Other strings on GJ guitars

Anyone has used other string types on gypsy jazz guitars?

Electric guitar strings like the below, have similar gauges as most GJ sets, although the 3rd string is not wound.

Anyone tried electric guitar strings? How do they sound in GJ guitars?

I'm asking because they are cheaper and readily available everywhere.


  • MikeKMikeK Asheville, NCNew Altamira M-10, Epiphone Zephyr Regent
    Posts: 379

    Interesting question. I've never tried a full set of electric guitar strings on a GJ guitar, but I would advise against it. At the risk of sounding too philosophical, I would say that most things should be used as they're designed/intended to be used. If the cost is the factor, I would consider this: I played in hard-working jam bands for years with gigs every weekend & I always changed my electric guitar strings ($3/set) each Friday afternoon so that they wouldn't break & would feel & sound lively for the weekend's gigs. So that would be $12/month for dependable strings. Nowadays I play an average of 10 GJ gigs each month & change my strings once a month, at a cost of around $10. (I buy Argie's from Michael at the bulk discount rate). And they always sound & feel great, just starting to reveal their age at the time of the next string change. Again, dependable strings, easily ordered & shipped to your door, but at a slightly lower cost. And there's less work & waste involved, both of which are important factors to me. Others may feel different here, but that's my view on it. I hope it's helpful.

  • Russell LetsonRussell Letson Prodigy
    Posts: 355

    Matters of cost aside, I would think that nickel electric sets (especially with an unwound third) would have a different timbre from Argentines or, say, bronze-wraps. I know that's the case with my archtops, which is why for the acoustics I stick with phosphor bronze sets.

    FWIW, years ago Michael Dunn told me that he used to use bronze sets on his guitar--I suppose because Argentines were not then easily available in North America.

    If you're looking for a more affordable and available alternative to Argentines, you might try silk & steel or silk & bronze--though the latter don't come in the very light gauges that traditional gypsy strings do.

  • pdgpdg ✭✭
    Posts: 451

    I recall someone posting once that Stochelo was using nickel strings at one point because he was mostly playing with an electromagnetic pickup. But I don't know if that's accurate.

    If you try nickel wound strings, I'd switch out the plain 3rd string to a wound one.

  • wimwim ChicagoModerator Barault #503 replica
    edited March 2023 Posts: 1,445

    I have not tried electric strings, but for a while I did use an unwound third (G) string on my gypsy guitar (talked about that here). I just used Dean Markley acoustic guitar strings, and the rest Argentines. The reason was that the G on argies wears out so damn quickly, they're gone much quicker than the rest of the set.

    It worked great with the steel G, actually! The sound was good, vibrato was better, and it picked up well on a magnetic pickup. Even for the tunes which have melody notes down on that string, I think it even sounds better. Did that for several years and I can recommend that, if the problem/expense with the Argies is mainly due to the weak G.

  • juandererjuanderer New ALD Original, Manouche Latcho Drom Djangology Koa, Caro y Topete AR 740 O
    Posts: 205

    I have an old Ibanez RG 170 that is/was considerably cheaper than any GJ guitar out there. I've used strings like the ones in the OP picture on it. It sounds great.

    I've used silk & steel and similar strings on my GJ guitars. They work well but I always end up coming back to Argentines or Optimas.

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