REVIEW: Dean Markley Helix Pure Nickel Strings

Guitar strings are a tricky thing. They can be very personal. What’s deliciously bendable for one player is too slick for another. And that’s kinda what makes string shopping so much fun. If all strings were the same, what would be the point? Dean Markley offer many kinds of string at all sorts of price points and for all sorts of applications. And their Helix Pure Nickel electric guitar strings feature an added twist every bit as cool as their revolutionary Blue Steels cryogenically treated strings. The trick to the Helix strings is that they feature a patent-pending Elliptical Winding process: the nickel core is bound up by wire that’s elliptical in shape rather than round, which means the strings feel smoother, there’s less space for gunk to intrude, and they’re easier on your frets and fingertips. Read More …

REVIEW: Ernie Ball M-Steel Strings

M-Steel-PackErnie Ball has been around for 52 years now – can you believe it? – and in that time they’ve spearheaded some pretty revolutionary innovations in the string world, such as the Slinky range and the brilliant Cobalt series. The latter are incredibly strong, powerfully-voiced strings that pretty much refuse to die. So what does Ernie Ball hope to achieve with the new M-Steel line? Well, they feature new patent-pending technology based on a defence-grade alloy known as Maraging Steel in order to keep the strings stronger. By the way, before we get into the review: to celebrate the introduction of M-Steel strings, Ernie Ball is launching “M-Steel Madness.” Starting April 1st, fans will be asked to post videos or photos of themselves with their newly purchased M-Steel strings using the hashtag #msteel. One lucky winner will be chosen at random on July 1st, and receive a prize package of exclusive musical gear.

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Dean Markley USA Debuts Helix Pure Nickel Guitar Strings

jpegPRESS RELEASE: Dean Markley USA introduces the addition of new pure nickel guitar strings to the Helix line. Helix strings are made with a new patented hyper-elliptical winding technique, creating a tighter wrap and more mass, which seals the strings without the need for coating.  By using pure nickel, the strings will offer a warmer, clearer tone all while extending the life of the string. Pure nickel strings have long been sought after by guitarists in pursuit of the ultimate tone.  But manufacturers have stopped manufacturing or limit their production due to the high cost.  The Dean Markley team takes a different approach and firmly believes in giving the musician every tool they need to achieve their goals.  Pure nickel strings immediately start out with a warm tone and keep their tone much longer than strings using other materials.  Besides being easier on the frets and gentler to the touch, pure nickel creates less distortion allowing tone aficionados to clearly distinguish notes within chords and high speed run-throughs of scales and arpeggios.   Read More …

Dave Mustaine Switches To Cleartone Monster Strings

Dave MustaineBurbank, California – Heavy metal legend Dave Mustaine has switched to Cleartone Monster strings; and the California-based guitar string manufacturer will release a signature set of .010-to-.052 gauge strings that pay tribute to the Megadeth founder and front man. According to Mustaine, “The first time I played Cleartone Strings, I noticed a ton more volume. They were bright, felt solid and durable, but really loud.” That’s because all Cleartone strings, including the heavy metal-centric Monster series, employ VolumeBOOST™. According to an independent sound lab, VolumeBOOST gives Cleartone strings up to 36% more loudness compared to uncoated strings. Read More …

GUEST POST: Reducing String Breakage

joe C tele bridge exit holes post ramped smoothOkay, so we are all guitar players here, bass players, stage techs, play a bit of drums, FOH etc. Well I am (at best) below average at most of the above. Fortunately, I’m pretty handy at repairing – so I’ll try to give hints and tips through this blog, to get you through ‘the battle’ of the gig and on to fight another ‘war.’ Today’s subject is maybe one for a day off, or pre-tour if you get the chance. It’s really easy and often overlooked, and will make a huge difference to tuning and string breakage issues. If you want the straight up fix – scroll down direct to THE SOLUTION. Read More …

REVIEW: Ernie Ball Colbalt strings

Ernie Ball’s new Cobalt string series was introduced at the NAMM Show this year – coinciding with the company’s 50th anniversary celebrations (which included a huge concert featuring Paul Gilbert, Steve Morse, Albert Lee, Randy Jackson, Joe Bonamassa, Blues Saraceno and Steve Vai – who even donned a Gibson Les Paul for some Zeppelin jammage). The Cobalts are one of two string sets unveiled at NAMM this year, the other being the Everlast acoustic strings, which use a breakthrough nanotreatment to enhance the metal surface so it repels moisture and oils. This treatment is a thousand times thinner than any other coating on the market, and it’s available in 80/20 and Phosphor Bronze alloys, in all popular gauges.

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INTERVIEW: Mark Dronge of DR Strings

Mark Dronge with Bob Weir from the Grateful Dead

Here at I Heart Guitar we (and by we I mean me) are just as geeky about gear companies and the people behind them as ‘we’ are about music and the people who make it. And it’s always enlightening to hear from those who are behind the gear that helps us to make music. Mark Dronge, president of DR Strings, comes from a family with an important musical heritage: his father Al Dronge founded Guild.  So I Heart Guitar would like to know…

Tell us a little about your background. Your father founded Guild – what was it like to grow up around the musical instrument industry?

Growing up I was always aware of music especially piano and guitar. I am older than most people on the planet. I liked listening to music in my home…Broadway tunes, classical music, jazz. But I remember hating music on the radio. It was so bad until I was in high school. Elvis Presley’s music was the first listenable radio music. And then in the 60’s everything exploded…thank goodness. So what do I like now? Not one thing. I would not buy a heavy metal CD, but I love the energy of a heavy metal live concert. Great guitar music is always great to listen to, as are wonderful vocalists. Stefan Grossman of finger picking fame is an old favorite. And of course when I first heard Adele I was as excited as the first time I went to a Grateful Dead concert back in 1967.

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SUMMER NAMM 2012: Dean Markley Carl Verheyen strings

If you’re a Stratocaster user, you’ve probably seen that video above by Carl Verheyen. It’s been passed around on forums for a few years, and it explains how to perfectly balance the string tension and spring tension of your Stratocaster so that when you float the bridge you can achieve specific intervals by bending the bar up, and so you can maintain better return to pitch and some rather nice vibrato sounds as well.

Now Carl has teamed up with Dean Markley to create what appears to be the ultimate set of Strat-friendly strings for players who prefer this type of setup. Check it out! He explains it even further in this new video:

PRESS RELEASE:

Dean Markley and Carl Verheyen Tame the Strat

SANTA CLARA, CA – July 10, 2012 – Dean Markley today announces the release of the new Carl Verheyen Balanced Bridge Helix Electric strings. This partnership brings a unique string set intended to balance the six screw and two screw Strat-style bridges. The new string set features a unique blend of gauges and features the new Helix patent-pending hyper-elliptical windings.

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