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PostPosted: Sun Mar 23, 2014 7:41 am 
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Location: Clayville, RI
I've been playing guitar for almost 30 years now :oops: my main thing is fingerstyle guitar in the style of players like Bert Jansch, Davy Graham and other British 'folk, blues and beyond' style players as well as a healthy smattering of MS John Hurt, Rev Gary Davis and other fingerstyle country blues guitarists.

Anyway... for years I've slumped up the the counter and just bought whatever strings with no thought outside of gauge. Part of it is I really don't like getting treated like a heel by some 'salesperson' who's trying to upsell me or making me feel like a thief by hanging over me. I just want to browse... the clerks bottomless knowledge of what guitar strings the guy in Creed uses matters less than a hill of farts to me. I'm not a rocker, I'm not a folk strummer, I don't care what those guys do, it just doesn't apply.

Back to the point, when I try new fiddle strings I really do my homework. I have a few go to brands but to stray from my big 3 takes a lot of research and first hand experimentation. One time, for kicks, I tried some round wound fiddle strings, they were horrid - by far the most unmusical things ever. Which made me think "If I use round-wounds and they sound like a cat's-ass and flat-wounds sound good on my fiddle. Why not use flat-wounds on the guitar?"

I had looked around at flat-wound sets a while ago and all I could find was nickel-wound electric guitar sets (seemed to be aimed at Jazz guitarists) I just assumed they didn't make flat-wound strings for acoustic guitars.Then I found Pyramids, they at least don't say electric guitar on their packaging and it seems like some reviewers use them on their acoustic guitars.

I've also heard Pyramids are darker in tone than most strings. FWIW I play my guitar strings until they fall off because I don't like the sound of new strings, I know some people who love the brassy sound of a new set - but I actually *don't* like that sound. I also wish I had less 'fret-noise' especially when playing slow airs and other pieces.

So anyway at $25 a set are they worth it? Any first hand experience with them? How do they hold up to DADGAD and other alternate tunings?

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2014 6:09 am 
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I can't comment personally on the Pyramids since I haven't tried them. Yes, that Pyramid nickel set is also intended for electric/jazz guitars, but there's no law that says you can't use them acoustically. I did once put Thomastik bronze flatwounds on my Martin acoustic, and I hated them (and they were supposed to be for acoustic).

I gather you're still just thinking about the Pyramids and haven't actually tried them yet?

Obviously, a lot depends on your guitar, which you didn't identify. Also your ear, taste, style, setting, etc. But it sounds like you're saying you think your guitar is too bright, or maybe too loud, or too ringy (sustain), since the things you mention preferring - old strings, flatwounds, nickel - are basically guaranteed to kill the tone and projection of your instrument.

Maybe you're going for a punchier sound, I don't know. Do you play with fingerpicks? But maybe you're just playing the wrong guitar and you'd be happier with an arch top or a heavy old Gibson (instead of a Dreadnaught or whatever) that would let you use "normal" strings. Or try stuffing a rag or towel in your guitar.

I also play some fingerstyle, though not the blues stuff. And personally, I want my strings to give me as much tone, sustain and projection as I can get from them without working too hard. My M-36 is well balanced, and a fresh phosphor bronze set is the cat's pajamas. I don't find the phosphors too brassy, like some 80/20 strings. And the coated d'Addario EXP sets let me go for months instead of weeks between string changes. Since changing strings is a few notches below cleaning toilets on my list of things I like to do, that's a good thing.

As for string noise, it doesn't really bother me, even on slower pieces, jazz ballads, etc. It's part of what makes an acoustic guitar sound acoustic, like accordion valve clatter or flute key clicks. I notice it mostly on close recording (which I seldom do). And then there are things you can do to mitigate it, like a lighter touch and softening your callouses. To me, the tonal trade-off of flatwounds is mostly not worth it.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2014 7:05 am 
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brad maloney wrote:
I really don't like getting treated like a heel by some 'salesperson' who's trying to upsell me or making me feel like a thief by hanging over me. I just want to browse... the clerks bottomless knowledge of what guitar strings the guy in Creed uses matters less than a hill of farts to me. I'm not a rocker, I'm not a folk strummer, I don't care what those guys do, it just doesn't apply.

Man, where are you shopping, Brad? I don't think I've ever had quite that experience, or inflicted that experience on customers when I was the guy behind the counter. Sure, kids working at big box stores often don't know squat about serious acoustic, non-rock guitar. But even our local Guitar Center lets me go behind the counter, and occasionally even climb the ladder, to gape at the Wall o' Strings. As you say, it helps to have done your homework. And if anything, more often the vibe I get is that the rock guys have a healthy respect for good acoustic players, even if they know diddly about acoustic strings.

At least nowadays you can always order your own "sampler" of string sets online from Just Strings or the like, and avoid the Creedhead dudes.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2014 2:03 pm 
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My local Guitar Center is pretty much a 50/50 split between clerks that think are are better than anyone else on the planet and clerks that look like they are about to put their head in the oven. Either way - it's not good. Either they are trying to sell me something I have no want of (and getting haughty and putting me down when I tell them so) or just trying to avoid me so they don't have to do any work. They've put all the mom and pops out of business, there are a few left but they don't carry the pyramid strings.

Anyway, no - I haven't tried the Pyramids strings yet.

I have a Breedlove dreadnaught, it's very well balanced from lows to high. It sounds like a decent Martin, I like the tone and volume actually.
Here's a clip of me playing: http://youtu.be/nT8q0L2QXPQ

And these are the strings I was asking about
http://www.juststrings.com/pyramidguitarflatwound.html

I'm going to go ahead and get them anyway. Sure they are $25, but I spend about $70 on my violin strings so what the hey.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2014 7:48 pm 
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brad maloney wrote:
I'm going to go ahead and get them anyway. Sure they are $25, but I spend about $70 on my violin strings so what the hey.

That's really the only way, innit. I would bet, however, you could throw any nickel or stainless flatwounds on there, like much cheaper D'Addario flat Chromes, and get similar results. If I were the guy behind the counter, I'd be trying to downsell you. :wink:

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I have a Breedlove dreadnaught

Nice. I spent some time at the NAMM show a few months ago at the Breedlove exhibit, playing through a bunch of their instruments. (Elsewhere, I was also especially impressed by the Irish-made guitars from George Lowden, but that's OT here.)

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2014 6:27 am 
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I rue the day I put a set of flatwound 'Chromes' on my old Supertone acoustic archtop guitar, (a great swing-jazz rhythm box).
But I recall it being a Thursday, and I always rue Thursdays.

Flatwounds are great on my electric jazz guitar, but they're not what I'd call versatile. They just sound really, really good for certain clean jazz sounds. I'd assume the same applies for the Pyramids, but haven't tried them.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2014 7:15 pm 
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After some digging I realized good old Dr Thomastik makes phospher/bronze, flat-wound strings. I got a set of the Medium light gauge and I am over the rainbow with them.
http://www.juststrings.com/toi-ac112.html
They are everything I wanted. Nice and bright but not brassy tone, loads of overtones - not dull and weird like chrome flat-wounds
at all.

I didn't put them on on a Thursday, but Thursday's main downfall is that it isn't Friday.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2014 7:33 pm 
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Our local guitar stores have let me go behind the counter lots of times. Then again, I probably don't look as shifty as you do.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2014 12:25 am 
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brad maloney wrote:
After some digging I realized good old Dr Thomastik makes phospher/bronze, flat-wound strings.

Well, if you had remembered what I wrote above ...

On March 24 MTGuru wrote:
I did once put Thomastik bronze flatwounds on my Martin acoustic, and I hated them (and they were supposed to be for acoustic).

... you would have realized that sooner. :poke:

Seriously, I'm glad you found what you like. :)

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Dr. Mierzwiak: Well, technically speaking, the procedure is brain damage.


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