Five knowledge of guitar strings

- Sep 20, 2019-

The strings are the lowest-priced accessories on the guitar, but their importance is often overlooked. However, the importance of the strings to the sound may far exceed the imagination of the guitarist. Someone may have heard this story. When I was working in the music industry many years ago, a friend from a foreign industry said that when guitar singer Eric Johnson bought the strings, it was said to be one pick, one by one!


Many people know how much Eric Johnson is nitpicking the sound (he can hear the difference between AC power, alkaline battery, and hydrocarbon battery...). Because this is told by a friend, I can't tell the truth. Maybe it can be thought of as a funny talk. However, this also explains to some extent the effect of the strings on the tone.


Whether you are a beginner who wants to improve your tone in the most economical way, or a talented professional who is extremely particular about the sound, the following five points do have their reference value:


1, the material directly affects the tone

Your tone begins with the strings, and the tone of the strings is determined by the material. The treble E, B, and the G-string without the winding are made of steel, and some are plated with other metals.


The difference in the tone of the strings usually occurs on the strings of the windings. Winding a string of pure nickel will produce a warm, rounded, old-like tone. The chords around the nickel-plated steel are slightly brighter and louder than the pure nickel. The chord is even louder with chrome-plated steel and stainless steel, a stiffer metal string.


2, the lowest chord is not necessarily the best chord

For the performance of the sleek type, the ultra-low chord is often the best. However, for other styles, a slight increase in the pitch may improve your tone.


Even the phenomenon of stringing under a low chord is not obvious, because the amplitude of the strings is often hindered, affecting the sound more or less. The more striking the strings are, the greater the amplitude of the strings, so for a way that requires frequent strong striking, a slight increase in the pitch can usually be beneficial.


3, the thicker the tone, the thicker the tone, but not necessarily the same

Thicker strings can make your tone thicker, but this must be done in conjunction with the appropriate playing style. If you are a strong string player, using a thicker string will indeed match your playing style. However, if you are a musician who pays more attention to playing details, changing the thick string not only hinders the delicate performance requirements when you play, but it also hinders your tone.


Jimi Hendrix uses strings of the .009 and .010 specifications, while masters known for their timbre, such as Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page, prefer the ultra-fine .008 E-string. The blue-eyed giant Stevie Ray Vaughn is known for using .012 or .013, but he adjusts his guitar to drop E, which makes his piano actually bounce like the .011 specification.



4, material = life

Although the hardness of the metal is higher than that of chrome-plated steel or stainless steel, the string of pure nickel winding is softer. However, it is felt that the string life of pure nickel windings is usually quite long. This is because the chord of a pure nickel winding changes relatively slowly over the timbre as the playing time is compared to other types of chords.


The tone of the pure nickel winding string is warmer at first (the string image is already "bounced") and the parliament maintains this, as the aging frequency and brightness decay are more moderate. The chord of the chrome-plated steel is very clear at the beginning, but the disappearance of the brightness occurs relatively quickly as the plating layer wears out, resulting in a shorter life of the string. In addition, the lower hardness of the pure nickel winding string on the fret (Fret) wear, compared to the higher hardness of chrome steel or stainless steel strings.


5, the way of winding will affect the feel and tone

Most musicians use roundwound strings, but flatwound strings allow jazz guitarists to make Wes Montgomery sounds, while also helping retro rockers create orthodox 50/60s rock. sound.


If the sound of your guitar itself is too bright, the pure nickel flatwound type of string can make your tone warmer. If you still need a bit of brightness, the half-round type of string will be your choice.


Edit by Height Musical Instrument News Department