String Length: 43 inches
Nickel-Plated Steel wound strings were introduced in the late Sixties and have become the most popular alloy for electric guitars and bass. Nickel-plated steel tends to offer the most balanced tone.
Nickel Wound strings are created by wrapping Nickel-Plated Steel alloys around a hex-shaped core wire which is made from tin-plated high-carbon steel (same as plain strings, but hex-shaped). The core-to-wrap ratio is the combined diameters of the core wire and the wrap wire which creates the overall diameter of the string.
I love changing my strings. It's like putting on a fresh clean pair of clothes. In most cases I can't think of one thing that will improve your tone more than a new set of strings! (In fact, I'm certain that many people who take their guitar apart and work on it and then put it back together with a new set of strings think that they're wonderful new tone is coming from a new part they upgraded... but it's really coming from the new strings). So I make sure to buy guitars that I can change strings quickly and easily and I change them often. With that, I've tried many different brands, many different styles, many different sizes. I have narrowed down the fact that for whatever reason Curt Mangan's strings are easier to play for me than some of the other brands. They just feel a little softer on my fingers and bend a little easier. Could be my imagination but I'm running with it, because ....whatever works works, and Curt Mangan strings work! On my 2020 Les Paul Modern I've been trying out a few different sizes. I think the 9 to 46 is an excellent balance and I might end up there. The nines are a little bit thin under my fingers almost too delicate and sometimes I bend them more than I intend to so I went up to the 9.5's. The 9.5 definitely fit the bill with a little more tone and a little more resistance. I have not decided whether I'm going to end up with nines or nine and a half on my Les Paul, they both have their benefits. 9.5 gives me a little more tactile feedback. 9.0 definitely feels lighter and easier to play but maybe too flimsy. 9.5 could be the "Goldilock gauge". As far as my bass strings go, I've tried many different gauges and in my humble opinion on my Les Paul the string gauge doesn't really make a big difference in the final tone. I've gone up to 48s in my Les Paul.... and heck, I even have a guitar with 68's on it..... but back on topic, regarding my Les Paul I've gone up to 48s and they play a fine but in the end they don't sound any better than 44s as far as I can tell. So I'm going to stick with 44s and even try 42s for my sixth string because they give me all the grunt and tone I need. Just be careful not to measure your tone by playing acoustically, because you WILL get a change in tone acoustically with the string gauge change but that rarely translates through your pickups out your amp. Specifically on my Les Paul, for whatever reason when I go lighter in gauge with Curt Mangan strings I still get the same beefy sound. That's an enormous bonus! The playability of light strings but still with the thick beef of heavy strings? That's guitar nirvana. By the way I mostly play metal so when I say strings have grunt and tone I'm talking about CHUGGING. I really didn't think I could play 44s and get the grunt and kick and thump that I'm looking for. But by the time it goes through the guitar and my amp and everything else, 44s sound great even for chest-thumping palm mutes. After about a year and a half of changing strings every couple weeks and trying everything on the market I've come down to the Curt Mangan 9 5 - 44 or 9 - 42 as perfection for my Gibson Les Paul. I have not tried the pure nickel strings yet, I'm sure they sound awesome but I sort of prefer the gritty metallic nickel wound because I love heavy crunch. I also see that Kurt Mangan just came out with some stainless steel light gauge strings I want to try on my Les Paul. Maybe I can add a little grit to the warmth of my LP. Last but not least, if you check out the price.... at under $8 bucks these premium strings are a bargain! What you have here is a perfect balance starting at 9 and 1/2 on the light end which gives you some nice tactile feedback and a lot of tone then on the thicker strings if you stop at 44 you've got a very playable string with plenty of beef. These NickelWound 9.5-44 might just be the perfect "Goldilocks gauge" for my Les Paul.
I have tried many brands Magnan is the best. 9.5 hits a sweet spot for me easy to bend thick enough to sound like 10s. Magnan makes the best strings hands down.
I've tried 3 or 4 different brands of 9.5-44 strings. The Curt Mangan sets are perfect. Not sure exactly, but it seems they have more wraps per inch than D'Addario or Ernie Ball. They are smooth, responsive, long lasting...in other words, PERFECT. Thanks Curt!