These Strings Make My Modern Guitar Sound Vintage



The Amazing Impact of Flat Wound Strings on Your Guitar Sound

Guitar strings, one might argue, are the soul of a guitar. They have the power to completely transform its sound, and among them, flat wound strings hold a unique charm.


Flat Wound Strings: Not Just for Jazz 

It's a common misconception that flat wound strings are reserved only for jazz music. While they do carry a distinct jazz vibe, they're much more versatile. Swapping out your round wound strings for flat wounds can completely change the tone of your guitar, it's an easy and inexpensive way to instantly improve your setup. Plus, it doesn’t involve anything too time consuming, complex or expensive like changing out pickups.


A Trip Down Memory Lane: History of Flat Wounds

Flat wound strings are synonymous with jazz guitar, legends from the 40s, 50s, and 60s like Wes Montgomery and Charlie Christian spring to mind. Their jazz sounds are iconic and a large part of that sound was the strings they used . The Beatles also exclusively used flat wound strings on all of their guitars until the mid 60’s. Yes, those iconic tunes from the guitars like the casinos and telecasters used on their records, were all produced with flat wound strings.


A Comparative Look: Round Wound vs Flat Wound Strings 

When comparing round wound and flat wound strings, the difference is substantial and it starts with the construction. Both have a center core wire, but the difference is in the wrap. However, while a round wound string is wrapped with a round wire, a flat wound string is wrapped like a ribbon. Another difference is the thickness, flat wounds generally have a thicker core wire than round wounds for the same string gauge. These differences produce a unique feel and sound with flat wound strings, even among the same gauge of a round wound string.

First-time players often find flat wound strings intriguing due to their slickness as well as the absence of string noise you get with round wounds. They are comfortable to play and are incredibly durable, and resistant to the corrosion that often plagues round wound strings. A great example of this is my mule electric that still has the original flat wound strings that came on the guitar. 

The real magic, though, is in the sound. With flat wound strings, the sound profile is noticeably different. Flat wound strings produce a richer low end and a distinctively warm sound, and woody mid-range tone that is especially noticeable when played on the neck pickup. The brightness of the strings is still present, but it is not abrasive like you get with round wound strings.


Playing with Effects 

With their mid-range emphasis and unique top-end characteristics, flat wound strings beautifully complement various effects, altogether enhancing the tonal richness of the guitar.


Considering Drawbacks

Switching to flat wound strings isn’t without its challenges. The thicker core wire increases string tension, which might require some minor guitar setups. Moreover, bending notes on flat wounds is much more challenging than on round wound strings. However, these strings can inspire novel playing techniques, pushing guitarists out of their comfort zones. I believe more people should play flat wound strings because it brings a level of creativity and inspiration to song writing and guitar playing that you simply don’t get with round wounds.


Why You Should Consider Flat Wounds

For a investment of $10-$20, you can radically transform your guitar’s sound, and possibly end up with new music along the way.  While this post isn't sponsored, any purchase through these links will support our channel.

Additionally, for those looking to delve deeper into the world of music, the Inner Circle subscription offers a plethora of video courses that can further enhance your guitar skills. New video courses are coming out every month!

To all the guitar enthusiasts out there, it's time to embrace the magic of flat wound strings and let your music soar!


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