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String Brands w/ Piezo's

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Does the different style of strings available make any difference if you are only using piezo's? 

For example, with mag pups, DR Blues are much warmer and darker sounding. EB Cobalt's are very bright.

Will the two different type of windings change the tone of the models, assuming you are using the same gauge strings? 

What's your experience with this? I feel like it does, but I'm wondering why it should.

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Ask 10 guys, and you'll get 10 different answers... the only thing I could see making a difference are coated strings. I suppose it's conceivable that they might interact differently with the piezos than non-coated strings... though even that's a stretch if you ask me, as those coatings are all of 1 or 2 microns thick.

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Of course, any little thing will make some difference.  But obviously magnetic properties of metals shouldn’t impact piezo sensors as they do magnetic coil pickups.  


For Variax piezo’s I believe the acoustic properties of strings have the most influence.  ‘Never used those types mentioned but I went through a phase on Vax 500 with flat wound D’Addario Chromes.  Plain 3rd.  


It greatly impacted the modeling tones compared to round wound strings.  


Mostly a “cool thingâ€, definitely more like you’d expect flat wounds to sound compared to the “piano like†boing of round wound strings. 


Brought out some interesting timbres with acoustic models as I recall?  Sorta Norman Blake dead’ish string Martin Dreadnaught tones?  


The jazz models really woke up with flats too.  


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So the guys with a JTV59, which has 24.75" scale length, do you notice a difference in sound quality between 10 and 9 gauge strings?

All of this stems from the fact that I have two problems with my 69S that has a Warmouth 24.75" conversion maple neck.

1. The maple neck is much brighter than the mahogany neck on my 69.

2. The high e, b and g strings sound warbly when playing an open E chord during a song. 

I've experimented with different brands of strings to try to tame the brightness. Sometimes I think it's working, sometimes I'm not sure it's made enough of a difference to matter.

Now I need to experiment with heavier string gauges to tame the warbly sounds. My old fingers would prefer a lighter gauge string, but not at the expense of weird tone.

I'm going to put some 10's back on it and see where I'm at. I'm going to use EBCobalts just to see if the brightness stays about the same. If style of string winding makes a difference than the Cobalts should make this guitar unbearably bright.  

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For anyone that's interested, I can say that brand and winding type does have an effect on the piezo's. I put EB Cobalts on and that guitar is now louder, brighter and has more bite than before. I A/B'd the same patch with my other 69 going back and forth several times. The difference in volume was the first thing I noticed and it's really apparent. It sounds like I turned the gain up on an overdrive about 25%. I suppose for a few particular songs this would work, but for an overall #1 guitar, this is not going to cut it. I'm glad I used the cobalts, because those are the loudest, brightest strings I know of, and it was easy to tell the difference, even though this guitar was already overly bright. 

On a positive note, the change from 9's to 10's took care of my warbling higher strings. 

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À propos string winding: Did you follow this thread?


I did read that thread, thanks. I don't think my problems stem from tuning issues. When I mention winding, I'm not referring to the wire around the post, but the actual type of steel used for the string winding.

The brightness problem started after putting the maple neck / fretboard on. The warbling strings started after trying 9's on the 24.75" scale length and was probably caused by too little tension against the piezo's. I'm learning as I go and I'm trying to share a little of that.

I'm still trying to see if I can tame this combination to make it usable. Now that I know that the type of wire the string is wound with, makes a difference with piezo tone, I'm going to try a set of DR Blues Pure Nickel in 10's. If that doesn't do the trick, I'll be licking my wounds and heading back to Warmouth for another try. 

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  • 1 month later...

Because piezos are in actual physical contact with the strings, they're way more affected by string vibration characteristics than magnetic pickups. Longitudinal string vibration, fret buzz, pick attack can all produce sound artifacts with piezos... much more so than with magnetics.


I agree that string gauge, tension, set-up (action), and winding all have more effect on piezo sound characteristics than they do on magnetics. Flat-wound strings sound warmer, "flatter" and have less sustain; round-wound strings sound brighter, are more responsive and have more sustain. These round-wound characteristics increase with string gauge, but also depend on composition (chrome being warmer-sounding than nickel-plated steel, for example). 


I've tried lots of brands, gauges and compositions and have settled on my preferences. But in general I find lighter gauges sound quirkier, especially with a longer neck. In the end, it's a compromise... Let your ears be your guide.



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