It’s generally agreed that different woods used in the body of an acoustic guitar will accentuate different tones and emphasize different parts of the tonal spectrum. Some woods will emphasize the Bass and Treble and create somewhat of a scooped midrange while others produce a more balanced tone without emphasizing any particular part of the tonal spectrum more than others. Some woods are thought of as warmer than others, etc.

Also, the body size and shape of a particular guitar might result in particular parts of the tonal spectrum being emphasized more than others. Dreadnaughts or Jumbo's would emphasize the bass more than smaller bodied guitar shapes.

But there may be situations where a guitarist may want to alter the sound of a particular guitar in specific ways. Singer songwriters who accompany their singing with a solo guitar may prefer to leave more room in the mids to allow their vocal to sit better in the mix. Fingerstyle players may prefer a more overall balanced tone. And if an acoustic guitar is to be played with electric instruments, one may want punchier mids to allow the acoustic to cut through the mix.

It is commonly accepted that 80/20 “Bronze” (which are actually made of copper and zinc) are brighter sounding strings (at least when they are new) emphasizing the upper mid to high range frequencies while Phosphor “Bronze” strings (actually copper and tin) are generally warmer sounding with more emphasis on the lower to low mid range frequencies.

I routinely mix string gauges from different sets of the same type string on some of my guitars. For example I might use the top 3 strings from a light gauge set and the bottom 3 from a medium gauge set to emphasize the bass on a particular guitar. But I have never tried mixing Phosphor Bronze and 80/20 for different strings on a particular guitar to change the tonality or accentuate a particular part of the tonal spectrum that might be more muted in a particular guitar than I prefer - or to tone down a frequency that I thought a particular guitar emphasized more than desired.

For example, say I was going to use a guitar that tended to bring out the mids for a solo acoustic gig where I was going to sing over the guitar and I wanted to create more of a scooped midrange to allow my vocals to sit better in the mix. I’m wondering if I used 80/20 Bronze on the outer pairs and Phosphor Bronze on the D and G strings, if I might create a tonal balance that left more room in the middle for my vocals.

Has anyone ever tried this or know of any other guitarist who have mixed 80/20s with Phosphor Bronze to shape the tonality of a particular guitar to better suit their preference? Any thoughts on pros and cons of this approach?

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    Pretty sure the top two strings in an acoustic set have no “bronze” in them, since it’s the winding that is “bronze”. Aside from that, trying this out on your particular guitar might be the best way to get a useful answer. And it only costs you two packs of strings and some winding time. Commented Dec 20, 2021 at 1:59
  • For what it's worth, Ckeartone brand has "EQ" string set that does something similar as commercial product. They are not very popular.
    – ojs
    Commented Dec 20, 2021 at 6:29
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    Bronze is not copper and zinc, that would be brass, but copper and tin. Mixing strings can of course be done. As @ToddWilcox said, the unwound strings are usually steel, so for those only the dimensions matter anyway. But you should also keep in mind that this will probably not lead to a completely satisfying result. Tonal problems usually stem from structural problems of the instrument, like bad bracing.
    – Lazy
    Commented Dec 20, 2021 at 8:01
  • There's a sure fire way to find out - and it will be, as you say, partly guitar dependant. Partially the guitar body, but also the pups may not work with some string materials.
    – Tim
    Commented Dec 20, 2021 at 8:45
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    This is probably looking for a guitar-specific answer, but violinists do this all the time. Particularly, the top string of a violin is often unwound and the other three are wound, so 99.9% of players use one brand for the bottom three and something else for the top, to the point that "sets" are sometimes sold that way (e.g. three Eudoxas and an Oliv). And with my previous fiddle, I went for years using a different brand on my lowest string too to tone down an overly bright bass. Commented Dec 20, 2021 at 13:48


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