• The Gear Page Apparel & Merch Shop is Open!

    Based on member demand, The Gear Page is pleased to announce that our Apparel Merch Shop is now open. The shop’s link is in the blue Navigation bar (on the right side), “Shop,” with t-shirts, hats, neck buffs, and stickers to start. Here’s the direct link: www.thegearpageshop.com

    You’ll find exclusive high-quality apparel and merchandise; all items are ethical, sustainably produced, and we will be continuously sourcing and adding new choices. 

    We can ship internationally. All shipping is at cost.


Are All Unwound String The Same?

Lo Blues

Member
Messages
2,911
In all of the string manufacturers descriptions of their strings they seem to only refer to the characteristics of the wound strings. So does this mean the unwound e, b, and (sometimes) g strings are all the same for all the different brands? It would make sense that there would be some differences but what might they be? We've all heard that there are only a few wire Mfg's, maybe that would be the only difference?

And this does not include the coated and plated varieties. Obvious differences there.

This may very well be a dumb question but well, I don't know the answer!
 

KHAN

Member
Messages
4,046
I've never noticed and specific differences. Been through a lot of Ernie Ball, Dean Markley and D'Addario's in the last 30 years.
 

derekd

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
43,688
I'm highly doubtful there is more than a handful of makers producing strings for all these brands. Like car batteries, tires, etc., lots of brands, just a few actual manufacturers.

Like ToneTerrific says, it is all in the formula each brand is paying for.
 

mrpinter

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,934
I think most of the plain steel strings (and also, the core wire in wound strings) from most of the brands out there are from the same (probably) two or three sources. I know at least one of the expensive imported brands uses a different (more costly) steel from a different supplier from the regular ones. And like you suggested, the brass or gold coatings on a couple of those imports' wire does increase longevity by preventing corrosion from occurring - at least as fast as without it.
 

duderanimous

Monsterpiece Fuzz - Fuzz Master Extraordinaire
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,149
In my 30 plus years of playing I never really noticed much difference in the unwound strings from various manufacturers until I started using Pyramid a few years ago. The unwound strings are silver plated steel, and just feel more silky smooth on the frets when bending and on finger vibrato than I have experienced with any other brand. Now I won't discount that this may all be in my head, but it sure works for me
 

gkoelling

Member
Messages
17,226
I'm highly doubtful there is more than a handful of makers producing strings for all these brands. Like car batteries, tires, etc., lots of brands, just a few actual manufacturers.

Like ToneTerrific says, it is all in the formula each brand is paying for.
This is the case. There are only a small handful of winders in the country. Compare that to the number of string brands. Anyone can come out with a new brand if they're willing to pony up and order the minimum.
 

Tone_Terrific

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
33,488
This is the case. There are only a small handful of winders in the country. Compare that to the number of string brands. Anyone can come out with a new brand if they're willing to pony up and order the minimum.
Yes. But do the makers build to special specs, using specified materials or work with metallurgists seeking certain characteristics that they promote? There could be a great variety of raw materials in use...or not.
 

Tone_Terrific

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
33,488
I've read that all the unwrapped "pure nickel" strings are regular steel. True?
A- I doubt that pure nickel is pure nickel.
B- What is regular steel?

These questions are beyond the scope of anyone not involved in the string industry or with access to such info.
 

gkoelling

Member
Messages
17,226
A- I doubt that pure nickel is pure nickel.
B- What is regular steel?

These questions are beyond the scope of anyone not involved in the string industry or with access to such info.
I worked in the music industry for 20 years and we sold strings for a major brand name. It's the same stuff and it's also highly unusual to specify unique materials. I've never heard of it being done. Cryogenics, blah, blah, blah...
 

swiveltung

Senior Member
Messages
14,486
As far a
I've read that all the unwrapped "pure nickel" strings are regular steel. True?
That's been my experience, the plain strings are just steel. Are any nickel plated?
Definitely a difference between Ernie Ball and DiAddario plain strings. The DiAddarios have a higher incidence of black residue on the strings.... not as good a cleaning process I suppose. I've used both extensively and both are fine, but have decided to pay a few cents more a pack for Ernie Balls due to the residue issue.
There are a lot of different strings out there..... so someone must make to order for the resellers. Just look at acoustic strings sometimes.... all kinds of stuff and it looks different on many types...
 

dewey decibel

Member
Messages
10,708
I was actually berated by a guy at a music store when purchasing single strings when I asked that they all be from the same manufacturer. That said, I haven't really noticed a difference with the standard music store strings (D'addario, GHS, etc)

In my 30 plus years of playing I never really noticed much difference in the unwound strings from various manufacturers until I started using Pyramid a few years ago. The unwound strings are silver plated steel, and just feel more silky smooth on the frets when bending and on finger vibrato than I have experienced with any other brand. Now I won't discount that this may all be in my head, but it sure works for me
I've noticed a difference with the plain strings in the Thomastik jazz sets as well, both in sound and feel. I broke a high E when stringing a set up once, and the sound of the replacement D'Addario really stuck out until the strings had a lot of playing time on them, two months or so.
 

aman74

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
8,962
I think most of the plain steel strings (and also, the core wire in wound strings) from most of the brands out there are from the same (probably) two or three sources. I know at least one of the expensive imported brands uses a different (more costly) steel from a different supplier from the regular ones. And like you suggested, the brass or gold coatings on a couple of those imports' wire does increase longevity by preventing corrosion from occurring - at least as fast as without it.
Thomastik?
 

mrpinter

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,934
Thomastik?
Yes, I'm thinking of Thomastik; I was told their plain/core wire does not come from the usual Swedish source, but is a German product that was originally developed for use in making radial tires. Optima is another premium brand that I suspect - being a German company - also might use this German steel wire. But remember both these companies coat the plain strings in at least their top level sets with either brass (T-I) or 24Carat gold (Optima), which further differentiates them from other manufacturers' products.
 

slider

Member
Messages
1,509
Anyone remember Nashville Straights? They came uncoiled, in a long package. Sounded great.
 
Messages
1,871
I can tell you from my experience with wire manufacturers that most of these conversations are discussing an almost infinitesimally small part of their product catalogue/revenue stream. There are wire manufacturers and there are string manufacturers - not the same thing. String makers are for the most part, wire purchasers. Now I've heard that some string makers like Mapes and a couple of German based manufacturers actually make their own using a specific alloy compound developed for musical instruments but I don't know if that's true or not. Understanding the scale (no pun intended); take a tire manufacturer. One of the tire makers will use over 5,000 feet of wire in the belt package, radial body plies and beads in a typical passenger car radial tire. Now consider a large truck tire, probably 5 times that amount. Then there's an earthmover tire, mine tire, motorcycle tire ... you name it. That's one tire. 5,000 feet times about 275 million consumer and light truck tires in a year. That's 1,375,000,000,000 feet... One trillion three hundred and seventy five million feet. Add another 20 million plus truck tires and so on. That's replacement tires; add the tires for the car and truck vehicle manufacturers to use on their new vehicles every year. That's just tires in two product categories - but there's an idea of the wire manufacturing industry. Musical instruments? I believe there were about 2.5MM guitars, acoustic and electric sold last year. Add that to the string replacement market. I'm guessing there's about 250 feet of wire in set of guitar strings (including wrap, unwound and the cores). Sooooo, 250 feet times 2.5MM units is about 625,000,000 feet plus whatever the replacement market may be. What, maybe ten times that amount? So we add 6 billion feet to 625 million giving us 6,625,000,000 feet. Even adding everything from pianos to ouds, that's less than one half of one percent; just comparing to a couple of types of tires.
It's still a significant amount of wire and I could be totally wrong but it seems unlikely that anybody will be holding up production for a special compound over less than half a percent. There may be some smaller manufacturers that will make wire to a given spec but that's got to increase costs significantly.
So after all that backstory I'd imagine that most broad based sets (around $4-$5 per set) unwound strings would fall into the range of "similar", while a few (like Pyramid) spec theirs with something specific, pay for it, and pass that cost on to us.
My opinion only, for what it's worth.
 




Trending Topics

Top