Guitar Tech Tricks & Tips

The ideas on this page are personal opinions where products are concerned. Obviously, as a luthier, I want my customers to be happy their guitars and the info below is intended to help..

Great strings at low low prices - Guitar Tech recommended Superb Strings at low prices

I've no connection with the NewStrings company but they sell excellent quality guitar strings at about £3 per pack.Their Sonic Power strings are particularly tough and the 9's will stand up to endless bending without breaking. I've been using them exclusively since they started selling strings online, as have many of my customers.

Basically they sound good, tune well, last a long time and rarely break.

What more can you ask?

Polymer Coating for strings

Polymer coating

I can't recommend this enough as it makes strings last far longer and stay shiny too. Enough in a bottle to last for years no matter how often you change your strings.

You can buy expensive Polymer coated strings but this works just as well and saves you money. Very neat!

Link now updated to a UK company with stock (at least when I ordered last).

Fitting Strings

Probably the biggest cause of problems with guitars is lack of expertise in fitting strings. As a performing guitarist I want strings that will tune up accurately from new and will stay in tune. My guitars will hold tune throughout a 2 hour performance (almost always) and I can bend strings about as hard as anybody.

Although my guitars, at least those that do not have locking nuts, have Slip Stone nuts, much of the tuning stability is due to putting strings on properly. The method I use is nothing new but I have taught endless guitarists to do it - sometimes more than once.

It's not magic just simple engineering! PRS show the technique well on their site. Click the link below and scroll down to the PRS Vintage Tuners section = click their pics to enlarge them.

How to fit strings perfectly - PRS Website - opens in a new window

The method requires some practise but the results are superb once you have the trick. Plenty of stretching in is essential - one of the reasons I like Sonic Power strings is that they stand up to hard stretching in exceptionally well.

Results: With a slipstone nut and using this method I expect a guitar of mine to play a 1.25 hour set without retuning. A new set of strings won't be this reliable until they have been really bedded in. The pic below is an exact example of how to fit wound strings, plain strings need a little more around turn around the bobbin. I often have a close to full turn on a top string 9.

Extra coils around the bobbin just make a bad spring - this method works as well as a locking tune - but is more difficult to do.

I'd probably have used a little more slack for this string and, if that pic has the lock at 1pm, I'd aim for 10am to 11am - just a tiny bit more turn around the bobbin.