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Thread: low-impedance pickups thin

  1. #1
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    low-impedance pickups thin

    I built the pickups ultra thin further reduce the impedance.
    material used:
    neodymium magnets
    * wire awg 41 polys
    * turns 400
    278 ohm resistance obtained
    balanced cable (2 + ground)
    xrl male connector for direct connection to mixer
    end result sounds really high quality
    I'm happy with the result

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    I am glad you built a successful low impedance pickup. I personally love the high fidelity sound they can reproduce.

    Do you have a way to measure the inductance and winding capacitance of the pickup?

    The only reason I am asking is that with a low impedance pickup it is possible to have a ultrasonic resonant peak which might cause issues with some, not all, microphone input preamps. With those numbers it would be easy to model the pickup and see if the resonance would be an issue, and find the optimum termination resistance for the pickup.

    If your mic-level input impedance is 10K or less though, it shouldn't be much of a problem however.

    If you have room on the coil and want to experiment further, you might try going lower on the wire gauge (#32 to #36 AWG) and be able to get some more windings without the DC resistance going up, for a bit more output.


    Take care and enjoy the sound,

    Charlie
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    Quote Originally Posted by charrich56 View Post
    I am glad you built a successful low impedance pickup. I personally love the high fidelity sound they can reproduce.

    Do you have a way to measure the inductance and winding capacitance of the pickup?

    The only reason I am asking is that with a low impedance pickup it is possible to have a ultrasonic resonant peak which might cause issues with some, not all, microphone input preamps. With those numbers it would be easy to model the pickup and see if the resonance would be an issue, and find the optimum termination resistance for the pickup.

    If your mic-level input impedance is 10K or less though, it shouldn't be much of a problem however.

    If you have room on the coil and want to experiment further, you might try going lower on the wire gauge (#32 to #36 AWG) and be able to get some more windings without the DC resistance going up, for a bit more output.


    Take care and enjoy the sound,

    Charlie
    Thanks Charlie,
    very interesting topic,
    really very beautiful, low impedance pickups.
    I am able to perform the measurements of resistance, inductance and capacitance,
    I will provide the readings of electrical measurements obtained as soon as possible,
    Also to have your response.
    Thanks again for the advice.

    Antonio Surdo

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    hello Charlie,
    if I have not made mistakes
    these values are
    278 ohm resistor
    20 mH inductance
    - 0,15 microFarad capacity

    what do you think is correct the negative value of capacity given by the multimeter RLC
    thanks
    Last edited by surdopickups; 11-19-2014 at 09:25 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by charrich56 View Post
    I am glad you built a successful low impedance pickup. I personally love the high fidelity sound they can reproduce.

    Do you have a way to measure the inductance and winding capacitance of the pickup?

    The only reason I am asking is that with a low impedance pickup it is possible to have a ultrasonic resonant peak which might cause issues with some, not all, microphone input preamps. With those numbers it would be easy to model the pickup and see if the resonance would be an issue, and find the optimum termination resistance for the pickup.

    If your mic-level input impedance is 10K or less though, it shouldn't be much of a problem however.

    If you have room on the coil and want to experiment further, you might try going lower on the wire gauge (#32 to #36 AWG) and be able to get some more windings without the DC resistance going up, for a bit more output.


    Take care and enjoy the sound,

    Charlie
    I am not very clear how the resonance peak can give problems to the preamplifier
    can you give me some information or useful links to know more about

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    Antonio,

    I think your capacitance may be measuring very high. A more typical figure for measuring the capacitance to ground of just the windings would be approximately 100-250 picofarads (pF).


    Using a simple model for the pickup in CircuitLab (an electronics simulator) and plugging in your values, we can run a frequency response curve for the pickup for a 50 K ohm load (input impedance of the mic preamp) and for 10 K ohm load as follows:

    Here's the circuit:
    surdo-simulation-circuit.png

    Here's the response for a 10 K load:
    surdo-image-10k-load.png

    Here's the response for a 50 K load:
    surdo-image-50k-load.png

    As you can see, there is a 14 dB ultrasonic spike in the response with a 50K load. The strings will have near zero energy at this frequency but electromagnetic noise in the environment could be picked up and sent to your preamp. A single light dimmer within 20 feet could create enough energy at exactly the right frequencies to be a problem. With input impedances higher than 50K this spike could be even larger and EMI/RFI noise could overload the input stage of the mic preamp. The mic preamp may or may not be able to filter it out but you don't want to find out the hard way. This issue is negligible with a 10 K Ohm load but this illustrates that shielding(less important) and a humbucking design (more important) are also still good ideas for low impedance pickups, along with making sure of the correct termination impedance.

    Fortunately most mic inputs are 10 to 20K input impedance so this should not be a big issue for you. However if you go to an onboard preamp (which I have been working with) the input impedance of the preamp is a large factor and a termination resistor would be used to "damp" the peak or even assist in creating an audio resonant peak of the right height so that by also adding capacitance, you could simulate in a flexible way the response of conventional high impedance pickups.

    This is the same type of LCR resonant peak which in high impedance pickups, is in the audio range, and cannot easily be compensated for to get a high fidelity output, since all the high frequencies above the resonant peak, fall off very rapidly, and you can't move the resonant peak outside the range of human hearing.

    You can move the resonant peak down with additional capacitance, but you cannot move it up beyond the self-resonance caused by the pickup's inductance interacting with the winding capacitance. That is why if you start with a low or medium-Z pickup which has self-resonance that is above the audio range, you can bring it down anywhere you want to in the audio range, or just make sure it is "out of the way" for a high-fidelity output.

    Lemme has a good introduction to the subject of pickups and self-resonance:
    http://buildyourguitar.com/resources/lemme/

    I didn't want to bring up a concern which may not really exist for you, but wanted you to understand that this could be an issue with low impedance pickups. Personallly I am completely sold on the high fidelity aspect of low-Z pickups and have been working with shaping the responses to allow emulation of conventional high-Z pickups. IMHO Low-Z is the best way to go if you want to do both of these things with one pickup.

    -Charlie
    Last edited by charrich56; 11-20-2014 at 06:48 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by charrich56 View Post
    Antonio,

    I think your capacitance may be measuring very high. A more typical figure for measuring the capacitance to ground of just the windings would be approximately 100-250 picofarads (pF).


    Using a simple model for the pickup in CircuitLab (an electronics simulator) and plugging in your values, we can run a frequency response curve for the pickup for a 50 K ohm load (input impedance of the mic preamp) and for 10 K ohm load as follows:

    Here's the circuit:
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Surdo Simulation Circuit.PNG 
Views:	250 
Size:	89.4 KB 
ID:	31556

    Here's the response for a 10 K load:
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Surdo Image 10K load.png 
Views:	198 
Size:	49.6 KB 
ID:	31557

    Here's the response for a 50 K load:
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Surdo Image 50K Load.png 
Views:	196 
Size:	51.9 KB 
ID:	31558

    As you can see, there is a 14 dB ultrasonic spike in the response with a 50K load. The strings will have near zero energy at this frequency but electromagnetic noise in the environment could be picked up and sent to your preamp. A single light dimmer within 20 feet could create enough energy at exactly the right frequencies to be a problem. With input impedances higher than 50K this spike could be even larger and EMI/RFI noise could overload the input stage of the mic preamp. The mic preamp may or may not be able to filter it out but you don't want to find out the hard way. This issue is negligible with a 10 K Ohm load but this illustrates that shielding(less important) and a humbucking design (more important) are also still good ideas for low impedance pickups, along with making sure of the correct termination impedance.

    Fortunately most mic inputs are 10 to 20K input impedance so this should not be a big issue for you. However if you go to an onboard preamp (which I have been working with) the input impedance of the preamp is a large factor and a termination resistor would be used to "damp" the peak or even assist in creating an audio resonant peak of the right height so that by also adding capacitance, you could simulate in a flexible way the response of conventional high impedance pickups.

    This is the same type of LCR resonant peak which in high impedance pickups, is in the audio range, and cannot easily be compensated for to get a high fidelity output, since all the high frequencies above the resonant peak, fall off very rapidly, and you can't move the resonant peak outside the range of human hearing.

    You can move the resonant peak down with additional capacitance, but you cannot move it up beyond the self-resonance caused by the pickup's inductance interacting with the winding capacitance. That is why if you start with a low or medium-Z pickup which has self-resonance that is above the audio range, you can bring it down anywhere you want to in the audio range, or just make sure it is "out of the way" for a high-fidelity output.

    Lemme has a good introduction to the subject of pickups and self-resonance:
    BuildYourGuitar.com :: The Secrets of Electric Guitar Pickups

    I didn't want to bring up a concern which may not really exist for you, but wanted you to understand that this could be an issue with low impedance pickups. Personallly I am completely sold on the high fidelity aspect of low-Z pickups and have been working with shaping the responses to allow emulation of conventional high-Z pickups. IMHO Low-Z is the best way to go if you want to do both of these things with one pickup.

    -Charlie
    really very interesting, thanks for the clarification, were clear and comprehensive.
    Well done.
    I plan to build a pickup overall thickness <5 mm.
    Neodymium magnets
    * 2 coils stacked (stacks pickups)
    steel plates
    connection cable and balanced XLR connector xrl
    should be an interesting job, with decent results.
    insert photos as soon as possible
    Last edited by surdopickups; 11-20-2014 at 07:51 AM.

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    Just another question: what magnets do You use? Diameter, thickness, strength?

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    Quote Originally Posted by bea View Post
    Just another question: what magnets do You use? Diameter, thickness, strength?
    magneti.png


    sometimes use magnets
    legth = 20 mm
    width= 10 mm
    height= 2 mm

    N35 N 45 for pickups with magnets differentiated
    ns.png
    Last edited by surdopickups; 11-20-2014 at 11:28 AM.

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    THX

    Beate
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    Quote Originally Posted by surdopickups View Post
    I built the pickups ultra thin further reduce the impedance.
    material used:
    neodymium magnets
    * wire awg 41 polys
    * turns 400
    278 ohm resistance obtained
    balanced cable (2 + ground)
    xrl male connector for direct connection to mixer
    end result sounds really high quality
    I'm happy with the result
    Surdopickups,

    I've stumbled on this thread. Cool.
    Do you happen to have some pictures of the pickups?
    Do you make them single coil or humbucking?
    Thanks in advance.

    Hans

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    Quote Originally Posted by MisterBzr View Post
    Surdopickups,

    I've stumbled on this thread. Cool.
    Do you happen to have some pictures of the pickups?
    Do you make them single coil or humbucking?
    Thanks in advance.

    Hans
    you can view different massively images and some videos from the pages of my blog or facebook knows
    http://surdopickups.blogspot.it/p/gypsy-pickups.html
    https://www.facebook.com/Surdopickups

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    Thank you!

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    I've build a prototype of a thin pickup using:
    4x 25x5x3mm Neod. magnets
    2x piece of 1.6mm cardboard
    appr. AWG 44 / 0.05mm copper wire from a salvaged inductor

    I've put two staples on the side of one piece of cardboard to use as soldering points. Then I glued the magnets on the first piece of cardboard. I let the magnets provide their own pressure by placing a metal piece under the cardboard. When the glue dried I glued on the second piece of cardboard.
    I've wound 250 turns and got a dc resistance of 274 ohm.
    I then soldered the ends of the wire and a microphone cable on the staples.

    The sound is very good and because of the balanced input their is hardly any noise / hum.
    I'm planning to use a slightly thicker wire (0.1mm) and experiment with the number of turns, although I want to stay under the 300 ohms.low-z-flatpickup-side.jpg
    Hans
    Last edited by MisterBzr; 05-19-2015 at 05:27 AM. Reason: spelling
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    lingottino.jpg

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    I've made a new pickup, using 0,1 mm wire, 800 turns around some neodymium magnets glued to two pieces of cardboard and about 300 ohm DCR.
    I used transparent waterbased hobby glue to pot the pickup. There's a short soundclip.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MisterBzr View Post
    I've made a new pickup, using 0,1 mm wire, 800 turns around some neodymium magnets glued to two pieces of cardboard and about 300 ohm DCR.
    I used transparent waterbased hobby glue to pot the pickup. There's a short soundclip.
    Bravo, complimenti bel lavoro.
    la tecnica costruttiva xlr offre svariati vantaggi,in termini di qualità sonora, purtroppo peṛ è difficile farlo accettare ai musicisti, che sono rest́ a cambiamenti.
    i musicisti per la loro formamentis ed anche a motivo di quello che offre il mercato, preferiscono pickups ad alta impedenza per ragioni di praticità.


    Saluti
    Antonio Surdo


    Bravo, congratulations good job.
    the construction technique XLR offers several advantages, in terms of sound quality, but unfortunately it's hard to make it acceptable to the musicians, who are remains to changes.
    musicians for their Formamentis and also because of what the market offers, prefer high-impedance pickups for practical reasons.
    Greetings
    Antonio Surdo

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    Quote Originally Posted by surdopickups View Post
    Bravo, complimenti bel lavoro.
    Bravo, congratulations good job.
    the construction technique XLR offers several advantages, in terms of sound quality, but unfortunately it's hard to make it acceptable to the musicians, who are remains to changes.
    musicians for their Formamentis and also because of what the market offers, prefer high-impedance pickups for practical reasons.
    Greetings
    Antonio Surdo
    I agree: The biggest hurdle I had to take when starting to experiment with other tunings / stringlengths and techniques was stepping away from all the musical
    and technical cliches (although I realize that cliches don't get cliches for nothing...).

    I love the simplicity of the design. The sound is indeed great.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MisterBzr View Post
    I agree: The biggest hurdle I had to take when starting to experiment with other tunings / stringlengths and techniques was stepping away from all the musical
    and technical cliches (although I realize that cliches don't get cliches for nothing...).

    I love the simplicity of the design. The sound is indeed great.
    you may also try to build the coil with metal plates instead of cardboard, magnets inserted sandwich between two metal plates, isolate all to avoid short circuits contacts with the winding, making reeling .from there has to be some photos I posted sull'argomento.Le metal plates serve to enhance the shielding.

    see some photos
    build flat pickups

    potresti anche provare a costruire la bobina con piastre di metallo invece che con il cartone, magneti inserite tipo sandwich tra 2 lastre di metallo, isolare il tutto per evitare cortocircuiti contatti con l'avvolgimento, effettuare la bobinatura .da qualche parte ci deve essere qualche foto da me postate sull'argomento.Le piastre in metallo contribuiscono a migliorare la schermatura.

    vedi alcune foto
    build flat pickups
    Last edited by surdopickups; 09-06-2015 at 07:13 PM.

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    That's a great tip, I have some metal lying around, so maybe I'll make some someday.
    Thanks

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    I got the following idea when I saw a current transformer with a coiltap made halfway the coil.

    For many musicians a guitar (re-)equipped with only low Z pickups may be a bridge to far, but installed alongside or incorporated with a conventional pickup would be less of a problem.
    Would it be a good idea to make a regular single coil or humbucking pickup, only with a coiltap somewhere around 500 ohm (or at whatever spot you want). This coiltap can be send to a xlr or jack output.

    It may be possible to take (cheap) regular pickup, unwound it for a couple of hundred turns, make a coiltap and rewound the pickup.

    This way only an extra output jack or xlr connector is needed.

    What do you guys think?

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    Quote Originally Posted by MisterBzr View Post
    I got the following idea when I saw a current transformer with a coiltap made halfway the coil.

    For many musicians a guitar (re-)equipped with only low Z pickups may be a bridge to far, but installed alongside or incorporated with a conventional pickup would be less of a problem.
    Would it be a good idea to make a regular single coil or humbucking pickup, only with a coiltap somewhere around 500 ohm (or at whatever spot you want). This coiltap can be send to a xlr or jack output.

    It may be possible to take (cheap) regular pickup, unwound it for a couple of hundred turns, make a coiltap and rewound the pickup.

    This way only an extra output jack or xlr connector is needed.

    What do you guys think?
    Doing a little back of the envelope reverse engineering you will need a pickup impedance about one tenth the typical XLR input impedance of 2.4K ohms. Doing 500 turns of AWG 42 on the inside of the bobbin you could put this 500 turn coil at about 200 ft of wire. This will produce a coil of about 340 ohms. Here, you are at the limit of impedance loading where the upper frequency response will be affected by the XLR mic loading.

    The other issue is will this coil be independent of the high Z pickup coil plus the volume and tone pot loading?

    Will the outputs be used independently or together?

    Maybe more MEF members will jump in and brainstorm this idea!

    Joseph J. Rogowski

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    My thought is to make a xlr-out only for the low z pickup and do all the sound processing (including volume) after the microphone preamp.

    I have no idea how it will be effected by the remaining coil.

    There are several alternatives:
    First wind the low z coil around the bobbin, and wind the another high Z coil around it, this will yield two separate coils on one bobbin.
    An other option could be to overwind a coil by 340ohm and make a coiltap at the point were the overwinding starts.
    When I call the start of the coil 1, the coiltap point 2 and the end 3, you can use 0 and 1 for the High Z pickup and 1 and 2 for the low Z pick up.

    Hans

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    MisterBzr,

    It really seems like you are wanting to both have the "high fidelity" extended flat response of low-Z pickups, combined with the added ability to make the pickup coloration sound "conventional" to be able to get "normal" electric guitar tonality that everyone expects for the normal musical genres, with distortion, etc.

    I too was working with low-Z for a while; still like the approach, but wanted to do pretty well the same thing you are wanting to do, and came up with this medium-Z approach:

    Another Run At Medium Z (around 1 Henry) Pickups and Preamps

    This is able to do "flat" response to about 8-10K as well as variable resonant frequency voicing . That post is getting a little dated now, and currently I am using just a buffer and low-wind normal humbucking pickups in parallel coil mode, to get both modes (hi-fi "flat", and resonant/voiced) with pretty minimal circuitry. Here's the post on the latest incarnation of the idea.

    Variable Resonance Pickups - Fun with Buffers

    Realistically, it's not very useful IMHO to have good magnetic pickup response in the 10Khz-20Khz range. If you wanted it, my approach could work with lower inductance (400-600 mH) pickups and you could get to 20K, but don't be surprised if you don't find very much that's musically useful, and do find some things that aren't, up there.

    The dual winding approach seems a bit overcomplicated in comparison but don't let me discourage you; you might come up with something really very cool.

    I'm really digging my demo instruments right now and have found out that the "flat" mode (with variable lowpass) is surprisingly useful with a normal guitar amp, and not just only for its originally intended usage to go "flat DI" into a line-in on a computer DAW setup, studio or live board, etc. Having both modes of the variable resonant frequency tone control on the instrument makes the tonality amazingly flexible, and if you add onboard piezo bridge mixing, as I did on my demo Strat, it's beyond amazing.

    Charlie
    Last edited by charrich56; 02-28-2017 at 02:16 AM.

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    it's a good idea.
    is an idea that I chase by time,
    the double coil pickup is not difficult to build
    The pickups can be built in 2-way
    a) overlapping concentric coils (overlapping)
    b) the coils joined as in the pickup Hot Rails

    personally I prefer
    that the coil is well screen
    so as to constitute the screen, the pole 1 of the balanced connection

    in conventional pickups
    the construction of a good screen requires some effort

    0104221_01_s.jpg


    greetings to all friends
    from ITALY
    Last edited by surdopickups; 02-28-2017 at 09:02 AM.

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    the circuit and the simulation

    circuito10k.png

    grafico-pickups-943.png



    very nice that you think?

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    circuito1015.png

    1015-risposta.png

    this is the pickups I build

    surdopk.jpg
    Last edited by surdopickups; 02-28-2017 at 08:58 AM.

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    Thanks guys for the input.
    I've read your post a while ago so had some time to ponder over it.
    I think the low Z and medium Z pickups are the answer that I need.
    For an acoustic guitar where I don't want to modify the guitar the low z pickup is a great and simple solution. Using an xlr / balanced connection it can be put into mic input or with a mic to line transformer it can be put into a guitar amp.
    When modifying an regular electric the medium Z pickup with the preamp would be a cool option. I've ordered a cheap small humbucker for a couple of bucks and will build the preamp.
    Would take same time when I'll get to it.

    So thanks guys for the comments!

    Hans
    Last edited by MisterBzr; 03-17-2017 at 04:18 PM. Reason: Spelling

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    Good info here. One thing about using an EM pickup on an acoustic guitar is that the signal level from the Bronze wrapped strings is much lower than the plain Steel strings. There is a type of micro-coated acoustic gauge string set made by Sfarzo called "Alloy 5109" that has warm sounding FeNiCo wrapped strings which produce a stronger/more dynamic sound through an EM pickup. They aren't expensive either. You might give them a try. I've been using Sfarzo strings for years. You can order from here: Alloy 5109 Precision Made Acoustic Guitar Strings

    or direct now at 35% off: ALLOY5109 ACOUSTIC POLYMER COATED STRINGS WITH REDF.R.E.D. ? Alloy5109 strings are treated with an environmentally safe polymer liquid that evaporates quickly. - Sfarzo Guitar String Company LLC

    I don't work fore them, but am an avid user. Just order from the acoustic gauges options closest to your normal acoustic gauge. The wrapped strings have a high wrap to (rounded-hex) core thickness ratio making them more slinky feeling and more dynamic than most strings. The cores and plains are Steel, but feel more pliable than most Steel stings -- possibly from annealing. They are highly break and corrosion resistant, and long lasting. I've let guitars sit out for almost a year with Alloy 5109 sets with no corrosion. Wiped them off and they sounded almost like new. I'd order at least 3 sets to compensate the shipping. They may sound slightly brighter than bronze strings, but not at all "cold". I wouldn't recommended them if I didn't think it worth the investment. Anyone I know who's tried them has been very pleased.

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    Thanks for the pointer on the acoustic strings!

    Are you saying that the special wrap on the wound strings allows the wound strings to balance with the plain strings, just as a normal electric guitar set, but still have a good sound on an acoustic with a mag PU ? That would be a very fine thing.

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    Yes, the Alloy 5109 wound strings won't be quite as dark as Bronze, but very warm. Sfarzo also have another FeNi-based formula called the Signature Pro acoustic series. It's "glassy" bright, less slinky and not micro-coated. The Alloy 5109 should sound closer to Bronze.

  32. #32
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    Also, there's no reason you can't use electric strings on an acoustic. I did it recently, putting a set of D'Addario XL 10's on an acoustic, since it had really old 12's on it. It sounded fine. If I had a magnetic sound hole pickup, it would have worked great with those strings.
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  33. #33
    rjb
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Schwab View Post
    Also, there's no reason you can't use electric strings on an acoustic. I did it recently, putting a set of D'Addario XL 10's on an acoustic, since it had really old 12's on it. It sounded fine.
    Hunh. I'm surprised if they drive the soundboard very well.
    How loud is the guitar with the 10's?
    What size, maker, model?
    For acoustic guitar, 12's are generally considered "light" gauge.

    - Mr. Curious

  34. #34
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    Yeah, 10's can sound weak acoustically. The Sfarzo acoustic 12-54 sets are labeled "medium". The acoustic sets should all have a wound G. I also found this newer type of Sfarzo acoustic type:
    AMERICAN BLUEGRASS - Bluegrass tone and character of the sound they produce is wonderful. The notes are clear with a bell-like chime. - Sfarzo Guitar String Company LLC

    Pretty cheap now at 35% off. I think they are a kind of Stainless Steel, but you'd have to inquire. That doesn't necessarily mean they are "cold" and really bright. FYI, annealing can significantly alter the tonal character for a warmer sound. Sort of the opposite affect of cryogenics. Bill Lawrence (RIP) created Stainless/phosphor strings back in the 80's that were really nice -- no longer made.

  35. #35
    rjb
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fluoroscope 5000 View Post
    ... I also found this newer type of Sfarzo acoustic type:
    AMERICAN BLUEGRASS - Bluegrass tone and character of the sound they produce is wonderful. The notes are clear with a bell-like chime. - Sfarzo Guitar String Company LLC

    ... I think they are a kind of Stainless Steel, but you'd have to inquire.
    Maybe Monel. Monel is a Bluegrass thing. Several years ago, Martin came out with Monel "Tony Rice" guitar and "Sam Bush" mandolin strings. Now they have a whole Monel "retro string" line.
    https://www.martinguitar.com/strings/retro/

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