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Michael

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     I received my new Dyer/Lark in the Morning harp guitar about two weeks ago and have been tweaking everything to my liking. The suggested sub-bass tuning is E G A B C D and the gauges that came with the instrument are 77 71 63 59 55 51. This tuning sounds pretty good and the tension seems safe. I think I would like to set this up like Stephan Bennett has his harp guitar tuned G A B C D G. I no longer have Mr Bennett's gauges so I was hoping Mr Miner could provide that information again. Also, will sub-bass strings be available for purchase at HGGIV through the "Harp Guitar Music" store or should I wait for them to be available at the store on this site?

     When I finally am ready to string up the sub-bass on my Gibson 6 bass harp guitar (original tuning A A# B C C# D), would the Stephen Bennett tuning, gauges and tension be generally safe to use?


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Michael Schreiner
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Reply with quote  #2 

Good questions Michael…lots to discuss.

Those are some interesting string gauges supplied by LIM!  Love to know where they got those “in-between” gauges.  Are they phosphor bronze or ?

That suggested tuning isn’t too far off.  There IS NO standard Dyer 6-bass tuning that I have yet found.  However, my firm belief is that it would have started out as F-G-A-B-C-D (based on Knutsen’s known 5-bass tuning and Gibson’s 6-bass tuning).

I noted that on his new DVD, Stephen Bennett gives the historical Dyer tuning as A-B-C-C#-D-D#...but I haven’t yet asked him where in the world this came from!

There is also the much later 1939 Dyer recommended tuning of G-A-Bb-B-C-D (as seen near page bottom here: http://www.harpguitars.net/knutsen/dyers.htm )

- my guess is that they got this random tuning variation from the only guy they could find still playing HG in the late ‘thirties!

The only other (American) 6-bass tuning is Gibson’s.  I see that I didn’t have it listed on the Appendix page, which I just updated: http://www.harpguitars.net/history/gibson/gibson_appendix.htm

They give the nominal tuning as F-G-A-B-C-D (with allowances for easy half-step changes to play in various flat keys).

So far so good?

Now to gauges. Those LIM gauges sound fine to me for that tuning. I am assuming their basses are the same length as a traditional Dyer.  I might go a bit heavier on some, but probably NOT on an LIM instrument.

For Bennett tuning, Stephen uses .070, .066, .062, .060, .053 (a commonly available gauge) and .042.  He has varied this by a thou or two at times.

Stacy Hobbs switches to a .059 and .056 for the B & C.

As to string availability: I haven’t yet ordered or figured out what I will stock on HGM.  I decided against Ben’s strings from Newtone.  They are great (and we have all gauges, which is handy!), but they turned out to be pricier than D’Addarios (for example), and are no better in my opinion (he ordered them as he was told they would be lower tension, which turned out not to be the case).

I will bring these to HGG4 for Ben to offer (we can all do him a big favor by taking them off his hands!), along with any D’Addario or plain-wrap stock I have.

As for your Gibson, that wasn’t the tuning, as stated above, NOR was it likely strung in steel.  Though offered as an option, ALL Gibsons – through their entire run(!) – were apparently designed and built for heavy GUT strings.  I’d recommend a silk & steel mixed set, with S&S basses.


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Michael

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Reply with quote  #3 

   

     Mr Miner

     I determined the gauges of the basses on my LIM HG with a micrometer attempting to be as accurate as possible. The strings are phosphor bronze and are standard length for a Dyer.  The Gibson 6 bass tuning I obtained from John Doan’s article “In Tune with the Times”. The Stephen Bennett DVD I have is from Mel Bay (very inspirational) and he restates that his standard tuning is as we agree with alternate tuning of a half step or so as necessary.  I would love to purchase an assortment of gauges from Mr Meull-Stef.  As a music dealer I have to order in quantities of  5-10 of each gauge from D’Addario.   

     I have not found silk and steel singles available in the necessary gauges for the Gibson HG. Do you or Mr Meulle-Stef  have a source? Tomastic?

     Sorry about calling everyone Mr but I haven’t formally met any of you yet. Gregg or Ben or Fred is easier to type and I wouldn’t have to keep looking up the correct spelling of Meulle-Stef if I used first names so that is what I will do from now on if that is okay. Thanks

 


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Michael Schreiner
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Reply with quote  #4 
Michael, there are many makers of classical basses: Hannabach, La Bella, Thom-Ins., D'Addario. I got some sets (and I see there are Hannabach & D'A singles) from: stringsbymail
Ben also recommends Pyramid Strings (in Germany) for custom anything.
There are a few other classical guitar suppliers offering strings. I'd actually like to add all these sources to the Links page, if all of you can help...
And if there are any particular and popular strings you think HGM should try to stock, feel free to suggest so.

P.S.: "Mr." is fine, "The Pope" is preferred, but after we meet, you may decide to call me (as so many at the Gatherings do) "hey, jerkwad!"
I'm kidding of course. Gregg is fine.

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Joe_Morgan

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Reply with quote  #5 

Hey Gregg, I mean Pope, are you still selling the Newtones that you have?  I'd love to try some of them.  They may be pricier than the D'Addario's, but the larger sizes are still cheaper than the John Pearse strings that I've been using.  Plus, D'Addarios don't seem to last all that long for me.  JP's do, and the Newtone sets that I've used in the past have done well.  Could be, for me, the potential for longer life would offset some of the additional cost.  I've been getting the JP's from juststrings.com.  The  JP's offer a little more selection as far as sizes go, but once you get larger than .068 the price goes waaaay up.  I've gone to a .072 and .068 on my lowest strings so my expense has increased.  But, I think there's an improvement in tone and they definitely last longer.  Would like to try the Newtone's, though.  Thanks.

Gregg

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Reply with quote  #6 
Joe - I'll be curious to hear what you have to say...I figured PB was PB, though I suppose it depends on the raw material and machining/winding. Thickness of hex core and windings may be part of it also?
Wow, I just looked at the prices of those John Pearse subs - ouch!
I think now I should just list all the Newtone strings and see how it goes.
Here is my previous Forum message on these.

Quote:
Harp Guitar Music carries a full range of custom sub-bass strings, specially commissioned by Benoît Meulle-Stef – select from .058” to .080” in .002” increments.

Prices:
String Diameter (inches)
.058, .060, .062, .064: $3 each
.066, .068, .070, .072: $4 each
.074, .076, .078, .080: $5 each

Shipping, TBD. Later, I will stock smaller gauges, as Bennett and others go below .058 on their subs (to .042 on the first G).

At any rate, I have plenty left (I just used some myself on the Dyer), so will bring some to HGG4

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Joe_Morgan

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Reply with quote  #7 

Hey Gregg, Thanks for the info.  I think you're right about some differences in the pb chemistry in different strings.  D'Addario pb's always look a little different to me than JP or Newtone pb's.  But, it could be my imagination.  I do know the Newtone's are supposed to be wrapped on a round core instead of the hex core that other manufacturers use.  Maybe that's where they get the lower tension claims.  Not sure if the tension really is lower, but the sets I used definitely had a much softer feel than JP's in the exact same sizes.  I ordered the Newtone sets from Twelfth Fret in Toronto.  There's a more detailed explanation about the strings on their website http://www.12fret.com/retail/newtone.htm.  I'm assuming the bigger sizes are manufactured in the same way, though there are probably two wraps of pb on the largest sizes.

 

I do want to try them out so I'll work up some sizes and numbers and send you a note tomorrow.  Thanks again for the info.

Gregg

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Reply with quote  #8 
No Joe (I mentioned this somewhere a bit ago), these sub-basses - apparently due to the gauge - are all on hex-core, just like every other string out there. The round core/low tension thing applies only to their regular strings (up to what gauge I need to find out). That's why I was disappointed to find that Benoit had been mis-communicated to on that issue, and I decided not to offer them. If you can show that they wear substantially better than D'Addario (SB got a couple to try out as well), and I can offer them for somewhere between D'Addario price and your Pearse price, that would be great (and make Ben happy for all his efforts on our behalf)!


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Sedgwick

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Reply with quote  #9 
This might help some poeple. It uses the D'Addario string guide to work from and helps to calculate the string tension if you know your string length and the pitch you want. Or if you know the Tension you would like you can work out the gauge you need.

http://www.pacificsites.net/~dog/StringTensionApplet.html




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Stephen Sedgwick
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BradHoyt

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Reply with quote  #10 

Luthier Doug Deiter created a program that you can download and install for free that will calculate string gauge and tension and other stuff as well. Here's the link:

 

http://www.kennaquhair.com/ustc.htm

 

Pretty cool!


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Joe_Morgan

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Reply with quote  #11 

Gregg, Again, thanks for the info.  I must have missed the post about the hex core business.  My bad.  That would explain why there was no decrease in tensions.  I still want to try them because of the possible phosphor bronze chemistry differences and string life issues.  I'll work up some numbers and be in touch.

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Reply with quote  #12 

I should also add that, as Steve suggested, I used an online string tension calculator to see how different string gauges would affect the tension.  It's not a good idea to just throw heavier strings on without knowing how much additional tension you're putting on the instrument.  The one I used is: http://www.greenmanhumming.com/html/StringCalc/Multistringcalc.html

 

I liked the feature that allows you to run the numbers for a set of six strings and specify a different scale length for each string.  Not a big deal if you're just looking at a standard six string set, but very helpful for the six subs of differing lengths on the harp guitar.

BMS

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Reply with quote  #13 

Hello guys!

              As Mr Benoît Meulle-Stef aka Me aka THe master of the Universe     I will ask again Newtone strings to see about PB strings for HGs and see if Pyramid can make silk and steel/ silk and bronze strings for HGs basses.

Cheers

Ben

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Reply with quote  #14 

Hello people,

 

think this may be my first posting

 

I build valve amps and related valve gear... also have completed luthiery course building electric guitars and another building acoustic fretted instruments.  Having now progressed to the next level of the course, I have chosen to design and build a harp guitar (although everytime I am at college I think why not use the wood to build two 16" guitars).

 

Anyway, I am based in UK and several years ago used the Newtone strings on guitar for a while, although went back to D'addario 11 - 52.

 

Anywayz, I will probably be opting for Newtone strings on the Harp guitar I am building as they do sell acoustic bass strings that may well suit my purpose. I may even make a visit, if I remember rightly (could be mistaken), they are not so physically far from me if i can scrounge a vehicle or a lift and can afford the gas...

 

Anyway, purpose of my long winded approach (its late) Here is a link for Newtone strings website here in UK: http://www.dwmee.34sp.com/index.htm

 

Enjoy

 

"Tell the children the truth"


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jAMES
Gregg

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Reply with quote  #15 

Thanks James. I will be adding the Newtone custom HG basses to HGM

anyday now. Prices will likely be higher than those posted above. Anyone ordering before they go up can use the old price.

They sure sold well at HGG4.


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Gregg Miner, editor, Harpguitars.net
Gregg

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Reply with quote  #16 
Hi Gang. Don Alder was asking me for strings for his Duane Noble, so I finally looked into the 3 String Calculators above.  I ended up using the one Stephen recommended:

http://www.pacificsites.net/~dog/StringTensionApplet.html

Once I figured it out, it went quickly, and was the only one I could deal with for quick check on different pitches and lengths of sub-basses (our key concern).

While I was at it, I made myself a chart of Bennett-tuning with Dyer sub-bass length.  I noted these lengths below, as they may be specific to my instrument and could likely vary over different specimens (I suspect they may or may not have been diligent about where they drilled the holes for those bridge pin "nuts").

Using only even # gauges, I came up with an optimum set (med - and med +) centered at about 28 pounds each (a "perfect" set would include odd # gauges as well).  You can compare these to what Stephen and Stacy have been using (light-medium-ish). On a new or well-restored instrument, I'd feel perfectly safe with these gauges. 


Optimum Med gauge in even gauges:


PitchMed -Med +BennettHobbsVibrating String length (inches - saddle to center of post)
G0.0420.0420.0420.04227-11/16
D0.0540.0560.0530.05328-5/8
C0.0600.0600.0600.56029-9/16
B0.0600.0620.0620.05930-11/16
A0.0660.0680.0660.06631-3/4
G0.0720.0740.0700.07033-1/8


Eventually, I'll formalize this concept and offer pre-packaged and custom sets on HGM.

(9/4/07: Which I did)


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Michael

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Reply with quote  #17 
     I am at a point in my Gibson 6 bass HG rebuild that I need to choose the gauges for the sub bass strings. The bass arm was missing when I got the HG so I have had to create a drawing of the design based on "hundreds" of pictures. If anyone can give me the true vibrating string lengths I would be most grateful but I think I am pretty right on. The length of each string is very different from my LITM Dyer style HG. The approximate lengths I have determined from my research in inches from nut to saddle are...
D = 32 3/8
C = 32 5/8
B = 32 7/8
A = 33 1/8
G = 33 1/4
F = 33 1/2 
     This information is not found on the site and I tried to decipher all the string gauge calculators offered but can't seem to uh.. figure them out.
This is my guess based on many wrong assumptions I'm sure...
D .046
C .050
B .053
A .063
G .068
F .078
     Can anyone help? Ben? (Gibson expert) Greg? ( HG expert) Is lite gauge phosphor bronze okay or should I go nylon (remember, no bass resonating chamber like on the Dyer). Ben, should I "X" brace the top for PB?

                                          Michael

     PS.. Greg, I think your "Vibrating String Lengths" in the previous post are backwards and how come "gauge" isn't recognized by spell check? Okay, I'm done.


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Michael Schreiner
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Reply with quote  #18 

I would recomend silk and steel or silk and bronze strings to prevent too much tension on the top. No dont mess witht the (lake of) bracing...

Gregg

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Reply with quote  #19 
THanks Michael, I corrected the backwards listed gauges (hmmm....spellcheck works fine for me).
Iwould agree with Ben...problem is, no one (yet) makes custom silk & metal basses except for Pyramid, and they are so pricey, I have not even considered doing an HGM order yet.  I'm hoping I can talk one of two U.S. companies into it.
As you probably know, Gibson recommened extra-heavy gut strings with the option of all steel as well.  I'd first try a single PB bass and a LaBella bass and decide on the tone you like, and what best dirves the instrument, then secondly I'd calculate safe tension.
Unless someone's shaved out the carved top, I wouldn't brace it either.
Gregg (with 2 g's)

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Michael

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Reply with quote  #20 
     Gregg, sorry about the lack of g's earlier. Thanks very much for your response. I guess I will purchase from the Harp Guitar Store ball end nylon for the bass side but my question is still what gauges to use with my string lengths.  I will probably use D'Addario extra light PB on the guitar neck. I have reinforced that area (at sound hole on guitar side) where all Gibson HGs seem to have a problem. My spell check doesn't recognize gauge, it wants me to use gage. 
                                                Michael
                              

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Michael Schreiner
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