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Author Topic: Nickel Round Core Acoustic Strings?  (Read 1369 times)

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Offline Westside

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Nickel Round Core Acoustic Strings?
« on: January 29, 2013, 06:51:41 PM »
I thought that it would fun to put the same sort of strings used in the '30s on a couple of parlors from the same era and see how they sound and play.  From what I've read it seems that the strings from back then were nickel round cores.  Am I right about this?  Also, it seem that most players played with an unwound 3rd which makes me think that an electric set of strings might come the closest to what was actually used.  So far I've found that DR makes a set called PURE BLUES: http://www.stringsandbeyond.com/drpupunielgu1.html

Do these seem to be comparable to what might have been used in the '30s?

Does anybody have any other suggestions?
« Last Edit: January 29, 2013, 06:53:03 PM by Westside Ryan »

Offline alyoung

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Re: Nickel Round Core Acoustic Strings?
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2013, 04:52:17 AM »
I've been playing so long 'til I can remember when you couldn't get brass/bronze/PB etc strings -- it was all steel. And I still use 'em on several instruments. One is a small Stella from the early 20s; it has always had nickel strings (013-056) -- and it sounds so good that I've never even thought of using brass/bronze.I also use nickel strings on my Nationals. Bob Brozman says you shld use bronze strings on Nationals, so just once, I put a set of phosphor bronze on my Style 0. It sounded like shit (to use the technical expression) and I went straight back to nickel. There are still plenty of nickel strings around -- it's just that are all called "electric guitar" strings now. The 013-056s I use are D'Addario J22s; my Spanish-neck tri-plate seems to like slightly lighter strings, so it gets D'Addario J21s (012-052). Both have wound Gs; I'm used to that so I've never too much fooled with plain Gs on acoustic guitars. But overall, I figure that if the instruments were made in an era when nickel strings were the norm and they sound good with nickel strings ... why switch? (If it was good enough for Son House, it's good enough for me.) 

Offline jrn

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Re: Nickel Round Core Acoustic Strings?
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2013, 06:07:07 AM »
Cool. I've always been interested in the strings that were used back then. I've never took the time to experiment though. I guess I just assumed that those types of strings weren't made anymore. I too can remember reading where Brozman recommended PB's. My single cone needs a new set of strings. I'm going to slap on a set of J22's.

What would ya'll say the main differences in tone and sustain are between the two types?

Jason
Quitman, Mississippi

Offline alyoung

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Re: Nickel Round Core Acoustic Strings?
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2013, 12:24:38 AM »
To me, the nickels are brighter and crisper than the brasses; not a lot of difference in sustain. On the single-cone National, I thought PBs gave a harsher sound than nickels. I recall another player telling me loftily that if I wanted to eschew PBs (his choice) on my Stella in favor of nickel, "you'll lose a lot of volume". Bollocks. 

Offline frankie

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Re: Nickel Round Core Acoustic Strings?
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2013, 03:54:05 AM »
I use nickel strings all the time - the two sets Al mentions above: D'addario EJ21 and EJ22, depending on the guitar. A while back I tried some round core nickel sets and found that the strings tended to develop buzzes faster, particularly the 3rd string, although that may have more to do with my playing style. In general, the difference in sound was so minimal between the round and hex core sets that the general availability of the EJ21 and EJ22 sets makes them a slam dunk for me. ymmv.

Offline alyoung

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Re: Nickel Round Core Acoustic Strings?
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2013, 05:08:47 AM »
Brass/bronze/PB can be better sometimes. I've got a Martin 00-17 and a Guild 212XL 12 that definitely prefer PB. But they're the only "mainly blues" guitars I have that do; rest are all nickel. It's their choice -- I firmly believe guitars tell you what strings they want. (Oh, and Frank's quite right -- the D'Addario strings I cited are EJ21 and EJ22, not J21 and J22 as I had them. Might make a difference when you're ordering from Elderly)

Offline jrn

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Re: Nickel Round Core Acoustic Strings?
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2013, 06:54:05 AM »
Thanks guys

I just went to the D'Addario site. These are the jazz mediums right?

I've always found the plain g thing interesting. Seems there were guys who preferred it all those years ago. Bukka White comes to mind. Seems like I remember Mr. Miller suggesting using one to acheive a more vocal like quality for Cottonfield Blues by Akers and Calicott. I've also heard it suggested for Patton's Green River.  You would think that for as long as electrics have been around, that more people would prefer the unwound third. But anybody I know of that's tried it, didnt seem to care for it, and switched back.

Interesting indeed! I'm definitely gonna give the EJ22's a go.

Jason
Quitman, Mississippi

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Nickel Round Core Acoustic Strings?
« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2013, 08:19:49 AM »
I use nickel strings as well, mostly. I tried the round cores and like Frankie didn't experience a very discernible difference. So since the D'Addarios are readily available, that's what I get. I swap out the third for an unwound string, so didn't notice buzzing.

jrn, if you do a search from the top level forum page on "unwound third string" you will get a bunch of interesting results.

Offline alyoung

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Re: Nickel Round Core Acoustic Strings?
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2013, 03:22:58 PM »
What gauge plain G do you use?

Offline jrn

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Re: Nickel Round Core Acoustic Strings?
« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2013, 07:57:05 PM »
Thanks guys !

Uncle Bud- I'm gonna do that search in just a minute. Thanks.

One thing I'm unsure of guys, if I'm understanding it right, there's a difference between round core and round wound? And I see there's a hex core too?

Jason
Quitman, Mississippi

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Nickel Round Core Acoustic Strings?
« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2013, 09:16:41 PM »
What gauge plain G do you use?

I had been using ghs 021 but have been dialing that back a bit to 20 and even 018. Haven't decided on preference. These tend to be long and unreliable experiments for me as I am lazy about changing strings. And actually prefer deader wound strings. The nickel wounds seem to last forever.

Offline slidnslim

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Re: Nickel Round Core Acoustic Strings?
« Reply #11 on: March 02, 2013, 06:15:28 PM »
I've seen a colored photo of Booker White and he had the bottom three Bronze or Brass and the top three plain,
I've talked with people who were  playing guitar in the 40's and there was bronze or brass strings back then and before! its only phosphor bronze was in the 70's,

Kenny,

Offline RobBob

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Re: Nickel Round Core Acoustic Strings?
« Reply #12 on: March 02, 2013, 07:46:24 PM »
Newtone Strings in UK makes a very nice round core nickel acoustic string.  GHS White Bronze get my vote for summertime in the humid SE USA

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