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  • Medium vs Light Strings

    I have always played with medium gauge strings on my acoustic (Sigma DM3) but I just got a new Alvarez AD60CK a few months ago and it came with light gauge D
    The best piece of advice I ever got was when John Mayer told me, "Don't be a name dropper."

  • #2
    If you like the sound of the mediums and the sore fingers don't bother you then it is obvious... keep the mediums!
    (Tubefox) I can't decide if I like it. I mean, I'm a fan of obscenely pointy guitars but...It looks like a cross between a flying V, a horseshoe, a viking axe, and an anorexic teenage girl.



    Go here for my guitar pr0n. Warning: not safe for GAS-o-holics!

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    • #3
      I definitely like the sound of the mediums, but when I saw the action change so dramatically, it made me concerned. Is the extra tension something to worry about?

      It's a brand new guitar after all, and it is an Alvarez, so I would expect it to be well-constructed. The thing won't pull apart just because of the higher tension, will it?

      Like I said, I never would have given it a second thought had I not seen the action change so much after I put the mediums on.
      The best piece of advice I ever got was when John Mayer told me, "Don't be a name dropper."

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      • #4
        If it changed that much (should be VERY subtle), then I'd recommend putting lights back on it. EXP16's are my "standard, go-to" strings, and that's what I'd recommend on your Alvarez.
        Yamaha LS6
        Yamaha FG730S
        Alvarez MD350

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        • #5
          I definitely like the sound of the mediums, but when I saw the action change so dramatically, it made me concerned. Is the extra tension something to worry about?

          It's a brand new guitar after all, and it is an Alvarez, so I would expect it to be well-constructed. The thing won't pull apart just because of the higher tension, will it?

          Like I said, I never would have given it a second thought had I not seen the action change so much after I put the mediums on.


          I wouldn't worry so much about the action issue - sounds like a normal neck reaction to higher-tension strings, especially since your guitar came to you set up with lights, and you've corrected the problem by adjusting the truss rod.

          What I might worry about more is certain top woods in conjunction with mediums - like cedar or redwood. Your guitar's top is dao... I know zip about dao. I'm thinking you should be fine, but you may want to shoot an email to the Alvarez folks. I had a similar question recently when I wanted to slap some mediums onto a Martin 000 - I asked here, and also emailed Martin. Turned out to be no problem.

          Congrats on your new Alvarez!
          I guess I kinda lost control, because in the middle of the play I ran up and lit the evil puppet villain on fire. No, I didn't. Just kidding. I just said that to help illustrate one of the human emotions, which is freaking out. Another emotion is greed, as when you kill someone for money, or something like that. Another emotion is generosity, as when you pay someone double what he paid for his stupid puppet.I.K.F.C.E.S.C.Potato SocietySAWG

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          • #6
            Most decently built guitars will handle mediums, although not all sound best with them. My guess--and that's all it is--is that dao flexes more than other woods in response to string tension because normally a change of one gauge shouldn't produce a significant change in action. It may be that this specific guitar needs to be strung with lights. Are you keeping the guitar properly humidified? That could explain some of the change as well.
            Official HCAG “Theory-Challenged Hack”
            Member of the IBANEZ ACOUSTIC ASSASSINS
            Proud Member of The Alvarez Alliance
            Member of the Schecter Society
            Person-2-Person on the Web

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            • #7
              I'm thinking you should be fine, but you may want to shoot an email to the Alvarez folks. I had a similar question recently when I wanted to slap some mediums onto a Martin 000 - I asked here, and also emailed Martin. Turned out to be no problem.

              Congrats on your new Alvarez!


              Why didn't I think of that?

              I emailed Alvarez here's what they said:

              "We do not test these guitars with medium gauge strings, so we cannot give good feedback on what might happen if you use them. I would personally opt to go back to light gauge."

              They responded in less than 5 MINUTES! I would recommend Alvarez to anyone base on their service alone.
              The best piece of advice I ever got was when John Mayer told me, "Don't be a name dropper."

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              • #8
                Alvarez service is stellar. I had a question about my 2-piece saddle, and they answered me quickly and thoughtfully. They also sent me another bone saddle part (for the treble side) to try, free of charge (it was their suggestion).
                Yamaha LS6
                Yamaha FG730S
                Alvarez MD350

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                • #9
                  Any intonation issues with the string change? I had a ovation that would only intonate with .010s and it sounded great with .012s on it but only at the cowboy chord position. By the 5th fret the intonation was wrecked and I didn't want to relocate the fixed bridge or bugger up the saddle pad so I was stuck with light guage strings on that one.
                  Remember These Daze

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                  • #10
                    Any intonation issues with the string change? I had a ovation that would only intonate with .010s and it sounded great with .012s on it but only at the cowboy chord position. By the 5th fret the intonation was wrecked and I didn't want to relocate the fixed bridge or bugger up the saddle pad so I was stuck with light guage strings on that one.


                    I couldn't say. I only play cowboy chords.
                    The best piece of advice I ever got was when John Mayer told me, "Don't be a name dropper."

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                    • #11
                      Normally, I'd say you should go with the mediums if you like them better, though changing string gauges really shouldn't change the action appreciably. If Alvarez recommends that you go back to the light gauge strings, I would probably do as they say. Stringing most guitars up with mediums won't cause a problem, but it sounds like you're probably better off sticking with lights...no sense in risking your guitar for a slightly heavier string.
                      Guitars: Seagull S6+CW, Epiphone LP Standard, Ovation CU247, Gretsch G5120, Seagull S12 (w/ JJB Prestige 330), Martin GPCPA3 Mandolins: Mid-Missouri M-2, WWII-era Octave MandolinAmps: Fender Princeton Chorus, Marshall AVT50H/AVT412, Crate VC120HEffects: EBow > AKG Wireless > Boss TU-2 > Boss PH-3 > EHX Doctor Q > Dunlop 535 Wah > Boss OS-2 > Boss EQ-20 > Boss CH-1 > Boss NS-2 > Boss RV-3
                      LHGCC Participant ~ Jimmy Caper

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                      • #12
                        If you really miss the mediums but are worried about potential Ill effects based on the response of the Alvarez folks, you may want to try using mediums, but also tuning down a half step. I do this on all my guitars - half for playing comfort, half for vocal comfort. Mediums tuned down a half step are lower tension than lights tuned to standard pitch. If you don't like the lower pitch, you can always slap a capo on the first fret.
                        I guess I kinda lost control, because in the middle of the play I ran up and lit the evil puppet villain on fire. No, I didn't. Just kidding. I just said that to help illustrate one of the human emotions, which is freaking out. Another emotion is greed, as when you kill someone for money, or something like that. Another emotion is generosity, as when you pay someone double what he paid for his stupid puppet.I.K.F.C.E.S.C.Potato SocietySAWG

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          If you really miss the mediums but are worried about potential Ill effects based on the response of the Alvarez folks, you may want to try using mediums, but also tuning down a half step. I do this on all my guitars - half for playing comfort, half for vocal comfort. Mediums tuned down a half step are lower tension than lights tuned to standard pitch. If you don't like the lower pitch, you can always slap a capo on the first fret.





                          this is exactly what i do. Works great.

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                          • #14
                            Well, I took the advice of Alvarez and went ahead and changed back to lights. It may have been my imagination, but I could swear it looked like the bridge was pulling up from the top with the mediums on it.

                            Anyway, it still sounds great with the lights and is way easier to play.

                            P.S. I have a slightly used set of medium Elixir Phosphor Bronze if anyone
                            The best piece of advice I ever got was when John Mayer told me, "Don't be a name dropper."

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                            • #15
                              . . . I emailed Alvarez here's what they said:

                              "We do not test these guitars with medium gauge strings, so we cannot give good feedback on what might happen if you use them. I would personally opt to go back to light gauge." . . .

                              Personally, I find it worrisome that they can't tell you what would happen if you put mediums on it. This is one huge drawback of many Asian made guitars, IMHO. If you e-mailed Martin, they could tell you for certain whether a given guitar was built for mediums. Undoubtedly the same with Taylor or Larriv
                              Official HCAG “Theory-Challenged Hack”
                              Member of the IBANEZ ACOUSTIC ASSASSINS
                              Proud Member of The Alvarez Alliance
                              Member of the Schecter Society
                              Person-2-Person on the Web

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