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Gibson Branded Strings

Twang Gang

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Got an email from StewMac offering Gibson strings at a discount (about 50 cents a set - big deal) so decided to try a few out.  I ordered a set of the "Humbucker" strings, a set of "Brite Wires" and a set of "Les Paul Signature".  Previously I have been using Elixir 10s on almost all my guitars for reference (expensive, bright, but they last a really long time)

I put the Humbuckers on my Les Paul Classic which has the '61R and '61T pickups and they sound terrific.  Those pickups give a real old school humbucker sound and combined with these strings it really sounds great.  The marketing hype on these strings is "the only strings optimized for our genuine humbucking pickup.  Utilizing a specially formulated composite core and wrap wire, the design offers a unique magnetic formulation to deliver the best tone from Gibson's famous dual-coil, high output pickups."  Don't have any idea what the special formulation of core and wrap might be - but I really like the way they sound.  Those of you with the '61 SGs that have the same pickups as my LP Classic should love these and I bet they will sound great on any R8s or R9s etc. with the PAF clone pickups.  Highly recommended. 👍👍👍

Next I put the Les Paul Signature strings on my CS 356 which is a semi-hollow body with '57 Classic pickups.  This set is a little weird and probably not for everyone, it's a custom gauged set that is:  09, 11, 16, 26, 36, 46.  So the G, B, and high E are a light gauge while the other three strings are what you would normally get with a set of 10s.  The marketing hype:  "Les Paul worked with us to develop these strings.  They are wound with pure nickel for a smooth warm tone that delivers a punch when you need it.  To ensure the least amount of ambient noise Les specified silk wrapped ends"  What I noticed about them is that the B and high E seem much louder and brighter than the other4 strings?  If you listen to recordings of Les from back in the day he liked to play way up high on the neck on those strings, so some extra bite would be good for that, but they seem unbalanced with the rest of the set.  They are very bright with the '57 Classic pickups and to get the tone I like from this guitar I had to adjust my amp settings quite a bit.

Lastly I put the Brite Wires on my L5 that had flat wounds on it and also has '57 Classic pickups.  They sound real good, but of course much different than the flat wounds which were sort of a muted jazzy type tone.  These give it a much cleaner sound and really makes the guitar come alive a little more - I like them and I can still get a muted jazz type tone by just rolling off the tone controls and the presence on the amp if I want that.  Marketing hype:  "precision-wound with nickel plated steel to give your guitar a bright, crisp attach with excellent volume and sustain...vibrant tone perfect for virtually any type of music".  On Gibson's website they say that every solid body coming out of Gibson USA has these on them when it leaves the factory so if you like the strings on your LP when you first got it, these are the OEM replacement.

Gibson "Light" gauge are 10s, if you want 9s order the "ultra-light"  StewMac also offered a "Vintage Re-Issue" set, but they were backordered so I didn't bother with trying them.

So overall the Humbuckers get 5 stars really sound great with a vintage style HB pickup.  Brite Wires also very good, the Les Paul Signature not so much - although may work really well with a LP Recording guitar, or a R6 with P-90s.

Hope this helps anyone who has been considering trying the Gibson branded strings. 


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I would love to hear how well these last. I've used Ernie Ball Super Slinky strings since probably around 1984 or 1985. From then until last year, I had only broken 2 strings during that time. In the last year, I've broken probably 10 strings, even their Paradigm strings, which are supposed to be unbreakable. And, it's not on any one guitar in particular. I think it's just a bad bunch or their quality isn't what it once was. I'm looking for a new string or brand to try and see how they last.

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  • 1 month later...

Thank you for the review Twang Gang, I found that really interesting, I might give the Humbucker set a try.

I'm currently using Elixir Optiweb's which I find to be really good, particularly on my 335, it just makes it sound so "musical" but they are very expensive.  Ah well, you can't take it with you 😉

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