Wednesday 25 October 2017
As a beginner in guitar, you don't always imagine the care you need to take to your instrument. You dust the body, but often you forget to clean an important element, see vital for the sound and for your fingers: the strings!
Before and after each session, it is important to wipe your guitar strings. Personally I use a micro fiber fabric. This type of fabric absorbs moisture deposited by hands during play. It is important to know that the sweating of the hands acts like a real “acid” on the strings of a guitar. This is all the more true on metal strings, whether they are steel, silver or bronze. As each guitarist tends to sweat more or less strongly, the corrosion effect is more or less high depending on your degree of perspiration. I've seen string games die in two hours! Especially at concerts. The inexpensive, Ernie Ball slinky guitar strings tend to wear out and “rust” faster. There are also “chemical” solutions to protect the strings. The first: GHS Fast Freight is a silicone product (I think so, because the formula is kept secret). Apply it with a small tampon. It extends the service life of the strings, but also improves the gliding feel. This is a must-have product if you play on untreated strings. Please note that this product is not recommended by all manufacturers, including La Bella, which deems it incompatible with its Vapor Shield strings, but we will return to it later in the article.
There is a product unknown to the French public, this is La Bella VIVO cleaner. This product allows you to clean and polish your guitar wood in a single pass. But it also makes it possible to deflate the ropes. This is a natural product, made from fruit juice (if it is serious). I tried it on my ropes, and the sentence was immediate... I put my rag on the ropes and... my rag came out BLACK! I didn't come back! This product is incredibly effective. This product is known by another name by professional violinists, it is a well-kept secret of concertists.
There are so-called “anti-corrosion” ropes. They are mostly protected by a sheath. The leader in this field is of course with ropes protected with goretex (this is the rainproof material of your K-Way). It is almost imperceptible under the fingers. The strings last a very long time, moreover the noise of movement is attenuated. I think these strings are a bit stiffer and hurt your fingers more than unprocessed strings, but they're great for the casual player, because the strings don't oxidize when you're not playing with them, so you can leave the guitar in the case for many weeks, and pick it up later.
My favorite of the moment is Blacksmith, I've only played on these folk guitar strings since I discovered them. They combine the advantages of sheathed strings, without the disadvantages. They are flexible and sound great, without (too) hurting your fingers. They are passed under liquid nitrogen before being protected by carbon. It's just awesome!
The New York tailpiece La Bella (the world's oldest string manufacturer) has invented a plasma steam process. The strings are completely “neutral” under the finger, you do not feel any sheathing, and their service life is super long. They sound beautifully, however, they are a drawback: the price, 20€ the game, but that's not the record, since Martin & CO has just released a titanium game for the modest sum of 40€!
The only manufacturer to sheathe his treble strings is DR Strings.You may have never heard of it! It is a New York-based tailpiece that offers products with a very strong identity. If you are looking for good, real sound, it's their home that you need to look for, all their products are designed to offer a targeted sound universe. Their Dragon Skin model is the only string set in the world with sheathed high strings. They are ideal if you play in the tropical zone, they will not oxidize in 24 hours. They are also very pretty, they are like golden, you can see the “dragon's skin”.
All these long lasting strings don't need much care to hold long, you won't have to wipe them (including the elixir and Blacksmith and Dragon Skin), however make the habit of wiping them, you will save substantial savings on purchasing your string sets.