They string you along and then...

         The never-ending guitar string theories are whispered in dark forums to the cheers and jeers of the current residents of that thread. "Well I've used X string for over 70 years and never had one break yet…". "I've had every string from brand X snap within moments of installation…" "The tone of brand X is purer then angels singing with bloom and harmonics and sustain and…" "I put on a set of brand X and they were dead flat after one chorus of 'Go Tell Aunt Roadie' " "Brand X feels like no other string I have ever played. They bend like overcooked spaghetti but are so responsive that…" Brand X? I tried 'em once but they were like bending barbed wire…" "Did you hear? Brand X is now using cryogenic titanium/ platinum proprietary stuff. These strings will never corrode and you will never have to change the strings on your guitar again. Ever!" "Check this out, brand X is packaging their strings only in plants that are located 3000' above sea level in a hyperbaric chamber using only recycled material and vacuum seal hyper-technology"

       OK. Enough already. One of the greatest things about playing the guitar is that their are no two guitars that are ever going to be identical. (Well, I see now that acoustic guitars are being made from Carbon Fiber and I am guessing that they are being made using some very specific molds, or however these type of things are made, to produce some instruments that are designed to never change like wood will. If one has mojo, do they all have mojo? I will hold my opinion until I get a chance to play one. If you are reading this and make Carbon Fiber guitars and think I should be educated then please feel free to send me one and I will test it and post my positive findings here. Opps. Did I say positive?) The point is that as a player you are being provide some great options today that us older players never had. Every guitar will react, sound and play differently when you add a different string set into the mix. Every instrument becomes alive and complete when comprised of the sum of it's parts. Change a capacitor or how it's wired, change the humidity or temperature of the wood or any other part that makes up the total instrument and you will experience change in tone and playability and strings are going to react differently to your guitar then any other. Yes, it would be silly for me to say that certain strings or sizes do not make predictable changes when placed on a large number of instruments and parameters placed onto a spreadsheet. That just doesn't make it absolute. The guitar world is to unique for any guarantees. 

        We are talking about your instrument here. Please don't get attached to any one set or brand of strings until you have had a chance to play a few and make your own opinions based on your guitar and your hands and your ears and your signal chain. Even if you believe that you have done this and need not try anything else do it anyway. Why? It is an inexpensive way to see if there have been any changes that you might have missed or validate your opinion to go back to what you are using. Try a different string size. I have been using .10's for years on my electrics. I am going to be putting on a set of .09's and .08's to experience the tone and feel. It has been a long time and I want to see if maybe I have been missing something great. My playing has changed along with my choices of gear so now it's time to experiment. The great thing about strings are their overall low cost and their need to be changed. Instead of seeing this as a negative use it as a positive. I tried a set of flat wounds for the first time not so long ago. Cool strings! If you have never tried a set do yourself a favor. 

    Times up. Time to unwind. Lose the tension. Turn the tuner. Transfer the energy. Pull the pin. Untie the knot. Just to go the other way, later.


by Robert Gundry