Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Gibson Humbucker Guitar Strings
This is a new line of electric guitar string from the Gibson Guitar co. called Gibson Gear, Elgin, Illinois U.S.A. It’s new to me…
I’ve written articles calling the Gibson electric guitar string “the best” actually; they’re my favorite electric guitar strings. Like I’ve said before, “I’ve used most of the major string brands and I play all the time. Also, I know it’s been said time and again “that guitar strings have so much in common that there’s no discernable difference between the various brands of strings”. I can understand this sentiment, yet I’ve come to understand a few things regarding the manufacturing and the elements involved making the string do what it does.
Things like, cover to core ratio, (the gauge or diameter of the wire used for the strings). If you were to put a thicker core the string would seem to have a stiff feel, where if you’d use a thinner core wire the string would be feel loose and seem to bend more easily. Too much in either direction, and the string doesn’t work for anyone. The same for the alloys or types or metal used to make the string effects the sound and feel.
I was a die-hard steel wrapped string guy since the early eighties starting with Bill Laurence steel wrap guitar strings; I switched to The Gibson “Live Wires” and fell in love with the punch and (feel and sound) consistency not so much the gauge. Later, when the “Vintage Re-Issue” nickel wrapped string came out, I tried those and found that they felt smooth on my fingers and, the strings tended to have a different response and sound which I thought was interesting. I guess the nickel wrap with the plain steel strings made me feel like my solos kicked in the high places. And, I switched to those. You know, I liked the way those strings sounded. There was a nice decay and not too much spike compared to a shorter decay and higher spike like I felt with NPS (“Brite Wires”), yet there was a problem. The nickel cover was a very soft one so I’d encounter fret wear immediately. And, the string would lose tone.
The GIBSON HUMBUCKER strings are made to be more alive or easier for the pick-up to respond to. The package says, “The only guitar string optimized for the humbucking pickup, Gibson Humbucking guitar strings utilize a special composite core wire and a specially formulated wrap wire. This design offers a unique magnetic formulation to make the most of dual-coil high-output pickups”. They sure write purdy.
I don’t use high-output pickups; I use the Gibson ‘57 Classic” and “Classic Plus” pickups on my Gibson “Explorer” (called my Frankenfiddle). These strings felt good and the tone had a good blend and consistency between the wrapped and plain strings. I just put the strings on my guitars, the “Explorer” and 56 ”Les Paul ”Jr. (different pickups) forgot about it until I was on stage and rocking. I’ve been using the “Brite Wires” for the last few years Gibson has discontinued the steel wrap (“Live Wires”) because I couldn’t afford to change my strings every single show for a good while there. Which made the “Vintage Re-issue” a no go. Since then I’ve never wanted to play strings that have no sound after the show. Too much hassle. And, the “Brite Wires” sound, was a good sound, everything was there. Nothing jumped out to me and I found myself just “playing guitar”.
So here I am, playing a show and noticed the tone. Plus, my fingers felt different smacking those wires. The rest of the night was fun and “in the moment”. The next week I called Gil Pini at Gibson Gear in Elgin to ask him what was up with these “bad boys” and he hipped me to the extra iron in those “kickin’ rockers”.
I don’t have any “insider details” concerning the “Gibson Humbucker” electric guitar strings. I know they are sealed for protection from oxidization for the elements as all their (Gibson Gear) strings are. These are my immediate reflections as an experienced performing musician, guitarist, and still…. A fan!! Keep up the fantastic work, guys. You ROCK!!!!
When I find out more about the “Gibson Humbucker” electric guitar strings I’ll let you know.
Peace, and find your MUSE,
p.s. I’m not affiliated with Gibson Guitar I’m a fan and customer.