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3rd string - wound or plain?

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Illustrious Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 10264
Topic starter  

This is a sort of follow-up to the "What size are your strings" thread.....

I've always used 9's - Ernie Balls - on electric & acoustic - bought new strings yesterday, put D'addario 9's on the electric, and Martin 10's on acoustic. The D'Addarios seem a lot smoother to play, but the Martins - well, I like the slightly fuller tone, but I do NOT like the wound 3rd (G) string. I didn't actually realise there would be such a difference moving up one gauge....the 3rd wound on the Martins is .23, the 4th on the D'addarios is .24. I am going to replace the wound 3rd with a plain 3rd tomorrow - the guitar seems more balanced, somehow, with a plain 3rd... too many bass strings with a wound 3rd!!!

Is it just me or do others prefer plain to wound - or vice versa?


"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)

Eminent Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 17

I use Martin. And I like them. I wouldn't do what your thinking of doing cause it will change some of your tone. At least i would notice it. The problem I have found with mix matching sets is then it sounds like it's not quite all the way in tune, that is because the tone has changed some.

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Honorable Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 653

I love the wound strings. They sound much fuller than the unwounds...


Reputable Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 374

I just recently upped my gauge on my electric to 10-50, on DR strings. Awesome tone and feel. I wish the second strign was wound though.

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Estimable Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 169

I can't stand having a wound 3rd string (I would say a wound G-string but that just sounds funny), even though a wound 3rd string sounds more full. Just feels weird. I can't remember what blues man it was, but I recall someone that plays blues used to always strip the 3rd string if it was wound (now it is going to bother me until I remember who that was).

Gun control is using both hands!!!

Famed Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 2849

I can't remember the blues man either but I remember the story.

You know, I never gave this any thought even though the strings on my acoustics is a wound G string (there I said it) and the electrics aren't. Thinking about it I do notice a difference in feel but I get use to it after awhile.

Now I am going to loose sleep over it Ha Ha

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Trusted Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 52

I like mine wound for acoustic and not for electric.

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Trusted Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 48

I use the heaviest electric strings I can find with an unwound G. I tune to standard. Ernie Ball Power Slinkys fit the bill and are the easiest to get ahold of around here. I also order them in bulk from Musician's Friend.

Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 7833

Play in Open G and you'll have two G-strings.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."

Eminent Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 35

I always use a wound G on my acoustic and hollow body electric guitars, my solid body guitar I use an unwound G. The wound G takes a little getting use to but after a while there is no differance.

Noble Member
Joined: 22 years ago
Posts: 1735

I only play electric but have tried using a wound 3rd. I hear lots of string squeak because I'm used to being able to move my hand over a string without grooves. I didn't like the wound at all. Just me.

"Nothing...can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts."

Trusted Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 69

i love a wound G-String...only on my acoustic though...yup i just live wound g strings.. they take some getting used to but i dunno..maby you just have to be a rewal man to have a wound g string..they are a little uncomforatable at first but hey..there a first time for evert thing...

hahahaha i couldnt resist..ill behave from now on.. :D

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Noble Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 1066

Plain Gs bug me. They don't seem to fit in with the other strings, like the tension is just a little too low. I was really happy the first time I tried a wound G.