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Thank, SonoTone. Now I know how good my ES-330 can sound.

Dougg330

Member
Messages
6
Just made a visit to the headquarters of SonoTone Strings to try out their new, round-wound nickel strings. I love me some Pyramid nickel classics - or at least I used to. Had a fairly fresh set of 10-46 Pyramids on my ES-330 when I went in, and was anxious to see how the SonoTones would compare to them. We played the 330 amped for a reference, and then, with it still amped, we changed the strings, starting with the low E. I could hear the difference immediately just from that one string. When we had the whole set on, my mind was blown. The tone was rich, dimensional, and perfectly balanced. They produced a warm, woody low end with the neck pickup, and an aggressive, biting high end with the bridge PU - without a trace of those ice pick-y spikes you can get from the high E string. Sound was clear and articulate, yet still warm and rich. The tonal range from bridge PU to neck PU was phenomenal - every position and knob change produced a "best ever" tone. String feel and tension was perfect - they played like butter, made bends easy, and held tuning really tenaciously. Better than my Pyramids - and a good deal cheaper. WAY better than any other round core nickel strings I've tried, from any brand. I left with 5 sets and started calling friends immediately. Bonus for me: got to play the proprietor's ES-335 with SonoTone hex cores and his mind-blowing Super 400 with SonoTone Jazz Strings, which I think will be perfect for people who like the idea of 3-D sounding flatwounds . I don't know exactly how you can get ahold of SonoTone strings, but I'm sure the interwebz can help. I won't say 'trust me' (because why should you?), but if you try these strings, you'll thank me.
 

57gold

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,038
Have a set of the Sono-Tone Jazz Pure Nickel Round Cores on my 1964 Super 400 CES, replaced some Thomastiks, and the guitar opened up acoustically, which translated into a big, open, piano like ring that carried over to the amplified tone. Tremendous sustain, very smooth response with a heavy emphasis on the fundamental pitch followed by rich, sympathetic overtones. Guitar photo below (TPGers like photos):



Also have a set of pre-production Sono-Tone hex core pure nickels on my Astrocaster. The extra snap of the hex core works nicely with the warmth of the Wolftone Strat pick ups. Need to try the round cores on my vintage Strats (1957, 1958 & 1964)!

These Sono-Tones feel better, stay in tune longer and most importantly bring out the instrument's best voice, as Doug330 noted. Also, believe that they will be reasonably priced, which is great for gigging musicians.

Here's the Astrocaster:



Been told that website will be up in next 3 weeks and more string magic in the works. Happy & healthy 2017!!!
 

57gold

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,038
Looks like they are launching.

Some bad ass tone generators demonstrating their love for the product!
 

kingsleyd

Frikkin genyus
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
8,096
Have a set of the Sono-Tone Jazz Pure Nickel Round Cores on my 1964 Super 400 CES, replaced some Thomastiks, and the guitar opened up acoustically, which translated into a big, open, piano like ring that carried over to the amplified tone. Tremendous sustain, very smooth response with a heavy emphasis on the fundamental pitch followed by rich, sympathetic overtones.
I put a set of the "bumped-up core" version -- apparently the first test set in the wild -- on my L-5CES yesterday. Had a relatively new set of T-I Bebop 13s (round-wound; by & large I'm much more into r-w strings even on "jazz box" type guitars) on the guitar to start so I did an A/B by installing the Sono-Tones on the 2, 4, and 6 strings.

I wouldn't say the Sono-Tones "blow away" the T-Is. I like the T-Is a lot and settled on them after trying several other types/brands. But the Sono-Tones have a bigger, stronger fundamental pretty much over the entire range of the instrument, without losing the silky-smooth high end that hangs on even when doing the "tone on 4, volume down" thing, i.e., the sound we all know & love on these guitars. Ditto my secret "middle position, neck volume on 10, bridge volume on 1-2, both tones wide open" sound which is a fuller, more dimensional version of that sound. Considering the Sono-Tones will be a fair bit less expensive than the T-Is, they're a winner AFAIC in this admittedly niche market.

Guitar photo below (TPGers like photos):



Also have a set of pre-production Sono-Tone hex core pure nickels on my Astrocaster. The extra snap of the hex core works nicely with the warmth of the Wolftone Strat pick ups. Need to try the round cores on my vintage Strats (1957, 1958 & 1964)!

These Sono-Tones feel better, stay in tune longer and most importantly bring out the instrument's best voice, as Doug330 noted. Also, believe that they will be reasonably priced, which is great for gigging musicians.
I've put a few sets of 11-48s in different guitars, the ones pictured below. Nice results in all three, quite comparable to the Scalar strings they are replacing which have been by far my favorite strings since they came out.





 

57gold

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,038
Ditto my secret "middle position, neck volume on 10, bridge volume on 1-2, both tones wide open" sound which is a fuller, more dimensional version of that sound.
Man Kingsley, just tried your secret using a 1959 ES335 I played out with last night. Could have used that tonality on "Soulful Strut", a tune the keyboard player called at the jam...much cooler than rolling off the tone on a neck pickup.

Would have sounded more like George Benson...I wish!

Need to get me some Sono-Tone 10s in round core nickel...bet they would kill on Strats.
 

PB+J

Member
Messages
1,702
What are the differences between these and any other strings? The website is just some celebrity pictures and a lot of mumbo jumbo about "vintage warmth."
 

kingsleyd

Frikkin genyus
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
8,096
Man Kingsley, just tried your secret using a 1959 ES335 I played out with last night. Could have used that tonality on "Soulful Strut", a tune the keyboard player called at the jam...much cooler than rolling off the tone on a neck pickup.

Would have sounded more like George Benson...I wish!
Caveat for the uninitiated: my trick only works with vintage/interactive wiring. ;)
 
Last edited:

kingsleyd

Frikkin genyus
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
8,096
What are the differences between these and any other strings? The website is just some celebrity pictures and a lot of mumbo jumbo about "vintage warmth."
Well "vintage warmth" is a pretty good description for those who were playing guitars (and strings) made back in the day (1960s and earlier) and remember that sound and feel. Which basically got lost in the 1970s. But yeah, it's a generic and overused description. I'd say it's the sound of Are You Experienced and Fresh Cream and Revolver and so on, but even then, picking out the sound of the strings from everything else going on in those recordings compared to modern ones isn't possible unless you're already familiar with the sound of the strings.

The good thing is the price of entry is minimal. Especially compared to if you want to own, say, a 1959 ES-335 or Stratocaster. I recommend doing the little experiment I did: get hold of a set, and when you restring, put the low E, D, and B strings on but leave the A, G, and high E strings that were already on your guitar. If you're going to hear differences, it's a pretty safe bet that you'll hear them that way. Helps to have the existing strings be new (or new enough) so you're not throwing another variable into the equation. I realize that by doing so you're sacrificing the cost of at least one set of strings. In the scheme of things, I would think for most players around here that wouldn't be a significant financial hardship. I also think the learning to be had more than justifies the cost.
 

57gold

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,038
PB+J - Better materials/alloys, higher quality manufacture to higher tolerances with respect to wrap and string ends, proprietary geometry - tensions/core to wrap ratios and round core strings at much lower prices than alternatives.

Result of above is that these sound better across the frequency spectrum, ring longer, stay in tune better and last longer (if your rig and ears are set up for D'As, which are shrill to my ears when new and die fast, YMMV).

For my part, I enjoyed the expensive round core nickel Pyramids (Germany) years ago, but 1/3rd of the last few sets I owned had a dead wound string, which were my last sets. Also have enjoyed the Newtone (UK) round cores, but they are nickel plated steel and not so easy to come by. Be great to have superior, US made round core alternatives.

I'm hoping that Sono-Tone will consider offering sampler packs of say 10-46s in hex and round core, pure nickel and nickel plated steel to TGP members so they can feel and hear them on their instruments...much better than relying on mumbo jumbo.
 

Primus DuPont

Member
Messages
1,330
I put a set of the "bumped-up core" version -- apparently the first test set in the wild -- on my L-5CES yesterday. Had a relatively new set of T-I Bebop 13s (round-wound; by & large I'm much more into r-w strings even on "jazz box" type guitars) on the guitar to start so I did an A/B by installing the Sono-Tones on the 2, 4, and 6 strings.

I wouldn't say the Sono-Tones "blow away" the T-Is. I like the T-Is a lot and settled on them after trying several other types/brands. But the Sono-Tones have a bigger, stronger fundamental pretty much over the entire range of the instrument, without losing the silky-smooth high end that hangs on even when doing the "tone on 4, volume down" thing, i.e., the sound we all know & love on these guitars. Ditto my secret "middle position, neck volume on 10, bridge volume on 1-2, both tones wide open" sound which is a fuller, more dimensional version of that sound. Considering the Sono-Tones will be a fair bit less expensive than the T-Is, they're a winner AFAIC in this admittedly niche market.

Guitar photo below (TPGers like photos):





I've put a few sets of 11-48s in different guitars, the ones pictured below. Nice results in all three, quite comparable to the Scalar strings they are replacing which have been by far my favorite strings since they came out.





Dude, those are some serious guitars!
 

McQ7

Member
Messages
397
Just made a visit to the headquarters of SonoTone Strings to try out their new, round-wound nickel strings. I love me some Pyramid nickel classics - or at least I used to. Had a fairly fresh set of 10-46 Pyramids on my ES-330 when I went in, and was anxious to see how the SonoTones would compare to them. We played the 330 amped for a reference, and then, with it still amped, we changed the strings, starting with the low E. I could hear the difference immediately just from that one string. When we had the whole set on, my mind was blown. The tone was rich, dimensional, and perfectly balanced. They produced a warm, woody low end with the neck pickup, and an aggressive, biting high end with the bridge PU - without a trace of those ice pick-y spikes you can get from the high E string. Sound was clear and articulate, yet still warm and rich. The tonal range from bridge PU to neck PU was phenomenal - every position and knob change produced a "best ever" tone. String feel and tension was perfect - they played like butter, made bends easy, and held tuning really tenaciously. Better than my Pyramids - and a good deal cheaper. WAY better than any other round core nickel strings I've tried, from any brand. I left with 5 sets and started calling friends immediately. Bonus for me: got to play the proprietor's ES-335 with SonoTone hex cores and his mind-blowing Super 400 with SonoTone Jazz Strings, which I think will be perfect for people who like the idea of 3-D sounding flatwounds . I don't know exactly how you can get ahold of SonoTone strings, but I'm sure the interwebz can help. I won't say 'trust me' (because why should you?), but if you try these strings, you'll thank me.
I've been playing a Lennon Casino (USA LTD, etc etc model) with a Pyramid Pure Nickel 'Jimi Hendrix Inspired' Custom Set 10-38 from stringsbymail.com, in an effort to get that late 60s Fender Bullet strings thing going. I'm definitely interested in getting the most out of this guitar that I can--it blows me away every time I play it. Since I've been considering going back to a more contemporary 10-46 gauge anyway, your post about a 330 with Sono-Tone strings has caught my attention!
 

PB+J

Member
Messages
1,702
Well "vintage warmth" is a pretty good description for those who were playing guitars (and strings) made back in the day (1960s and earlier) and remember that sound and feel. Which basically got lost in the 1970s. But yeah, it's a generic and overused description. I'd say it's the sound of Are You Experienced and Fresh Cream and Revolver and so on, but even then, picking out the sound of the strings from everything else going on in those recordings compared to modern ones isn't possible unless you're already familiar with the sound of the strings.

The good thing is the price of entry is minimal. Especially compared to if you want to own, say, a 1959 ES-335 or Stratocaster. I recommend doing the little experiment I did: get hold of a set, and when you restring, put the low E, D, and B strings on but leave the A, G, and high E strings that were already on your guitar. If you're going to hear differences, it's a pretty safe bet that you'll hear them that way. Helps to have the existing strings be new (or new enough) so you're not throwing another variable into the equation. I realize that by doing so you're sacrificing the cost of at least one set of strings. In the scheme of things, I would think for most players around here that wouldn't be a significant financial hardship. I also think the learning to be had more than justifies the cost.

Are you Experienced, Fresh Cream and Revolver all sound very different to me. They all sound like they were recorded to tape, but beyond that I don't hear any similarity that I'd attribute to strings. And yes, if I take a new string set, and change the bottom three strings, but leave the old top three strings, I'm going to hear a significant difference, i have zero doubt.

These may indeed be excellent strings but there is ZERO evidence provided as to why, or as to how they are different.
 

PB+J

Member
Messages
1,702
PB+J - Better materials/alloys, higher quality manufacture to higher tolerances with respect to wrap and string ends, proprietary geometry - tensions/core to wrap ratios and round core strings at much lower prices than alternatives.

Result of above is that these sound better across the frequency spectrum, ring longer, stay in tune better and last longer (if your rig and ears are set up for D'As, which are shrill to my ears when new and die fast, YMMV).

For my part, I enjoyed the expensive round core nickel Pyramids (Germany) years ago, but 1/3rd of the last few sets I owned had a dead wound string, which were my last sets. Also have enjoyed the Newtone (UK) round cores, but they are nickel plated steel and not so easy to come by. Be great to have superior, US made round core alternatives.

I'm hoping that Sono-Tone will consider offering sampler packs of say 10-46s in hex and round core, pure nickel and nickel plated steel to TGP members so they can feel and hear them on their instruments...much better than relying on mumbo jumbo.

Really? "Better alloys?" have they discovered some new metals? I screw around with strings as much as the next guy--I've been using pyramids and thomastiks for years. I'm happy to try them but that website is just comically ridiculous: "Our Vintage series is designed to give the vintage tone and muscle reminiscent of the '60's. Tone-Power in every note."

Oh well if it has TONE POWER I'm all for it!
 

tapeup

Butterscotch Supt. Member
Messages
2,012
I've never heard of this company or these strings, so I will wait until I try some before I form an opinion based on experience, but this excerpt from their description of their Classic series of string cracked me up: "From Kiss to punk, this string does it all."

...yeah excellent punk rock sound quality is the first thing I think of when I think of trying a new brand of strings; perhaps I should try their Vintage series since the music I play doesn't sit in between the Kiss and punk territory that their Classic series covers.
 

kingsleyd

Frikkin genyus
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
8,096
And yes, if I take a new string set, and change the bottom three strings, but leave the old top three strings, I'm going to hear a significant difference, i have zero doubt.
Don't do it that way. Alternate strings -- put new ones on 1, 3, & 5 (or 2, 4 & 6, whichever) so you hear how the different wound strings compare and how the different plain strings compare.

These may indeed be excellent strings but there is ZERO evidence provided as to why, or as to how they are different.
57Gold gave you some specifics and you chose to piss on one [unnecessarily IMO; the amount of care taken with respect to the raw materials and ratios of materials in string alloys across different manufacturers is all over the f**kin' map] and ignore the rest.

Even so, it's a moot point given how easy it is to do your own experimentation without a significant layout of $$$. That's what I love about strings. You can totally ignore whatever marketing spew is thrown out there and just buy 'em and compare for your ownself. At that point there's no need to listen to the manufacturer, seller, me or 57Gold, or anyone else. Your fingers & ears will tell you the truth. :)
 

kingsleyd

Frikkin genyus
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
8,096
Dude, those are some serious guitars!
Funny: I just acquired this cheap-ass POS Norlin SG Special. 1974, with the plastic-cover mini humbuckers. It just oozes overhead cost reduction. I put a set on that and damn it sounds good. In fact it's a nice object lesson in It ain't the arrow, it's the Indian. And You don't need a top-dollar guitar to sound good. ;)
 






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