Rotosound Music Strings is a family-owned business run by musicians and music lovers. We aim to get back to you as soon as we can but you may want to check out our FAQs below to see whether we’ve already answered your guitar string questions before using the contact form below…
We keep as much of the process as we can in-house, which allows us to control costs and be very efficient. Also, we’ve always made our strings in the UK so if you’re buying from the UK or EU there are no import duties either.
A most common question and one that can be debatable. However, comparing gauge for gauge, like for like, we would advise the following:
Stainless steel offers a very bright glassy sound with excellent inherent resonant properties and response in a magnetic field. The chrome content of this refined quality material has a great bearing on tone. Ideally suited for high energy rock music and remains the staple string for many great artists spanning some 50 years now. However, it can prove a more abrasive than other materials and place more wear on the frets. Some musicians will not play them purely for this reason whereas others would say that their sound is more important which they can only get from stainless steel strings. After all, frets can be re-dressed and eventually replaced and fret wear is as much down to hand pressure and playing styles so its not always just down to the material itself. Can be sore on the fingers though!
Nickel plated steel strings by contrast lack the biting presence of steels but offer a warmer sound, have a bright totally corrosion free surface and are easier on the fingers. The lack of friction as opposed to steels is more suitable for fast playing styles and is more popular with modern day rock guitarists. Rotosound’s offer a wide range of stainless steel, nickel plated, and nickel electric bass and guitar strings.
Our Ultramag strings are wrapped with a premium alloy called Type 52.
With a composition of 52% Nickel and 48% iron, this highly magnetic string will certainly accentuate those middles and lows over their steel counterparts. Designed for use in the aerospace industry and high-end electronics, the low co-efficient of expansion will also help maintain tuning in wide ranging environments. With its corrosion resistant properties and its unique blend of sound, it is a truly a string for the discerning player seeking that extra tonal character.
A number of things affect the life of a music string. Firstly, the covers or wraps must be wound very tightly around the core and each other throughout the winding process. With Rotosound’s state-of-the-art winding machines, designed and built by James and Jason How, the applied tensions are precisely controlled and set via an on-board computer. Also, the hexagon profile of the corewire must be sharp so that the cover bites hard and holds firm. Should the tension fail during the winding process then the tone of the string will diminish or lose its tone more quickly.
Secondly, the windings of all covered strings will gradually fill with skin debris having a dampening effect on the tone. A second related problem will be that of amino acids and salt from sweaty hands and fingers gradually imbedding themselves into the windings right down to the core in some instances. Again, this will reduce the tone of the string to almost dead if prolonged. The answer is to apply good maintenance by wiping your strings after every session with a good string cleaner using a lint-free cloth so that the tiny small fibres do not themselves become trapped in the windings and defeat the whole object of the cleaning exercise. Note that Rotosound sell an excellent tried and tested string cleaner with applicator.
Going back in time, before good cleaners were available, musicians would boil their strings in vinegar to breakdown the contaminants and thus restoring some of the strings tone with some success. However, it has to be said that removing strings from the instrument then to fit and tension them a second time or more so is not a particularly good thing.
Finally, aggressive playing styles can render a string to premature ageing. This is on account of violent string bends and fret damage to the outer covers as a result of hard fingering. Of course, continuous retuning of strings will stretch the core and reduce its diameter thus loosening the covers with time if only by microscopic amounts.
Well it could be if there is uneven cover tension along the speaking length of the string but not often the cause particularly with todays modern winding machines such as ours. A string’s mass must be evenly distributed along its length with a uniform cover tension. It is a question we rarely get asked though.
However, do check your action for height, nut for looseness and slot depth, undue saddle movement, and neck bow first. A high action will increase the string tension when fretted which can get worse the further up the neck you go. This is down to the increased angle from open string position to that of fretted. Also check your neck for bowing or distortion which can have the same effect at any position up the neck.
Remember, when comparing other brands, not all strings of the same gauge offer the same core tension so some truss rod adjustment might be necessary anyway. Tensions also vary with string types such as roundwound verses flatwound requiring truss rod adjustment.
Finally, please note that Rotosound strings are designed with particular core/cover ratios to enhance the upper harmonics and free up overtones. It is possible that an inherent intonation fault with your instrument might not show up with strings that have a more restricted harmonic content. So the problem has always been there but never noticeable.
Strings do break prematurely sometimes for all different reasons and in different places along the string’s length. Knowing where the string broke can help to identify the cause. It could be a manufacturing fault, material problem or incorrect fitting. You should go back to the seller for a replacement but if this proves difficult then contact us using the form below.
Due to the high level of applications and as we are only able to fulfil a small percentage of endorsements requests we must ask that applicants meet a certain criteria.
If you feel that you could help represent the brand please select Artist relations in the contact form below.
We have this handy tension comparison chart to help guide you through the tensions of our instrument strings.
The scale length is the measurement between the bridge saddle and the nut or twice the mid-point distance from the nut to the twelfth fret. The scale length is thus the working part of the string that oscillates between these two fixed points when tensioned.
This scale length guide shows the lengths of our short, medium, long, and extra long scale bass string sets.
The string length (or speaking length) is the measurement taken from the outer ball diameter inside the ‘vee’ of the eye at the ball-end to the start of the run-off or tail: this is where the silk starts on silked strings or, on unsilked strings, the point where the string diameter reduces to ease fitment around the machine post. This is the most crucial length to know because this will be the deciding factor as to whether the strings will fit your instrument or not. The start of the silk or eye should always be clear past the bridge saddles and the tail or silk should be clear past the nut toward the tuning machines.
For example, the distance from the ball fixing point to the bridge can vary greatly between makes and models and similarly the headstock may just be that much longer than those on other models. Also, a ‘strung through the body’ version may require just that extra length of playable string to make correct contact over the nut or where you are using a custom made bass with a non-standard configuration between the fixing point of the ball and the machine side of the nut. For these reasons you could find that even if you know your scale length you may have to go up to the next scale length to enable correct fitment — eg. a long scale bass may require extra long scale strings.
It is a well known fact that Leo Fender first introduced the electric bass back in 1951 and when he did he found by much experimentation that a 34″ scale offered the very best in overall performance for sound, playability, versatility and portability. This measurement subsequently became known as the standard long scale length thus becoming the standard scale for his Precision and Jazz Bass models. For string manufacturers like ourselves, those Fender models became the industry benchmark. Since those days many alternative scales and bass designs have been introduced of varying configurations, so much so in fact that with it has brought about certain problems regarding string compatibility.
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