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You are talking about the core wire being hex or round aren't you? The main difference I have been told is the hex core tends to keep the windings from moving while the round core allows the core to stretch and the windings float along. The round core is supposed to have better tone but you have to install them with a different method to keep the windings from slipping while tuning them up. I have not tried the round core strings yet. LittleBrother likes them.
Round-core strings produce a warm tone without as much edge as hex-core strings.
Comparing D'Addarios and Newtones, for example, the D's hex-core strings will sound edgier than the round-core Newtones.
Hex-cores were developed to work best with high-tension winding machinery. As the windings are applied to the hex-shaped core material, the edges on the core's hex "bite" into the windings to better adhere them to the core. The result is that the windings are wound tighter to the core with little opportunity to come unwound.
Round-core strings like Newtones are hand-wound in England by Malcolm Newton, a cablemaker who has perfected his beautiful sounding strings called Newtones. Newtones are wound under low tension to create their tone. These strings must be tuned to pitch before they are cut, to ensure that the windings remain tight to their round cores. That's the only "trick" to installing them.
Generally, brighter, more responsive guitars love Newtones. Guitars that are warmer sound great with Newtones, too, but can benefit from some edgier responding strings like your typical Phosphor Bronzes. Incidentally, Newtones come in a huge variety of string combinations, both in Phosphor Bronze and 80-20.
Mike, a website I visited suggested that when installing round core strings that you bend the wound strings one inch from the end at least 90 deg. after puting it through the winding post. That is to keep the windings tight as you are winding up and tuning the string. Having never used them I don't know if it helps or not. Being a machinist I can see that it may help to contain the windings. I kind of like the idea that the windings are free to move on the core. It seems to me it would have better tone. But Alas, I like to change strings once a month and they are to expensive for me right now. I'll stick with my Martin Darco's. Marcie and I are very fond of them.
One thing I also like on the round cores. You can loosen the bridge pin after they are strung and rotate the end and tighten them up actually enhancing the brightness of the bass. I even saved a bass string I had allowed to loosen using this same method.
Another thing I love is how these strings sound warm and seasoned the moment you install them. They also seem to have a silkier feel and I swear they seem to have less tension. Newtones are not for everyone and they can be a pain but there are some SERIOUS advantages to them.
If I were recording in a Studio there is NO question I would be using Newtones. They sound so fat and warm right out of the pack you could change strings at a session then play.
I think the bright a brassy guitars actually need something like the Newtones to sound, well, good.
Nope, I haven't heard anything about crimping a round-core string at an angle. It couldn't hurt, though.
As for Newtones in particular, check out Malcolm Newton's site at Newtone Strings for ALL the info about these great strings.
They are readily available from Robin at Guitar Gallery. She carries every conceivable set of gauges, including some proprietary sets she commissioned herself. One thing: go for a MasterClass set. They rock.
Currently, we have Newtones on the prototype Clarksdale Crossroads and Corrinna and they sound big and fat. They make these pups howl!