NEWSTRINGS for guitar strings online

NEWSTRINGS

GUITAR and STRING TIPS

  • SOME GUITAR STRING TERMS.
    -Phosphor Bronze 92% Copper and 8% Tin. The tin is added to improve sustain and retain their tone longer than bronze or brass strings.
    - Nickel Wound The wrap wire is in fact normally steel with an electroplating containing 8% Nickel. The steel alloy gives optimum magnetic properties required for magnetic pickups. The nickel electroplating ensures resistance to oxidation and corrosion and provides a 'soft', smooth surface which minimises fret wear.
    - Stainless Steel A highly magnetic steel alloy containing Chromium and Nickel which imparts high corrosion resistance. The sound is very bright. Stainless steel is a hard alloy and can lead to premature fret wear.
    - Round Wound. Simply means that the core wire has a round cross-section. The core wire is invariably high carbon alloy steel. Most brands are round wound.
    - Flat Wound Widely used on fretless bass guitars, flat wound refers to strings that have been wound using a flat surfaced wrap wire rather than a wire with a round cross-section. The smooth surface of a flat wound string is further enhanced by light abrasive polishing.
    - Ballend Most guitar strings are ballend which simply means that they have a brass ferrule (small ring) at the end of the string to facilitate installation.

  • WHICH GAUGE? String gauge affects tone and playability of your guitar. A higher the gauge of strings the greater the tension. So heavy gauge strings produce a higher volume. However due to the greater tension, more pressure is needed to fret the strings. Another benefit of higher tension strings is that they vibrate in a shallower arc which allows closer adjustment to the fingerboard without string buzzing. Generally factory guitars come are strung with 12-54 gauge on acoustic guitars and 9-42 on electric guitars. Altering string gauge may require adjustment to your guitar to maintain a similar action. And remember lower string tension will cause the strings to lie lower which may result in buzzing.
  • STANDARD TUNING for a six string guitar is

  STRING

NOTE

6th (thickest)

E

5th

A

4th

D

3rd

G

2nd

B

1st (thinnest)

e

A tip on how to remember the note order.
Elephants And Donkeys Grow Big Ears

  • MAXIMISE GUITAR STRING LIFE and TONE. To maintain your guitar strings in good condition for as long as possible, wash your hands before you play to remove grease and sweat. Salt from sweat leads to premature corrosion of strings. And, after you've played always rub your strings down with a good quality cloth. The new instrument microfibre cloths (Microshine) are well suited for this purpose as they don't leave fluff on the strings and remove grease very effectively. Finally, apply a thin coating of Stringlife and then just leave your guitar until you are ready to play again. You'll be amazed how the new string tone of your strings is prolonged. Lots cheaper than nano-coated strings and better too. Well perhaps we shoudn't say but why don't you be the judge.

  • REDUCE STRING BREAKAGE. You will never eliminate string breakage but it can often be reduced by lubricating rough points on your guitar hardware. The lead of a pencil is made from flake graphite - a wonderful natural lubricant. Rub a pencil lead on the nut slots & saddle to reduce friction to allow the strings to move more freely over these surfaces without snagging which results in string breakage.
  • SORE FINGERS. If you have just started to play, you may find strings difficult to hold down on the fretboard or they may 'cut' into your fingers. Try a lighter (lower) gauge. You'll notice the difference immediately. Beginners should try 9-42 (electric) or 10-46 (acoustic).
  • TUNING. All new strings take some time to stabilise. Tune them, stretch them, retune them and keep repeating until they settle in. If you've got a gig, plan ahead. Put on the new string set the day before and tune them - they will have stabilised in time for the big event. And if you need a tuner then there are lots of good products available. One of the best we think is the Intellitouch PT-1 or PT-2 tuner. They are so easy to use and attract so much attention from other musicians. Cool !
  • USING YOUR TUNER. When tuning, pluck the strings moderately with the flesh of your thumb. Plucking too hard causes the pitch to temporarily rise. This confuses the tuner. And never use a plectrum. This adds overtones that make tuning difficult.
  • WHEN TO CHANGE STRINGS.It's best to change strings when they have lost their brilliance, they sound a bit too mellow or intonation isn't right. It is not recommended that a broken string is replaced in a well used set. The new string is likely to sound much brighter than the others.
  • GUITAR WON'T STAY IN TUNE. Chances are the strings are oxidised or dirty. A change of strings normally solves the problem.
  • CHANGING STRINGS. Change strings one at a time, starting with the heaviest. This keeps tension on the guitar and you will have less trouble getting it in tune since the guitar itself doesn't have to stabilise again. Thanks to Gman at www.nb/~alanb/index.htm
  • HEAVY versus LIGHT. Heavy strings hold their tuning longer and give a better tone than lighter strings but they demand stronger fingers. It's normally best to play with the heaviest gauge that you are comfortable with.
  • USING A HEAVIER GAUGE. Is it time to go to a heavier gauge to get a bigger and fuller sound? String tension will be greater so it will be tougher on the hands and fingers. To get a feel for the increased tension of a heavier gauge set, tune up your normal strings by a half step
    from E A D G B E
    to F Bb Eb Ab C F
    The higher tuning gives a reasonable approximation of the greater tension you might expect from a heavier gauge.
  • BRIDGE PINS. Even when you are taking great care, bridge pins can break easily when you are changing strings on your acoustic guitar. Tip - always keep a few spares in your gig bag.
  • STRING SNAPPING. If you have a particular string persistently breaking, look for sharp edges on the hardware - especially bridge saddles, nut and machine heads. That's often the problem. Remove any sharp bit by lightly rubbing with a piece of wet and dry - but watch those plated and polished surfaces. (Thanks to Bob Gill for this tip - www.bobgill.co.uk)
  • GUITAR NECK. It's important that your guitar neck is straight. If there is a noticeable bow your guitar was probably last set up for a lighter gauge than you are presently using. You may need to adjust your truss rod - not a job for the faint-hearted. For a heavier string gauge adjust the truss rod by tigtening by about 1/8th of a turn. Never turn it more than 1/4 or you could do permanent damage to your guitar. Look down the edge of the neck to see what effect your adjustments have had. Check it out regularly. P.S. If in doubt about adjusting your truss rod take your guitar to an expert.
  • ACOUSTIC ENTHUSIASTS. The addition of Phosphorus in 92/8 phosphor bronze alloy improves the oxidation resistance of the metal so strings retain their tone longer. Phosphor bronze strings have a longer life than cheaper 80/20 bronze strings. 80/20 strings have a crisp sound when new but lose their sharpness after a few hours of playing. Most U.S. produced acoustic guitars are factory strung these days with phosphor bronze strings.
  • STRATS. If you sometimes have problems pulling an old string through the bridge just snip the string a couple of inches from the bridge and hey presto!
  • MORE STRATS. Save the brass ferrules from old strings. Pass a new string through an old ferrule before restringing. Now you'll find that if a string break occurs near the bridge the broken string will just fall out. No more poking about is needed. This tip is good for all through body strung guitars e.g. Telecasters. Thanks to Colin Leckenby for this one.
  • NICKEL PLATED versus NICKEL. Most electric guitar strings are nickel plated steel on a round steel core. Pure nickel wound strings went out of fashion about 35 years ago when nickel plated strings were introduced on a volume basis. Nickel plated give a brighter and warmer sound than pure nickel and they provide enhanced sustain. Nickel plated strings have outstanding magnetic properties.Ernie Ball Slinkys, D'Addario EXLs, GHS Boomers, Fender 3250 Super Bullets and Newstrings Sonic Power are all examples of NPS (nickel plated strings).
  • OLD versus NEW. Remember the old adage: ' New strings on a cheap acoustic guitar nearly always sound better than old strings on an expensive one.'
  • FLATWOUND BASS STRINGS. Flatwound strings have a ribbon-like winding along the core string. It’s like metal fettuccini rather than spaghetti wound around the core. Flats produce a mellow sound and feel smooth and silky. Finger noise is much reduced since they have a much smoother surface. Flats also have a longer playing life since it is more difficult for dirt and oil can build up on the tighter surface. Flatwound strings can be a little too mellow for rock, r&b and funk but they are often used for jazz and reggae. And of course Flats are the choice of fretless bassists.
  • HOW MUCH PRESSURE IS REQUIRED FROM THE FRETTING HAND. This is certainly not an easy question to answer. But we thought this video extract was brilliant. Hope you agree. www.daddario.com/DADMultimedia.aspx?VideoID=2957
  • HOLDING A PLECTRUM. Most guitarists hold their plectrum between their thumb and first finger. However some famous guitarists hold it between their thumb and both first and second fingers. You might want to try this technique and experience the difference in control and accuracy of picking.
  • SHAPED PLECTRUMS. Gripping a plectrum puts a lot of strain on the muscles of the hand especially during a long gig. This becomes more and more demanding the older you are. Although it is also difficult for very young beginners. With modern manufacturing technology and advanced design this need no longer be a problem. Picks like the F-1 pick and the Grip pick go a long way in helping to make holding a pick so much more comfortable. Even rheumatic sufferers can take up guitar playing again with these modern designs.
  • CLEANING YOUR ACOUSTIC. Always use a proper guitar polish. It gives a brighter finish than furniture or silicone polish - and keep them well away from the bridge.
  • CARING FOR YOUR ACOUSTIC. Central heating systems invariably lead to dry air at home. Low humidity conditions can lead to shrinkage of the fine woods on your guitar which results in cracking of the wood. To avoid such disasters use a guitar humidifier system. They are not expensive and could save you an awful lot of heartache.
  • STORAGE. Never store your guitar close to a radiator or in a really cold place like overnight in the car boot. Extremes of heat cause stresses which can lead to cracking or crazing of surfaces.
  • SOLDERING JACK PLUGS. An elastic band secured over the handles of a pair of pliers creates a mini vice - useful as a 'third hand' for soldering jack plugs. (Thanks for this one to Bob Houlston www.houlston.freeserve.co.uk)