To Wound G or not To Wound G?

Discussion in 'THE Gretsch Discussion Forum' started by Rusty Silver, Aug 8, 2018.

  1. wildeman

    wildeman Gretschified

    May 10, 2015
    Oh yeah, i use a wrapped G on acoustics and some electric hollows but never on a solid body. Plain G on all my Gretsch electric's.
    mrfixitmi likes this.
  2. Charlie westside

    Charlie westside Synchromatic

    Jul 27, 2018
    Sylmar Califirnia
    I can't survive without bending. I normally use 9's on my other guitars like my Strat. for my Gretsch I use standard Daddario 10's because of the tension from the Bigs trem. I still get plenty of bending on the G. It sacrifices the sound quality of that particular string though. Given the choice I would stick with this. Bending is part of my playing arsenal and adds so much color to playing.
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2018
  3. Rusty Silver

    Rusty Silver Gretschie

    Jun 25, 2017
    Italy (Rome and Genoa)
    I wanna bend! And I wanna a warm sound on my G string!

  4. Henry

    Henry Gretschified

    Apr 9, 2014
    I prefer wound G but with the thomastik flatwound 11s, I swap in an unwound G as I need to be able to bend a full step without too much strain.
  5. Lee Erickson

    Lee Erickson Country Gent

    Apr 20, 2009
    Eagan, MN
    I think there's some misconceptions about wound vs. plain string strings, especially g-strings.

    Fretting and bending force have all to do about the core diameter.

    One thing I've noticed is that string manufacturers tend to do, is the make all the string tensions about the same.

    When you do this, the fretting force (on your finger) is greater on plain strings than wound strings. The small core diameter on the wound string makes it stretchier and easier to fret.

    For bending, it's all about the additional string tension to reach your note. Well, that's the same for both types of strings. But, you will have to push further away from neutral position for wound strings.

    So, when you are deciding, consider this:

    1) What's your gauge?

    If you're below .010"d (e-string), it's likely that a wound g-string will be punk on most sets.
    If you're between .010-011" it's likely that a wound g-string will be punk on some sets.
    If you're .012 and above you'll be good with a wound string most of the time.

    2) How far do you bend with wound strings?

    Some people find the additional bending distance too far to get what they want. If that's a problem, it's obvious to go to a plain string. But, consider going up a gauge with wound strings.

    I encourage you to try stuff. There no generic solution.

    Rusty Silver and Bertotti like this.
  6. mrfixitmi

    mrfixitmi Synchromatic

    Mar 20, 2010
    We have used both, I agree that the wound has a warmer sound. If you are looking for the ice pick in the ears, then the unwound works well. I have heard talented benders use both wound and unwound. The wounds do tend to intonate better, but a good set up person can get the intonation good with either.
  7. russmack

    russmack Country Gent

    May 1, 2017
    ballina australia
    Have to agree Lee.

    I've had my 6120 up to .013/.053. Works well for finger-picking.

    But there is some sort of middle distance for accuracy and comfort. Flat-picking with the .013s was sortta awkward.

    My electrics are stuck with the default .010s (although I can't agree with them sometimes, well, not at all) but I've decided to settle for .011 flat-wounds on my 6120.

    This seems to be a never-ending hassle.


  8. audept

    audept Senior Gretsch-Talker

    Dec 1, 2010
    Sydney, Australia
  9. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Sorry Vista
    Admin Post
    That’s what I’ve experienced, as well. I buy my Thomastiks from Strings By Mail, and the cost of buying individual strings works out the same as buying by the set, so I simply order the bottom three as Thomastiks and I stock D’Addario plains for the upper three.

    Great comment Lee. The core is the thang!

    Funny, I was just thinking about you, yesterday.
  10. Highroller

    Highroller Gretschie

    Jun 11, 2015
    Portland, OR
    I usually stay within the 10-47 range on gauge, so relatively light. I'll use a wound 3rd on anything with a Bigsby - I honestly believe it helps hold the tuning better and compensates for the tone I give up by using lighter gauge strings, adds just a tiny bit more beef to it.

    That means all the Gretches, a Starfire III, Club King 290, etc. But there's a few non-Bigsbys I'll use them with too: my Tele, a Godin 5th Avenue, my Dano DC59.

    One thing they absolutely WON'T work on is my Strat - I have no idea why, but that guitar just plays and sounds awful with a wound 3rd!

    Anybody else have that experience?
  11. Pine Apple Slim

    Pine Apple Slim Country Gent

    Dec 14, 2011
    North Alabama
    I use an unwound G on any guitar I plan to play rock, blues, or country leads on.
    10s on Strats and Teles, 10.5 on the Falcon, 11s on the shorter scale 5120 and Pro Jet. If I was playing strictly rhythm I'd go with a wound 3rd on the Falcon for the tone, probably a set of Tomastick Flatwound 11s or 12s.
    But right now I keep my Epi Broadway with Rose P90s set up with Tomastick flat wound 12s with the wound 3rd , for the old school sound, or my meager attempts at jazz.
    russmack likes this.
  12. Marcc

    Marcc Electromatic

    Aug 7, 2018
    I had a friend years ago who played with a set the started with 0.8. He had massive hands as well. I couldn't play his guitar. I use D'addario EJ22. Jazz strings. Have done for ages on hollow body's. 0.13 to 0.56. always with a wound G. Anything without is not right
  13. Rusty Silver

    Rusty Silver Gretschie

    Jun 25, 2017
    Italy (Rome and Genoa)
    Thanks for replies... Strangely here in Italy there are really few players usinh wound third (most are jazz players), so I was often wondering if it was just my ears... o_O

    Anyway, I'll try the 0.10-0-47 with wound 3rd...

    Life is a compromise... ;)
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