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Pre-War strings on Gibson Archtops

mistersnappy

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 20, 2006
Messages
7,314
Hey there mavens of old Gibsons: what strings would players have used on pre-War Gibson Archtops? What gauges, as well? I have one and I'm thinking that I need to string her up correctly to get the most out of how she was constructed. Flatwound, round? Does it matter? Gracias! :dude:
 

JimR56

Member
Joined
Oct 20, 2012
Messages
560
Hey there mavens of old Gibsons: what strings would players have used on pre-War Gibson Archtops? What gauges, as well? I have one and I'm thinking that I need to string her up correctly to get the most out of how she was constructed. Flatwound, round? Does it matter? Gracias! :dude:

Is it safe to assume you're talking about an acoustic archtop? If so, are you intending to play it without a floating pickup?

A similar question came up a few years ago on the Gibson forums, and somebody advised the guy to use flatwound strings on a 1930's acoustic archtop. This made little sense to me (I always assumed that flatwounds came on the scene after the growth in popularity of amplification), so I tried to search for info online. I couldn't find anything. The site linked by Wilko is interesting, but I'm not finding anything specific about what types of strings were used on different types of guitars, or what guages. Maybe I need to look harder? Anyway, if you want an acoustic guitar to project loudly and clearly (especially on the bass side), then flatwounds still make no sense to me. If you're playing at home and don't mind a mellower sound, then that's a different matter I guess. If you're going to amplify an acoustic archtop, then either type of string should be considered.

As far as guages, acoustic archtops back in that time were generally needed to be as loud as possible, so heavier strings were more common, I think. People didn't use 9's and 10's back then, as far as I know. Maybe somebody else here will have more experience and knowledge than I do about specifics on this topic.
 

mistersnappy

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 20, 2006
Messages
7,314
Is it safe to assume you're talking about an acoustic archtop? If so, are you intending to play it without a floating pickup?

A similar question came up a few years ago on the Gibson forums, and somebody advised the guy to use flatwound strings on a 1930's acoustic archtop. This made little sense to me (I always assumed that flatwounds came on the scene after the growth in popularity of amplification), so I tried to search for info online. I couldn't find anything. The site linked by Wilko is interesting, but I'm not finding anything specific about what types of strings were used on different types of guitars, or what guages. Maybe I need to look harder? Anyway, if you want an acoustic guitar to project loudly and clearly (especially on the bass side), then flatwounds still make no sense to me. If you're playing at home and don't mind a mellower sound, then that's a different matter I guess. If you're going to amplify an acoustic archtop, then either type of string should be considered.

As far as guages, acoustic archtops back in that time were generally needed to be as loud as possible, so heavier strings were more common, I think. People didn't use 9's and 10's back then, as far as I know. Maybe somebody else here will have more experience and knowledge than I do about specifics on this topic.

Actually, its a '41 ES-300, so, its an L7 with the small slant pickup. I think I'll be trying some various heavier gauges and maybe both flat and wound. Should be fun hearing what if any differences there are.
 

JimR56

Member
Joined
Oct 20, 2012
Messages
560
Actually, its a '41 ES-300, so, its an L7 with the small slant pickup. I think I'll be trying some various heavier gauges and maybe both flat and wound. Should be fun hearing what if any differences there are.
Very cool, now where are the damn photos? :spabout

Being an electric, I would probably just go with whatever guage you're used to (as long as they're not 9's). 10's would probably be borderline, and 11's should be fine unless you really want to go heavier. I'd go with flats myself, but that's a personal preference.
 
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