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String makers

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by CrawlingEye, Mar 15, 2002.

  1. CrawlingEye

    CrawlingEye Member

    Mar 20, 2001
    Easton, Pennsylvania
    Ok, I've been thinking about this...

    There's generally few kinds of strings made:
    Nickle, stainless steel, nylon, and bronze.

    Why don't any companies experiment with other materials?

    Titanium alloy would be interesting. It's a very very very hard metal, so it would be very bright, and most likely last a while.

    I'm aware it would cost quite a bit (probably $50 for a set) if they were ever produced, but why don't any companies at least experiment with new things?

    It would be interesting. It'st just a random and radical thought, I guess.
    ...maybe I'm just clueless and companies all ready have, or do make strings like that?

    It doesn't even seem that radical, when you consider that there's many bass companies making basses with graphite necks, and all.

    ...just rambing, sorry... :)
  2. Flatwound

    Flatwound Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2000
    San Diego
    Well, Rotosound 77's have a Monel outer wrap. That's different. And there are other differences. For instance, TI Jazz Flats and rounds have a silk layer in there somewhere, I forget where. Maxima makes gold-plated strings. Ernie Ball, D'Addario and others make chrome-plated strings.

    Also, you can't just make titanium strings, because titanium isn't magnetic. You would still have to have a steel core, which might defeat the purpose.

    Also, there are other variables, like core size, core shape, wrap size and shape, etc. that also affect the design. The materials also have to vibrate well, have desirable overtones, and have the right combination of hardness, tensile strength, and flexibility.

    Maybe titanium-wrapped strings would be really cool; I don't know. Maybe noone's ever tried it, or maybe they tried it and it didn't work.
  3. CrawlingEye

    CrawlingEye Member

    Mar 20, 2001
    Easton, Pennsylvania
    That's what I was thinking.

    Surely you could mate titanium with steel, at least. Considering it is an "alloy" :)

    It would be interesting to see done, though... I was just giving an example. It just seems that bass companies and amp companies are doing some amazing things, and strings are just kind of staying the same, with a few exceptions.
  4. Thomguy


    Oct 15, 2001
    New York, USA
    Most companies do experiment with different winding techniques and materials, etc. Thomastik-Infeld has a long history here as they were the first to successfully use steel strings in the place of gut strings on violins 100 or so years ago. Their bass string line uses pure nickel flat & round wounds with silk inlay for filtering and they also made the first set exclusively for ABG's with piezo p'ups (they have no steel or magnetically reactive metal at all) The noe famous Spirocore for upright bass was also the first of it's kind and they make different E strings for violin from about 10 different materials. They're currently working on a signature series made with materials never before used for bass strings. Then there's the synthetic materials they make their classical guitar strings from (wierd stuff, very dense)

    Some experiments get dumped because the materials are too hard or dense. The titanium suggestion for instance may be problematic. Strings will reproduce the fundamental frequency of the notes better anf for longer if they tune to pitch close to their breaking point (within 30%) It may sound a bit backward, but this is the case. If the metal is too dense or the diameter too thick, the resultant tension would be either uncomfortable or plain unplayable.

    I promise you though, were trying new stuff as you read this...
  5. As titanium is very hard - I think fretwear or maybe even fingerboard wear on fretless basses would be an issue. This may offset the expected longevity of the strings and therefore cost savings when you figure in refretts and maybe even replacement fingerboards!
  6. Thomguy


    Oct 15, 2001
    New York, USA
    A good point!

    I'm running an "experiment" on this and I'll post my findings...
  7. not to mention, it might be hard to wind it into a bass string, even with machines.
  8. bertbassplayer

    bertbassplayer Supporting Member

    Jul 7, 2000
    DFW, TX
    Yea, titanium is hard, rigid.... and its expensive. Ibanez's BTB strings are Copper and Stainless steel roundwounds (the winding is alternating Copper and SS). Its quite interesting.
  9. I noticed there is a company in the UK
    selling Titanium Alloy Bass string sets.

    The gauges all appear to be 40 - 95

    "producing a higher magnetic response than more commonly used nickel alloys." they claim...
  10. amper


    Dec 4, 2002
    Titanium is commonly used in orchestral strings. In fact, even Aluminum is used. The trouble of course, for bass guitar, is that not all alloys have magnetic properties, and therefore might not work with magnetic pickups.
  11. Ian Perge

    Ian Perge Supporting Member

    May 11, 2001
    Evansville, Indiana
    Also consider than R&D costs would be fairly high, and companies only undertake new ideas when they have clear signs of their being a market for them.

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