Playing Blues guitar is all about feel and tone... so what are the best strings for the Blues? Not an easy question to answer (along with "what is the best guitar for the Blues?"), but we'll try to give some tips and look at what strings the best blues guitarists use...
Do you need Heavy Strings for Blues?
Conventional wisdom is that you need heavy gauge strings for a great Blues tone. Certainly early Blues players would use heavy strings, read more »
It's something most new guitarists don't think of until they break their first string - "what are the best guitar strings for me?". There are a bewildering range of guitar strings available, with terms like Nickel, roundwound, gauge, light, medium, skinny top etc to confuse the uninitiated. So here's some simple advice for the beginner: read more »
Guitar Tech (best known for their wide range of guitar accessories) . has introduced a new lightweight capo for acoustic, electric and classical guitars. Unusually for a 6-string guitar capo, it is also said to be suitable not only for 12-string guitars, but also for banjos and mandolins.
Capos are popular with beginners and experienced players alike, whether changing the key of songs to suit a singer's vocal range or experimenting with different tonal qualities and chord inversion. The GT capo is designed for easy one-handed operation and with no sharp edges, and soft rubber parts that touch the instrument shouldn't leave any marks on your favourite guitar's neck. Ease of use should also mean that the user can place the capo accurately, essential for avoiding fret buzz with the capo fitted. read more »
Guitar Gizmos, the company that bought you first the Space Trainer for helping with chord hand position and then the Power Chord Trainer to help beginners learn Rock Chords has now opened a new web store. Gizmos is on a mission to help guitarists learn and practice more effectively and their latest offerings include "liquid skin" to help prevent the usual sore fingertips that all new guitarists suffer and an innovative color-coded system for finding notes all up the fretboard - humorously called "Don't Fret". They also sell some basic accessories specually chosen for new guitarists and we'll sure they will be expanding the range soon.
They boast worldwide delivery and accept payment in a variety of local currencies, from US, Canadian and Australian Dollars to Euros and UK Pounds. Check out their store at shop.guitar-gizmo.com read more »
Slash (real name Saul Hudson) is of course best known as the lead guitarist of the Guns N' Roses in the 1980s and early 1990s, but also played in Slash's Snakepit for some of that time. He then co-founded the Velvet Revolver and continued to play great guitar through the mid to late 2000s. In 2010, Slash released his debut solo album, along with an all-star roster of famous guest musicians. read more »
It’s not often that you hear of a new musical instrument being invented, but Cleveland guitarist Tom Shaper has just launched what he refers to as a “percussion guitar”, designed to be played with drumsticks! The Jasperbridge Percussion Guitar uses a standard six string guitar neck with regular guitar tuning, but with a clever “reversing” body that brings the strings through to what would normally be considered to be the back of the instrument, enabling them to be played with a drumstick. read more »
Nashville Tuning gives a great jangly sound and doesn't need the guitarist to learn any new chord fingerings, so is well worth exploring - especially for those fortunate enough to own several guitars. Nashville (or "high strung") tuning is a bit of an oddity in the guitar world, as unlike "open" tunings it contains exactly the same notes as regular guitar tuning and is played using the same chord fingering. The difference is the octaves of the strings. Nashville Tuning contains no bass strings at all and gives a unique bright treble sound that is fantastic when played alongside another guitar with regular tuning - especially useful for recording a 12-string guitar sound when no 12-string is available. read more »
The true physics of guitar strings is very complex, but the basic theory is quite straightforward. The starting point is that the fundamental frequency of vibration of a string is inversely proportional to its length and directly proportional to the square root of the tension. This frequency is also inversely proportional to the square root of its mass per unit length. So the frequency that sounds when you pluck a guitar string is a combination of these three properties - length, tension and mass. read more »
In the 1950s, when electric guitars started to become mainstream brought new requirements for guitar strings - not only did they need to have great tone and longevity, that also needed good magnetic properties to work with magnetic pickups. The requirement led string manufacturers to experiment with different metals and alloys including Monel steel, stainless steel 430, chrome, nickel, and others. These had better magnetic properties than the traditional bronze and brass used in acoustic guitar strings. read more »
With their hook line "Superior guitar strings for superior guitarists", Santa Rosa California-based Sfarzo Strings are launching two new sets of strings in January 2011. According to Sfarzo, both the EMPYREAN acoustic guitar strings and NICKELANIUM for electric guitar give an outstanding bright sound and more sustain than conventional strings.
The NICKELANIUM Nickel Strings are advertised as Outstanding for Screaming Leads and Chomping rhythms. Excellent for live performance and studio sessions.. In addition to conventional sets of 9, 10 and 11 gauge, the NICKELANIUM strings are available in an additional 7 sets of different string gauge combinations - great for guitarists who like to experiment. read more »