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Blog // Sounds
June 9, 2007

The String Thing

One thing that I was hoping to dispense with, upon moving to Hong Kong, was the worry of sourcing guitar strings. In Delhi, it was hard to get new strings at a decent price, or with any reliability, so I tended to stock up whilst overseas. Surely in a “global city” like Hong Kong, replete […]

One thing that I was hoping to dispense with, upon moving to Hong Kong, was the worry of sourcing guitar strings. In Delhi, it was hard to get new strings at a decent price, or with any reliability, so I tended to stock up whilst overseas. Surely in a “global city” like Hong Kong, replete with shops, I would have no problem getting the strings I wanted and maybe even at a good price.

Famous last words.

The music gear scene is dominated here by Tom Lee Music, a monolithic multistore outlet not unlike the US giant, Guitar Center. They have a wide selection of equipment and their prices, especially during sales, are world-beating. But their service is, well, unresponsive would be a polite way of putting it.

My tastes in acoustic guitar strings are fairly straighforward and I’ve had some luck there. Unable to score my normal choices from D’Addario I decided to try the Martin “Eric Clapton” 12-54 strings for steel acoustic and the Savarez silverpated 520P for the classical. So far, I’m really happy with both sets, especially the Martins.

But on the electric, I’ve had no luck. It’s difficult to find anything heavier than 10 gauge in electric strings here and even those can be scarce. So I decided to go looking for an overseas supply. My Callaham S-Model came shipped with GHS Burnished Nickel strings in a 10-46. Although at the lighter end of what I play, these strings feel great on a strat-style guitar and have a nice “vintage tone.” I started out playing on GHS Boomers and have had a negative feeling about the brand ever since, but this newer set has won me over.

Thankfully, GHS have an online store that ships internationally – so it looks like I’ll be D’Addario-less for the first time in close to twenty years. I’m putting GHS Burnished Nickel 10-46 on the Callaham and HM Strat and 11-50 on the Tele and Fender Master. Finally, I’m trying out the rollerwound Compound Nickel 12-54 (with an unwound G) on the Ibanez JSM100.

The times are changing…

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