Here’s a run-through of the sets dealers should be displaying behind their counters…
For many musicians, picking the right instrument takes time, but choosing the right strings can be an equally difficult process…
Dean Markley (Sutherland – 02920 887333)
To make the Dean Markley Helix HD range, the Hyper-Elliptical Winding process took over a year of trials to find just the right elliptical shape for the winding wire. The shape then had to be paired with the correct winding process that would produce the right results. Hyper-Elliptical Winding creates a higher number of wraps along the length of the string.
The Nick Catanese (Black Label Society) Artist Series strings is comprised of select gauges that insure durability, performance, tone and execution and the Nikki Sixx (Motley Crue) HD SS Bass Strings are made of a special Stainless Steel alloy that offers a bright and cutting timbre.
JHS (0113 286 5381)
Accessory king Dunlop has a wide range of strings for guitarists and bass players. They cater for acoustic players (in brass from £6.49 and phosphor bronze from £7.99), classical players (nylon, from £6.99) and electric players of any persuasion.
Dunlop's electric strings go from £5.99 up and are available in many different gauges, from the extra light Rev. Willy's Mexican Lottery Brand to the Heavy Core series that go up to 12-54s. There are also signature string sets for the likes of Kerry King and Zakk Wylde, with bass signature strings for Lemmy (in his custom gauge, £29.99) and Metallica's Rob Trujillo (from £22.99).
Strings & Things (01273 440442)
Ernie Ball continues to evolve its string range with the launch of the Cobalt electric and Everlast acoustic strings.
DR Strings recently added to its already comprehensive range of strings with the new Dragon Skin coated acoustic strings. Along with the immensely popular NEON strings, DR continues to build on its reputation as a quality string brand.
Picato strings have just rebranded and re-launched in the UK. The manufacturer has extended its range to include Gypsy Jazz, Mandolin and Ukulele strings, which join its already popular electric and acoustic guitar and bass offerings.
GHS’ impressive artist roster demonstrates the quality of strings that this US brand produces. From Carlos Santana to Flea, these strings have a great pedigree and history and an impressive collection of acoustic strings.
Thomastik Infeld (Barnes & Mullins – 01691 652449)
Spectrum Bronze acoustic strings (£15) use a unique bronze formula with silk inlays, which produce a warm, full tone, and a sparkling clarity that cuts through even the densest sound mix. The Plectrum Acoustic strings (£15) offer a combination of overall lower tensions and a hybrid arrangement of Flatwound and Bronze Roundwound strings.
For orchestral instruments, Vision Strings (from £37.90) for violin and viola are specifically designed to fulfil the needs of advanced violinists. They settle in quickly and can achieve a stable tuning within a very short time. Dominant strings (from £50.60) have a highly flexible, multi-strand nylon core and cater for artists who feel uncomfortable with steel strings.
For cello, there are two sets available: Belcanto, a bright and clear set and Belcanto Gold, which is transparent, rich and warm in timbre. The strings have excellent response and stay in tune very well. They retail from £218.05.
D'Addario (0191 300 3000)
D'Addario XL Nickel Wound electric guitar strings are precision wound with nickel-plated steel on a hex-shaped core, resulting in strings with a distinctive bright tone and excellent intonation. Phosphor Bronze was introduced to string making by D'Addario in 1974 and has become synonymous with warm, bright, and well-balanced acoustic tone.
ProSteels are D'Addario's brightest and most magnetic bass strings. A specialized steel alloy delivers harmonically rich high end coupled with deep, tight lows that work in tandem to create that coveted 'piano-tone'.
Pro-Arte bass strings are wound using silver plated copper on a multi-filament nylon core. Each string is passed through laser inspection, where approximately 200 measurements are taken along the length of the string. The data is compared and averaged by a high-speed computer process, which sorts the strings by tension.
Rotosound (01732 450838)
The first round wound strings ever made, Rotosound’s Swing Bass RS66LD strings (£23.95) were developed at the request of John Entwistle.
Used by the likes of Duff McKagan, Geddy Lee and Billy Sheehan, the RS66LD strings are available in all popular gauges and scale lengths.
Developed in conjunction with some of the world’s top artists, Roto Yellows (R10) and Rotos Pinks (R9) deliver a smooth powerful tone that lasts. Available for £6.95 in all the popular gauges as 12-string sets, seven-string sets and custom made singles.
The Rotosound acoustic string (£8.95) range includes the Jumbo King, Super Bronze, Tru Bronze, Phosphor Bronze and Silk ‘n’ Steel sets. The Jumbo King JK11 is the company’s bestselling acoustic string and the Phosphor Bronzes offer a warm tone with clarity and sustain. They are available in five six-string gauges and three twelve-string gauges.
Tanglewood (01937 841122)
Infinity by Tanglewood strings are processed from fine metals and alloys and finished in a delicate Fibreflex polymer coating to resist rust build-up and enhance each string’s vitality and performance. The range has become popular in almost all Tanglewood markets around the globe. Gauges available are IBT 10 (Extra Light - 0.10-0.47), IBT 11 (Custom Light - 0.11-0.52), IBT 12 (Light - 0.12-0.53) and IBT 13 (Medium - 0.13-0.56). All retail at £12.95.
Martin (Westside – 0141 248 4812)
Martin has worked closely with players to develop a coated string that significantly extends life but doesn’t compromise feel. The Lifespan strings (pictured) are coated with a Cleartone ultra-thin proprietary treatment, which repels dirt and grime. The original SP acoustic guitar strings start off as a pure steel SP core wire, which is then bronze electroplated. From £15.49.
Elixir (Westside – 0141 248 4812 & Strings & Things – 01273 440442)
This year sees the introduction of two new bass products from Elixir Strings. “We spent a year researching and spoke to over 1,000 bassists to create the improved Nickel Plated Bass Strings and that’s paid off in a rich, clear tone and the finger-friendly feel of the specially designed NANOWEB coating,” said Chris Loi, Elixir’s global sales leader.
The critical advantage of Elixir Strings is the microscopically thin NANOWEB and POLYWEB fluoropolymer coatings that form a long-lasting shield between the string and this damaging environment. Today, other string manufacturers offer coatings that protect the wrap wire going round the core but neglect the gaps between the windings, allowing deterioration to occur.
Elixir Strings caters for all markets and individual tastes, with strings available for acoustic and electric guitar, bass, mandolin and banjo.
Rosetti (01376 550033)
Rosetti’s 80/20 bronze wound Acoustic Guitar Strings (£2.45) come in 10/47, 11/50, 12/53 and 10/47 (12-string) gauges, while its nickel round wound Electric Bass Guitar Strings (45/105) can be purchased in 40/95 and 45/105 gauges. A phosphor bronze wound 45/105 set for acoustic basses is also available. All retail at £6.50.
For electric guitarists, the company has two nickel round wound options in 9/42 and 10/46 gauges, both with RRPs of £2.31. Finally, Rosetti supplies Nylon Strings for Classical Guitar and Ukulele at £2.45 RRP.
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