Posted by: kubiakl | June 15, 2010

Earth, Wood, And Meh

When I ordered my custom neck, Warmoth said it would take about five weeks.  It’s been two and I keep checking the website hoping to see it change from “Waiting to ship” to “Shipped”.  I guess Tom Petty was right – the waiting is the hardest part.

On a completely unrelated note I went to see a friend’s baseball game the other day.  The field happened to be close to Guitar Center so I dropped in to play around and pick up some strings.  I stuck with the DR Pure Blues for my electric, but decided to try something new on my acoustic.  Lately I’ve been using these:

And I like them.  The sound doesn’t shimmer, the tension feels right, and they give me a dry, woody tone.  But the Ernie Ball Earthwoods are supposed to be great strings (and EB is the most popular string brand in the world) so I said what the hell.

I strung my guitar up and played around a little.

And noticed my tone had vanished into the ether.

Gone was the haunting low E boom I could get.  Gone was the string definition when I played a blues shuffle.  Gone was the dry sound that I loved so much.

In its place was a shimmery, undefined tone.  Much too bright for my liking.  And I noticed that I couldn’t hear the wood as much – all the sound seemed to come from the strings.  The playability had also changed, the strings felt slinkier (even though they were the same gauge) and had much more give.  It felt like I had gone down a gauge to .10’s.

I guess for some that would be a positive, but I really liked the sound and feel I had.  So it’s back to the Martin SPs for me.

On the other hand, these strings did sound good on my resonator guitar.  Since I knew they felt a little looser than my usual strings I tuned to open E instead of open D and found them really playable.  There was also less string noise when playing slide guitar.  So it’s not a total loss.

This isn’t really an objective review meant to sway you, just my personal experience.  String choice is always a subjective matter – what works for one will sound like shit for another.

I just know I’ll be staying away from Ernie Ball.


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