The String Experts
Welcome to THE STRING EXPERTS section, where we will have some of the members of our Artist Family field questions regarding gear, recording, performing and more. Stay tuned!
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN STRING TENSION AND STIFFNESS?
String tension is the pulling force needed to bring a string to pitch. We can calculate this by using the string weight, the pitch you're tuning to, and the scale length of the instrument it's going on. If you visit our main string pages, you can download our String Tension Guides and find out the tension of your favorite GHS set!
String stiffness is how easy/hard you feel it is to press the notes on the guitar, and that's based more on how the instrument is set up, as well as individual preference. You can make some assumptions based on the string tension chart, but it's not a guarantee. This comes down to the performer and what they prefer.
DOES A BIGGER STRING GAUGE PRODUCE A FATTER SOUND WITH MORE LOW END?
Larger gauged strings, all things being comparable, usually produce more of the fundamental tone, and not as much of the overtones. So it does play a role in the tone of the guitar, but how much is up for debate.
Tony Iommi had a huge, fat guitar tone and he used really light gauged strings tuned down a half step. One of our artists, Evan Marien, uses an incredibly light set of bass strings, and has an incredibly warm and lush bass tone.
I wouldn't just go to a heavier gauged set of strings, if you're just looking to beef up your tone. There's a lot of other things in the signal chain that can be adjusted before you look at the string gauge.
DOES THE NICKEL ROCKERS PURE NICKEL ROLLERWOUND STRING HAVE MORE TENSION THAN IF IT WERE A REGULAR ROUNDWOUND STRING?
Thanks for the great question! In terms of tension, the rollerwound pure nickel string would have slightly less than a true roundwound pure nickel string, all things being equal. The rollerwinding process slightly flattens the round cover wire, which makes it a bit wider, able to cover more surface area.
That said, the difference between the two sets would probably be negligible at best. You're going to notice the difference in stiffness between the two. Oddly enough, the rollerwound pure nickel string is going to feel slightly stiffer, due to the oval-shaped cover.
WHY DO YOU STILL HAVE SINGLE ENVELOPES FOR YOUR STRINGS? THAT'S A LOT OF WASTE.
Short Answer: single envelopes has been the number one feature request from artists.
Several years ago the paper companies had to change the way they whiten paper, according to government standards. This new process - which we weren't told about until much later - reacted with the wire, causing terrible oxidation. Simply put, the strings rusted. This was an industry wide epidemic, as many of us used the same company for our envelopes. That left us all scrambling for better options.
After much trial and error, we landed upon our Nitro-Pack envelopes. While we did consider packaging the single strings in one envelope, it was from tremendous feedback to the contrary that we opted to keep the strings in single pouches. Whether you have to change a string in the middle of a set, session or rehearsal, opening up a single envelope is infinitely easier than opening up a package, unwinding all of the strings, grabbing the one you want, coiling all the others back and putting them in a pouch that is now open and exposed to the elements.
All that said, we are still looking for ways to better improve our Nitro-Pack envelopes. We are currently looking for a solution that would be more easily recycled, and still keep the unrivaled protection that the current envelopes provide.
WHAT SET OF STRINGS YIELD THE LEAST AMOUNT OF FINGER SQUEAK?
ARE THE NICKEL ROCKERS AND BURNISHED NICKEL ROCKERS SIMILAR IN FINISH?
They are similar, yes. Both the Nickel Rockers and Burnished Nickel Rockers are rollerwound strings, so they'll feel smoother than a normal roundwound string. However, the Burnished Nickels are then lightly polished, which make them smoother than the standard Nickels. Many people find that the polishing makes these strings feel faster and slicker.
WILL THE GHS CROSSOVERS FIT MY NS DESIGN OMNI BASS?
Simple answer is no, they won't. The GHS Crossovers were designed speicifically for the NS Design Electric Upright (either WAV, NXT, CR or EU series) and have a 46.5" winding length for this purpose. They are far too long for the Omni Bass.
However, the NS Design Omni Bass is designed with a 34" scale, and can accept standard electric bass strings that have a 38" winding length. To this end, the closest option we have to our Crossovers are the Brite Flats, which are also ground Alloy 52 nickel-iron. Other players have had excellent result using our Precision Flats on their Omni as well.
HOW DO THE THICK CORE BOOMERS COMPARE TO COMPETITORS "DROP TUNE" SETS?
First, you need to understand that GHS has historically used slightly larger core wire in all of their strings, as we have felt that was a key feature of the tone and feel that we were going for. Ironically, when someone says they're using a "heavier core wire," while it's true for their products, there's a good chance our regular Boomers have the same gauge of core wire.
Now, onto the Thick Core Boomers, which have slightly larger core wire than our regular Boomers. Basically, in simple terms, the Thick Core Boomers would punch the other "drop tune" strings in the stomach and take their lunch money. The tone and sustain is what you'd expect from GHS, except more so. And while other "drop tune" strings say they handle Drop D and Drop C very well, we've had some of our artists use these in C Standard Tuning and even Drop B with excellent results.
WHAT IS A "LILI'U" UKULELE, AND HOW IS THAT DIFFERENT FROM MY 8 STRING TENOR UKULELE?
The "Lili'u" tenor 6-string ukulele was originally designed by Sam Kamaka Jr. in 1959 to commemorate Hawaii's statehood and pay tribute to Hawaii's last reigning monarch, Queen Liliuokalani. In 1976, Kamaka released the "Lili'u VIII," an 8-string tenor ukulele to celebrate the Bicentennial of the United States.
Nowadays, many different companies create 6 and 8 string tenor ukuleles with the same tuning as the original Kamakas, so in terms of string sets needed, the LIli'u 6 and 8 string sets are ideal for your tenor ukulele.
As for the name of our sets, both sets were originally created from our Hawaiian Sales Rep in the mid-late 70s, and while we can't say exactly what the reasoning behind the names are (since the sales rep has since retired), it's fair to say that they were named as such to honor the Kamaka ukuleles as well as help customers find the strings for their Kamaka Lili'u ukuleles.