Getting in tune and staying in tune, are what the job requires, for sure. I’ve been in so many situations where string breakage and not staying in tune just creates havoc on the band, Audience, and music. I’ve had situations in my youth and now a days to be sure, where I’ve neglected to either change my strings, and a couple of times I like a dumb kid just didn’t bother to properly tune my guitar.
I used to work for the Gibson Guitar String and Accessories Division (now called GIBSON GEAR) as a shipping and receiving clerk then moved up to Regional Sales Manager in Elgin, IL. In those capacities I was able to see the Gibson String line from start to finish, as well as learning what alloys the strings were made of. I got to understand how those alloys affected their overall tone feel and playability.
Mind you, I’ve been playing now for over forty years and I’ve used just about every brand of string manufactured. Obviously I haven’t tried every string brand sold out there, just most of them. I tend to play very hard when I’m rocking and I’m used to certain brands of guitar strings giving out. I don’t pretend to know what the ins and outs to manufacturing strings. I do know what works for me.
I’ve used The Gibson Brand string for decades before I worked there and after I got the job in shipping (working for minimum wage); I’d buy the strings and turn them on to my guitarist friends. I’d also give them to some friends who weren’t guitarist, just guitar players. My point was to hip my buddy’s to these strings that seemed to tune well, not break from a good workout. Besides, I’d get them on discount.
I know when I was trying to sell these strings to music dealers that I’d hear “all strings are the same man”! It would seem to make sense, it’s not true! There are very good strings, good strings and there are poorly made strings. Yes, it’s a subjective call and I am a ‘Gibson’ man. That saying doesn’t hold water to me at all. Since I stopped working for Gibson I’ve used and abused all types and brands of guitar strings. I know from experience that for the hard core “smack down” bruise and bloody your fingers guitarist. Gibson is one of the best.
What I do know and can tell you about these strings is the wound strings are smooth, feel tight, bend like a Mo-Fo and don’t break after a long set of banging and rocking your balls off!
Give these strings a shot and see what I know works for me.
Next time I’ll give you my take on what and how the different alloys do to the playability and tonal character of your performance.