Highly strung about my strings

I am currently using D’Addario .011-.52 85/15 bronze strings on my acoustic and I’ve decided I’m not keen on the sound. I think it’s the ringing on the high E string that I don’t like, it’s far to tinny.

So I’m looking at maybe swapping to a different string. My question is, are all high E strings like this or have people got a set that they really like that doesn’t sound so tinny?

Thanks. :slight_smile:

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Hey Stefan, I’ve tried a couple of strings on my acoustics. Mainly on my cheapie Yamaha.

Initially I had an old set of strings on it (probably 8 years old). 12s. Switched them after playing a while.

Put on Martin 11’s phosphor bronze and they sounded quite good to strum. Very, very noisy as far as the fretting hand though, which bugged me.

When those wore out I put on Elixir 11’s, 80/20s. The 80/20s were WAY too bright for me though - tinny - so they didn’t last long, I swapped them for Elixir 11’s Phosphor Bronze which I think sound great. Being coated there’s minimal noise from fretting hand moving. Warm sound, not bright/tinny.

My good acoustic (Maton) came with Elixir 12’s, Phosphor Bronze, which sound good on that guitar too.


I am a fan of straight up strings. Low tension, so easier to play and I felt they were warmer, but it seems everyone has their own opinion on this. With thSUS I can play 12s which I prefer, because the tension is more like 11s.
Martin Retro Monels are also pretty good this way, I have them on my Larrivee now and they are growing on me.

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Thanks @jkahn and @Jamolay I’ll pick myself some of those strings up and give them a try. :slight_smile:

Hi Stefan :grin:
I am a fan of Elixir bronze medium strings like those a lot
I also like Martins medium, do belive they are both 0,12-0,56
Never tried Daddario, so cant tell… but i do find 0,11 strings a bit «thin» sounded

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I use Elixir 80/20 Bronze with POLYWEB Coating, they’re 12-53 I prefer the Polyweb coating it doesn’t fray like the nanoweb coating

@tRONd Elixir mediums are 13- 56

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Thanks @tRONd and @stitch

If I went for 11 to 13 I guess I’d need some readjustment, where as if I went to 12’s I wouldn’t?

Yep, Stefan. I think you can do 0,12 without adjustment. But 0,13 probably not. But i am not 100% sure.

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When I went from 12s to 11s it lowered the action and made chords easier to fret (lighter strings = lower tension) so I would assume going the other way would do the reverse.

I stick with 11s on my Yammy otherwise I have to press too hard whereas 12s are like butter on my Maton so YMMV.

You can always just chop the strings off and get something different!

That’s interesting. Is that because the Maton has a shorter scale length? Or is it just set up with a lower action? I’m curious.

There are probably several reasons why the Maton works with 12s and the Yamaha with 11s.

Most likely is relief. If you adjust the truss rod so the relief is correct for 12s, then you put in lower tension strings like 11s, there will be less relief, which effectively lowers the action, but not in the right way and can risk buzz. The revers is true as well.

Sometimes, the relief will not change so much with a minor change in string tension, but that is variable. It is more that the relief didn’t change enough for you to notice a difference in playability.

The best course of action is to learn to adjust the truss rod and set the relief correctly for the strings you put on the guitar.

It is pretty easy and most guitars come with a truss rod wrench because the owner is expected to make these small, simple and frequent adjustments.

It is also important to know that “relief” is not the same as “action” and you generally don’t adjust relief in order to adjust action.

Relief needs to be correct before adjusting action because adjusting action on an acoustic guitar involves adjusting the nut or saddle in a permanent way.

First adjust the relief, then adjust the saddle and/or nut (depending on what is needed) to set the action you want. Then, every time you change the strings to a different tension set (different brand, type, or gauge) you check the relief and adjust if needed.

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I’ve tried:

  • Thomastik Bronze 11 - 52, liked the tone but they wore out fast.
  • Cleartone Acoustic Phosphor Bronze 12 - 53 hated them
  • Elixir Acoustic Phosphor Bronze Nanoweb 11 - 52 tone thin especially high E
  • Elixir Acoustic Phosphor Bronze Nanoweb 12 - 53 happy with these
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Answer is pretty simple actually, the Maton is fully setup (was setup from the factory for Elixir 12s), whereas the Yamaha I have (F310) is a super cheap mass production guitar. A professional setup would cost as much as the guitar. Using 11s is a cheap way of making it play nicely. The truss rod on my Yammy also wouldn’t turn when I tried, and I didn’t want to snap it.

Yamaha make some pretty awesome guitars btw, this isn’t a general thing, it’s just I have a super cheapie.

Like @Jamolay says, setups on acoustics are generally permanent. I set up my electric myself as it’s fully reversible and pretty easy.

Although adjusting action on an acoustic is “permanent”, it kind of isn’t.

The saddle, which is where most of the adjustment for action should (hopefully) happen, is easy to trim down, if you get over the nerves, and costs less than $20 to replace if you mess up.

The nut I think is much harder, unless you have the right tools. I would leave it to the Luthier. But even then, a replacement nut is still usually under $20.

My local luthier will make a whole brand new shaped and cut nut for $75 and cut slots if you have a fit nut for $35 (I bought a replacement bone nut from Larrivee for $9 plus shipping then $35 to cut slots right). If I don’t mess with it like the previous owner, it will last my lifetime, possibly the guitars lifetime.