Sep 9, 2012
Everyone has their preferred string brand. Personally, I’ve always used Ernie Ball strings. I don’t actually know why, funnily enough. I used to use D-addarios when I was starting out but at some point I just switched over to EBs and never gave it a second thought.
However, like it or not, strings do have a tangible effect on your tone – new strings are usually crisp and clear, but with time, oxide and grime, they become dull sounding and hard on your fingers and frets. Also, sets of strings which are technically the same gauge but are from different manufacturers can have slightly different dimensions or specifications, which can affect the perceived string tension, and thus in turn affecting the all-important FEEL of a guitar.
That’s why, Guitarstuff New Zealand and Six-String Samurai are teaming up to bring you… The Trials of Stringcules!!
Catchy name, but what are you talking about?
Okay, so this is going to be a long-term test of a few of the main brands on the market to try and compare these factors:
- What each manufacturer’s set of strings sounds like just after a restring.
- What the set of strings sounds like after a few hours of solid play (i.e. how long does the “new string sound” last)
- What the set of strings sounds like after it’s well and truly DEAD (i.e. it’s been played, gigged, and is caked with grime and is pretty much black in colour!)
To try and make it as scientific as possible (so… not really that scientific), here’s what we’ll do:
Take one Fender HRR Strat (which I’ve been meaning to talk about on here since it’s my favourite, and only, Strat):
Put a set of 10-46 gauge strings on it.
Put it through our trusty Line 6 HD500 for consistency – all EQ settings flat.
Record a clip straight after a restring, then after roughly about 5 hours worth of play, then again after they’re well and truly hammered.
Well… hopefully YOU guys will be the ones who will profit, because you’ll be able to compare and contrast between the tones of each brand of strings and see which ones might suit you the best.
First up, GHS Boomers.
So, let’s jump right in! The first set that Dave at Guitarstuff kindly provided me with, was the GHS 10-46 Boomers. This afternoon I finally got around to restringing the Strat after not touching it for a few months.
The first thing I thought was, arghghhgg, why did I choose the guitar with the Floyd Rose bridge to do this with? Oh well, too late now.
I’m quite used to Floyds – they don’t daunt me at all, and it usually doesn’t take me long to do a restring, but unfortunately today Lady Luck… was being a bit of a bitch.
A few popped string blocks and re-kinked and re-curled ends later, I finally got it all in tune!
Here’s the “fresh restring” tone, just to kick things off:
I’ll be updating with the “after 5 hours” and “Dead On Arrival” levels of play when I can, so check back regularly!
After the GHS set pays its dues, my faithful Ernie Ball 10s will be the next ones on the line.
That’s all we’ve got today, and once again it’s all thanks to Guitarstuff New Zealand, who are wonderful to deal with for your strings and related accessories.