Epi Archtop help!



  • I reckon the adjustable bridge will help out when I need some bark acoustically. Nice electric height tho.
  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 3,320
    Yeah nice action. Might work out with the heavy gage strings but if you switch to lighter gage might get some buzzing if you lay into them
  • Came in yesterday and sounded and plays like a dream. Has Thomastik 11s on it and there's a bit of buzzing and rattling on D and E. Think it needs at least 12's. Plenty loud with the low action. I just want the ability to play with Ear Trumpet mics and electric gigs. I think the Thomastik 12's will do the trick. Gonna get some Monel 12s too tho.
  • 13s maybe? Kinda scary to go from Argenrtine 11s tho!
  • Russell LetsonRussell Letson Prodigy
    Posts: 357
    I usually string my archtops with PB mediums (13-56) and have no problems playing that gauge--I think it's a matter of how well set up the guitar is. The Thomastik BeBop mediums (BB114, 14-55) I recently put on the Eastman 805 play nice and sound good acoustically and plugged in. They're pricey but if they continue to hold up, they're going to be my preferred string for playing out with that guitar.

    The Martin Retro mediums on my modern-voiced 17-incher (X-braced redwood over walnut) are also decent-sounding in both modes, but I'll wait on durability before recommending them.
  • @Russell Letson Yeah, but a couple or 3 packs of Martins for the price of Thomastik! Having to change is a pain tho. Guess I'll man up and get 13s.
  • Lango-DjangoLango-Django Niagara-On-The-Lake, ONModerator
    Posts: 1,857
    Just the thought of playing on 13's makes my LH sore... don't do it, RG!
    Paul Cezanne: "I could paint for a thousand years without stopping and I would still feel as though I knew nothing."

    Edgar Degas: "Only when he no longer knows what he is doing does the painter do good things.... To draw, you must close your eyes and sing."

    Georges Braque: "In art there is only one thing that counts: the bit that can’t be explained."
  • Switch to the heavier strings only if the guitar needs them. Often the increased tension of mediums will mute the tonal balance to over emphasize the lows.
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • I got Thomastik 12s on and they feel pretty good, but I can’t imagine playing heavier. Got a couple of packs of Martin Retros 12s. My fingers got frightened at the thought of 13s. Checked by luthier and rattling is nothing but my paranoia over a new guitar. Setup is good and it’s clean and smooth playing.
    Thanks for everyones’s encouragement. Gypsy gig tomorrow and Americana gig with the Eastman Saturday.
  • klaatuklaatu Nova ScotiaProdigy Rodrigo Shopis D'Artagnan, 1950s Jacques Castelluccia
    Posts: 1,665
    String choice depends on how you plan to play the guitar and what sort of sound you are looking for. If you are going to do a lot of lead playing, 13s may be a bother, but if you are strictly looking for a Freddie Green type of rhythm sound, you want the heaviest bronze strings you can stand. I'm currently using D'Addario 80/20 bronze 13s. I like the brighter sound of the 80/20, and I think that is what Freddie would have used. I used 14s for a while, but after one four-hour dance gig decided that 13s would be just fine.

    If you want to be able to play both acoustically and electrically with the same strings, the DR Zebras are pretty good, although they always felt a bit rough to me. I understand that the Benedetto floating pickup can be ordered for either steel or bronze strings.

    Also if you really want some serious volume and projection consider a solid wood (i.e., non-adjustable) bridge. A friend of mine built one for my 1946 Triumph, and the guitar, which was pretty awesome before, developed a bark like I had never heard before. Others have commented on it as well.

    You mentioned Gibson L7s. I have played several, and not one of them sounded as good to me as my Epiphone (the Triumph is the Epi counterpart to the L7). Gibsons command premium prices due to the name, but IMHO Epiphone built guitars in that era that were at least as good if not better. This of course does not apply to the current incarnation of Epiphone, which sadly is now the name of Gibson's budget brand. Far too many people today know nothing about the history of Epiphone and think it only means cheap Asian-built Gibsons.

    "It's a great feeling to be dealing with material which is better than yourself, that you know you can never live up to."
    -- Orson Welles
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