Do you practice what you preach?

      Back to the subject of strings, of all things. I decided to tackle some string changes I have had on the burner for a while and do exactly like I suggested you do. I had some questions to settle that had been on my mind for a while.              

      The first question I had was if the poor tone I had experienced when I installed a set on one acoustic guitar would repeat when installed on a different guitar that has a much different tone. I had first used these (Hey, wait a minute! Tell us the name of the string company and the rest of the particulars about the strings and instruments. We want details man. Sorry. No way. Why? First of all I will not list particulars about anything I may or may not own. Simple security. It's the INTERNET for Gods sake. The strings in question will be described in simple terms because I don't want to get sued. What I don't know can kill me.) 

        Wait, where was I? OK the two guitars are almost identical in body size but the tone woods were absolutely different. One is Mahogany and Cedar and the other Rosewood and Spruce. On the R&S they sounded dull, flat, lifeless within a VERY short time of playing. What is short? A day or two. I have never experienced that with any string set in 30 years. Every guitar is different and I had purchased 2 sets so onto the M&C they went. The M&C is a very distinct instrument tonally. String separation with bell like tone that combine together to make it a listener, and one of my, favorites. The R&S has a much more solid, strong tone with better projection. What did I find out? These strings are off my list to ever purchase again. I did not think that I could install new strings on my M&C and lose any of the "Fresh String High" that every guitar can produce when the lifeless are removed and bright colored clean are installed. If I am not going to tell you the name of the string then why tell us this? To help you understand that some sets of strings you may buy are duds. It happens. Or they have been on your shelf too long. It was important to me to know that it wasn't the reaction of that particular string to that guitar. That can be a very real experience.

       Next, electric time. 9's on the way. I had not tried .09 size in a long time and wrist pain made me very curious. I had a few sets and purchased a couple more. After reading the packages closely I discovered that not all sets are universal in the size choice of all 6 strings. One had a heavier B string but lighter A,D & G or EAD strings identical to .10 sets but lighter B string. So I tried both. I installed one on a P-90 equipped guitar and another on a humbucker. I then did a full set up on both to take advantage of some changes I wanted to make and to intonate the guitars to match the new string size. (Yes, a different string size can require you to check intonation. It might change or not but I wanted to go over both of these guitars well.) So, what happened? I love the feel of the lighter strings. Give me a little time to really dig in and adjust but I noticed that my touch lightened while playing. This is a really good thing for every player! We don't need to push strings through the fretboard, only make firm enough contact to the fret so the string will ring clear. Remember that. It's important. 

          If the guitars were different, had different pickup configurations, the brands of the strings were different and had different sizes within the string set what in the world could I discover and pass of to us the poor reader? I found out that a simple string change is good, fun and can change my playing style and that can only lead to creative changes. Plus it also allowed me to perform some serious maintenance and creative choices when setting them up. These are all good things.

 Trust me. I'm a teacher.


by Robert Gundry