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Thread: Strings-n-picks

  1. #1
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    Strings-n-picks

    The more I play the more my eyes/ears open to things I used to take for granted but now are very important. I play Blues, just an fyi to help with the following.........

    Strings; not so much because I am good with mine but right now I am kinda of upset with my D'Addario's because both on my S2 SC and my Ovation I am finding dead strings out of the box. So, before I go hoofing it off to GC to buy a new set(s) of strings I was interested in your opinion on string brands, what do you use and why do you like them?

    Also before heading out to GC tomorrow, I have another question, this time on picks. Awhile back I was given a handful of picks by GC. I also received a 88m Nylon Dunlop pick with my dad that just passed away with his Hollow Body Epiphone guitar. I noticed the plastic GC pick was noisy when I hit the strings while the Dunlop wasn't so noisy. So, same question on the picks, what do you use and why?

    Thanks so much

  2. #2
    Yippy ki yay! xjbebop's Avatar
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    You're gonna get many different answers...but fwiw,
    I prefer cobalts and V picks...
    I love technology.... when it works....

  3. #3
    Senior Member sleary's Avatar
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    I use d'addario nyxl and prs strings. Both have never had a problem with yet.

    Picks. ...omg I'm picky about that lol..

    Dava jazz, great picks and very comfortable to play
    Planet waves black ice 1.14 guage... Pretty good pick, nice sharp point and great for metal,blues and jazz
    Dunlop lutes jazz III....great tone and great attack
    2013 PRS DGT,2011 PRS CU24, 2015 Esp Ltd Ironcorss, 2015 Esp MH2015
    1988 Washburn G1V
    Mesa rectroverb 25 ,Marshall 1960/Saxon 2x12

  4. #4
    I use PRS strings; they're pure nickel wound, and are made for PRS by D'Addario. Pure nickel sounds and plays differently than nickel plated steel. I haven't had any dead strings when new, and they last a long time. Nickel strings aren't as bright, and have a traditional sound. You might like them for Blues.

    As to picks, yes they make a very significant difference!

    Here are the ones I use:

    Blue Chip Jazz 40, Jazz 50, and Jazz LG 40 and 50. I also use TD35s with my PRS acoustic. These have a very beautiful, tortoise-like tone, and are also very expensive custom order items. Very full range, lovely high end. Very fast release off the string, easy to hang onto. I've already got 7-8 months out of mine, and there's no sign of wear.

    Dunlop Black Tortex Jazz III 1.14 mm. Smooth, even sound on warmer side. Not a lot of plastic "clack" on the string. Not as bright as Ultex.

    Dunlop Ultex Jazz III 1.38 mm. Brighter sound than black one above, more fundamental tone, doesn't release off the string as fast as Blue Chip, sounds a bit more plastic but subtly so.

    Dunlop Ultex Sharp 1.38 mm. Close to Blue Chip, but a bit more plastic "clack" on the string, doesn't release as fast as Blue Chip

    Dunlop Eric Johnson Jazz III nylon. Fast, kind of a different sound than the Tortex and Ultex, with a finger grip that makes holding the pick easier, though I don't like the feel of it. It's a good pick for all around use, though.

    PRS or Fender celluloid. For acoustic guitar, there are times you want the sound of a celluloid pick for strumming. I use mediums mostly.

    Pick rules of thumb:

    Picks with pointier tips are more precise and can be faster to play. Thicker picks also come off the strings a little faster than thin picks because the rebound is lower, however, thicker picks sometimes make strumming harder. So I keep different thicknesses around.

    For a lot of players, the tone of real tortoise shell is the holy grail; however it's an endangered species, and sale of such picks is illegal. They don't wear well, either. A company called Red Bear makes an artificial tortoise shell pick. Blue chip picks are also close to this holy grail sound, and both the Red Bear and Blue chip are many times the cost of the plastic picks. I think they're worth it, but it's a very personal thing.

    There are companies making picks from stone, wood, leather, metals, you-name-it.

    Music store picks generally sound like crap (to me) but then there are guys who swear by them! so there's that. Have fun experimenting!
    I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken...

    Website: http://www.elfxi.com

  5. #5
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    Is there a difference in 'pure Nickle' and Nickle wound?

    An obvious price difference I see now...Wonder if it is worth it?
    Last edited by Emrys; 07-21-2014 at 04:44 PM.

  6. #6
    Have been using D'Addario. XLs for years and can't say I have ever run into a dead set and I go thru a lot of strings. As far as picks, Fender Medium in Celluoid, been using the same for many years. YMMV.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Bill SAS 513's Avatar
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    Have always used nickels on bass and guitar..I think there's less excessive noise...finger squeaks, fret rattles, etc...get my bass strings from CarĄ!^ via mail to save some dough??? Bass strings can get pricey. Any of the other major brands for guitar in 10 - 46 nickel work for me. And as far as picks, I use the ones with a "cat tongue " texture for better grip. In .73 and .88 (the red and black ones) Brain picks is what they're called, I think.

  8. #8
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    After using Herco .76 for decades I've switched to Tusq .88 and 1.0.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Emrys View Post
    Is there a difference in 'pure Nickle' and Nickle wound?

    An obvious price difference I see now...Wonder if it is worth it?
    Yes, there are significant differences.

    Pure nickel wears longer; once the plating is off the plated nickel strings, the strings are dead. Plating is thin and wears off quickly.

    Pure nickel is gentler to the frets; nickel is fairly soft, steel is harder and wears frets faster. Again, when the plating wears off the plated ones, the steel also oxidizes faster and wears the frets even worse.

    I also think nickel sounds better, but that's just a personal thing. However, there's a reason PRS ships its US guitars with pure nickel.
    I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken...

    Website: http://www.elfxi.com

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by LSchefman View Post
    Yes, there are significant differences.

    Pure nickel wears longer; once the plating is off the plated nickel strings, the strings are dead. Plating is thin and wears off quickly.

    Pure nickel is gentler to the frets; nickel is fairly soft, steel is harder and wears frets faster. Again, when the plating wears off the plated ones, the steel also oxidizes faster and wears the frets even worse.

    I also think nickel sounds better, but that's just a personal thing. However, there's a reason PRS ships its US guitars with pure nickel.
    I agree Les, been doing some research on my own and between what you have said and what I have read elsewhere, pure nickle is the way to go........I have to get me some of those bad boys....

  11. #11
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    Hmmm, I have to say that I've had the Mira for months and have yet to change the strings as they still sound good and ring like nobody's business. I'll have to get a few sets of PRS strings.

  12. #12
    Member MistaSnowman's Avatar
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    Ernie Ball Cobalt Skinny Top Heavy Bottom strings and Dunlop Max Grip picks .88 and 1.14
    My Gear
    2014 PRS SE 245
    2013 PRS SE Custom 7
    Ernie Ball ST/HB Cobalt Strings

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by NomadMike View Post
    Hmmm, I have to say that I've had the Mira for months and have yet to change the strings as they still sound good and ring like nobody's business. I'll have to get a few sets of PRS strings.
    Back in ancient times (the 60s) when nickel strings were the standard, electric guitar players didn't change strings nearly as often as they do since the companies came out with the plated strings.

    Acoustic guitar players were always stuck changing strings, because they'd get dull so fast, but now the coated strings have ameliorated that problem.
    I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken...

    Website: http://www.elfxi.com

  14. #14
    Taco Flavored Kisses nosidamde's Avatar
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    Ernie Ball STHB, because I enjoy the feel and tone for the music I play. (I use these on all my electrics except for the SE MM)

    Dunlop Nylon 1.0MM or Dunlop Nylon Max Grip 1.00MM, because they seem to work best with my pick attack style for lead and rhythm playing.
    2014 PRS Mark Tremonti - 2011 PRS "Stripped" 58 - 2013 PRS SC250 Artist Brazilian - 2007 PRS McCarty Korina Brazilian - 2013 PRS SE MM Baritone - 2014 Archon - 2014 PRS 2x12 DB BigMouth X2

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by xjbebop View Post
    You're gonna get many different answers...but fwiw,
    I prefer cobalts and V picks...
    Cobalts are the only set of strings I have put on a guitar and then promptly removed them. The wound strings were very unpleasant to me in both feel and sound. I'm going to give the M Steels a shot at some point.

    For me.....regular Slinkys

    As for picks, either the Dunlop ultex Jazz III Max Grip or the ultex John Petrucci signature picks. You simply cannot put wear on either of those picks.

  16. #16
    The Force is weak in ^^ mezzio's Avatar
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    I only use Earnie Ball strings... usually super slinky or regular slinky. I did just pick up a pack of cobalts to try, but don't really feel like changing my strings at the moment, lol. I've tried other brands, but I either didn't like how they felt, or they corroded really fast. I've never seen EBs corrode on any of my guitars, they just eventually start sounding dull.

    I also picked up some cheap EB earthwood strings for my acoustic, and they've lasted longer so far than any other strings I've put on that cost far more (cleartone, nano web, and some other "expensive" set that were supposed to be corrosion resistant).

    As for picks, Dava rock control have been my recent "go to" pick... although I have to modify them which annoys me. I just sand down the ridge between the grip and the picking surface so it doesn't catch on my strings. For acoustic I'm happy with plain old thin cellulose. I personally don't like nylon picks because I think they're too loud. I've played around with other materials too (other than cellulose) but they didn't feel right to me.

  17. #17
    Yippy ki yay! xjbebop's Avatar
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    fwiw- I honestly don't play enough to change string often. I tried the cobalts on a couple of guitars and was impressed with the sound and stability, but couldn't really give a long term test result yet.
    I've read some bad reviews about the M-steels...sounds like those are not doing well...
    I didn't know about the pure nickle vs plated thing... that's very interesting.
    Also, I did get some packs of PRS strings some time ago, and was -very- impressed with those as well....hmmm....
    Good info here...thanks!
    I love technology.... when it works....

  18. #18
    ToneConsoleOfDoomOwner Sekunda's Avatar
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    I agree with Les on his answers… he has a lot of experience in these matters

    I use PRS .10 - .46 strings (electric) and Martin Lifespan Light .12 - .54 (acoustic)Dunlop Tortex .60 (orange) for electric and .73 (yellow) for acoustic.

    I find the PRS strings are warmer sounding (more mids) and keep their sound for quite a bit longer as compared to the GHS Boomers I used before.

    My suggestion would be to try as many options as possible and see what works for your playing and what sounds good to your ear… Good luck!
    ~ Matt

    Quote Originally Posted by LSchefman View Post
    Son, the HX/DA is a man's amp. One channel, not two, 50 watts of red hot glass crankin' out a tone that's big as...well...it's big.

  19. #19
    Senior Member jfb's Avatar
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    Elixir on everything. I use 10 and 11 gauge depending on the guitar.

    Red Bear Picks. I use Style No. 9 in Extra Heavy and no additional mods.
    Plank Owner

  20. #20
    PRS Addiction CoreyT's Avatar
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    Ernie Ball Super Slinkie Cobalts on all of my guitars, and those Dava Rock Control picks.
    I have tried a lot of strings and picks since the late 60s early 70s, and I think what I use now is the best I have tried so far.

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