Which strings do you use for Shadows/ Surf music?

Performing and Interpreting Shadows' Music

Which strings do you use for Shadows/ Surf music?

Postby (doctorno) » Fri Jul 10, 2009 10:09 am

Hello everybody, I am curious to know which strings those of you who play Shadows, Ventures and surf music on Fender Strats or Burns guitars use. Currently I am using d´Addario Nickel Round Wound EXL110 Regular Light .010-.046 myself, but I am thinking about heavier strings. What do you think? And which strings do you use?
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Re: Which strings do you use for Shadows/ Surf music?

Postby (jps) » Fri Jul 10, 2009 10:19 am

I don't play that music, but I would Venture to say flatwound strings of some sort. :mrgreen:
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Re: Which strings do you use for Shadows/ Surf music?

Postby (nick_allen) » Fri Jul 10, 2009 10:58 am

I believe Dick Dale uses VERY heavy strings - something like .014 top... I would imagine the Shadows originally would have had something like .012 as a MINIMUM for the top string... In the early days, the guys like Eddie Cochrane and James Burton would use banjo strings on top, a trick which Cochrane taught to Joe Brown in the UK... but I think Slinkies as a standard available gauge came in with Cream-era Clapton - at least that's how I remember it :wink:
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Re: Which strings do you use for Shadows/ Surf music?

Postby (doctorno) » Fri Aug 14, 2009 4:25 pm

Thank you for your suggestions.

I have now tried a variety of strings on a Fender Stratocaster: d´Addario nickel plated steel, pure nickel, half-rounds and flatwounds in different gauges as well as DR pure nickel strings and GHS Nickel rockers, which are rollerwound and remind me a little of Rickenbacker´s compressed roundwound strings.

I came to the conclusion that haflrounds and flatwounds are not for me. The pure nickel strings are all very good, the nickelplated steel strings sound a little too "cold". I liked the feel of the GHS nickel rockers and the sound of the DR Pure Blues set, but finally decided to use the regular light gauge pure nickel strings by d´Addario - the best sound for my taste, although with .010-.045 rather light.
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Re: Which strings do you use for Shadows/ Surf music?

Postby (goran) » Wed Sep 02, 2009 5:51 pm

Elixir Nanoweb .010 set

Sounds good enough - and lasts forever and ever with unchanged sound until they eventually breaks, which takes even longer.Expensive, yes, but enormous value for your money....

While most strings go dead on me halfway into a gig, these sound the same as new after at least 30 gigs or over a year of home playing!
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Re: Which strings do you use for Shadows/ Surf music?

Postby (kenposurf) » Thu Sep 10, 2009 12:03 am

For me it's Pyramid 11's on everything...except my baritone :D
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Re: Which strings do you use for Shadows/ Surf music?

Postby (scott_s) » Sun Jun 27, 2010 12:29 pm

This is kind of an old thread, but I remember an article with Hank Marvin in GP magazine that said the strings he used back in the day were (paraphrasing, since I don't have the article in front of me) "heavy, with a 0.024 or 0.026 wound third". It seems like at the time of the interview (1997 or so), he was using 0.011 roundwound sets live, and had a guitar strung 0.012-0.052 for the earliest stuff.
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Re: Which strings do you use for Shadows/ Surf music?

Postby (duke) » Thu Sep 02, 2010 9:27 am

There was an excellent surf guitar article, by John Blair, in the September 1996 issue of Guitar Player Magazine. He interviewed five top performers and one of his questions had to do with string gauges. They all agreed that heavier strings were necessary to get that sound. Here is a list of the performers and the gauges they were using at the time the article was written:

Dick Dale: .016, .018, .020, .038, .048 and .058 / .060
Don Wilson (The Ventures): .011 - .050
Danny Amis (Los Straitjackets): .011 to .048
Mikko Lankinen (Laika & the Cosmonauts): .012 to .052
Jim Thomas (The Mermen) didn't specify the gauges, but did say that he uses heavy strings.
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Re: Which strings do you use for Shadows/ Surf music?

Postby (twoslices) » Wed Oct 31, 2012 12:33 am

heavier the better for tone,no bending of strings required as you have the tremolo arm.
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Re: Which strings do you use for Shadows/ Surf music?

Postby (kenposurf) » Wed Mar 06, 2013 1:31 pm

For me Pyramid 11's...some of the surf guys like the flatwounds but I prefer rounds..more punch
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Re: Which strings do you use for Shadows/ Surf music?

Postby (vjf1968) » Sun Aug 04, 2013 1:32 am

kenposurf wrote:For me Pyramid 11's...some of the surf guys like the flatwounds but I prefer rounds..more punch


For a more modern sound than roundwounds but to be more authentic it would have to be flat wounds becuase they do have a unique sound.
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