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Old 04-02-2009, 02:03 PM
Tunes Tunes is offline
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Default Best Strings for Martin?

My apologies if this has been asked / answered. There was a recent thread that said Elixir strings were not a great match for a Martin.

The seller put Elixir strings on my newly aquired '93 Guild D6, which seem to work fine.

I bought another set of Elixir strings and was about to put them on my Martin. Now having second thoughts.

Forum opinions will be valued. What are the best strings for my D-35?
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Old 04-02-2009, 02:18 PM
dthumb dthumb is offline
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Those are some mighty nice guitars for a guy that has a question like this one...but,..."opinions are like..."...you know the rest.

Elixirs are what they are...either you like them or you don't. sometimes I do, sometimes I don't....I feel that way about MOST strings though.

I prefer D'addario EXP's for coated strings, myself...pb,s on spruce tops and 80/20's on Mahogany tops..

I also like Guild pb's on OM and OOO types.

All of this is subject to change with my mood, the weather and the best price I can get at any given time..

FWIW, the wind just blew in from the S.W. and I put some Elixir 80/20 polys on my Gitane D-50 and really like them......................


today...
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Old 04-02-2009, 02:20 PM
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rmyAddison rmyAddison is offline
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As the owner of a D-35 and a few other Martins I use Dr Sunbeams on all of them, second choice Martin SP 4200's.

And yes most Martin owners (check on UMGF) are not fans of any coated strings on Martins, I am in that group too.
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Old 04-02-2009, 02:24 PM
Bryan T Bryan T is offline
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Strings are cheap. Try a bunch of sets over the next few months and see what you like the best.
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Old 04-02-2009, 02:24 PM
dthumb dthumb is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmyAddison View Post
And yes most Martin owners (check on UMGF) are not fans of any coated strings on Martins, I am in that group too.
....most ANY Martin owner will tell ANY player that there is NOTHING like a brand new set of medium Martin Marquis' on any dread, too.....for a couple hours, anyway....
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Old 04-02-2009, 02:33 PM
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rmyAddison rmyAddison is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dthumb View Post
....most ANY Martin owner will tell ANY player that there is NOTHING like a brand new set of medium Martin Marquis' on any dread, too.....for a couple hours, anyway....
Actually they would say SP's not Marquis, but I agree both do not last very long which is why a LOT of folks have switched to Sunbeams, but to each his own, play what makes you happy.
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Old 04-02-2009, 02:46 PM
Glennwillow Glennwillow is offline
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Hi Tunes,

Welcome to the forum. I have owned a '67 D-35 for about 40 years. Here are a few thoughts on strings:

- I am currently using DR Sunbeams (-013) based on Rich's recommendations and they sound very good. They are almost as easy to play as light gauge strings.
- I have used Elixer light and mediums and I thought they both sounded OK, but I'm not a huge fan of Elixer strings.
- Most of my life with this guitar I have used D'Addario light PB strings. They still sound good to me, but don't have quite the volume and sparkle of medium strings.
- I am not a fan of medium strings for the fingerstyle playing I generally use. The DR Sunbeam medium-heavy (-013) are the only "medium" gauge strings I have been able to accept for playability.
- I have used a lot of Martin Marquis PB and 80/20 bronze light gauge strings and think they all sound fine, though they don't last terribly long.
- I like Martin SP strings a lot. I have used light gauge.
- The only strings I have used on the D-35 where I was deeply disappointed in the sound was a set of Cleartone light gauge strings. The guitar lost all its bass character. They stayed on my guitar for about 5 minutes. However, I have used Cleartones on some of my other guitars and they are OK there.

In other words, the world of strings is wide open to you with the D-35. I wouldn't hesitate to put the Elixers on it since you've already spent the money. But you might consider a set of DR Sunbeams: http://www.juststrings.com/drs-rca-13.html When I put these on, my wife commented that after 40 years it was like having a new guitar. I also have the DR Sunbeam (-013) on my Gibson AJ and my Taylor GS8 -- all sound amazingly good with these strings.

Have fun! Glenn
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Old 04-02-2009, 02:55 PM
Tunes Tunes is offline
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Default Thanks!

I do have an eye for good guitars (much to my better half's chagrin), but still learning how to play them to the level they deserve! I am of the opinion you can always learn something new if you are open to it.

Clearly the current Martin strings will stay on the Martin, and I will definitely pick up some DR Sunbeam and give 'em a whirl.

Thanks for the posts. Great forum.

P.S. Tried to get on the Guild forum for fun... but no luck. Maybe my next post will be to flush out those Guild enthusiasts in the crowd.
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Old 04-05-2009, 08:55 PM
PastorSteve PastorSteve is offline
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I put the factory strings on my guitars unless I'm looking for a different sound. If you liked the strings/sound that came on your Martin guitar - replace them with the factory provided Martin strings.
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Old 04-05-2009, 09:03 PM
imwjl imwjl is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmyAddison View Post
As the owner of a D-35 and a few other Martins I use Dr Sunbeams on all of them, second choice Martin SP 4200's.

And yes most Martin owners (check on UMGF) are not fans of any coated strings on Martins, I am in that group too.
+1 to the Sunbeams. I have used them on different models from Martin & Larrivee and they are (were) good on all of them. Go by the diameter of the sets and not the labeling (med, light etc...)

Wind them with care and crimp per the directions because round core strings are a bit different.

The other strings I like on my Martins are D'Addario EJ and EXP and the Martin Marquis PB (not SP versions).

I say just try some and have fun.
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Old 04-05-2009, 09:18 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan T View Post
Strings are cheap. Try a bunch of sets over the next few months and see what you like the best.
Exactly. I prefer John Pearse strings on mine, generally Pearse 80/20 bronze on rosewood guitars and Pearse phosphor bronze on everything else. But try a bunch, see which you like.

As for the theory that the strings that come on the guitar from the factory somehow being the authoritative first choice that should be adhered to, well, you can believe that if you like. But the strings that get chosen and used in bulk at these various guitar factories are usually chosen for reasons other than optimum tone: it has more to do with price and favorable merchandising agreements than anything else.

As a rule, it's only the small shop operations like National, Goodall, Froggy Bottom and so forth that actually choose the strings they send their guitars out with for reasons of tone alone, and they can do that because they aren't churning out so many that getting a better price break on the strings would make any real difference to them.

When Elixirs came out with their coated strings, that was a real game-changer, and guitar factories started using the Elixirs NOT because they liked the tone (most senior guitar company management types I spoke with actually didn't like the tone of Elixirs much at all, especially not the original Polywebs,) but because the coating on the strings helped keep the guitars sounding better longer when handled by a succession of grubby-fingered customers.

If you ever see a hang tag on a new guitar that reads "We recommend Such and Such a brand strings for our instruments" it's not there because anyone at the guitar company actually thinks that brand sounds better on their guitars, but because they got a better bulk price from the string manufacturer if those hang tags went on.

So it's a business deal, pure and simple. That is literally all there is to it.

Since Martin manufactures strings as well as guitars, naturally Martin guitars are going to feature Martin strings. Again, it's just business. It would be fairly pathetic if they DIDN'T use their own strings, wouldn't it?

So take this for what it's worth. I'm not knocking Martin strings: I've used them and like them just fine. But the point is that you can use any brand of strings you like, and really should experiment with a wide assortment of them before you settle on those that you prefer.

Hope that makes sense.


Wade Hampton Miller

Last edited by Wade Hampton; 04-05-2009 at 09:20 PM. Reason: spelling
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  #12  
Old 04-05-2009, 09:30 PM
Play2PraiseHim Play2PraiseHim is offline
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I use John Pearse or D'addarios on mine.
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Old 04-05-2009, 09:32 PM
tagmike tagmike is offline
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This is always a HUGE topic - especially the Elixir Pro/Con debate.

The notion that most Martin players don't like Elixirs is far from accurate. The majority of hard-core professionals I play with like them, and I have them on a couple of my guitars. The main issue is durability; Elixirs are generally very consistent and hold up to heavy play for longer than most other strings. They are also very expensive.

I did a lot of experimentation with my D-35, and settled on John Pearce 80/20 12s. They give me maximum volume, with better trebles to keep up with the D-35's powerful bass. Most other strings on my guitar, especially 13s (mediums), tend to be a little "thuddy." Elixir 12s work just fine, but the JPs are a tad brighter, and last as long as I like to keep strings on the 35 (about 2 weeks).

Sunbeams have a round (rather than hex) core, which makes them feel softer/lighter than the equivalent weight in other strings. They are especially popular with people who are transitioning from playing electric guitar with extra-light strings, or who just like a light-feeling action. I think Martin FX strings are pretty much the same.

Personally, I don't like the feel of the round cores, because it doesn't seem like they are "there" if I really want to dig in. Lots of people are happy with them, though.

The bottom line is, nobody can tell you what string to use. Listen to the opinions of the great people here at AGF, and at UMGF, then experiment and find what floats your boat.

- mike
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  #14  
Old 04-05-2009, 10:39 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tagmike View Post
The bottom line is, nobody can tell you what string to use. Listen to the opinions of the great people here at AGF, and at UMGF, then experiment and find what floats your boat.
Precisely. None of us have your ears and hands, none of us have that individual guitar that you own. It's all going to depend on your own needs, tastes and preferences.


whm
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Old 04-05-2009, 10:57 PM
ewalling ewalling is offline
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So far (I haven't had my Martin that long), Martin 80/20 SPs and D'Addarios 80/20 bronze have sounded good. EXPs seemed to muffle the sound, so my impression goes along with what others have said: coated strings may not be the best bet.
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