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Hand selected strings available for all recommended and custom tunings.

We set up new and used instruments with various string gauges according to Stick players' needs, now including heavy, light and medium gauges. We also make up a great variety of packaged string sets in these three gauges, which accommodate all the recommended Stick tunings (melody fourths and reversed bass fifths on ten or twelve strings) as well as any custom tuning.

Tapped strings behave differently

For several years now, all of our strings are nickel wound, and made by D'Addario, to our specifications for length and tonal resonpsiveness appropriate for the lower string tension optimal for tapping. Tapped strings vibrate differently than those typically seen on basses and guitars which have much higher tension. This is especially important in the low bass strings, which we have made to our specifications for clear pitch and tone.

The pitch is not the only determining factor for an individual string gauge. Melody strings, which are usually tapped at higher frets, and therefore shorter vibrating lengths, will have a thinner gauge for a given pitch compared to the same pitch on the bass side, where a longer vibrating length will give the string a different feel, and different tone. Thinner melody strings also facilitate bending and other expressive techniques. So, for example, string 4 on the 10-string Matched Reciprocal set is the same pitch as string 9, but on a medium set the melody string 4 is a thinner gauge (.22") than string 9 (.26"), so that the feel matches in the most commonly played areas of the board.

Three overall gauges and tensions: light, medium and heavy

The light gauges have for years been our standard string set, starting in 1974. We added heavy gauges to our instruments in 1995, later introducing medium gauge sets in 1998.

We pay close attention to string sound and "feel" on all Stick setups and all packaged string sets. The sound is as uniform as possible in both timbre and volume. The "feel" involves both light tapping action and uniform bending, a given amount of lateral movement raising the pitch equally on any string.

This means a light set will have a uniform feel and tensions across both sides, as will medium and heavy sets. Using different gauge sets on the bass and melody, (light melody and heavy bass, for example) leads to an uneven feel across the board, and volume and tone differences as well, so it is not recommended.

Our heavy gauge strings on a properly set up Stick are every bit as easy to tap on as light gauges, but require a bit more finger muscle for side movement (bending and vibratos). The sound has more of a "ring" to it, the harmonics closer to the fundamental tone ringing through (the octave and fifth above the octave). These are very musical timbres and record very well in the studio.

Our light gauge strings allow a greater range of expression and are very responsive to the subtler finger effects. They bend further, typically a whole step to a minor third, and magnify all the various vibrato techniques that are possible on The Stick. The sound is more "acoustical" by most players' appraisal, with pronounced harmonics in the very high frequencies along with the fundamental.

We've also introduced medium gauge sets for those who want some of the advantages of both the above. String sets in all three gauges are put together according to the various standard or custom tunings ordered, with increasing disparity of string diameters between the gauges as the pitch gets lower.

Our packaged string sets are priced as indicated on our price list. Custom sets, and mixed-gauge sets are available for an extra charge.

Feel free to call (818-884-2001) or for recommendations on string gauges and tunings that will best suit your musical environment.
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