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Has anyone found 2 sets of same strings play differently?

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  • Has anyone found 2 sets of same strings play differently?

    In 17 years of playing I've never had this issue. I use Ernie Ball 10-46 strings exclusively (at least on the guitar in question). I changed strings and now I can't play the fast/heavy part of One by Metallica. The strings are well broken-in and everything, but these strings feel looser than the prior set. Is it just a defective set of strings? There's no other apparent issues, it's just anything that requires fast picking on the low E. I can rip through solos on the upper strings just like always, but that low E just doesn't feel the same. I highly doubt it's the guitar, it's a Music Man JP6 (spring tension and everything is fine). And I've made sure to use a new pick as well. I suppose for as cheap as strings are I could just change them again, but I guess it's just got my curiosity more than anything. Has anyone else encountered this?
    Good deal with Randy Rules

  • #2
    You just described my entire history with DR strings until I eventually jumped ship. I can't say for Ernie Ball, but they are a reputable company.

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    • #3
      I mean, 17 years of playing them and only one bad set is not bad, I'm just curious if anyone else has come across this phenomenon. I just ripped through the solos for Erotomania and Overture 1928 by Dream Theater with no issue, but that damn low E is flopping around too much to get a steady flow on it. And this is the only time it's ever happened. But it looks fine, it's not like the winding is coming undone or anything. Weird.
      Good deal with Randy Rules

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      • #4
        They can take a bit of stretching and retuning before they reach a nice tight state.

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        • #5
          Having always found Ernie Ball strings to be a crapshoot, it doesn't surprise me
          Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything. - Plato

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Ratae Corieltauvorum View Post
            Having always found Ernie Ball strings to be a crapshoot, it doesn't surprise me
            Really? I've always found them to be on the upper spectrum for strings. What do you use?
            Good deal with Randy Rules

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            • #7
              was the set an open packet or a sealed one, when i have wanted a particular size string in the past and it has not been in the seperates i`ve known shop assistants to raid an open packet for a particular size string i have wanted . there is a tool to measure the guage of guitar strings
              Last edited by catscurlyear; 05-19-2016, 05:46 AM.
              Consternoon Aftable

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              • #8
                I have used plenty of different brands on my guitars and kept coming back to d'Addarios.

                I buy em in what is called a Pro Pack, which is 10 sets



                _____________________________________
                Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.

                Join Date: Aug 2001
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                Posts as of Jan 10th 2013: 82,617

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by catscurlyear View Post
                  was the set an open packet or a sealed one, when i have wanted a particular size string in the past and it has not been in the seperates i`ve known shop assistants to raid an open packet for a particular size string i have wanted . there is a tool to measure the guage of guitar strings
                  It was a sealed pack. I never buy open packs for that very reason, haha.
                  Good deal with Randy Rules

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Acooljt View Post

                    Really? I've always found them to be on the upper spectrum for strings. What do you use?
                    Thomastik-Infeld or Pyramid
                    Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything. - Plato

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                    • #11
                      Ernie ball aren't may favorites but they are pretty consistent. I've found many manufacturers make mistakes occasionally. I've seen them substitute the wrapped strings, like a heavy wrapped third string for a 4th string. Since the core is too thin it makes it impossible to intonate. Others change the grade of the string materials.

                      Fender is an example of a decent string that went to hell in a hand basket. When they were made in the US with high grade US steel they were my string of choice. They moved manufacturing to Japan and inconsistencies began. They were still pretty good but the strings were different and I wound up having to do more tweaking for each set. Then they moved to making them in Mexico and totally flushed the quality down the drain.
                      I used to but a set every so often to see if it was just a fluke but no dice. I bought 3 sets last time and I put one set on and couldn't intonate the strings. Totally flat by almost a whole semitone on the A string with the saddle maxed out to make the string as short as possible.

                      If your strings aren't off too much there may be a couple of possibilities. Even though the set is sealed, they may have recoeved a batch of strings that were made with worn dies. They draw steel through dies to cut them to the proper thickness. As the does wear, the thickness may not be the same. You'd have to use a micrometer to measure the thickness to be sure.

                      Another possibility is the strings are fine. You may have more or less wraps on the tuning pegs. This along with the change of seasons may have changed your neck relief. This can change the action quite a bit.

                      Basing the strings on your playing skill is a tough one too because a persons touch can change on a daily basis. best you can do is measure and spec your guitar out and make sure nothing has changed, Like I said, temp affects the relief the most. As things get warmer the truss rod expands a tad and relief increases. Hold your strings down at each end of the fret board and see if the strings just clear all the frets in between. If they fret out, loosen the truss, if they have allot of clearance, tighten it a tad. Don't rule out worn frets either. When they get flat you get allot more drag bending notes.

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                      • #12
                        Always hated Earnies, and strongly protest putting them on clients guitars. I never found them to be consistent, and feel they die way to quickly. I agree with Rat on the Thomastik-Infeld or Pyramid's. GREAT strings IF you have the cash.
                        In the past I used Dean Markley's, the yellow 10-46 set, and got a batch that was bad. (All the "A"'s were dead and dull sounding on any guitar I put them on.) The company NEVER replied to my letters and email, so never used them again.
                        Currently I use the same as Mikeo, and had a minor issue with the high 'E' unwinding at the ball, they sent me 10 sets of strings, and 10 high 'E''s when I told them. I respect and LOVE customer service like that. And the price isn't bad. (With 44 electrics, it adds up quickly.)
                        My Music: www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=440762
                        Some of my guitars: 64 or so Domino Beatle bass; 73 Ibanez 2398; 79 Epiphone Genesis; 79 Manoman; 99 Ric 330; 78 Gibson L6S; 95 Ibanez JS-700; 04 Samick Lasalle JZ3: 05 Ibanez AS73; 81 Paul Custom, 07 Gary Kramer Simulator T and about 50 others.

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                        • WRGKMC
                          WRGKMC commented
                          Editing a comment
                          I always put a drop of crazy glue on the ball ends, then remove the excess with a paper towel and let it dry. It turns any set of strings into super bullets and eliminates the ball ends from unwinding, especially for a heavy string bender like myself. I need the tuning stability without it I'd be wearing out my tuning machines.

                      • #13
                        Most string brands are pretty consistent from pack to pack in my experience. I've occasionally gotten a older set that was probably sitting around in the store for too long that felt a bit tired right out of the package, but it's been years since that's happened to me.
                        **********

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                        • #14
                          Originally posted by WRGKMC View Post
                          Ernie ball aren't may favorites but they are pretty consistent. I've found many manufacturers make mistakes occasionally. I've seen them substitute the wrapped strings, like a heavy wrapped third string for a 4th string. Since the core is too thin it makes it impossible to intonate. Others change the grade of the string materials.

                          Fender is an example of a decent string that went to hell in a hand basket. When they were made in the US with high grade US steel they were my string of choice. They moved manufacturing to Japan and inconsistencies began. They were still pretty good but the strings were different and I wound up having to do more tweaking for each set. Then they moved to making them in Mexico and totally flushed the quality down the drain.
                          I used to but a set every so often to see if it was just a fluke but no dice. I bought 3 sets last time and I put one set on and couldn't intonate the strings. Totally flat by almost a whole semitone on the A string with the saddle maxed out to make the string as short as possible.

                          If your strings aren't off too much there may be a couple of possibilities. Even though the set is sealed, they may have recoeved a batch of strings that were made with worn dies. They draw steel through dies to cut them to the proper thickness. As the does wear, the thickness may not be the same. You'd have to use a micrometer to measure the thickness to be sure.

                          Another possibility is the strings are fine. You may have more or less wraps on the tuning pegs. This along with the change of seasons may have changed your neck relief. This can change the action quite a bit.

                          Basing the strings on your playing skill is a tough one too because a persons touch can change on a daily basis. best you can do is measure and spec your guitar out and make sure nothing has changed, Like I said, temp affects the relief the most. As things get warmer the truss rod expands a tad and relief increases. Hold your strings down at each end of the fret board and see if the strings just clear all the frets in between. If they fret out, loosen the truss, if they have allot of clearance, tighten it a tad. Don't rule out worn frets either. When they get flat you get allot more drag bending notes.
                          As always, you're one of the most insightful people on this board. Since the Music Man has locking tuners, I decided not to wrap the strings at all this time. You think if I wrap it like I used to that I could get that tension back? Something so seemingly innocuous as that never occurred to me.
                          Good deal with Randy Rules

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                          • #15
                            Originally posted by Acooljt View Post

                            As always, you're one of the most insightful people on this board. Since the Music Man has locking tuners, I decided not to wrap the strings at all this time. You think if I wrap it like I used to that I could get that tension back? Something so seemingly innocuous as that never occurred to me.
                            Thanks man, Some find it handy.

                            It definitely makes a difference on my guitars, but I'm very sensitive to those kinds of changes. For me, I like even string tensions. I bend the strings allot and one too tight or two flabby makes my fingers stumble It may not be something other people notice unless they experiment with it a bit. I actually measure how much slack I leave to wrap up on the tuners so the strings wrap downward on the tuning shafts ends about the same distance from the headstock.

                            For example, on a Fender Tele, I'll pull the 6th string past its peg and measure it off at the 5th tuning peg. When I string it, it gives me two wraps. The 5th string I'll measure off the string the distance of two tuners (at the 3rd tuning peg) Then I'll get about 3~4 wraps on the peg, I do the same thing for 4th and 3ed strings adding a longer distance for each.

                            I do this because the string diameter is thinner for each string and to get the string to wrap down to the same point on each peg I need more string slack.

                            I occasionally vary the method. I may use 1 peg, 1.5 peg, 2 peg, etc. Or I may try the same slack for each. I get a different feel each time without changing any adjustments. The last time I used one peg distance for each string and I seem to have less nut binding when tuning. On other guitars I cant do that because there isn't enough breakaway angle on some of my Fender necks.

                            Vintage fender necks with the split shaft Klusons, that allowed you to stick the end of the string inside the shaft, kept the wound string very close to the headstock. Modern tuners leave the strings at least 5 millimeters or more above the headstock. The feel of each when they are strung up feel different.

                            Early strats only had one string tree because the breakaway was sharper using the Klusons. With modern tuners you often need two string trees to keep the sharp angle for the two center strings so they don't pop out of the nut grooves or buzz in the grooves.

                            Gibson 3X3's can feel different too when you measure to have the strings so they wind up the same distance from the headstock. And like I said before it can influence the relief a bit if you have a thinner neck.

                            Again, some may not notice the change. I congratulate them for not being able to notice because its one of those things I discovered ages ago. I'd get together playing with other musicians as a kid and I'd hear a buddies guitar sounding sour as all get out. I'd say, "let me see that thing, theres something not right" Sure enough they didn't pay attention wrapping strings and had the high post - low syndrome happening. I'd loosen the string and get the winds uniform, stretch the string a bit, tune it up, and bam, problem gone.

                            I cant count the number of times I had beginners ask me how I could hear that. To me it was obvious. They'd hold a root chord down and some strings would bend sharp at the frets more then others. The nut breakaway affects the notes more down at that end.

                            Anyway, Things like this are just simple thing you pick up over the years and you develop good habits that you stick by to avoid issues with it. Its at least 50 years since I discovered it is something that makes a difference for me.

                            For others? Google up how BB King wraps his strings. he wraps the entire string up on the tuners so he has like 3 layers there like friggin golf balls. Gawd. That much excess string will change the tuning ratio drastically. Its something he just did and got used to all his life and it doesn't seem to affect his playing.

                            Best thing you can do is give it a try and see what happens. If it goes back to feeling like it used to problem solved. From there, whatever you use, whether it be no wrap, one wrap, graduated wraps, just be consistent each time and you'll find the consistency between string sets less of a problem. It doesn't take much effort at all when you're installing strings and it may wind up being one less item for you that affects your playing. Measuring off longer distances to the next peg or two is simple and its always there.


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