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Round core to hex core - when did strings change?

shakti

Member
Messages
1,312
So we've all heard how the (wound) strings of the 60s were made with pure nickel over a steel round core. At some point in time, this manufacturing process changed to pure nickel over a hex core, and the alloys changed.

But when did these changes occur? Obviously, different times for different brands...but was round core used by "everyone" up until a certain point in time? If we're listening to a '70 recording, what strings are most likely to be used? Still round core, or could it be hex core? You get the point...

Debate on...
 

Tuberattler

Member
Messages
2,411
Hex core has been arouond for at least 20 years, where have you been? Not all strings are wound on hex core, most are still round.
 

chervokas

Member
Messages
6,839
So we've all heard how the (wound) strings of the 60s were made with pure nickel over a steel round core. At some point in time, this manufacturing process changed to pure nickel over a hex core, and the alloys changed.

But when did these changes occur? Obviously, different times for different brands...but was round core used by "everyone" up until a certain point in time? If we're listening to a '70 recording, what strings are most likely to be used? Still round core, or could it be hex core? You get the point...

Debate on...
I think hex core became the standard of manufacture in the late 1960s or early 1970s. I love the feel of round core strings myself but I must say if you strung a guitar with a sets of strings that were otherwise identical except for hex vs. round cores on the wound string and I was doing a blind listening test, I'm not sure I'd be able to thell one from the other.

In terms of the alloys I have no idea but I suspect the timeline is similar -- maybe because manufacturers started looking at ways of making more magnetically active strings because players wanted things hotter and louder as electric guitars became more popular, maybe because of the price of base metals at the time....just guesses, someone must know.
 

Zakko

Senior Member
Messages
549
I remember in the late 90s, D'Adarrio was advertising this. I couldn't care less. Still dont.
 

chervokas

Member
Messages
6,839
Hex core has been arouond for at least 20 years, where have you been? Not all strings are wound on hex core, most are still round.
That's not true, nearly every set of guitar strings is wound on hex cores -- it's easier and therefore cheaper to wind around hex cores because the cores bite into the windings all up and down the core so getting the wrapping tension is easier during manufacture. Most (all?) round core strings are hand wound I think.

Round core strings are making a come back of late, but the number of electric guitar sets wound with round cores is still very small, maybe half a dozen -- the DR Pure Blues, the Newtone Electric Masters, the Pyramid Nickel Classics (which are all round wound, pure nickel wraps over round core), the Markley Vintage Reissue (round wound, nickel plated steel over round core).....not sure about the cores on any of the flat wounds but maybe the Pyramid Golds, T-I Jazz....or the T-I's generally -- are the Blues Sliders or the Jazz strings round core?

That's about it, everything else is hex core.
 

shakti

Member
Messages
1,312
I think hex core became the standard of manufacture in the late 1960s or early 1970s. I love the feel of round core strings myself but I must say if you strung a guitar with a sets of strings that were otherwise identical except for hex vs. round cores on the wound string and I was doing a blind listening test, I'm not sure I'd be able to thell one from the other.

In terms of the alloys I have no idea but I suspect the timeline is similar -- maybe because manufacturers started looking at ways of making more magnetically active strings because players wanted things hotter and louder as electric guitars became more popular, maybe because of the price of base metals at the time....just guesses, someone must know.
Thanks chervokas! This is the sort of input I was looking for. I saw another post by (I believe) Dean Farley which said the first sets which weren't pure nickel showed up just sometime in mid-late '70, so prior to that we're all listening to pure nickel strings. Round core or hex core...who knows?
 

chervokas

Member
Messages
6,839
Thanks chervokas! This is the sort of input I was looking for. I saw another post by (I believe) Dean Farley which said the first sets which weren't pure nickel showed up just sometime in mid-late '70, so prior to that we're all listening to pure nickel strings. Round core or hex core...who knows?
Ok here's an article by someone who actually did historical research -- interviewing string manufactures and looking through history advertising:

http://www.guitarplayer.com/article/pure-nickel-strings/8326

Just as I suspected, in the 1950s, as magnetic pickups became widespread, manufacturers started experimenting with alloys that were more magnetic than the bronze of acoustic guitar strings. Nickel became the standard (though I suspect there were other kinds of string available) because they were magnetic but lower output so they didn't cause distortion as easily as other alloys. But in the late 1960s, as distorted rock guitar became more popular, manufacturers started experimenting with hotter alloys.

The price of nickel was also a factor with a rising price around 1967.
 




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