Strings: Are plain / unwound 3rds / Gs ever preferable?

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Strings: Are plain / unwound 3rds / Gs ever preferable?

Postby (maxwell) » Tue Sep 22, 2020 11:50 am

It seems, as I poke around Rick web sites, the recommendations for using strings with a wound G string seems to be limited to "short scale" 325 style guitars. Who prefers plain G strings on "full scale" guitars, e.g., 330, 360, etc., and why? Anyone?
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Re: Strings: Are plain / unwound 3rds / Gs ever preferable?

Postby (Tommy) » Tue Sep 22, 2020 12:58 pm

Huh? Am I reading you correctly? You are wondering why people use plain Gs on their Rics? Shouldn't your topic be the opposite: you wonder why people would use wound Gs?

You are asking if plain Gs are ever preferable. Yes, I would say they are preferable most of the time. Simple reason - they ring out more. Plain Gs sing while wound Gs merely hum.
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Re: Strings: Are plain / unwound 3rds / Gs ever preferable?

Postby (collin) » Tue Sep 22, 2020 1:09 pm

Excuse Tom.... he is still learning manners.

Nearly all classic guitar models were originally designed around using wound G strings (more specifically, flat wound strings). Years later, guitarists started adopting slinkier, smaller strings including an unwound G to suit different playing styles.

It's still a matter of preference and the style of music you play.

I find that a wound G keeps that string from going sharp (as they tend to do on almost all guitars), but you give up some string bending ability. In my opinion, a wound G is critical for 12-strings. For general full scale guitars, I use slinky strings with an unwound G.
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Re: Strings: Are plain / unwound 3rds / Gs ever preferable?

Postby (sloop_john_b) » Tue Sep 22, 2020 1:31 pm

The wound G has its place, and it's dependent upon the guitar in my experience. My 1955 Gibson ES-295, for example, loves the wound G (after a lot of trial and error). I did not care for it on my '63 Jazzmaster, which already has increased tension due to the longer scale (compared to a Rick or a Gibson).
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Re: Strings: Are plain / unwound 3rds / Gs ever preferable?

Postby (jdogric12) » Tue Sep 22, 2020 2:18 pm

I agree with Maxwell's research... wound G's are typically recommended on Ricks. Like my peeps said above, you can't bend as easily but it's more solid to intonate. The only guitar I use a plain G on is one non-Rick that is clearly meant for "lead" guitar, was celeb owned and used, and is a HSH configuration in a body very similar to a Strat, but neck-thru.
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Re: Strings: Are plain / unwound 3rds / Gs ever preferable?

Postby (scott_s) » Tue Sep 22, 2020 3:03 pm

As a ham-fisted rhythm/textural player, I greatly prefer wound Gs. Especially on Strats, where any intonation problems with a plain G stand out like a sore thumb. Could be that I'm just extra-sensitive to that, since there are millions of happy Strat players with plain Gs. :)

When it came time to restring my 330, I got a few sets of the Curt Mangan 0.012-0.054 strings with the 0.024W G from POTR/RicStrings (discounted to $5!) They feel like home. :)
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Re: Strings: Are plain / unwound 3rds / Gs ever preferable?

Postby (kennyhowes) » Wed Sep 23, 2020 6:42 pm

Your mileage may very.

Me? Plain G on “regular” Ricks. Wound G if flatwounds or 325 family, or 12 string.
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Re: Strings: Are plain / unwound 3rds / Gs ever preferable?

Postby (Kiddwad57) » Thu Sep 24, 2020 12:55 pm

Wound G for better intonation...ya learn something new everyday! I always assumed it was the dissonance of the major third causing the problems.
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Re: Strings: Are plain / unwound 3rds / Gs ever preferable?

Postby (mike_d) » Thu Sep 24, 2020 2:37 pm

I’ve recently found that using an unwound G .18 with my thomastik Jazz Swing .10 sets, most guitars always go sharp, especially noticeable on the second fret(A). If I use the wound G that comes in the set, the G string intonates so much better. I had the same experience with my Carl Wilson 360/6, my Gretchen 6120-1959LTV and George Harrison Duo Jet. I prefer a plain G but might have to go to a higher gauge for it to stay in tune with the rest of the flat wounds. maybe a .19 would work better? Sticking with the wound Gs for now.
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Re: Strings: Are plain / unwound 3rds / Gs ever preferable?

Postby (scott_s) » Thu Sep 24, 2020 3:01 pm

I find it's two-pronged: yes, since a wound 3rd is less flexible, it's harder to accidentally play it sharp by pressing too hard at the first couple of frets. But you also don't need to scooch the saddle to an extreme to intonate it. On a couple guitars, I had to trim the saddle spring or remove it entirely in order to get the saddle back far enough to intonate with a plain G. (That was during a short-lived attempt to play like SRV with high action and a heavy plain 3rd on a Strat, so it was admittedly a worst-case scenario for intonation...)
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Re: Strings: Are plain / unwound 3rds / Gs ever preferable?

Postby (iiipopes) » Fri Sep 25, 2020 8:13 am

If you have the stock six-saddle bridge, then one word:
NO!!!
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Re: Strings: Are plain / unwound 3rds / Gs ever preferable?

Postby (paologregorio) » Wed Sep 30, 2020 1:20 am

I've almost always used a plain "G" string. I think the only exception is with my `62 USVRI Mary Kay Stratocaster; for a time when I was playing a lot of clean guitar with minimal bending, I used an .011-052 string set, which included a plain "G" and a wound "G" in the string set. I tried the wound "G" a few times, but I don't recally being excited by the difference, so I went back to the plain "G." I think I've always used a plain "G," regardless of gauge, on my Rickenbackers.
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Re: Strings: Are plain / unwound 3rds / Gs ever preferable?

Postby (iiipopes) » Sun Oct 04, 2020 3:06 pm

The reason for the emphatic "NO" is beause, roughly, compensation for a string is usually a function of the diameter of the string, or the core of a string for a roundwound. The wound 3rd G unison has a similar core diameter to the plain octave, so they intonate well to gether on the double slotted stock saddle on a six-saddle bridge.

I have never seen a plain G string, which is usually a .016 or .017, intonate on any guitar with the .008, 009, or .010 used for an octave G string. Just look at any conventional six-string guitar that uses a set with a plain G: the G saddle is wayyyyy back from where the E string saddle is.

The physicas just aren't there for a plain 3rd G string intonate properly with the octave G string. Either the unison will be sharp, or the octave will be flat, or the difference will cause everthing else on a 12-string guitar to be out of tune with itself, especially up the neck.
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