Hi my friends.

I want to try to experiment with different guitar strings.

In the past, I have used D'Addario Phosphor Bronze extra light strings.

But, I just got a used but mint Taylor 110, which has strings that are

still fine, but I am not sure what brand, etc.

So, I'd like to ask, what strings do you use/prefer, for a dreadnought acoustic?

extra light, light, custom light, medium, etc?

coated or uncoated?

bronze, 80/20 bronze, phosphor bronze?

what brand? Martin, D'Addario, Elixir, Ernie Ball..??





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Arthur, it depends. I know that's the dreaded non-answer but it really does. There are a lot of variables. The setup on the guitar, the style of play you use, the attack you have when you play, the feel you are looking for and even the sound you want. 

For myself, I almost always prefer extra light phosphor bronze strings but I have an archtop that uses light strings and could probably get use some a bit heaver. I  also used to have a old Gibson Jumbo with Medium strings that boomed but was hard on your fingers if you weren't used to it. It was certainly good at building callus.  

I have used D'Addario for years with no problems but I have also used Martin and Elixer strings too. I actually like the Elixers for the coating since I have sweaty hands but I haven't found that they add enough life to the strings to justify the higher cost. Right now I have been buying some of both D'Addario and Martin for use on different guitars. 

In the end you are on the right track by doing some experimentation. Just remember that changing the gauge and even the brand may mean that the setup  will be a bit off  so once you settle on what you want, you might want to get a new set and do a setup to make sure it's optimized for those strings.  

Second Neds answer. I've been using D'Addario for years just because if it aint broke..... Besides I buy them in bulk and with all the string changes around here experimentation can get really costly.

Many acoustic guitars in North America leave the factory with D'Addario EJ 17 MED strings. On many of the guitar forums, when this thread starts, the main answer given is EJ 17s. I buy them in bulk 20 packs from Stewmac.

I stopped using lights decades ago, and never missed the super thin sound of an acoustic again. It certainly is not what they are supposed to sound like. For your 110, I would try a set, and REALLY hear what that Taylor has to offer..

Hi Arthur.

The guitar left the factory with Elixir Nanoweb Mediums.  Most likely Phos/Br'ze.

I have been using Elixir Nano-web 11-52 Phos/Br'ze strings on my Taylor 714 since I got it new in 1996.  It has a Sitka top (the original std. top for a 714 before their switch to Cedar) and Ind. RW sides & back. I switched from polyweb to nanoweb as soon as they became available. The difference between the poly (original Gen 1) & nano coatings is like night & day.  The poly's sound cloudy & feel like they're wrapped in plastic but the nano's are very nice & very articulate.

I've tried other brands, coated & uncoated, but nothing compliments my own guitar better.  So, for my own guitar, they're the most euphonic and the ones that I & it prefer. I've come to the conclusion that my guitars will tell me what strings they like the best...but only after some experimentation.  Your mileage will vary(:

Given your experience as chronicled thus far on this forum, I'm afraid you're going to have to do some experimenting.

When experimenting, I urge you to consider the following observations I've made, both on the bench & stage:

Make sure the ball ends of the strings are properly seated against the bridge plate.

All new strings must be 'stretched" sufficiently to make sure they stay in tune during playing time. Too many folks don't do this & end up blaming the manufacturer for strings that don't "hold tune too good".  Any accepted name brand of strings will be "good strings".

Brand new strings have a break in period of about 2 hours of playing time.  When you first put them on, they sound too 'zingy' and that's oft confused with string buzz. String it up, stretch the strings and play it for a couple hours (or let it rest overnight) and you'll hear how the strings will sound for their useful life.

Oh ya, for uncoated strings, I prefer John Pearse Strings.  They feel soft (just right) and have a gorgeous harmonic halo.  They have a 'beyond average' useful life, but not as long as Elixirs. 

Other GREAT acoustic strings come from D'Addario, Martin (SP), Ernie Ball (Cobalts) and DR.  Make sure you get them from an authorized distributor (like as counterfeit sets are showing up everywhere. 

I recommend using factory fresh strings. Sets that have been sitting around for years can get tarnished or rust, making the string effectively useless. Even if somebody on e-Bay has 50 sets of 10 year old Martin strings, for $10, pass on them.

After that, just wait for your guitar will tell you when it's found its favorite set. Trust'll know when that happens (:

Best of luck my friend (-:

Hey, what sort of girls do you all like - which ones are the best..........would  the loud ones suit me or do you like the quiet ones ....what about the skinny light ones compared to the thick heavy ones -   what about the ones with a wrapping on them compared to the ones without anything on them......gees, people ask some difficult questions -

But, I think Paul has given the best advice - regardless of what you buy, make sure you buy from one of the big guys who has a national reputation and a good stock turnover.   I have seen so many customers come in with a "bargain buy" of 10 sets of what turns out to be old tarnished stock that somebody has dumped on the internet.   I did this myself a couple of times in the early days until the penny dropped - and this was particularly prevalent when strings did not come with corrosion barrier packaging. 

Secondly, I would like a buck for every customer that asked me what I was doing when I stretched new strings prior to intonation/setup - as Paul also mentions.   

Regards, Rusty.    

  I used to tune my guitars over pitch then turn it down and re-tune to stretch them. I found that tuning to pitch and playing it with a flat pick for half an hour was more fun and just as good even if I do spend half of that time just tuning it back to pitch. ( Of course, I have the luxury of time to do this.) The instruments usually need a complete tuning next time I get it out but after that they usually stay very close to pitch even if it is a fairly long time before I play it again. ( Depending on the instrument, that is. I have NEVER been able to get a ukulele to do this. )

  I don't know if this is of interest to anyone here but I remember being very concerned about the cost of strings when I realized that I was going to need to change them fairly regularly. As it turns out, the real issue for me was having spare strings when I need them. 

  As a player, not a repairman, I really only need to keep at one extra set of each brand and gauge (B/G) of string sets that I use. When I buy, I never get more than two extra sets for a given instrument, at least the ones in use. I have 12 strung instruments in the house but it doesn't get too expensive because some instruments get a lot more use than others, if they get any real use at all. Since I usually only order strings when I use the last set of any given B/G, I really only order strings a couple of times a year and usually only for a couple of instrument. Guitar strings are, by far the most often used and ordered simply because I keep four that are used fairly regularly, with two that require a frequent schedule of string changes.

  If I do a repair for a friend and I end up using a set of my strings, I include the package for the strings so that they know what is on the instrument if they want to continue using and so that they know exactly what to purchase and return to me. It's turned out to be easier for me to just have them replace the strings and has, so far, insured that my stock doesn't run short because I forgot to replace a set that I didn't use on one of my instruments. 

I like D'Addario because if I did not have the colored ball ends I would have no idea where to put them..... ;)

Seriously though what the others said about it depends on many factors but for personal use D'Addario PB lights on my acoustics and D'Addario 10's on my electrics.  Not a fan of coated strings here....

And not to high-jack your thread Authur so my apologies in advance but I also wanted to mention that I am absolutely terrible at keeping fresh strings on my own guitars having to change the strings on OPG (other people's guitars...) many times a week.  Wondering if other Luthiers also suck at keeping their own instruments strung with strings that are not crispy critters....

With you on that one Hesh. The shoemakers kids always have holes in the soles. My personal guitars seem to always need strings when I pull one out to play. It's their way of telling me they want more attention.

I'm lucky... my hands don't sweat. So my strings last months. I change them when they start to sound dumb.

I've been using Martin strings since I tryed D'Addario almost 20 years ago. Never changed since then.

I remember I asked to Frank Ford (maybe 15 years ago) if my Guild should be strong enough to support Medium gauge... and he replied to me... no fear Antonio! I use Mediums (13-56) Phosphor Bronze on all of my 6 strings and Medium top/Heavy bottom (12-54) on my 12 string. Never noticed problems on the necks or tops (just a very little "physiological" belly on the bridge area of the top... but does exist real "flat" top?). I don't need and I don't like coated strings. I tune to pitch, let the guitar/s do the adjustement work of stretching by themself... retune the day after... and play. The only changements happen with the weather. In winter I have to retune down and in summer I have to retune up. Regular thermal expansion.

Ah! Rusty... I forgot to answer your question... the girls I prefer are the mediterranean ones! Black ebony hair and eyes, suntanned velvet mahogany skin, wild sensual french polysh glance, deep dred voice, curvaceous om shape (not jumbo!), and...definitely unwrapped! Ahahahah.... (but, you know, from time to time, a blonde maple one... just to taste the difference...). Am I wrong?


W e received from the factory some Black diamond strings and have not tried them yet.  I know that was maybe the frist string made so I am not impressed with the name.  What do you all think?



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