Got myself a D-70

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Hi all,

Really happy to join the community - after playing my Martin DCX1E as my sole acoustic for 17 years it was finally time to go for "the guitar" and I ended up with a 1982 D-70 in great shape (serial EF100185). Paid $2800 cash from a dealer in NYC who had it listed for $3k. Loving this guitar!

One thing I have noticed - I always played with .13s on my Martin, and despite having only .1" difference in scale length, the string tension on the Guild seems to be much higher. So much higher that my fingers are quite sore - something that hasn't happened in a long time. I also noticed in standard tuning the sound was a bit tight - hard to explain but almost like the strings weren't resonating to their potential. I detuned to D# and it improved. And in open D it's absolutely perfect (unreal). However I tend to play mostly in standard, so I ended up putting .12s on it and the tension problem is gone. It plays like a dream, however I have lost some of what I love about this guitar - the tone at high volumes.

Is this something that can be fixed by getting it set up? The action is perfect with no buzzes, so there are no other issues. It's just that with .13 gauge strings the tension is too high for my liking. Can it be reduced at all by adjust the nut/saddle/truss rod? I don't know much about how to fix issues like this, just hoping I can get the tension and action of .12s with the tone of .13s. My Martin played like a dream with .13s but was never close to the tonal qualities of the D-70.

Pic attached!
 

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Stuball48

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Ryan
You made an entrance with a "cannonball" off the high diving board--D70!!
What a beautiful and wonderful guitar. Welcome to a great forum and suggestions from other, more, knowledgeable members will follow.
I use D'Addario EJ16s light and love them. You might try a hybrid set of their EJ19s or EJ14s if EJ16s are not an answer.
 

davismanLV

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That's a beautiful guitar, congratulations!! Put some .12's on it. You'd be surprised how it will sound with the lighter gauge strings!! That guitar is gonna sing anyway, so give it a try. That's my suggestion. One time I put mediums on my D65S thinking it was gonna be major change and it honestly didn't sound much different and I hated all that extra tension on guitar. I also like D'Addario EXP 14's which are 80/20 bronze coated strings (last a long time) with light highs and medium lows. They work nice as well. Welcome to LTG, Ryan!! (y)
 

geoguy

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Way to make a first impression!

I purchased a used D-55 a couple years ago, and had the opposite experience of what you described. That D-55 sounded "tight", and the strings were simply much too hard under my fingertips. The seller never tried changing the strings that the previous owner had installed, and disliked the guitar so much that he sold it to me for a very favorable price.

The strings appeared to be medium-gauge Elixirs. Changing them to light-gauge phosphor bronze D'Addarios brought that guitar back to life, and it now has the piano-like chime that a D-55 should. And it plays a lot easier, too.

You didn't mention which set of .12s you put on that gorgeous guitar?

If D'A phosphor bronze .12s don't float your boat, another lower-tension string that you might consider trying is Thomastik-Infeld Plectrum. You won't like the eye-watering price (about $25), but you just might like the sound. This guy does:

 
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Thank you all for the compliments! It truly is a great guitar. And geoguy - I think we had the same experience. .13's (D'addario PB) just had too much tension. And I just slapped some .12 80/20 D'addario and it plays like a dream. I think I might experiment some different .12's to see what I like best.

But the question remains - is this a characteristic of the guitar or something a setup can address?
 

Westerly Wood

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Thank you all for the compliments! It truly is a great guitar. And geoguy - I think we had the same experience. .13's (D'addario PB) just had too much tension. And I just slapped some .12 80/20 D'addario and it plays like a dream. I think I might experiment some different .12's to see what I like best.

But the question remains - is this a characteristic of the guitar or something a setup can address?
I been liking D'Addario EJ11s (.12-.53 80/20) on my Guild dreads. I never found that mediums are necessary on Guild dreads. Top moves plenty and like you noticed, light gauge a lot easier on the fingers. Mediums always felt tight and really, unnecessary :) Congrats on a top of the line Guild dreadnought guitar.

There is also evidence that with some builds, medium gauge strings actually choke to top, the tension restricting its movement instead of encouraging it. But it depends on the guitar for sure...I am not saying this is a general rule or consensus. In my experience it has proved true.
 

wileypickett

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If the set-up is perfect for you -- and it sounds like it is -- I'm not aware of anything a luthier can do to make a Light set sound like a Medium set, both tuned to pitch.

Since the ooomph comes from the mid-range and bass, maybe try something like these, Light on top, Medium on the bottom?


(D70s are great guitars -- congrats!)
 

Cougar

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Whoa, top o' line dread right there! Welcome to the boards!
 

GardMan

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Congrats, and welcome to the board! Quite an introduction to Guilds! I just picked up a '82 D-70 last month. I am a real fan of John Pearse PB strings in "Bluegrass" gauge, which are medium bass and light trebles (0.012 to 0.056)... give a little more "oomph" in the bass (not that a D-70 really needs it), but less tension overall. My fingers tend to notice the tension in the trebles more, particularly when barring, and the bluegrass gauge are a bit more comfortable...

One thing you might also check, or have checked, is the height of the nut slots... I find that makes a BIG difference in how my guitars "feel." If it plays easier with a capo on the first fret, it means you probably need to have the nut adjusted. Again I am more sensitive to the height of the trebles...
 

dreadnut

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Outstanding! Welcome to LTG.

I'd recommend D'Addario Phosphor Bronze EJ19 Bluegrass strings - medium on the wound strings but lighter on the top two strings.
 
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