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Thread: Plectrum guitar string gauges.

  1. #1
    plectrist Ryk Loske's Avatar
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    Default Plectrum guitar string gauges.

    A very rare beast ... but is there anybody here who would have an idea of what gauges of strings to use on a plectrum.

    Thanks for any help,

    Ryk
    mandolin ~ guitar ~ banjo

    "I'm convinced that playing well is not so much a technique as it is a decision. It's a commitment to do the work, strive for concentration, get strategic about advancing by steps, and push patiently forward toward the goal." Dan Crary

  2. #2

    Default Re: Plectrum guitar string gauges.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ryk Loske View Post
    A very rare beast ... but is there anybody here who would have an idea of what gauges of strings to use on a plectrum.

    Thanks for any help,

    Ryk
    What scale length is the instrument, and which tuning do you want to play in? Also, it's helpful to know what instrument it is, and what music you intend to play.

    Answer that lot and I can help.

    Nigel

    The Session King tenor guitar

  3. #3
    plectrist Ryk Loske's Avatar
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    Default Re: Plectrum guitar string gauges.

    Nigel,

    Scale just about 27"
    Tuning CGBD
    National Plectrum
    Mostly early jazz and popular music from the early 20th century.

    Thanks for your help,

    Ryk
    mandolin ~ guitar ~ banjo

    "I'm convinced that playing well is not so much a technique as it is a decision. It's a commitment to do the work, strive for concentration, get strategic about advancing by steps, and push patiently forward toward the goal." Dan Crary

  4. #4

    Default Re: Plectrum guitar string gauges.

    I don't know the answer, but here is how I'd work it out.

    That scale is about 1 fret longer than a "standard" guitar, maybe a little more. So at playing tension, the top four strings of a guitar set would ring out at C#, F#, A#/Bb, D#. That's pretty close.

    So I'd buy a cheap set of 6-string guitar strings, put the top 4 strings on, tune to CGBD and then see how it felt. Adjust by going up or down one size depending if you want more or less tension in that string.

    I'd guess you'd want a heavier top (D) string, but the others might turn out to be about right. Or perhaps the top string will be right and all the others need to go up a size. Have fun finding out!

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  6. #5

    Default Re: Plectrum guitar string gauges.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ryk Loske View Post
    Nigel,

    Scale just about 27"
    Tuning CGBD
    National Plectrum
    Mostly early jazz and popular music from the early 20th century.

    Thanks for your help,

    Ryk

    Well, I'd go for 80/20 bronze wound to take a bit of the edge off.

    Gauges - from the treble down - Daddario

    PL012 D
    PL015 B
    BW020 G
    BW030 C


    Nigel

    Tenor guitar

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  8. #6

    Default Re: Plectrum guitar string gauges.

    Hi Ryk,
    I just joined because I saw your post. I don't come across many plectrum guitar players. Nice to know you are out there. i play a plectrum guitar and banjo and play the same type of music you do. I have an old Martin with a 27" scale and have played Vega Plectrum banjos with the same scale. I generally use 30, 24, 14, 12, as string gauges and favor phosphor bronze on the wounds, but that, I think is a matter of taste and instrument. You are fortunate to have a National plectrum, I have only seen a few and never gotten to play one. My banjo and the Martin I tune CGBD which is usual but the Plectrum guitar I always play is an EMI and I am able to tune it AEF#B which puts it in A instead of C and gives it a lot more bottom to its sound. I'll bet that would work well on your National, but you have to use heaver strings like the middle four strings of a guitar. I use 42,32,25,16 with the 3 lowest strings wound.
    Regards
    Bill

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  10. #7
    Registered User Martin Ohrt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Plectrum guitar string gauges.

    Ryk, I envy you
    I use 026, 018, 014, 011 on my Vega plectrum banjo. Maybe a guitar could use heavier strings, so I'd second Bills gauges.
    Mandolins: 1920s (?) Meinel & Herold Bowlback, 2006 Furch "Redwood MA-1" A5

    Octaves: 2004 Fender FMO-66 Flat-Top, 2015 A. Karperien 5 String Electric

    Banjos: 2007 Gold Tone IT-250F Irish Tenor, 1963 Vega Vox No. 1 Plectrum, 2016 Recording King RK-OT25 Clawhammer

  11. #8

    Default Re: Plectrum guitar string gauges.

    Can you tell me if the string gauges that are discussed here apply equally to a Plectrum guitar, Plectrum archtop guitar and Plectrum banjo? Thanks.

  12. #9
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    Default Re: Plectrum guitar string gauges.

    I don't understand what you mean by Plectrum guitar, Plectrum archtop guitar.

  13. #10
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    Default Re: Plectrum guitar string gauges.

    I've only had my Martin a short time so haven't played around with gauges. So far I've been happy with the light set below, taken from rycooder.nl which are for a short 26" plectrum. Martins are 27".

    030 020 014 011 Light
    032 022 014 012 Medium
    042 027 018 016 Heavy

  14. #11
    '`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`' Jacob's Avatar
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    Default Re: Plectrum guitar string gauges.

    Quote Originally Posted by AndyV View Post
    I don't understand what you mean by Plectrum guitar, Plectrum archtop guitar.
    Plectrum guitar

    Click image for larger version. 

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