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Wound B string?

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  • Wound B string?

    I'm hoping for a less noticeable transition from 3g to 2b.

  • #2
    I'm hoping for a less noticeable transition from 3g to 2b.


    I don't understand your reasoning, but lets assume that you have a standard scale length running lights. Your current B string will be a 0.016, and according to D'Addario's tension chart, that will have 23.3 pounds of tension tune to B. The cardinal rule when changing string gauges is to try to maintain the "stock" tension unless you have a very good reason to change it. The smallest wound string that D'Addario makes is a 0.020 and tuned to A it has 26.4 pounds of tension. They don't show it tuned to B, but extrapolating, it would be somewhere in excess of 30 pounds.

    OK, let assume that you can actually fret that puppy (its going to feel like trying to fret the Golden Gate Bridge), it won't fit in the normal nut slot, you'll have to open it out to 20 thou. Also assuming that your B string is compensated (the little notch in your saddle) this one because it has a much smaller core than the 0.016 will require that you move the saddle break forward (towards the nut). The other ironic part is that even tho it is larger in diameter than the stock B the core is smaller and will be much more prone to break, especially if you've got 30+ pounds of tension.

    If you do slides on the B it will now be noisy and if you like to bend it will be much stiffer. Tell me again why you want to do this?

    http://www.daddario.com/DAstringtensionguide.Page

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    • #3
      There's a change of tonal character, going up and down the open strings, from the wound g to the steel b. Your points are daunting and helpful - I'm going to give it a try. I have a bit of freedom with regards to increased tension - using open g with only five strings. Now, my trying this, you might ask, why not apply this experiment to a #1 string as well (if it were even possible)? The arrangement of my strings places the #1 string in the #4 position - its difference of character between the wound D and g serving an unrelated purpose.

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      • #4
        Never heard of one being made.

        I have seen unwound G strings tho....
        "I don't want to be immortalized through my work. I want to be immortalized by not dying." Woody Allen

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        • #5


          Was it Japanese?

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          • #6
            Using a string number is meaningless if you don't tune to standard pitch. What note is the string you're talking about tuned to?

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            • #7
              Some jazz guitarists use sets w/ an unwound B (Chuck Wayne and Fred van Epps immediately come to mind), but theese sets are medium to heavy in guage. And they're nickel flat-wounds...I know of no bronze acoustic sets, although you could assemble your own, easily enough.

              Keep in mind, as Freeman mentioned, that you'll have to get a new saddle and intonate it to accomodate the wound "B" and make sure that your guitar can handle the heavier guage set w/o damages.
              God(s) bless the rest of the world(s), too

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              • #8
                The core wire of even a wound G string is so thin that breakages result more often than other strings so a wound B would be even more problematic.

                Only other way to do it would be to wind a metal core string with nylon. Thomstik-Infeld do this on their "S series" and "John Pearce Folk" strings - the E, B and G strings have a core made of a flexible metal rope and are overwound with nylon tape. They are quite innovative and are really intended for use on classical guitars (they exert a tension similar to nylon strings) to produce a sound more like steel strings but I've used them on a traditional steel string guitar and they sound OK.

                Here is a set of "John Pearce Folk" strings (nylon tapewound on steel rope trebles, silver-plated copper wound on nylon mulifilament basses) fitted on my Crafter TD06:




                PS. I suppose another possible way of doing it would be to use a set of heavy gauge strings - maybe 13s or heavier - on your guitar and substitute a wound G string from an extra-light set for the B string.

                PPS. Or, even better, use an electric guitar nickel-steel wound G string for the B string. I've just checked tensions and, if you use a standard 13 gauge set of PB or 80/20 acoustic guitar strings the B string will probably be 17 thou (or thereabouts) plain steel which will exert a tension of approx 26lbs at standard E tuning. An 18 thou nickel-steel string will exert approx the same when tuned up to B. Job done.
                Howard

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                • #9
                  Fwiw, most electric sets go the other way and have plain 1st, 2nd and 3rd (and of course they are these slinky tiny little things). And many slide players (including myself) run an unwound 3rd to cut down the sound of the slide rattling on the winding.

                  Let us know what you end up doing and how it works -I'm still lost as to how you plan to tune it.

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                  • #10
                    Thank you all a whole lot. For however much it's worth, my open g string arrangement is G in the sixth slot, D in the fifth, d in the fourth, g in the third, and b in the second. I play fingerstyle and lefty, so my thumb is on the b, which is not a great pairing for clarity, unless I pop it firmly, which undermines quiet passages. Why I don't simply adjust to a lefthanded nut and saddle? Reasons of carpal tunnel, and it gains me access to a whole lot of guitars.

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                    • #11
                      Unless you're aiming for a sort of inverted Nashville tuning with the B tuned an octave low, I don't get it.
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                      • #12
                        Unless you're aiming for a sort of inverted Nashville tuning with the B tuned an octave low, I don't get it.


                        A matter of convenience. And since the charango has high strings in the middle, I went for it, and it solved my carpal issue. Problem is, I can't take music lessons. And anyone wanting to play one of my guitars has to deal with inverted open g. But enough about me.

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                        • #13
                          A matter of convenience. And since the charango has high strings in the middle, I went for it, and it solved my carpal issue. Problem is, I can't take music lessons. And anyone wanting to play one of my guitars has to deal with inverted open g. But enough about me.


                          Post a clip. I'm very curious.

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                          • #14
                            I'll cobble together a simple comparison with a 6-string open g, and my 5. Likely this evening will have something to show.

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                            • #15
                              I'll cobble together a simple comparison with a 6-string open g, and my 5. Likely this evening will have something to show.


                              Looking forward to it. I play a lot in standard open G (resonators, 12 string and sixers) and I have one reso in "high bass" G for lap sliding, but I'm always interested in something new. I'll also be interested in hearing just what string gauges you use in each slot since you are doing some rather unorthodox things here.

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