“good strings will stay in tune longer and most times they don’t go out of tune during the whole recording session”
“It’s much easier to correct intonation with high-quality strings”
But what about recording? Does it matter if you use a particular guitar or bass strings? Will it have an impact on a recording? And if it matters, how a good set of strings can help you to record better-sounding tracks?
The answer is simple – yes, strings are very important for recording, and choosing low-quality guitar strings will have a bad impact on the sound. So, you always have to choose the best strings.
5 Reasons Why Strings Are Important For Recording
If you wonder what benefit strings have for recording here you will find the top 5 reasons why you should always use a good set of strings when recording guitar, bass, or any other stringed instruments.
1. Strings Have an Impact On The Tone
First and perhaps the well-known fact is that strings have a huge impact on the overall tone and recording is no exception. Track recorded with low-quality or old strings will sound dull and uninspiring. So, using high-quality strings is important.
Yes, you might use the best guitar and amp in the world and play amazingly and the track will be good but if the strings are not good, then it won’t be the best-sounding track. It will lack clarity and juice.
I did many tests with strings since I started recording and used many strings – good, bad, old, new – and strings really matter. Old strings sound dull and have no character and low-quality strings are like bad strings. They just sound very uninspiring.
So, using a good guitar or bass strings is mandatory not only for recording but for any situation whether it’s a live show, rehearsals, or just practice.
2. Good Strings Will Stay In Tune
If you know anything about recording you know that guitar and bass should be tuned between every take. And that’s one of the first rules. Always have an instrument in tune when recording. And guess what – bad strings don’t stay in tune.
This means that not only you will need to tune the guitar between takes but the instrument will go out of tune during recording and that’s a bad experience. And it doesn’t matter what type of electric strings you use – the quality is always important.
On the other hand, good strings will stay in tune longer and most times they don’t go out of tune during the whole recording session. For example, Roto Yellows are my favorite strings by Rotosound and they are just amazing – they sound awesome, stay in tune, and last much longer than other strings I have ever used.
You might think that it’s not that important for strings to stay in tune but once you sit and start recording, then you will understand. And if you don’t know how bad out-of-tune instrument sound in the recording, trust me, it’s ugly.
3. Intonation Is Better With Good Strings
Now, a very important thing when recording guitar or bass is the intonation and without a perfect intonation, your songs will never sound good. Beginner players may not know a thing about intonation so I will explain it in a few words.
Just tune your guitar with a guitar tuner to be perfectly in tune. Now, fret the 12th fret of any string and check the tuning. If it’s the same note as the open string then the intonation is correct but if it’s a little sharp or flat, then it’s a problem. Most of the time instruments have bad intonation and require a specific setup.
This means that your guitar might be in tune but not completely because as you go down the neck more out of tune it becomes. And you might not hear it when playing but when you listen back to your track, you will hear that something is wrong but don’t know the reason. And the reason is the intonation.
And of course, it’s much easier to correct intonation with high-quality strings than with bad ones. Also, string gauges have an impact on intonation, and every time you change the strings you should check the intonation of the instrument.
4. Strings Won’t Break During Recording
I had this problem when I was a beginner. I was always spending a good amount of money on instruments, amplifiers, and other stuff but always had cheap strings. And after one or two weeks at least one string (first or second) would break.
I thought it was my playing or my bends were too strong but later I understand that it was the strings themselves. I was using low-quality strings and my playing had nothing to do with it. So, one day I went to a local store and bought Pure Nickel strings and had no problems with breaking the strings ever.
And imagine when you recording your riffs or solos and string breaks. How frustrating it is. You may not have a new set of strings and your recording session is just canceled. But using a good quality string will avoid that problem and you will never break your strings whether you recording or playing live.
5. Good Strings Last Long
And lastly, high-quality guitar strings are important and mandatory because they last much longer than standard strings. They will sound like new even after one month of playing and I mean heavy playing.
If you don’t play guitar regularly then your strings will sound good after a couple of months but if you are in a band or record almost every day, then strings tend to lose their character after two or three weeks.
And when you use good strings the quality is retained longer while bad strings might sound awful after a couple of days. All strings have their lifespan and after that, you must change them with a new set.
There are no shortcuts.
No cleaning material makes dead strings perfectly alive again. And make sure that you always use a good set of guitar or bass strings.
A good and high-quality set of strings for guitars or basses is critical for recording. They will last longer, won’t break during recording, have a great impact on the tone, and will add character to the tone. Also, your instrument will always be in tune and the setting of the intonation will be much easier.
If you are using cheap strings, switch to good-quality strings and you will never regret it!
Lasha Chankseliani is a guitar player, recording enthusiast, blogger and the founder of Apartment Recording