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This article was originally published in issue #68
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Warm vintage tone.
Smooth feeling performance.
Much cheaper than changing your pickups!
A little dark for more modern styles.
Pure Nickel Wrap
Hand Wound Hex Core
Nick Jennison takes an in-depth look at SonoTone's Vintage hand-wound strings. Designed using a custom formula with the aim of faithfully reproducing authentic vintage tones from the 50's, 60's, 70's and beyond! SonoTone may have very well created a line of strings that emanate the kind of feeling that makes it hard to put your guitar down.
In the pursuit of tonal perfection, it's far too easy to overlook the less glamorous links in the chain. We agonise over vintage correct guitars, point-to-point wired amps and hand-built pedals (true bypass, naturally). Still, we rarely afford the same consideration to cables, power supplies, picks or strings. In reality, the little things make a world of difference. Try this experiment: take a thin pick, a thick pick, a coin and a folded up piece of paper. Play for a few minutes and switch between them at random. I'll wait…
…Huge difference, right? Well, strings are even more important. When you're playing, you're playing the strings. Not the fret, not even the guitar - that's just the resonant piece of wood that the string's attached to. A guitar with no strings is perfectly useless, but a string stretched between two nails can still produce a note.
We all know how much new strings can improve everything about the guitar playing experience - tone, intonation, playability, tuning stability, the lot - but string material and construction is every bit as important. SonoTone Vintage strings are made with a pure nickel wrap over a hex core, and the resulting tone is warm, smooth and full of (for want of a better word) "vintage" character.
It's quite tough to describe the sound in writing, switching to the SonoTone Vintage set from your typical set of nickel-plated strings (Slinkys, D'addario XLs etc) is a little like switching from a Telecaster to a 335: one is bright and snappy, the other is woody and warm. But if this analogy is a little crude for your liking, you can check the frequency plot we made in Logic's match EQ. The SonoTone strings are fuller through the lows and midrange with less of an upper mid spike and a gentle high-end roll-off.
If you're looking for a more "old school" character from your guitar, consider changing your strings before you replace your pickups, amp or pedals. It'll save you a lot of money, and it might be just as effective. SonoTone Vintage strings are the perfect place to start.