String gauge realization...

I bought a Cigano GJ-15 last summer as a way of getting back into gypsy playing...I had fallen out of the style, and was playing mostly bop/hard bop styled electric jazz on my Heritage 575, which was set up with .013s but had a very few action and very loose feel, due to the 24.75" scale...

Anyway, the reason I kind of gave up on gypsy guitar the first time around was how rough it was on my this time I went with a shorter scene instrument, and .010 gauge strings as a way of getting re-acclimated...

So after 6 months of .010s, I decided to go up to .011s, and right away I noticed a negative impact on tone...the midrange became more "lower midrange," and the rhythm tone became very "wet" and boomy.

I played through it for a month or so, but got frustrated and tried .010s again...and wouldn't you know it...all back to normal. Great tone, dry, crisp, no muddyness or bass heavy overtones...

Something to be said for finding the right strings...I'll take the decrease in volume any day!


  • vanmalmsteenvanmalmsteen Diamond Springs ,CANew Latch Drom F, Paris swing, Altamira m30d , Altimira Mod M
    Posts: 181
    I agree, I like the attack I get on 10’s
  • pdgpdg ✭✭
    Posts: 74
    Yeah, I agree. I think it's a combination of string gauge, scale length, action, neck relief, pick thickness and roundedness/pointiness, how close or far from the bridge you play, and, finally, the particular guitar.

    Also, I find that sometimes the slightest adjustment of the truss rod makes a huge difference in the tone.
  • adrianadrian AmsterdamVirtuoso
    Posts: 475
    For me, the sweet spot has been 10s for everything except the high E and B strings (where I use 11s).
  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 2,819
    Yeah on a short scale I like 11s on the high E and B strings if not the whole set.
  • Andrew UlleAndrew Ulle Cleveland, OH✭✭✭ Antoine DiMauro modele Django
    Posts: 489
    I personally think the 10's set of Argentines sound thin on my short scale, 12-fret DiMauro. I've used 11's and hardly notice the difference as far as difficulty in fretting chords, and I think it sounds noticeably fuller. But I've never tried using just the B (0.015) and E (0.011) with the 10's set E A D G.
  • pdgpdg ✭✭
    Posts: 74
    Another possibility that I don't hear talked about is using a .0105 (i.e., a "10 1/2" ) string for the first string. They're readily available at some music stores and online.
  • mac63000mac63000 Tacoma, WANew Geronimo Mateos Jazz B
    Posts: 96
    I had a similar experience when I threw a set of Argentine 10s on my guitar. The tone is wonderful and the playability is great, and I can't tell if there's a real noticeable drop in volume. The guitar still sounds gruff for rhythm but maybe a bit sweeter overall. I agree, simply changing strings can be very enlightening.

    That being said, I'm thinking about getting a second bridge made that's just a touch shorter to bring down my action a smidge, which might be a bit higher now that we're out of winter. I kept a few case humidifiers around but feel like things still changed a bit. The neck is dead straight and I don't feel the need to adjust it, so the bridge is the next logical adjustment after string size, right?

    Does anyone else play around with different bridges and string gauges based on the seasons? I've read about needing to shim bridges but it might be nice to have a couple different ones to alternate instead. If not, should I just stick to the 10s and enjoy my guitar as is? Is the grass always greener?
  • pdgpdg ✭✭
    Posts: 74
    This is probably heresy, but a very, very minor adjustment of the truss rod (like one number on the clock) can change the feel of the strings as well as the tone and volume. A well-known gypsy jazz luthier, who also plays, told me he does that sometimes.
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