What are your prefered strings for a Selmer guitar?

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Alain Bieber
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Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 1:28 pm

What are your prefered strings for a Selmer guitar?

Post by Alain Bieber »

My slightly reduced Selmer D-hole is almost completed (just the bridge still to do) and I do not know what strings are preferable. Savarez Argentine, as is the local tradition? others? What tension you prefer?
I will likely (certainly) use that guitar for accompaniement only. No solo , "trop difficile" for my old hands <g>.
I chose to reduce only very slightly the string length, 635 mm instead of 640 mm for the original.
Attachments
Selmerita B1.jpg

Craig Bumgarner
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Location: Drayden, Maryland

Re: What are your prefered strings for a Selmer guitar?

Post by Craig Bumgarner »

Alain,

Hey, that looks great!

I use Savarez Argentine, the lightest gauge, .010". I've tried about everything else, and these are consistently the best sounding. Most everyone else who has played these kind of guitars for a while ends up there too eventually. My experience is entirely with the standard 14 fret to the body scale length, 670m. With 635mm, you might want to try the heavier Argentines, the .011". My understanding is that the .010" are the originals and it is only recently they started making the .011" sets (supposedly at Romane's request), so historically, most of the short scale Selmers were probably using the the .010" Argentines. That said, I'd probably try them both at some point.

CB

Bill Raymond
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Location: Red Bluff California

Re: What are your prefered strings for a Selmer guitar?

Post by Bill Raymond »

Nice work, Alain. I agree with Craig that the Savarez Argentine .010" are very good. I have used these on a 638mm scale Selmeroid, and like them very much. I don't have any experience with the .011 Argentines, as the .010s seem to do just fine with this scale length. They should work well with your 625mm scale, too.

Alain Bieber
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Re: What are your prefered strings for a Selmer guitar?

Post by Alain Bieber »

THanks, I will go for the light tension Argentines.
A photo of the back. I would need some advices on photography too <g>.
Attachments
Selmerita dos 1 jp 150.jpg

Al Dodson
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Re: What are your prefered strings for a Selmer guitar?

Post by Al Dodson »

I prefer the the lighter gauge strings in every situation I have tried them. As to what string to choose; I think it depends on what sound you want. If you have ever tried them, I think we can probably all agree that bronze strings are not a great choice; they are too bright and make me want to pour hot lead in my ears. The Saverez are great if you want the traditional gypsy sound; with a silk and steel set you can get a similar sound but just not quite as good on the low end. I have tried Black Diamond brand copper wound strings too and they were OK and a bit cheaper if I remember. I hope the Saverez quality has improved over the years; used to have a lot of problems with the windings breaking prematurely, especially the G string. I had a few sets where strings were DOA. That's been a few years ago so I can't say how they are now. I have also tried round wound nickel electric sets too and was not unhappy with the sound. However, just between us girls, I string up my regular players with Tomastik Jazz series nickel flat wounds; they have plenty of punch but smooth out the rough edges a bit for a great all around jazz sound. Talk about quality; Tomastik is the gold standard,. and you pay for it!

I classify my guitars according to the bracing pattern and where that places the bridge. The Mac/D-hole guitars had the bridge at the widest part of the lower bougt. The Selmer's have their bridge moved up toward the neck. It makes for a difference in the sound between the two. I would be interested in what you guys think

Alain Bieber
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Re: What are your prefered strings for a Selmer guitar?

Post by Alain Bieber »

Thanks Al,
I like flat wounds strings too. I will have a look at the Tomastik .

Simon Magennis
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Location: Menorca. Spain.

Re: What are your prefered strings for a Selmer guitar?

Post by Simon Magennis »

Looks very good as usual. What plan did you use for the bracing? The R&F Charle one?
Thanks.
Simon

Alain Bieber
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Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 1:28 pm

Re: What are your prefered strings for a Selmer guitar?

Post by Alain Bieber »

Yes Simon. Bracing disposition unchanged. Only sections a bit reduced to adapt to the reduced width.

Miguel Bernardo
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Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 6:36 pm

Re: What are your prefered strings for a Selmer guitar?

Post by Miguel Bernardo »

Argentines 010s too. love the sound.

nice guitar, BTW-what´s the back wood?

cheers,
miguel.

Alain Bieber
Posts: 108
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 1:28 pm

Re: What are your prefered strings for a Selmer guitar?

Post by Alain Bieber »

Hi Miguel,
That is Ceylan satinwood (Chloroxylon Swietenia). Nice wood to work with and still affordable. No pore filling needed. Pro builders begin to use it too... in spite of clients reluctance for anything different from rosewood, at least here.

Alain Bieber
Posts: 108
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Re: What are your prefered strings for a Selmer guitar?

Post by Alain Bieber »

This morning, I have put Argentines light tension and the Selmerita shows a rather big voice. I forgot how strongly such guitars could emit. I have to rebuild from zero my very ancient ability to work with a mediator...<G>
Final photos, the moustaches are still missing.
Attachments
Selmerita with strings 1 jp.jpg
Selmerita with strings 2 JP.jpg

Michael Lewis
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Re: What are your prefered strings for a Selmer guitar?

Post by Michael Lewis »

Alain, nicely done.

Miguel Bernardo
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Re: What are your prefered strings for a Selmer guitar?

Post by Miguel Bernardo »

Alain Bieber wrote:Hi Miguel,
That is Ceylan satinwood (Chloroxylon Swietenia). Nice wood to work with and still affordable. No pore filling needed. Pro builders begin to use it too... in spite of clients reluctance for anything different from rosewood, at least here.
OK -satinwood,looks really nice. Here (Portugal) it´s becoming more expensive, which should mean fashionable.
I actually like the bridge without moustache, reminds me of Castellucia.

cheers,
miguel.

Dick Goodchild
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Re: What are your prefered strings for a Selmer guitar?

Post by Dick Goodchild »

Hello Alain,

May I say that you have built a lovely guitar. Could you please tell me; is the fretboard curved, and if it is, what is the radius?
I can never make my mind up when looking at pictures of Selmer originals. I get the impression that modern interpreters use a curve because that is what we are used to these days.
Many thanks in advance.

Regards...Dick.

This is my first post so hello to everyone.

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Mark Swanson
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Re: What are your prefered strings for a Selmer guitar?

Post by Mark Swanson »

Welcome to the MIMForum, Dick!
  • Mark Swanson, guitarist, MIMForum Staff

Neil Frost
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Re: What are your prefered strings for a Selmer guitar?

Post by Neil Frost »

Hi Dick.
The Francios Charles plan is excellent and shows a FB radius of around 16" which looks and works well - most modern makers seem to use this. I've had a look at my FC Selmer bible but it does not specify the original camber - the photographs suggest it was nearly flat. You could always shell out $30,000 and buy an original which will no doubt prove an excellent investment ! However, after several re-fret jobs no doubt you will be looking at a nicely cambered finger board.

BTW guys I've built a few of these and play badly but often. The Savarez always sound the best to me - 10s make the long scale easier - 11s on the short scale. Tried some cheaper Gallos last time - OK but squeak like the devil. FLAT WOUNDS ! - disgraceful.

Alain Bieber
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Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 1:28 pm

Re: What are your prefered strings for a Selmer guitar?

Post by Alain Bieber »

Hello Dick,
Sorry I did not notice quickly tour post. I have followed the Charles plan but introduced a very slight FB "rounding", I would say half way between a flat line and an usual rounding as seen on electrics. I stick to the Savarez Argentine since they gave me full satisfaction, but I am a complete beginner in steelstring guitars, so my advice has a limited value for sure. Thanks for your comment. I like this instrument and the reduced scale is not damageable to the way it works. But I come from the classical guitar world and all steel strings sound to me very powerful and full of sustain of course.

Al Dodson
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Re: What are your prefered strings for a Selmer guitar?

Post by Al Dodson »

i FLAT WOUNDS ! - disgraceful.

I know you are just trying to make a joke, but thinking like this is why we still don't have flying cars.

Craig Bumgarner
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Location: Drayden, Maryland

Re: What are your prefered strings for a Selmer guitar?

Post by Craig Bumgarner »

I think 20" radius is pretty common on both modern and vintage Selmer style (aka manouche) guitars, it's what I use. Some vintage French manouche guitars, especially the cheaper ones had flat fingerboards. Though cheap guitars in their day, some sound terrific today. The fingerboards were often pear wood dyed black to look like ebony, these did not hold up well over time and many have been replaced, usually with radius'd fingerboards.

Argentines are indeed the string of choice. Most people find them too brassy sounding for the first couple days, but after that they sound great for months. Somewhere between 6 and 12 months, the bass strings just die completely and it is time for new strings. They have some quality control issues from time to time, but Savarez seems to fix this quickly enough, nothing else sounds as good or play as nicely. The G strings sometimes where quickly at the frets, but this is a quality control issue. Argies are silver plated copper wound and sometimes they get the alloy a little on the soft side. I've had three in a row wear completely through at the middle frets in a week each. Then, I'll have one that lasts half a year and still going strong when I changed. You can buy individual strings and I bought a 10 pack of Gs just in case. Three years later, I still have plenty left, so it is not a big problem. A strings were dead right out of the box 4-5 years ago. This was due to the wrapped wire not being tight enough and could be fixed in the field by simply twisting the string 3-4 turns to tighten it up.

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