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guitar strings - does anyone know what elvis used

Sun Jul 14, 2013 3:31 am

hello ,

we talk about the guitars elvis owned and me being a guitar buff as some are here also i wondered if anyone knew what guitar strings elvis used or perfered . James may be able to answer this question , but for elvis having a guitar around most of the time and also playing rythem on some track's i wondered what he liked to use . there was probley not many brands aroudn at the time , being a guitar player and having a thousand brand 's to choose from i am still a martin and co string fan , but elvis pick would be cool to know . thanks

Re: guitar strings - does anyone know what elvis used

Sun Jul 14, 2013 4:21 am

Probably Black Diamond, Gibson or Martin strings. Or whatever was available at the time.

Re: guitar strings - does anyone know what elvis used

Sun Jul 14, 2013 9:54 am

Yes - interesting about the size of strings.From the sound of his gibson j200 during the 68 special I would say no lighter then .010

Re: guitar strings - does anyone know what elvis used

Sun Jul 14, 2013 9:57 am

Since I need new strings (two are broken at this point), could someone point out the pros and cons of lighter vs. heavier? Thanks.

rjm

Re: guitar strings - does anyone know what elvis used

Sun Jul 14, 2013 10:54 am

Back then in the fifties and sixties there were heavey strings, just like Hank B. Marvin ( lead guitarist of the Shadows ) said...i think there were 011
Hank used 013

Re: guitar strings - does anyone know what elvis used

Sun Jul 14, 2013 5:35 pm

Lighter gauge strings are easier on your hands because of less tension, but with medium gauge strings you get more tone and volume. Medium gauge is what I use on all my guitars in the studio.

Re: guitar strings - does anyone know what elvis used

Sun Jul 14, 2013 11:39 pm

Tension is right , medium's are heavier gauge and will be a stiffer string to play . i perfer light's because i think the less tension will benefit the guitar over the years . if i was playing in a big band on stage in front of a big crowd then medium's would problay sound better and stand out . but from just playing at the house and church light's have never let me down . i have alway's been a martin string guy and have used phospher bronze but i am going to try 80/20 next on my martin to see how she sound's . thanks for the input .

Re: guitar strings - does anyone know what elvis used

Mon Jul 15, 2013 5:47 am

Thanks! I want ones with less tension so they won't break. They got old, and I messed up the tuning, and broke one, then another went.

Thanks again.

rjm

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Re: guitar strings - does anyone know what elvis used

Mon Jul 15, 2013 5:56 am

You're welcome. Here is a video "crappy qualiy" of me and my friend goofing off many years ago. Both of these are my Martins...the older one "1939" also has medium gauge strings. Medium gauge is what you want for bluegrass or flatpicking.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rWvmAcxjaLM

Re: guitar strings - does anyone know what elvis used

Mon Jul 15, 2013 7:51 am

That was neat! Thanks for the performance. :D

I'll go with the lighter ones; my stubby fingers don't move that fast! ;)

rjm

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Re: guitar strings - does anyone know what elvis used

Mon Jul 15, 2013 8:39 am

Heaveir gauge strings gives you more of a full,richer tone eps. when playing open cords.
while a lighter set gives you more flexable,bending notes ect.when picking lead and riffs and yes more easier on the fingers for sure.
I would think James Burton or Scotty would know the answer to which gauge he used.

Re: guitar strings - does anyone know what elvis used

Mon Jul 15, 2013 12:28 pm

Most acoustic guitars don't have any kind of adjustable intonation, unlike electrics. They work on a kind of "go for the average and hope for the best" basis. The thinner the string, the more likely it is that a guitar will sound out of tune when fretted, although it depends on the quality of manufacture of the instrument as well. A cheaper guitar will be a lot more forgiving if you use heavier gauge strings.

Re: guitar strings - does anyone know what elvis used

Mon Jul 15, 2013 12:48 pm

If you get a good quality built guitar like a Martin, you can use medium and light gauge strings and the intonation will be perfect. Also it helps to have a good setup guy to adjust the saddle or the adjustable truss rod if need be.

Re: guitar strings - does anyone know what elvis used

Mon Jul 15, 2013 5:24 pm

Fairchild1171 wrote:Probably Black Diamond, Gibson or Martin strings. Or whatever was available at the time.


Exactly. I doubt he had a personal preference though, probably ones that would break easy. I've never seen anyone break as many as he did.
I did a page up last year on what was in Scotty's L5 case pocket when one of the later owners got it, though I expect what was in there was more likely what the later owner used. http://scottymoore.net/casecandy.html As was speculated, I suspect Elvis at the time used whatever was currently available. Its not likely he was particularly concerned with his sound. In the later years Charlie probably would've been the one to answer that.
Last edited by JamesVRoy on Mon Jul 15, 2013 6:01 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Re: guitar strings - does anyone know what elvis used

Mon Jul 15, 2013 5:28 pm

Fairchild1171 wrote:If you get a good quality built guitar like a Martin, you can use medium and light gauge strings and the intonation will be perfect. Also it helps to have a good setup guy to adjust the saddle or the adjustable truss rod if need be.


I hate the recommended saddle height for Martins, at least the way they did my 53 up when it went in for a neck reset. They make it so tall so it drives the top you can practically walk under it. Loud though.

Re: guitar strings - does anyone know what elvis used

Mon Jul 15, 2013 6:44 pm

More importantly, I want to know the exact date that Elvis last changed his OWN guitar strings.

Thanks in advance.

Re: guitar strings - does anyone know what elvis used

Mon Jul 15, 2013 6:46 pm

Martin builds great guitars...but strangely enough, they are not the best when it comes to repairing or setting up a vintage Martin. Folks like John Arnold, TJ Thompson and Wayne Henderson are the ones to do repair and setup work. Also Gruhn Guitars in Nashville has a great bunch of repairmen.

Re: guitar strings - does anyone know what elvis used

Mon Jul 15, 2013 6:52 pm

Fairchild1171 wrote:...but strangely enough, they are not the best when it comes to repairing or setting up a vintage Martin.


They'll as much as tell you that too. I had some stuff done by Elderly before and have to say I'm not 100% satisfied either.

Gruhn's just moved their store out of the downtown area. I used to like going into the old place when in town but I bet they got sick of the tourists.

Re: guitar strings - does anyone know what elvis used

Mon Jul 15, 2013 6:54 pm

Rob wrote:More importantly, I want to know the exact date that Elvis last changed his OWN guitar strings.

Thanks in advance.


I would bet it was sometime before Red started touring with them.

Re: guitar strings - does anyone know what elvis used

Mon Jul 15, 2013 7:02 pm

I've known George for many years...his new place is at better location. Another great place to check out in Nashville is former Gruhn employees, Christie and Walter Carters...Carter Vintage Instruments.

Re: guitar strings - does anyone know what elvis used

Mon Jul 15, 2013 7:06 pm

Where will he be putting his pets? I remember when Walter was with Gibson, then went to work with George on a couple of things. I didn't know though he had his own place. I'll be through there in a couple of weeks but unfortunately this trip I doubt i'll have much time to check out the local stuff.

Re: guitar strings - does anyone know what elvis used

Mon Jul 15, 2013 7:16 pm

The Pirate wrote:Most acoustic guitars don't have any kind of adjustable intonation, unlike electrics. They work on a kind of "go for the average and hope for the best" basis.


Gibson and Fender both experimented and offered acoustics with adjustable bridges in the '60s, Gibson with more success. Gibson used a variation of their tune-a-matic bridge that replaced the section of the bridge where the saddle sits. They were put on most of their top end models at the time like the J200s and Doves at least. They weren't all that popular though and went away in the '70s. Fender was never big in the acoustic market anyway though they gave one to Van Stoneman who used it extensively through his career. I own that one now.