I've been fooling around with strings lately and after successfully renewing bass strings by soaking them in alcohol for a night, I thought I'd do the same with guitar strings and see what happens.
First up, the fiddling around required to straighten guitar strings so they will be threaded back through the body, vibrato block or saddles then attached again around tuning posts is probably a killer to anyone who can afford a set of new strings. Not fun, but I'm doing this for Science.
So I carefully removed, cleaned and re-installed a set of D'Addario, a set of Pyramids, a set of unknown strings I got on a guitar I bought and a used set of HB Value Strings I had kept as spares, mostly in case I break a high E string sometime.
Cleaning worked, made wound strings sound fresher, bringing back some of that metallic high end in all cases but the HB kept the sound which had made me set them aside in the first place, a sound I would qualify as "rubbery". It wasn't there when fresh although these strings never had the colourful ringing (sorry, not a very precise description) of D'Addario but had crept up slowly and it appears now it wasn't caused by dirt, as on the other brands.
I have seen so many reviews telling these strings are just as good as anything, I wanted to believe them but they're clearly not, at least not the batch I got them from back in November 2017. Maybe they do sound as good as anything when used to play with distortion, because basically anything sounds pretty much the same in that case but the clean sound suffers from the comparison.
As an unrelated by-product of my string experiments, I found out 9s are not doing well together with jumbo frets (real ones, not "medium jumbo"). They bend too easily and the higher frets make the system behave as a scalloped fingerboard, requiring a gentler touch for chords. I guess this is a skill to develop but since I am also developing that of playing stiff flatwound on a fretless bass, my fingers were getting all confused. When I put 10s back on, the world felt good again.
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