitar - experiment with them and just play with them on and let the guitar tell me what it needs. Not opposed to trying out recommendations from people who have good results and want to share. The scale on mine is generally 24 1/4 and 12 fret  - Gibson has the specs up on the bluesking which is different but maybe the pb 80/20 portion of the post is of use.

Not familiar with Blues King model, but I would contact the builder (Gibson?) and ask if the warranty still applies if you use medium strings. They'll probably laugh, cause they would be pretty foolish if it didn't. I'm guessing that this model has a short scale, which means that there would actually be less tension than on a longer scale, like a dread, where many players use mediums. If you want to get a real idea of the changes in tension, check out this string tension calculator:

In general I think you will find, particularly with mass produced guitars, that they are overbuilt to be able to accommodate whatever strings an unaware player chooses to use. I've never seen a warning label on a new guitar that says "Do not use strings heavier than light gauge or warranty is voided." I've never heard of a custom builder stating anything like this, either.

All guitars change due to constant tension. An increase of maybe 5% in tension may mean the change happens a little faster, i.e. you may need a neck reset after 28 years instead of 30, but I really don't think you need to worry about the bridge suddenly tearing off when you strum a chord a little hard.

BTW, using a plain 3rd string that is the same gauge as the core of a wound 3rd (like a plain .018 for a wound .024) will reduce the tension somewhat, and this was an almost universal practice among players in the day, allowing for far more expressive play in the strong midrange of a ladder braced or resonator guitar. Also the intonation stays the same.


I am infatuated with the D addario nickel bronze strings. They basically are monel which was used in most strings in till late 50s so you get an authentic sound. I'm using the medium lights on all of my guitars except my D 42 which I'm using mediums all the way. I flatpick on the 42 and finger pick on my other guitars which have medium lights on them. The medium lights, medium on the bottom strings and light gauge on the top strings, give it a good bass sound

Thanks for the replies. I guess the best thing to do is give everything a go and see what works. Definitely interested in trying out nickel strings, and using an unwound third. I found this string tension calculator thatís really useful. It allows you to change strings, tunings and scale length to see how that will translate in terms on tension - Looks like mediums on the blues king will be fine if itís tuned down to D in vestapol. Iíll keep and eye on the top behind the bridge just in case. Iím loving the new 12 fret. I didnít realise how much of a difference it would make having the bridge positioned a little further down the guitar. It really sings. Thanks again!


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