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Thread: Can I get a softer sound for the Blueridge in CGDA ?

  1. #1

    Default Can I get a softer sound for the Blueridge in CGDA ?

    I appreciate that queries about strings can get a little repetative, but I'm not sure if this has been asked before. I'd like to stick with playing CGDA on my BR40, but sometimes the brightness of it is a bit too... bright for my ears, and I'd like it a touch mellower. I'm using J66s. I wondered if anyone has tried silk and steel on this kind of tenor, and if the appropriate gauges are available. I guess the tension is less, and you could use slightly heavier strings.
    Grateful for any wisdom and/or experience out there.
    "What's that funny guitar thing..?"

  2. #2
    Registered User fox's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can I get a softer sound for the Blueridge in CGDA ?

    Nylon strings sound ok on the Blueridge , you get a lot of sustain but not much volume, however I don't think you could get the A in CGDA on a 23" scale. It is just possible on a 20" scale, you could drop an octave but then the strings would be mega thick.
    GDAE works with nylon, you can get around 60lb of tension & they sound pretty good if you are in a quiet room.
    I have a couple of nylon string custom made tenors and they both sound amazing!

  3. #3
    '`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`' Jacob's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can I get a softer sound for the Blueridge in CGDA ?

    The J66s have 80/20 bronze (brass) wound strings. Phosphor bronze or nickel shouldn't sound so "bright". Individual Silk & Steels are also available. (nfi)

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    Default Re: Can I get a softer sound for the Blueridge in CGDA ?

    Silk and steel will soften the tone of the wound strings. The plain steels in a silk&steel set are usually lighter than normal too, which might not improve the treble tone. It may take a little experimentation

    I definitely would not use 80/20 strings. +1 the suggestion to try phosphor bronze or nickel.

    You could also try tuning down (a half or full step), and capo'ing up. This will reduce the tension and soften the playability, or you can compensate with slightly heavier strings.
    Jeff Rohrbough
    "Listen louder, play softer"

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  6. #5

    Default Re: Can I get a softer sound for the Blueridge in CGDA ?

    You might also consider flat-wounds. As they age they get that mellow jazz tone.
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  7. #6

    Default Re: Can I get a softer sound for the Blueridge in CGDA ?

    I can hardly put down my BR-40T with the Thomastik flatwounds. They are so slinky, and I quite like the tone. I use the Thomastiks only on the C and G wound strings and use D'aDarrio NYXL high carbon steel for the plain D and A string. The guages I order are .033, .023, .014, .010.

    Scott

  8. #7

    Default Re: Can I get a softer sound for the Blueridge in CGDA ?

    TI's are fabulous strings. Like silk.
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  9. #8

    Default Re: Can I get a softer sound for the Blueridge in CGDA ?

    Thanks for the ideas! I'll see what I can order. I don't really want to tune down and capo up, as I find sticking a capo on a small guitar rather invasive. Flatwounds, eh? I used to love the flatwounds when I played bass, so that's an attractive idea. I'll report back when I get round to doing something.
    "What's that funny guitar thing..?"

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    Registered User colorado_al's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can I get a softer sound for the Blueridge in CGDA ?

    You can also try flatwounds for electric guitar. I like the D'addario XL Chromes Flat Wound Singles.
    According to the daddario tension pro site, you could use .022 for the G and .032 for the C.
    http://stringtensionpro.com/SetBuilder?set=J66
    http://www.stringsandbeyond.com/dsichststflw.html
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  11. #10

    Default Re: Can I get a softer sound for the Blueridge in CGDA ?

    Well, I have followed Grommet's recommendations, and mounted Thomastik Nickel Flat wounds on the C & G (.033 & .023). I left the D as it was from the J66 (.014), and for the A, I mounted a PL.009 which my luthier had given me when I said I felt the high string from the J66 (.010) sounded a little too dominant.
    I did also buy the NYXL plains, which I now have in reserve.
    The feel is very nice - on both hands. It's a pleasure moving up and down the neck with the left (as I remember from bass), and for the right, it feels less like playing a cheese grater, especially when strumming with the fingers. (I don't really use a plec. on the tenor.) Mostly I finger pick or pick/strum as accompaniment. Probably a little volume is sacrificed,compared with the J66s, but that's Ok, and it feels well balanced with the light A string.
    Thanks again for your ideas
    "What's that funny guitar thing..?"

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  13. #11
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    Default Re: Can I get a softer sound for the Blueridge in CGDA ?

    I suggest that you also think about what pick you use. It can make a big difference.
    David A. Gordon

  14. #12

    Default Re: Can I get a softer sound for the Blueridge in CGDA ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dagger Gordon View Post
    I suggest that you also think about what pick you use. It can make a big difference.
    Are you talking about picking tunes, or more generally? I don't play tunes, and although I use a plectrum on guitar and bouzouki, I don't really like the sound of it on my tenors - it sounds a bit harsh to my ears. Or, if you're talking about thumb/ finger picks, I don't get on with those at all, and find that nails are quite sufficient (I only use thumb and forefinger). And with the flat wounds, it's especially nice to actually have that finger contact.
    But of course, you are right - it does make a difference. What's your preference?
    "What's that funny guitar thing..?"

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    Default Re: Can I get a softer sound for the Blueridge in CGDA ?

    Well for many years (twenty?) I only used a white Sharkfin - a Swedish plectrum readily available in Scotland. They come in different thicknesses and colours.

    However, I seem to have moved in the direction of a different pick for each instrument, which is really why I'm suggesting that you experiment.

    As a mandolinist, I don't go in for the very thick picks that most bluegrass players seem to favour.
    So (at the risk of being too geeky) here is what I am currently using or trying out:

    Mandolin and tenor banjo: .88 Dunlop
    Octave mandolin: White Sharkfin
    Lowden guitar: .60 Dunlop.

    My Lowden guitar is very loud - almost too loud, and I have been looking at ways of playing it quieter.
    I have found a significant difference in tone, brightness and volume between plectrums.

    For example only last night I was comparing the Sharkfin, the .60 Dunlop and the .46 Dunlop on the guitar. All of them had their good points; the Sharkfin was brighter, the .60 was mellower than that and the .46 was good for a very gentle sound but slightly lacked attack, so I plan to settle on the .60 for a while.
    But there was a considerable difference in sound, at least to my own ears.

    So I would say that flat wound strings and finding the right plectrum should probably make a big difference to you.
    David A. Gordon

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