strings and the effect on tone of their interaction (?)

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Antony Grenney

May 2, 2021, 4:57:03 AM5/2/21
I have a very inexpensive all laminate mahogany guitar among my little 'arsenal' on which I have tried a few different gauges and types of string. I've tried a set of bronze 12-54, and silver-plated strings from eBay, both 11-50 and 12-53, that are a lot better than I could fairly expect - silver-plated acoustic guitar strings have been a bit of a revelation, both feel- and sound-wise and I wish there were more options, gauge- and brand-wise. (Black Diamond sell them in 13-56 but there are no UK stockists and having them sent since Brexit is more than a nuisance.)

I didn't like the trebles in the set of 11s, an 11 and a 15, just seemed too faint and thin. Yesterday because I'd put a magnetic pickup on this guitar, a £25 Artec, I tried some quite slinky nickel strings, Rotosound 11-48. The 2nd string is a 14, and I'd thought this would be bad and not something I'd stick with. This guitar is now sounding its best, acoustically and with the pickup, and the 11 and 14 gauge strings sound sweet and kind of what I'd hope of a much more expensive guitar. It's not psychological, as I've more than got used to mediums on my other guitars. I recalled the Elixir set which runs from 13 to 53 as used on some Taylor guitars and wondered about this. The string set as a whole does seem to matter, does that sound right? The way the tension of the strings interacts seems to confer different properties on individuals strings. The 11 and 14 with this current set sound better than the 11 and 15 in the 11-50 set I'd had on before, even to ears and hands that enjoy heavier strings.

Do people here find this? I suppose it's 'physics' but it feel kind of spooky, as if approaching harmony with an instrument and cajoling it to 'be itself'. I'm condemned to enjoy relatively cheap instruments but I always think if I could get a Martin D28 it would bore me because it just would sound like a Martin D28. As things are I arrive at something very enjoyable through struggle. (I would say that.)
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