Being tired of the “squeaking” strings I decided to try “flat wound” ones. Does it help? Read on.
I have never tried flat wound strings before, but since the scratching sound gets more often in a way I decided to give it a go. My old Aria AW-20N (my first “own” guitar) needed some refreshment for a long time. I had Martin Acoustic 10s on it which I loved as a new player. Great sound, easy on fingers (you can bend easily!), but the scratching was an inevitable “evil sound” I was getting with movable chord shapes. Trying some jazz progressions only made it even more annoying. So there we go, placed an order on Amazon and a couple of days later a package was slipping through the door.
OK, I have to admit the guitar was not specifically setup for 12s and last time I have tried those I pretty quickly decided to remove them from my back then (used) new Fender CDS-60 (a great starter electric acoustic by the way).
This time I decided to go for the most used size considering that my fingers are a bit more trained and you do not bend in jazz that much anyway :). The only other available size is 10s (EFT15), but the idea was a bit more exercising let me choose for EFT16.
The first reaction when putting them on the guitar was “wow, they are fat!” :). The top strings barely fit the nut, so I technically I would need to file it a bit, but if I go back in size… Anyway, let’s give it a try first. Second I was worrying whether the neck will get warped because of the tension and after all yes, there was a visible bow in the neck. No wonder, the 12s produce quite some more tension than the 10s. But OK, that is not that big deal. Even on my well-10+ guitar the truss rod works fine, some a bit (no more that 1/5th of the circle) of adjustment (clockwise in this case) helps to get the neck back in good shape.
See some nice instructions on e.g. Taylor Guitars website. Just before doing the adjustment I was wondering whether the guitar would survive this, but after all, the strings are probably more expensive than the instrument in this case :).
After installing and getting strings in tune (they did require quite some stretch before settling!) the first thing I have noticed is that the strings felt… “dry” under the fingers. Perhaps the process of flattening (D’Addario is not truly flat-wound, but flattened during “post-processing”), still leaves some “gaps” that give it a weird feel. I wonder how long that stays. I play Elixir Nanoweb 10s on my day-to-day Epiphone Sheraton II and I am used to a “slick” feel of those, but I never had any problems with e.g. Martin acoustics until I’ve tried EFTs.
I have recorded some (bad sounding, sorry) samples before and after the change mainly to check the impact on the “squeaking” sound of the strings. You can check it yourself below, but in general the “squeak” is NOT gone completely. It is definitely less compared to regular strings, but it is still present.
The Martin’s were really old, so they cannot be really compared, but again. It is all about that “squeak”.
It will get some time to get used t the feel of the strings. Since this is not my main instrument I will keep them for a while, but all in all you don’t get away from the scratching sound completely, although you can reduce it for quite a bit.
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