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 Post subject: Strings for Guild M20
PostPosted: Sat Dec 16, 2006 1:49 am 

Joined: Sat Dec 16, 2006 1:40 am
Posts: 3
Can someone who has used a Guild M20 for recreating Nick Drake arrangements suggest a reasonable set of strings or guages for reproducing the tunings?

Also, were the available strings in the early 70s fewer and, possibly, predictable on that account? Was there even phospor bronze then?

Thanks in advance.


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 Post subject: Nickel Strings?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2006 8:23 pm 

Joined: Sat Dec 16, 2006 1:40 am
Posts: 3
Can someone correct me if I am wrong, but the bass strings on the guitar (Guild M20) on the cover of Bryter Layter appear to be nickel wound?

Anyone care to make an educated guess about this, in terms of brand or guages for circa early 70s?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2007 3:01 pm 

Joined: Wed Mar 22, 2006 9:37 pm
Posts: 71
Location: United Kingdom
I think Nick would have used Ivor Mairants own brand back then.The shop is still there, near Oxford st., and their staff are very helpful.
On the other hand, there is a manufacturers of hand made strings in Derbyshire called Newtone.They will help you with strings for dropped tunings.So youve got an m20? lucky ******* !


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2007 3:12 pm 

Joined: Tue Jan 02, 2007 3:41 am
Posts: 34
you'll find the texture in the chords, not the strings


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 31, 2007 1:21 am 

Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2007 12:53 am
Posts: 79
One of Drake's most used tuning is BEBEBE.

Obviously I can't tell you the gauges he used, but I found gauges for my Fender acoustic that allow me to play in anything from BEBEBE to many open tunings.

I took a set of 9s, scrapped the high E string, and strung the B string as the E string, the G string as the B string, and so on. I then got a low B string (whatever the normal gauge is for a 7 string) and put it on the bottom. It sounds pretty good and balanced. Sorry I don't know the actual measurements.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2007 6:49 am 

Joined: Thu Aug 31, 2006 4:23 pm
Posts: 55
Location: Philadelphia
I would try a light gauge Elixir polyweb. It's not what he used, obviously. However the coating keeps them from being too tinny/metalic sounding. Coated strings generally are not good for alternate tunings, mostly because they dull the tone of the string. However, I think that might actually be the goal. Give em a try. They also last forever. I think they say that Nick liked playing on really old strings, too.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2007 9:33 pm 

Joined: Tue Jan 02, 2007 3:41 am
Posts: 34
ack! no.

thick. if you've got a mahog guitar...that's a good strong wood. very dark sounding.

mediums. not light...extra light...MED. gives it a good bass kick without overpowering. i'm currently using martin mediums...they sound great.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2007 3:59 am 

Joined: Thu Aug 31, 2006 4:23 pm
Posts: 55
Location: Philadelphia
...but if that's a true M-20 than using Medium g. is going to put extra tension on both the tuners and the bridge. The M20 tuners (if yours still has the same) are rather cheap compared with the rest of the guitar, and many have had bridge placement issues. If you are confident in the strength of the guitar than medium by all means, but I would be more prudent with a rare guitar like that.

Not to mention an OM sized guitar, rare or not, shouldn't even have mediums period. Mediums are for larger body guitars, i.e. Dreadnaughts.

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 Post subject: strings for M20
PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2007 11:54 am 

Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2007 11:43 am
Posts: 2
I was told that Nick used John Pearse bronze strings and then changed to Gibson. As far as I can tell John Pearse didn't start bring made till 1978, so that's that out. Their bluegrass strings (12,16,24,35,45,56) do the job though in those tunings. both john Pearse and Newtone are lighter tension than normal and the mediums might and the bluegrass gauge would get around what was said about taxing the bridge and tuners. Those two brands are the best, longest lasting non-coated strings I've heard.
I would have thought moving the bottom 5 strings in a set of 9s along and adding a 7 string low 6th as suggested wouldn't be much different to a set of 11s.
When I played a mahogony Martin 0015 in London recently I could tell that the 12-54s on it were too light for the Nick Drake tunings but that fatter bottom strings would give the Pink Moon sound. When Nick was around apparently acoustic guitar strings were what we call mediums now, there was nowt else for a steel string acoustic.

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 Post subject: Strings for guild m20
PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 11:26 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2008 9:47 pm
Posts: 19
I thought john ddadario invented different gauge strings in 1939 meaning nick would probably have used lights on his small bodied guild. I use ernie ball silk and steels soft, they are basically light bronze 80/20 strings with silk wound in, giving the softer worn out sound of nicks guitar. I am thinking about trying the mediums of these as they dont put as much tension as normal mediums but theses lights sound bang on with my old guild.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 9:35 pm 

Joined: Tue Jan 25, 2011 11:57 pm
Posts: 245
Location: United Kingdom
Nick Drake played with a silver plated string, and played it very well. If he ran low on money he would replace the strings individually (listen to how bright the e, B, G, strings are ringing compared to the flat tone of the bass - a difference very prominent to newly strung strings).

He also probably used his Classical Yamaha guitar to tune from; for nylon strings are less affected by hot and cold temp. That is all.

Actually, one more thing, Nick most likely played a Levin then transferred to a D28 when Martin bought the company out for a stupid amount of money. One can tell by the difference in tone (made purely by a new guitar and strings) with his last four songs. Brian Wells has the D28!! It appears briefly in the documentary “A Skin too Few” within a hard case. He did not receive a 000-18! That is just whispers.

All the best


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2011 3:19 am 

Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2006 4:41 am
Posts: 633
Location: Suihua, Heilongjiang Province, China
Strings schmings.

I really laugh at this whole obsession with what guitar/ strings Nick used.

Spend 10 hours a day playing guitar and you can play an old cardboard box with a rubber band and be a genius. But only if ye are a genius.

But there is sometin to what Narco say bout dead and live strings. I hear it on `Things Behind Sun' and coupla others on 'Pink Moon'


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2011 7:32 am 

Joined: Tue Jan 25, 2011 11:57 pm
Posts: 245
Location: United Kingdom
I agree Bmore but I couldn’t resist. It is an obsession we have all been guilty of. This is most certainly my final post on the subject, and on this forum for a while.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 9:14 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2008 9:47 pm
Posts: 19
I recently changed from ernie ball silk and steel (bronze strings see above) to the classic daddario ej11 80/20 bronze 12-53. On my old guild m20 they sound exactly the same as all 3 albums. Anyone believes that nick used anything different to an m20 is nuts. Those sounds can only be achieved on that guitar. I am luckily enough to have john wood recording me in the next few months and i had a telephone chat with him and asked what guitar nick used. He said an m20 with dead strings. Thats good enough for me.


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