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mbengs1

Acoustic strings that are easy to bend on

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I've seen some vids on youtube showing guitarist bend strings on acoustic quite easily. I tried it on my acoustic and it is pretty hard. it currently has 12's on it but I think it's still hard to bend on with 10's for acoustic. Are there strings out there designed to solve this problem? like it still sounds very much like acoustic strings but as easy to play solos as on electric. are they called earthwounds by d addario?

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Posted (edited)

You can fit electric guitar strings to an acoustic if you want to - gauge for gauge there is not a huge difference in the sound. But really the only way to achieve easy bending is to use light strings with a low action - and you can get a lower action on an electric guitar than on an acoustic.

 

Other than that it's down to finger strength.

Edited by garthman
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I have to wonder three things:

 

A: how did it sound, and;

B: was it some sort of acoustic/electric guitar or arch top/hollow body, and;

C: was he plugged in?

 

I'd bet that he was plugged in otherwise it would sound like bees buzzing. I'd also give his frets - and maybe even his fingerboard - six months to live unless he switches to silk and steel or nylons.

 

Been there, done that. I destroyed an acoustic with nickle frets and rosewood fretboard by putting .008 gauge GHS Boomers on a garage sale find that resembled a Gibson Dove and thinking I could play like Eddie Van Halen. The guitar deserved better. It was beautiful to behold but the tone was terrible because of those strings and the way I played it. I've since learned my lesson and now even put .11s on my electric. I toughened up and put .13s on my acoustic and limit my bending to about a 1/2 step. It's enough. I don't want to sound like Django. With acoustics it's about about the tone, though there's something to be said about the rich clean tone of a Strat with heavy strings as long as you stay away from the bridge pickup.

 

The thing will acoustics are is that they function well because of why they are so hard to play. The tension of a thicker string transmits better than a thinner one and the guitar is built to a fine balance of being just structurally rigid enough to take that 300 pounds of tension without imploding upon itself. Ironically, the lighter the guitar and the thicker the string the better the tone. The guitar's setup also suffers. Without the pull of the strings on the truss rod the neck is going to want to be straighter and the result is that the action is going to be lower. The slots in the nut are also going to be wide to accommodate a thicker string too so the strings will constantly be pulled out of tune from all that wild bending.

 

If you want a steel string flat top acoustic to sound like a violin though it can't be with steel strings alone; it needs help. Like I said, nylon strings are also an option, but such guitars are also lightly built (often with a cedar top instead of spruce) and usually have some sort of sound board transducer pickup system married to an internal microphone. That setup will give a more natural tone but that's a very sensitive setup and WILL feed back unless the volume and gain are very low.

 

Not to totally dissuade you though. There are other "acoustic-like" alternatives. As I said, acoustic/electric flat tops will be somewhat more heavily built and equipped with a pickup system and preamp to counter that. It doesn't totally get around the feedback issue but many plug the soundhole to try and alieve that. Others go with a "chambered" or hollow body electric equipped with humbucker pickups that have a "fatter" than what you'd get with a piezo pickup on a flat top or a single coil pickup. From what I've seen, a lot of fingerstyle jazz players like Martin Taylor prefer that type of guitar.

 

It all comes down to this: steel string acoustics are rhythm instruments with percussive qualities. They're very versatile but for playing melody alone they're not ideal. The good news is that it gives you an excuse to have more than one kind of guitar in your stable! ;o)

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10's are about as light as you're going to find for an acoustic. You can use those and tune down to D standard but it won't sound like much. Or you can improve your playing/finger strength. Or live with the fact that electric and acoustic guitars are different and are played differently. Sure, you can do bends on an acoustic but that's not really what acoustic guitars are for.

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Finger strength. Once you have that, and it can be developed, the question answers itself. I don't play steel string much but it has 13s. I can manage them well enough but going a half tone up is all I find necessary in any bend for acoustic work. Trills, OTOH...

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Finger strength. Once you have that' date=' and it can be developed, the question answers itself. I don't play steel string much but it has 13s. I can manage them well enough but going a half tone up is all I find necessary in any bend for acoustic work. Trills, OTOH...[/quote']

 

I do a fair amount of string bending; not extreme, but sometimes multiple strings (2 or 3 at a time) on acoustics with 12-53 sets.

Yeah. It's finger strength.

If you've been mostly playing electric, this is likely under-developed for the acoustic guitar.

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I do a fair amount of string bending; not extreme, but sometimes multiple strings (2 or 3 at a time) on acoustics with 12-53 sets.

Yeah. It's finger strength.

If you've been mostly playing electric, this is likely under-developed for the acoustic guitar.

 

Queequeg! Hello - where have you been?

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