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NAMM Sneak Peek

Personalize Your Guitar or Bass

We’re not talking about a new paint job with flames, chrome wheels, or a black light poster. But if you want to really dial in how your axe feels, in addition to making sure the setup meets your needs, spend a couple of evenings trying different strings — different gauges, different brands, different types. You’d be surprised how much this can affect how the instrument plays and sounds.

Put each set on, and leave them at least overnight, playing the guitar or bass as much as possible. Then the next night, play it a bit more, then switch to the next set. Repeat to try all the different sets you have. More than likely one set will just feel “right” and in all likelihood, will also sound the best.

We recommend trying sets that are a string gauge higher and a gauge lower than you normally use. Try pure nickel, nickel wound, and other formulations as well. Different brands have differing amounts of string tension and may also sound different, so try a few of the popular ones.

Maybe you’ll wind up right back where you started, with your usual strings. But maybe you’ll discover the perfect set for that particular instrument. Best of all, strings are cheap, so it’s not a huge investment to try different sets out.

Bonus tip: Make sure you have a string winder to speed the process!

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