Magazine article Guitar Player

5 Things about Strings

Magazine article Guitar Player

5 Things about Strings

Article excerpt

THE STUFF THEY'RE MADE FROM AFFECTS THEIR TONE

Your tone truly begins with your strings, and their tone begins with the metal they are made from. Most unwound G, B and high-E strings are made from plain steel, though some are plated with another metal. The most noticeable difference between string sets is often found in the wound strings. Pure-nickel-wound strings offer a warm, round, vintage-style tone. Strings wound with nickel-plated steel wraps are a little brighter and louder than pure nickel, while even harder metals--such as chrome and stainless-steel--are brighter still.

THE LOWEST ACTION ISN'T ALWAYS THE BEST ACTION

For shredding, an extremely low action (string height) is often the best way to go. For other styles, bringing up the action a little might help you sound better. Even if your strings aren't noticeably buzzing with a low-action set up, their vibrational arc might be impeded somewhat, constricting their tone slightly. The harder you hit your strings, they wider that elliptical arc in which they vibrate, so heavy-handed playing styles are more likely to benefit from a slightly raised action.

HEAVIER STRINGS CAN SOUND BIGGER ... BUT NOT ALWAYS

Thicker strings can make you sound bigger, but only if partnered with an appropriate playing style. If you hammer the strings hard to get a lot of movement out of those wires, going up a gauge or two might suite your playing style fine. But if you're a more delicate player, you might not get those strings moving, and going up a gauge might just choke your tone. …

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