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Ernie Ball Paradigm Electric Guitar Strings 

Can the claims be true — unbreakable?

 

by Chris Loeffler

 

It’s not often that there’s something new in the world of guitar strings, so companies tend to lean on elemental alchemy and marketing speak when they bring a new line of strings to players. In short, string makers feel the need to tell you what you’re about to experience. Ernie Ball took a different approach with their new line of electric guitar strings, the Paradigm series, by promoting an open call to players to sign up to try the new strings with no information as to what made them different.

 

Only after they received feedback from thousands of users did they reveal what made their Paradigm strings unique: the company claims they’re nearly impossible to break due to patented brass Reinforced Plain Strings, a re-engineered grain structure for the core, and a plasma enhanced process for improved corrosion resistance.

 

What You Need to Know

 

I had the opportunity to review an initial batch blind after Winter NAMM 2017, as well as production versions of their 10’s and 11’s once they began shipping to retail (they were identical except for packaging). The Ernie Ball Paradigm electric strings are sold in a display box that contains a vacuum sealed pack with each string individually sleeved in an envelope.

  

Visually, the strings don’t really stand out other than a slightly larger length of the twist lock near the ballend than you’d typically find. The strings set up easily, and a side benefit to their stronger construction is how quickly they set and are in tune; break-in time was easily half what I’m used to with a set of strings.

 

The Ernie Ball Paradigm strings certainly feel solid and bend extremely well, with fluidity and an anchored feel in even larger bends. Initially, their tone caught my ear as being a bit darker than the Cobalts or Nickel strings I I’m used to, but they seemed to brighten up a bit as they broke in. I would still measure it a touch less bright than what I normally play, but they also held that tone for the duration of my evaluation (60 days), whereas my reference strings demonstrated gradual dulling of the highs.

 

As a reviewer, I took the “never break” claim to task, which led to a surprisingly liberating playing experience. While I don’t believe I was conscious of the behavior, I realized I play a little timid with bends given the fragility my fretting hand can feel as I start pushing the string. I bended the strings as much as I ever would in a playing situation, but chose to forego some of the more gimmicky attempts to break the strings that they have artists doing in their promotional material.

 

Limitations

 

The Ernie Ball Paradigm strings are at the top end of guitar string pricing ($14.99 street), so the value proposition comes in the form of either tone you can’t get anywhere else or extended life.

 

Conclusion

 

Based on my extended play time with the Ernie Ball Paradigm electric guitar strings, I can confirm they are incredibly durable, hold tune better than most strings I’ve played, and kept their tone as long as coated strings I’ve played. Sonically, they would fit in nearly any situation and sound good without expressing any particular character.  While I don’t personally find myself breaking strings often, I did enjoy the extra rigidity and the confidence it gave me in bends and more aggressive playing. While they are a bit on the expensive side compared to a standard set of strings, players looking to address concerns around their string life may find them to be a bargain in the long run. -HC- 

 

Resources

 

Ernie Ball Paradigm Electric Guitar Strings Product Page

 

Buy Ernie Ball Paradigm Electric Guitar Strings (MSRP $32.99, $14.99 Street) @ Sweetwater 

 

                            

 

 

____________________________________________ 

 

Chris Loeffler is a multi-instrumentalist and the Content Strategist of Harmony Central. In addition to his ten years experience as an online guitar merchandiser, marketing strategist, and community director he has worked as an international exporter, website consultant and brand manager. When he’s not working he can be found playing music, geeking out on guitar pedals and amps, and brewing tasty beer. 

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