Does Anybody REALLY consider their strings?

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tekbowtekbow Frets: 44
edited October 8 in Guitar

Or am I just a bit compulsive?

I don't mean brand so much, i mean things like guage, constuction, materials? they can make a big difference. I spent a while playing around with all these factors, and here's what i ended up with.

  • I like 10's on 25.5" scales and 11's on 25" scales. If I had a Gibson scale length, I'd probably go to 12's.
  • I really like round core strings, but they're too inconsistent when you get into Floyds and clipping bits off etc, my A would never intonate correctly on both guitars with an FR. so they get hex core.
  • I like Monels for the Strat (Airy, sparkly and sweet), NPS for the Superstrats (warm but aggressive without losing highend clarity), pure nickels for the Tele (tames the brash highend without losing it and has a good bottom end), and straight stainless for the PRS w/BKP's (brightens it up and aggressive)
  • I used to like DR's a lot, now I favour pyramids for the sheer variety of strings they do, for their lifespan and for their price.
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Comments

  • SeshSesh Frets: 866
    I just like strings that stay in tune, sound good and have a decent lifetime. Bog standard  D'addarios 9s or 10s behave for me. I've never really been bothered enough to delve deeply into pros and cons of this string verses that. Each to their own ...
    Can't sing, can't dance, can handle a guitar a little.
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  • jellyrolljellyroll Frets: 2176
    Yes, but we live in the Acoustics section. You'll need an appointment - the section is only manned for 3 hours a week. 
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  • tekbowtekbow Frets: 44
    well.. i mean, if they didn't behave.. that's a basic requirement for me
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  • dariusdarius Frets: 34
    Yes. I considered that all strings last 5minutes with my super agressive rust-inducing sweaty paws. And Elixirs are coated and last for more than 1 gig. So thats what I use.
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  • TA22GTTA22GT Frets: 321
    I've tried lot's of strings over the years and I don't mean just put them on a guitar.I listen to them closer than that.

     I have used Pyramid round core pure nickels for a long time but recently I have gone back to nickel plated Rotosound 11's for some of my guitars, except 10 gauge on my Tele's, to retain the twang. 

    The Pyramids have a nice warm tone and they last very well but I found the wound strings were a little quieter in output and a little softer. This really worked for me in making my guitars warmer but lately I have found I want a bit of brightness back (age and hearing loss??) and I am enjoying the vibrancy a bit more.

    I still use Pyramid round cores on one 335 because they really suit it. I tried normal strings on that guitar and cut them straight off again within the hour and put Pyramids back.

    Rotosounds have come a long way from a dark period they had some time ago and I really like their consistency and I can get them very easily whereas Pyramid can be a bit more difficult.

    It's great that there are strings out there to suit everyone.


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  • tekbowtekbow Frets: 44

    @TA22GT, good to know about rotosound. I last had a set 4 or 5 years ago and they were rubbish. Now i get that for their endorsers who have techs changing strings every night, they'd be a great proposition. Not expensive and sound good for a set, but i got a few days out of mine before they tarnished and sounded dull.

    I'll give them another try.

    Which Pyramids did you feel were quieter? as in nickel, NPS or stainless?

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  • tekbowtekbow Frets: 44

    @Darius, don't like coated strings, they feel weird and flake off, however if they work for you, that's all that matters

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  • thegummythegummy Frets: 897
    Went through a phase of trying different ones.

    My main aims were to find one set that I'd use on all my guitars and really just that I wouldn't have a problem with.

    Started with 9s so had no reference; moved to 10s and they were still nice to play. Tried going back to 9s and they were too light.

    Tried Elixir coated strings and loved the feel at first but after a while I played normal strings and preferred them so went back.

    I considered trying the balanced tension but then I thought it's really just getting used to a set and wanted it to be as standard as possible so it's easy to get.

    Regarding brands, I genuinely can't remember what problem I had with Ernie Ball but I remember having one that made me switch to D'Addario and I've not had a problem since.

    Long story short, I tried various things but always preferred coming back to standard D'Addario 10s and I like that they're a standard so easy to get.

    When it comes to bass it's a different story, I'm constantly switching between sets. If I could justify it I'd get an extra P so I could permanently have at least a set of flats and a set of rounds available.
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  • thegummythegummy Frets: 897
    Forgot to say, I once tried out multicolored DR strings as a novelty but one snapped as I was stringing it (and they're not cheap) so I was very much put off.
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  • TA22GTTA22GT Frets: 321
    tekbow said:

    @TA22GT, good to know about rotosound. I last had a set 4 or 5 years ago and they were rubbish. Now i get that for their endorsers who have techs changing strings every night, they'd be a great proposition. Not expensive and sound good for a set, but i got a few days out of mine before they tarnished and sounded dull.

    I'll give them another try.

    Which Pyramids did you feel were quieter? as in nickel, NPS or stainless?

    @tekbow ;
    The Rotosounds now come in vacuum-sealed packs so no oxidation anymore and they really do look fresh.

     Justin the son of the founder replaced most of the machinery or at least updated it and they are now very good strings, in my opinion of course. I also use their pure nickel hex-core and like those.

    I always used the orange pack Pyramid Nickel Classics in either 11's or 10's . They are round core pure nickel. Great strings but the wound strings seem a little subdued compared to the plain strings, which are different steel compared to most manufacturers plain strings.  It kind of made the plain strings strident but the wound strings a bit subdued, maybe it's just me!!
    I still use Pyramid on a couple of guitars.
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  • guitarfishbayguitarfishbay Frets: 7021
    Yes I tried a lot and still felt D’Addario was the way to go all things considered, across guitar bass and acoustic

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  • Matt_McGMatt_McG Frets: 96
    I prefer the feel of round-core Newtones, but they won't intonate properly on my guitar (there's not quite enough travel on the low E string without replacing the spring), but I used to use them on my previous superstrat and LP type guitars. I have used pure nickel, but I find that I am gravitating towards an overall brighter sound these days, so stick to standard string composition.

    So, I use NYXL, as I find they last a decent amount of time, and I like the sound when they are new, which is not always the case with some brands.

    I strongly prefer lower tension strings on classical, and I like Nylgut type strings like Aquila Alabastro. I also like Savarez white card low tension strings. I find that they are harder work -- you need to work more to get the guitar to project, and it's easier to intonate badly -- but the result is a sweeter sound that makes it easier to make the top line melody a) sing, b) be distinct from the lower voices.

    On archtop, I like light Savarez style strings (although I use Newtone's), as I want that gypsy style zing and attack.

    The real problem for me is that I prefer the sound of 11s on electric, and 11s are easier on the picking hand, but I just can't use them. I have left hand issues (ulnar nerve entrapment) that means that I stick with 9s or 9.5s most of the time.
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  • Been a long time Ernie Ball user, and as I use various guitars in different tunings their range suits me perfectly. Standard tuning I use 10's, for my Fenders (Strat and Tele). Drop tunings are the 12-56 set (drop b/c for my main band Les Paul). For my other one I use the 10-52 set for anything from standard to drop d/c# or c. They are brighter than DD's when I first put them on but I do have to change them more often. But I don't like the feel of DDs.
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  • kswilson89kswilson89 Frets: 75
    Just the gauge.
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  • RolandRoland Frets: 2014
    As with many aspects of guitar playing I pay attention to the details. I like consistency, so will use the same strings change after change. Then, about every two years, I’ll spend time and money looking at alternatives in case the supply, or my taste, has changed. For decades I’ve been using D’Addario 10-52s. I had a flirt with 11-52s when I was playing a Parker Fly, but came back to 10-52s when I changed bands and did more string bending.

    Matt_McG said:
    I prefer the feel of round-core Newtones, ...
    I’m currently trialling a 5 pack batch of these. They seem to last a bit longer. I usually change strings when they become difficult to keep on tune, or when I can feel wear on the D string winding. Jury is out on whether I swap.
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  • dariusdarius Frets: 34
    tekbow said:

    @Darius, don't like coated strings, they feel weird and flake off, however if they work for you, that's all that matters

    No flakiness experienced with elixirs. The coating is so micro thin i honestly dont notice. In fact i look at it as all the spaces that could be filled up with crud are filled with coating so no room for crud.
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  • timmysofttimmysoft Frets: 1703
    Yes, I’m a string facist but I have been a string slut so I know what works for me. 

    I’m all about GHSBoomers, 10.5s. I used to be all about the EB stainless, but I was getting too many corroded in pack sets. I tried the NYXL ones, they felt fucking horrible and sounded worse although the box feels really nice. Cobalts and elixirs were both shit and dull. 
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  • duotoneduotone Frets: 269
    edited October 8
    Haven’t delved into it myself.  

    But an old friend used to always say that “Nothing sounds better than Fender strings on a Fender Guitar” although I never had 2 exactly the same Fender guitars to compare between.

    Do you think you could tell in a blind test?

    ‘Will give the Monel strings a try on my Strat next time I need to buy new ones.  Which ones do you recommend?

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  • Strat54Strat54 Frets: 910
    Over the last 30 odd years of playing I've tried pretty much every brand and type out there. Hate coated strings. Hate EB's. Settled on Curt Mangan's for quite a while before converting to Gabriel Tenorio's about 18 months back. Sound incredible, seem unbreakable and best of all they last for bloody ever. I've had on set on a Tele that gets played several hours a week now for a year and they are only just getting ready to be replaced. Seriously. 
    Session pro Mason Stoops recently said this of his....

    'I’ve been playing and loving @elgtsco’s hand-wound strings exclusively since even before that time Gabe and I drank too many beers at Footsies six-ish years ago, but his new “Pure Niquel” line of strings are a bona fide game changer. My last set of @elgtsco strings survived two summers of touring and sounded incredible right up until the end - excited to see where this new set and I will end up next. So, before you pull the trigger on just one more $199 pedal, consider investing in some high quality strings instead. Pinky-promise you’ll hear and feel the difference'

    https://www.thegts.co/
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  • BlueingreenBlueingreen Frets: 713
    edited October 8
    Experimented with different sizes and most common brands over the years but long since concluded:

    - I'm happy enough with stock guages
    - I prefer 9s
    - I like Elixirs, mainly because of far fewer string changes

    Happy to have at least one aspect of gear where I no longer have to think about what I like, because I know.
    “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wise people so full of doubts.” Bertrand Russell

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  • robinbowesrobinbowes Frets: 1812
    I am a long-time Ernie Ball Regular Slinky user.

    I've just switched to the Curt Mangan Matt Schofield signature sets, and I really like them. They're nominally 11s, but with lighter middle strings. The gauges are:

    11-14-18-28-38-54 - Curt Mangan Matt Schofield Signature
    11-15-22-30-42-54 - Ernie Ball Beefy Slinky
    10-13-17-26-36-46 - Ernie Ball Regular Slinky

    As you can see, the middle four strings of the CM set are roughly halfway between the EB Regular & Beefy.

    As I said, I really like how they feel. Time will tell how long they last.

    R.
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  • tekbowtekbow Frets: 44
    edited October 8

    Blind test, perhaps if played on the same guitar with the sane amp settings. Best way to do it would be to record, which I may just do at some point like I did with tubes.

    Pyramid make the Monels I use, however i think a few companies are making them now
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 32807
    I haven't actually used that many different strings on my own guitars because I very rarely change them, but as a repairer I've strung guitars for customers with just about everything you can imagine.

    My main observations are that I detest all coated strings, I'm not very keen on stainless steel on electrics, and that D'Addarios seem to be the most consistent.

    For acoustic I much prefer phosphor bronze to 80/20, and I don't like Monel - it just sounds like electric guitar strings on an acoustic.

    Everything else... doesn't matter that much. There are differences, but overall I'm happy with any of the main brands, plus a couple of the smaller makers. My favourites are Newtones and DRs, but if I can't get those I use D'Addarios normally.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • DrJazzTapDrJazzTap Frets: 905
    Nah I settled with daddarios. Pick up a ten pack every year from the guitar show. I don't mind Ernie balls. I find ghs a bit too bright and I've never been that impressed by rotosounds. 
    It's more about gauge and price for me.
    I would love to change my username, but I fully understand the T&C's (it was an old band nickname). So please feel free to call me Dave.
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  • darrenpdarrenp Frets: 80
    I tried a fair few different brands over the years and eventually settled on D'Addario, as they were consistently good, easy to get hold of and sensibly priced.

    However, after consistently disliking any coated strings I've tried in the past, I picked up some Optiwebs when they were first launched and I'm now a complete convert. Sound great, feel great and last significantly longer than the D'Addarios I was using previously. 
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  • gringopiggringopig Frets: 501
    I tried Elixirs but it made my guitar crackle slightly through the amplifier. Stick with D'Addario...
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  • dangriffithsdangriffiths Frets: 232
    Like 10s on 25” or 25.5” scale guitars. Sometimes 11s on 24.75”. I kill strings with oil/sweat so had to use Elixir and I like them a lot now. 
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  • JD50JD50 Frets: 273
    Been using Picato Flatwound 11s for a few years now... they never seem to break so I never change them, must be 2 years now since last change.
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  • LegionreturnsLegionreturns Frets: 5109
    Try bass... one set, forever. Job done. 

    My Trading Feedback    |    You Bring The Band

    Just because you're paranoid, don't mean they're not after you
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  • StevepageStevepage Frets: 861
    Tried all sorts and I think I'm settled on Elixir nanowebs. 

    The cheap £3-£4 Legacy strings are great too 
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