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5 Things About Strings

Technique
MoshZilla1016  
19 Oct 2013 13:39 | Quote
Joined: 10 Jul 2010
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I found this info online and felt someone may benefit from it.

THE STUFF THEY’RE MADE FROM AFFECTS THEIR TONE
Your tone truly begins with your strings, and their tone begins with the metal they are made from. Most unwound G, B and high-E strings are made from plain steel, though some are plated with another metal. The most noticeable difference between string sets is often found in the wound strings. Pure nickel-wound strings offer a warm, round, vintage-style tone. Strings wound with nickel-plated steel wraps are a little brighter and louder than pure nickel, while even harder metals—such as chrome and stainless steel— are brighter still.

THE LOWEST ACTION ISN’T ALWAYS THE BEST ACTION
For shredding, an extremely low action (string height) is often the best way to go. For other styles, bringing up the action a little might help you sound better. Even if your strings aren’t noticeably buzzing with a low-action set up, their vibrational arc might be impeded somewhat, constricting their tone slightly. The harder you hit your strings, they wider that elliptical arc in which they vibrate, so heavy-handed playing styles are more likely to benefit from a slightly raised action.

HEAVIER STRINGS CAN SOUND BIGGER… BUT NOT ALWAYS
Thicker strings can make you sound bigger, but only if partnered with an appropriate playing style. If you hammer the strings hard to get a lot of movement out of those wires, going up a gauge or two might suite your playing style fine. But if you’re a more delicate player, you might not get those strings moving, and going up a gauge might just choke your tone. Jimi Hendrix is known to have used .009 and .010 sets, and tone monsters Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page both purportedly used super-light sets with .008 high-E strings. Wimps? Ha! SRV used .012 or .013 sets, but also tuned his Strats down a half-step to Eb, which makes a .012 feel more like an .011.

MATERIAL = LONGEVITY
Although the nickel alloy that pure nickel- wound strings are wrapped with is softer than plain steel, chrome, or stainless steel, pure nickel strings often have a considerably longer playing life because their perceived tone changes less rapidly than that of other strings. Nickel strings start off warm (that is, sounding “played in”) and stay that way, losing high end zing gradually as they age. Chromed and plated sets sound extremely lively to begin with, but that edge tapers off quickly as their coatings are worn away, giving a shorter perceived playing life. Softer nickel strings are also easier on your frets, which are themselves softer than chrome or stainless-steel strings (unless you have newer stainless-steel frets).

WRAP SHAPES AFFECT FEEL & SOUND
The vast majority of players use roundwound strings, but you might just find a little magic in something different. Flatwounds give many jazz players that Wes-certified tone, and they help retro-rockers chase authentic ’50s and early ’60s rock and roll sounds. If you’re looking to warm up a too-bright guitar, pure-nickel flatwounds might be the way to go. For a smoother feel that still has some high end zing, half-round strings might be your ticket.

A guitar string under a microscope.....



macandkanga  
23 Oct 2013 21:12 | Quote
Joined: 03 Oct 2008
United States
Karma: 21
Very informative Mosh! I've tried all of those sizes and alloys. Even the 12s SRV used. Using heavier gauge strings with a little higher action keeps your guitar in tune longer. Especially on guitars with a tremolo. I've go a set of 10s on my Strat now.
Guitarslinger124  
23 Oct 2013 22:31 | Quote
Joined: 25 Jul 2007
United States
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Moderator
I've used Ernie Ball Regular Slinky .10's and Power Slinky .11's forever. Both are nickel plated strings. I've tried all steel strings and haven't liked them too much. Considering though, that I use active pickups in my guitars, my guitars themselves have really negated my need for all steel strings.
macandkanga  
12 Jan 2015 23:28 | Quote
Joined: 03 Oct 2008
United States
Karma: 21
I played my friends epiphone Broadway and I loved the strings. They were Thomastik Infeld flatwound strings. I bought a set of these for my Shecter C-1 plus and they are awesome! They are JS110s which are pure nickel light gauge. They are heavier than round wound but are much smoother to play. I wouldn't put these on a tremolo because the tension is a little more than round wounds. Best set of strings I ever bought! the only catch, 25 bucks! But if you take care of them they last a lot longer than other strings.
Guitarslinger124  
13 Jan 2015 09:18 | Quote
Joined: 25 Jul 2007
United States
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Karma: 38
Moderator
Man, so I tried some Dean Markley's and they were OK; but I just switched to these John Pearse Acoustic/Electric Jazz Medium Silvered Steel Nickel Wound strings (.012,.016,.024,.032,.042 and .052) and I absolutely love them!
macandkanga  
13 Jan 2015 11:52 | Quote
Joined: 03 Oct 2008
United States
Karma: 21
These strings are actually extra light (.010 .014 .018w .023 .033 .044 ). But on a electric they feel like a .011 set. The tension is higher though because they are flat wound. They are the brightest flat wounds out there they say. Are the John Pearse round rounds? I'm going to have to try them!

Next pay day I'm going to buy a set of Thomastik-Infeld kf110 for my Tacoma acoustic. They are flat wound nickel with a steel core. I read where a guy has had them on his guitar for 3 years and they still feel and sound like new!

I'm really into string research right now. Really, I'm into the whole set up on all my guitars: I leveled and crowned all the frets on all my guitars. Then I polish the frets with 1000 grit sand pad and then a micro fiber pad. Then I put on the strings and tune to standard. I check that the neck is straight and adjust if necessary. I do this again a week later when the neck is settled with the new strings. Then I make sure the strings are at the height I want. And then intonate.

They all sound and play great! I just did all of this on the Schecter that was sitting there for awhile. Now it plays like butta.


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