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Archtop guitar strings

woodamandwoodamand Portland, OR✭✭✭ 2015 JWC Favino replica
in Welcome Posts: 226
I picked up my Guild the other night, first time I have played anything but my GJ guitar for like a year, and wow did it seem strange! I didn't realize how much more tension there is on my big jazz box.
I have been using .12 flatwounds, but I am just wondering what other folks are using, wondering if there are any strings that may give it a bit more acoustic sound. Looking for any suggestions, especially from people having guitars with big P90 style pickups.
Thanks in advance


  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 2,691
    Is it solid wood or laminate? So it has P90 built in pickups? Not sure what to say if it is an electric with pickups that kind of is the sound. Bronze strings won't work that well with the pickups but you could try nickel round wounds rather than flat wounds. They won't be as dark.
  • Russell LetsonRussell Letson Prodigy
    Posts: 209
    I've long used bronze mediums on my (carved/solid) archtops, even for the ones I plug in, but eventually decided to try DR Zebras, which retain a decent acoustic sound but drive the mag pickups better. Also tried a set of Martin's resurrected version of the monel alloy but didn't much like the sound or the lifespan. Flatwounds just don't cut it for acoustic sound, though if the Guild is has laminate top, it's not going to sound terrific acoustically anyway.
  • woodamandwoodamand Portland, OR✭✭✭ 2015 JWC Favino replica
    Posts: 226
    It is a laminate top, and not exactly P90s but the Guild single coils, much the same is is an X175B so it has that big full jazz body. It is not like I am expecting it to sound great acoustically, not really designed for that. I may try the DR Zebras and thanks for the suggestion
  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 2,691
    BTW if you want to use bronze strings you could probably get Seymour Duncan or someone to wind you a special pickup that would work better with them but then you probably would not want to switch back to nickel without changing back to the original pickup.
  • woodamandwoodamand Portland, OR✭✭✭ 2015 JWC Favino replica
    Posts: 226
    Probably, but a heck of a lot of trouble. I should just realize that one guitar won't work for everything......surprise, surprise............I have been using the D'Addario Flat Tops on my Harmony archtop which sounds pretty cool, but a way different guitar than my Guild. I mean, with the Lace pickup on the Harmony, I get a pretty damn good acoustic sound, but with the big single coils on the Guild - hard to say.
  • BonesBones Moderator
    edited November 2016 Posts: 2,691
    Also I'm assuming that you are talking about playing in a semi acoustic situation and just using the amp as reinforcement. At high amplification to probably will have feedback issues if it is a true hollow body.

    BTW, I've had no problem in the past getting custom pickups from SD. I can see if I still have a contact number for their custom shop if you want.
  • woodamandwoodamand Portland, OR✭✭✭ 2015 JWC Favino replica
    Posts: 226
    It is a full hollow body but I don't play at high volumes and I can turn away from the amp. No need to dig up the number, but thanks much for offering.
  • bluetrainbluetrain Finland✭✭✭ Cach, Epiphone Triumph, Gibson ES-300
    Posts: 156
    I think the best acoustic sound comes with D'Addario Phospor Bronze strings. I prefer 13s but 12s are ok also. Thomastik-Infeld strings are also my favourites. I prefer the Bebop strings 14s or 13s. These works with magnetic pickups also well and doesn't feel as stiff as you would expect.
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