Etiquette on a G-string...

I did a quick search but couldn't find out whether this is an old chestnut or not...

I'm a complete beginner where G-J is concerned so excuse my possibly quite naiive question...

What, at a guess, is the choice of most of the players here and elsewhere as regards a wound/plain G-string? Is there even some sort of etiquette which suggests only wound is 'right' or does 'anything go'?

I've been using a wound G on my '40s Antoine di Mauro for the last year or so but, at the suggestion of a REAL G-J player, tried a plain G at the last change and find it to be much more useable and can get closer to the sound I want.

In general I'd suspect 'Play whatever works for you' but I'm mildly curious.

What say you good people here?



  • Its not polite to show your G String if there are children present. OTT, pretty much what works for you.

    My Dunn Ultrafox balances nicely along and across with a standard set of Argie 11's fwiw.

    I am not sure what a real gJ player is. Btw. Are there fake ones or??
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • klaatuklaatu Nova ScotiaProdigy Rodrigo Shopis D'Artagnan, 1950s Jacques Castelluccia
    Posts: 1,659
    The only person I;ve ever known who used an unwound G string was a former player in my band, a mostly electric guitarist who couldn't handle a wound G. He kept a stash of unwound strings on hand and would give me his wound G every time he put a new set on. He also refused to learn gypsy picking, afraid it might mess him up in his other work.

    There are fake GJ players, people who talk about Django in their promotional material but don't play anything even close.

    "It's a great feeling to be dealing with material which is better than yourself, that you know you can never live up to."
    -- Orson Welles
  • tommydavytommydavy ✭✭
    Posts: 25
    Please air on the side of caution when playing on the G string.......sorry, its a Baaaaach joke.
  • Thanks Ben....silly I hadn't thought of hat.
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • pippypippy New
    Posts: 12
    Thanks for the answer, Ben (and the jokes, folks). I can see how that all makes perfect sense. I'll have to do some serious back-to-backing next swap.

    Co-incidentally, Jazza, I use Argie 11s too. When I switched to try out a 'plain' obviously I had to get something with enough 'meat' so as to retain both balance and intonation as, obviously, the di M. has a non-compensated bridge. I just found pulling-off snappy whole-tone bends more accurate in 'feel'. I was also going through (literally!) wound-G's at an alarming rate...

    And just because one can Pompe their way through 'Minor Swing' or improvise a Django-flavoured 'September Song' it doesn't follow that they can classify themselves as a 'Real' Gypsy-Jazzer.
    I mean to say; even I can do that much...


  • Jeff MooreJeff Moore Minneapolis✭✭✭✭ Lebreton 2
    Posts: 476
    I think once you've tried the wound and unwound G long enough, you'll begin to hear the "Boink" that is inherent in the unwound G and the B & E for that matter.
    It has some cool sound to it, but unlike the E and B, the Boink is at a low enough frequency that it is out of character with the rest of the strings especially played open, unfretted.
    Any wound G has a tighter sound signature that is a good deal more in character with the other string set. I spose we put up with the much smaller but still out of character sound of the unwound B and E because you can't wind anything that small, but I'm sure you can hear the difference in character of the high strings vs the wound ones.
    My audience didn't seem to care and I got compliments both ways (which certainly counts but is only a rough way to measure sound). Anyone who objected was probably polite so I never heard the objection.
    I know why you asked your question cause I've gone back many times to see if I can handle the boink just so I can use those bending skills that took so long to acquire.
    For me, I'm just bending the wound G and kinda modifying the character of the bends as necessary. I play a lot more melodicly (sp?) than in the old days so I want the sound of the wound G so my G string blends nicely. It's a tough call when you have to just give up on making sounds you've come to love making (whole note bends). But each time I try it (unwound G) again, I go back to the better sounding wound string as the sound is more important as my style moves more and more away from my old ways.
    "We need a radical redistribution of wealth and power" MLK
  • well I'm not really a string bending guy much :lol:

    If I need to bend I can easily go a minor third on the sax on the high notes
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
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