Guitar String Types

I am planning on experimenting with different string types (electric guitar only). I was wondering if anyone has already done the same. I have two specific hypotheses that sort of go in opposite directions. One is that lighter gauge strings will track better due to the “tighter” tone produced. I want to try 8s and even 7s to test this out. The second hypothesis is that flatwounds, which are mostly only available in heavier gauges, will track better by producing less noise from finger movement, less fret noise, and an overall less dynamic tone.

The only other mention of string type on the forum I could find was someone who said nylon strings with a piezo pickup worked really well. This is where the flatwound hypothesis came from. Without having tested anything out, my guess is that the flatwounds will be the better of the two. The lighter gauges may end up tracking well, but playability wise i’m worried about unintentional pitch bends. This is great for playing crazy guitar solos, but probably not for controlling a synth.

Any advice on this will be greatly appreciated! I’m also interested in guitar setup in general (string height, pickup type, playing style, etc.) to maximize performance of MG2. I mostly use it to control synth plugins, and mix in raw guitar sparingly if at all.

Using those GHS ones :slight_smile:

GBXL-10 SETS - BOOMERS™ 10-Pack - GBXL-10, Extra Light 10 Pack 009-042

And I have good tracking overall. Good to experiment I guess.

hopefully i’m not putting words in his mouth, but i recall that lofileif has stated on multiple occasions that ‘brightness’ is one of the most important characteristics for optimal note detection.

this would seem to indicate that the roundwounds will perform better.

i’m probably the piezo guy you refer to, but there is a caveat - i don’t use a pick.

early on with mg2 i was using polished flatwounds on an ibanez electric. these were originally selected for roland/gk usage.

i never really did a proper side by side comparison but over time i switched to and settled on roundwounds.

generally i use the lightest gauge which still allows drop d tuning.

on unintentional pitchbends i don’t find it to be worse with lighter strings.

i have a pedal assigned to turn pitchbend on and off, there are times when you don’t want the pb info to be passed on.

aside from intonation, string height over the pickup should be checked.

ps: once you’ve shredded your way into magnificence, will you rename yourself ‘meltedkentucky’?

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All the technical suggestions offered here and there can greatly improve tracking and eliminate unwanted noises.

There is another approach: I play guitar and the characteristics of the guitar that make me feel good and happy when I play take precedence over those necessary for a good use of Midi Guitar, which is only a complementary MIDI part of the mainly audio guitar.

That’s why I prefer to spend a lot more time improving my playing technique in Midi Guitar but not making any concessions to my guitar itself.

So, whether it’s with Midi Guitar or not, I don’t want to complicate my life and I play practically all the time with the 3 pickups of my guitar together, my strings are 11-54 and I confess I don’t care whether they’re flatwound or not: when I try a new set of strings, if I like them more than the previous ones I take the new ones otherwise I continue to choose the old ones without paying too much attention to their characteristics.

My fault is that I’m not perfectionist; my priority is to have fun in the simplest way possible. That’s my character, and it doesn’t stop me from being comfortable with Midi Guitar. :wink:


I’m in the same ballpark.
I feel I haven’t consciously changed my style, playing in the same way. I have only added a dumper as my guitar tends to ring a little. That doesn’t mean I have unconsciously changed my playing style because I knew of MIDI Guitar but that goes into uncharted territory for me… metaphysics…


How does this help?


Thanks for the suggestions. Right now I’m trying out some flatwounds ( D’Addario XL chrome - Extra Light). They definitely cut down on string noise a bit when moving my fretting hand. I also picked up an Ernie Ball fret wrap. It actually helps a bit too, but only when you are avoiding open strings all together. The improvements have been small, but noticeable. When these strings wear out, I have a set of extra slinky, and also zippy slinkys to try out.

I have the feeling that I don’t fit the mold of most people on the forum. You all sound like primarily guitarists who want to expand your playing with some synth action. I’m more the other way around, a synthesist who is board with keyboards and midi controllers. I’m looking to add a more natural expressivity to playing that I’m just not getting with those things. I did play guitar for years as a kid, but then got bored with it in my 20’s. I just never seemed to progress past a certain level of playing. Its been a lot of fun re-familiarizing myself with the instrument.