What strings and string gauge does Steve use?

Discuss Steve's guitars, set-up and equipment here. This forum is not for discussing general guitar topics.
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Joined: Thu Apr 08, 2004 12:24 pm

#46 Post by Klax » Mon Apr 26, 2004 7:56 pm

I've bounced around to most of the string manufacturers. I keep coming back to GHS Boomers.

I still don't know how you guys get the life out of the strings. After about 12 hours, I can tell the difference. I dont have an exorbitant amount of breaks but the strings start to sound dead.

When my Jem arrives, I'll start out with the Ernie Balls. If I'm not satisfied, I'll try the Boomers next.

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Joined: Fri Jun 06, 2003 1:05 pm

#47 Post by GuitarStrings » Tue Apr 27, 2004 3:51 am

I like Fast Fret, it's not expensive and lasts so long. It keeps your strings so clean and slippery that a set of 1 month old strings feel like new.

I use a huge quantity of D'Addario XL120 strings because each package gives me 2 Player's Points. :lol:
I recommend my friends to buy D'Addario and ask them to give me the packages too! :lol:

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#48 Post by Klax » Tue Apr 27, 2004 10:04 am

I just replaced my GHS Boomers with a set of D'Addario XLs. The Boomers still had some life in them but I wanted to contrast them with the XLs.

I have a patch that I had previously downloaded to my Pod Pro, that was proportedly a "Steve Vai" sound. It took a bit of tweeking but I did get it close with my Steinberger.

Never the less, the contrast between the strings could not have been more profound. Even after tweeking the patch, the sound was total mahem with the XLs. The highs and mids were brittle and wirey, and the lows much to chunky. Adjusting equalization did nothing but drop the brittle highs in presence. The tinny sound was still there and I couldn't thicken it up without completely muddying the bottom end and causing the mids to all but disappear.

I'll toy around with other settings to see if there is a tone that the XLs are happy with. Perhaps my Liefson patch will suit them.

Ever since Crossroads, I have been enamored with the smooth transitions between highs and lows that Steve has developed. No matter how far up the neck he plays and/or bends, his highs never grate on the ears. All the while the lows maintain clarity. With most setups that I've heard or tried, I can never get those thick syrupy highs without trashing the lows UNLESS I use the Boomers. The same was evident with my Gretch Corvette (before my daughter knocked it over and trashed the headstock). The Gretch was modified using LP hardware and a Bill Lawrence bladed humbucker. I have experienced similar results with my Strat copy that I've installed Lay Sensors in. Each of these guitars has a completely different sound character.

I'll see if I can locate the Steinberg string kit that allows you to make your own double ball end strings from standard strings. Then I'll try the EB Super Slinkys to see what they produce. The D'Addarios may sound great on an Alder bodied guitar but they sound like crap on Mahogany and Swamp ash. I suspect they would be troublesome on a Basswood body as well.

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Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2018 8:50 am

Re: What strings and string gauge does Steve use?

#49 Post by steakfinger » Sun Jun 17, 2018 9:01 am

If you're breaking strings all the time then you've got either a problem with your saddles or something at the nut. I've repaired guitars for years and I've worked on my own. If I had a problem with constant string breakage I would file the saddle where the string passes over and that would fix it every time. There isn't a nickel worth of difference between most major brands of guitar strings. That's a fact.

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