What Strings are right for me?

ROUND CORE VS HEX CORE STRINGS

Guitar strings were first made with round cores, though for manufacturing efficiency and string stability, hex cores were then adopted. Round core strings have full contact between the wrap wire and the core wire creating a denser string. However we have found now significant difference in tension between hex and round core strings. Hex core strings are more durable and have consistent intonation. Round core strings will have greater flexibility and provide the true “vintage” tone.

 

WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH PLAIN STRINGS?

Plain strings are all made of a tin plated high carbon steel and are the same strings across the board from acoustic to electric to mandolin etc.

 

ELECTRIC GUITAR

Nickel-Plated Steel (Nickelwound HEX CORE)

Nickel-plated steel strings are commonly referred to as “Nickelwound” strings. They were introduced in the late 1960’s-early 1970’s and have become the most popular alloy used on electric guitars and basses. However, but there are some players who use nickelwound strings on acoustic guitars and resophonic guitars. Nickel-plated steel stings have a very balanced tone with a good deal of brightness and clarity along with a smooth midrange and punchy lows. Nickel-plated steel also has more magnetic response since the core wire and the cover wire are both mostly steel.

 

Nickel-Plated Steel (Nickelwound ROUND CORE)

There was a magical time in music beginning in the Summer of 1967 with the Monterey Pop Festival which featured legendary guitar performances by Jimi Hendrix and Pete Townsend. Their performances started the first wave of iconic “Guitar Heroes” This group of new heroes also included Eric Clapton, Jimmie Page, Jeff Beck and many others. These players took guitar playing to an entirely new level of innovation. It was around this time that the guitar string industry switch from pure-nickel to nickel-plated steel for the cover wire on what is known as “nickelwound” strings, but the core wire used was still round. Round-core, nickel-plated steel strings became the most popular strings used until the string industry converted to hex-core beginning in the mid 1970’s. Our new round-core, nickel-plated steel strings are dedicated to this magical time in guitar history.

You will find these strings to have an elevated level of tonal response with a smoother feel when bending and using vibrato on the wound strings.

 

Pure Nickel (HEX CORE)

Pure Nickel wound strings were used exclusively on most guitars built in the Fifties and most of the Sixties. Pure Nickel has a slightly warmer tone than nickel-plated steel and is preferred by many blues artists.

Pure Nickel Wound strings are created by wrapping Pure Nickel alloys around a hex-shaped core wire which is made from tin-plated high-carbon steel (same as plain strings, but hex-shaped).

 

Pure Nickel (ROUND CORE)

These strings are as "vintage" as you can get. Pure nickel wrap on a round tin-plated, high carbon steel core. Many players believe that round core strings feel easier to play with less tension and have a clearer tone. By design, round core strings must be handled carefully so that the outer winding does not come lose. On guitars that have an eye in the tuning post, it is important to install the string and tune to pitch before cutting the excess string off. On guitars where the tuning post has a hole down the center which require the string to be cut prior to placing the string down the post hole, it is important that to you first make a 90 degree bend before cutting the string. It best to make that 90 degree bend about two inches longer than the post where you will be installing the string. Once you have made the bend leave about one-half inch before cutting the string then place the bent section inside the tuning post and tune to pitch. Be aware that it takes longer for a round core strings to "settle" in and it requires many more tugs, but once installed and settled in, they are amazing.

 

Stainless Steel (HEX CORE)

Stainless Steel wound strings became popular in the early Seventies. Stainless Steel strings are the brightest sounding strings and offer extended life to players who have acidic hands.

Stainless Wound strings are created by wrapping Stainless Steel alloys around a hex-shaped core wire which is made from tin-plated high-carbon steel (same as plain strings, but hex-shaped).

 

Monel

Monel has been around since the early 1900’s and consists of 67% Pure Nickel, 30% Copper, 3% of the magic juice that contains magnesium, zinc and other elements making Monel resistant to salt water (sweat). Monel also has a very unique “earthy” tone and is used on both acoustics and electric instruments. It has built in natural resistance to tarnish and corrosion yet it feels great to the touch and has its own unique tonal color. Monel provides a very rich tone on the neck pickup and this great little growl on the bridge pick up. For acoustic instruments it seems to bring out more the wood sound.

 

Flatwound Stainless

Historic stainless flatwound guitar strings are great for jazz, but also used for many other styles of music. Benefits of Flatwound Guitar Strings include; consistent tone over the life of the strings, less fret wear, a smooth surface causes less "squeaking" and easier on fingers, a mellow sound. They last longer than round wound strings, trade off in price.

 

ACOUSTIC GUITAR

80/20 Bronze

80/20 Bronze wound strings are often called old-school, vintage and/or bright bronze and were the most popular (only) alloy used to make acoustic strings until the introduction of phosphor in the early Seventies by D’Addario. 80/20 bronze wire is made from 80 percent copper and 20 percent zinc. 80/20 bronze provides balanced highs and lows with a slight increase in mid-range that seems to the make the notes cut-through a little more.

Phosphor Bronze

Phosphor Bronze wound strings were introduced in the early Seventies and have become the most popular acoustic string. Mostly due to their added longevity compared to the 80/20 Bronze. Phosphorous is used to help reduce tarnish and corrosion. Phosphor bronze wire is made from approximately 92% copper, 7% zinc and 1% phosphorous. Phosphor Bronze provides nice highs and lows, as well as pleasant subtle overtones.

Monel

Monel has been around since the early 1900’s and consists of 67% Pure Nickel, 30% Copper, 3% of the magic juice that contains magnesium, zinc and other elements making Monel resistant to salt water (sweat). Monel also has a very unique “earthy” tone and is used on both acoustics and electric instruments. It has built in natural resistance to tarnish and corrosion yet it feels great to the touch and has its own unique tonal color. Monel provides a very rich tone on the neck pickup and this great little growl on the bridge pick up. For acoustic instruments it seems to bring out more the wood sound.

 

Phosphor Bronze vs 80/20 Bronze

At the base of it all, it comes down to personal preference. Phosphor Bronze strings tend to have a warmer rich tone and are often recommend to be paired with a brighter sounding guitar, such as Taylor, Ibanez, Takamine and Alvarez. As for 80/20 Bronze strings, with a brighter, crisper tone, they are recommended for darker sounding makes, such as Gibson, Taylors and Martins.