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 Big City String Company
 About Strings

Touch and tone will choose the best string set for your individual style, tuning or instrument. We carry hundreds of string sets, each unique by gauge, alloy or construction.

Wound string construction involves winding a cover/wrap wire around a nylon or steel wire core. The total mass equals the string gauge. Two strings of the same gauge can differ, by manufacturer, when a large core is combined with a thin cover/wrap or a thin core is wrapped with a large cover. Multiple cover wraps are sometimes used or an oversized wrap wire is further processed by compression, grinding, polishing or other method to reduce it to gauge. Roundwound strings, having more exposed vibrating surface, are louder than polished, ground or flat wound strings which minimize fret and fingerboard wear and are preferred for warmer tone, playing ease, and reduced finger noise. Silk or nylon can be inlayed between core and cover for a cushioned feel.

Gauges affect the tension at which a string vibrates to achieve the desired pitch. A light string is more flexible and vibrates fast with a bright tone but sustains less than a heavier string.

Alloys provide timbre and sonic texture. Bronze strings, composed of copper and zinc, are considered brightest among acoustic strings. Phosphor Bronze (copper, tin and phosphor) is less brilliant but remains the most popular acoustic guitar string set. Monel, stainless steel, silver plated (copper), nickel/iron, nickel plated steel and nickel project a more subdued bass response, acoustically.

Electric guitar and bass strings produce tone in proportion to their magnetic properties. A pickup senses the vibrating string and converts it to an electrical signal which is further processed by control pots, cables, effects, amplifiers and other outboard devices. Stainless steel, long preferred by bass guitar players, generates the strongest signal while less magnetic nickel is more mellow. Nickel plated steel combines the attributes of both metals and is the most widely played electric guitar string.


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