I’m a Musician and can play a large variety of musical instruments. People always ask me “What instrument do you play?” and rather than explain how many instruments I can play and risk looking like a egotistical fool I just tell them “The Guitar”. The guitar really is my best instrument. I love it the most and I play it better than any other instrument I can play. Even though I’ve played in bands on keyboards, bass and various horns I am a guitar player.
So I’ve learned a lot about guitar playing over the years and I will be sharing that knowledge on Live Musician Central.
Today I’d like to talk about Guitar Strings. I’ve tried more brands than I care to remember. A lot of aspects of guitar playing are like a search for the Holy Grail. You have to find a good guitar, good amp, good picks, good effects, good strings and more. All these things add up to the ultimate guitarist Holy Grail Quest, the quest for tone. Quality tone is everything to guitar playing. If you get quality tone from your setup things get a whole lot easier. Especially the recording process. It’s a lot easier to just mic up and record a good sounding guitar setup than try to fix a bad one after you’ve recorded.
So let’s talk strings. Here’s what I need as a live performing musician:
- Good Tone!
- Longevity, they have to last a decent amount of time.
- A great price.
Now those 3 things sound pretty simple right? They’re not. That’s a tough combination to find. It seems like every time I found a good sounding string they’d last for about 4 hours and the tone would be gone or they’d break. Then if I found a string that would play for hours without breaking it just wouldn’t sound as good. So I tried custom hand-wound strings that cost a fortune. They lasted quite a while and sounded almost great but it hurt buying them all the time.
So I tried string brand after brand and then my bass player bought a set of
Dean Markley Blue Steel Strings
and said “Hey Matt, have you tried these strings, they’re great!” so I figured what the heck and went out and bought a set. It honestly surprised me how inexpensive they were and I was not impressed by the ‘Cryogenic Freezing’ commercial on the package. Though I have to admit, there must be something to the whole ‘Cryogenic Freezing’ thing.
So I put them on my guitar and lo and behold, I LOVED the sound! I like my strings to be bright, tight and crisp with good low end that has some bite to the bass attack and these sounded great. So I put them on my Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster, which is my primary gigging guitar and took it to a club gig. I played 2 nights on the guitar and the strings sounded great both nights. So I pulled the guitar out to change the strings before my next gig but I played it first to see how the strings had held up and they still sounded great. I figured what the heck, and I threw a set on my Gibson Les Paul that I use as a 2nd guitar and primary backup guitar at gigs and left the old strings on the Strat. I figured I’d switch to the Les Paul if the strings on the Strat died or broke. I played that Strat at the next gig and the strings played both nights and were just barely losing some brightness and sustain after the 2nd night. So after that 2nd gig I changed the strings.
You have to understand what kind of toll it puts on guitar strings when you play a club gig. It’s two nights of 4 hours of playing in smoke, sweat and heat not to mention the occasional splashed drink that gets onstage. I wipe my strings down after I play but they take a lot of wear and tear. So to have a set of strings last for 16 hours of gigging is truly amazing. When I took the strings off they didn’t sound as good as new but they sounded good enough that they didn’t kill my vibe at the gig. So my point is, that’s good value if you can make a set of strings last for 2 entire gigs.
I usually use 2 or more guitars at gigs so my I actually change my strings about every 8 hours of playing. 8 hours is lot for a string to sound acceptably good. I’ve left the Dean Markley’s on to see how long it would take them to break and I’ve played a couple gigs and about 10 hours of practice on one set. So we’re talking about 24 hours or so of actual play time before they start to break and I pick pretty hard.
So it’s with pride that I’m recommending Dean Markley Blue Steel strings to you today. The are the BEST and I mean that from years of experience with them. Go buy a set. They’re cheap, sound great and last. How can you beat that?