If your instrument is not quite as “plucky” as it used to be, the cure may just be discovered in a new set of instrument strings. Sound World Instruments (SWI) carries a fabulous assortment of replacement musical instrument string sets by such names as D'Addario, Banjira, Pyramid, Avarez, La Bella, Aruna and Roosebeck.
There are a number of string makers producing a variety of string set options that differ in the basic material of construction, such as steel, stainless steel, nylon or even gut! In the case of wire strings, the quality, the gauge or thickness and the type of metal needs to be carefully considered. In choosing the proper string for your desired aesthetic, please keep these clues in mind:
- The type of alloy used as the wrap wire determines the dominant tonal quality of the strings. Nickel is extremely popular as it provides great overall tone and sound. Stainless steel provides a brighter, more cutting tone. Phosphor Bronze strings are legendary for their full, rich, acoustic tone. Bronze strings have great acoustic clarity coupled with extra-bright, loud tone. When it comes to the type of metal, brass vs bronze, it is a matter of taste. Bronze has a warmer sound than brass. The trade off is that bronze is more "stretchy" than brass, so it goes out of tune easier. Silk and steel strings provide a mellow tone preferred by many folk artists and also make for easier fingering and allow for reduced string noise.
- English and German makers tend to use high quality, high carbon steel; they are therefore more expensive than Indian sets. The trade off is that high carbon steel is also more prone to rust in a humid climate.
- If the wire quality is the same, than thinner gauge wires are easier to bend, when playing, than heavier gauges. The trade off is that you lose the lower bass notes with the thinner gauge wire.
- Wiping down your strings after each use, as simple as that seems, can go a long way in helping to preserve string longevity.
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