New strings on my guitars. They are like new tires on a car. When you put new tires on a car the ride is so smooth. Everything is so quiet. And the car glides to exactly where you want it. When you put new strings on a guitar your fingers just slide into place. The sounds are exquisite. You can do anything on it so easily. They are wonderful. Fortunately, it is not as expensive to replace the strings on a guitar as it is to replace the tires on a car.
How often do I change my strings? Well my hands sweat more than most people’s. In the summer I can go through a set in two weeks. What happens when I’ve gone through them? Oh, well, they start sounding thunky, particularly in the bass. You can actually see that they have lost their brightness. Also, they won’t stay in tune. Sometimes, I’m really bad. I let my strings get a few months old. Then when I change the strings I have to beat up on myself. I hear how much better my guitar sounds. How could I have let it get so bad?
Which brings me to routines. Cata and I are recording three CDs this year. I made the good choice of changing the strings on both of my guitars one week before the recording session. They were perfect for the recording. The strings had stretched just right so they didn’t change tuning just from playing them. The sound was still brilliant and flexible. A week before the second recording session I changed the strings on both again. And yes, I am changing to another set of exactly the same strings; phosphorus bronze mediums from WebStrings. Again, the same results. Now it is a hair under a week before our third recording session. Today I changed the strings again. I’m sure the results will be the same. I plan to follow this routine as part of good recording procedures until we are done with these CDs.
Why two guitars? Did someone feed you a couple of question pills today? Look, each guitar has it’s own sound. My sunburst Taylor with the maple top has a really big bright sound. It is totally unforgiving; you play it, or it will play you. On the flip side, it is totally wonderful and responsive. It is so even. It will show every shading that I’m capable of putting in. So it is perfect for bringing out lines, playing harmonies, creating rhythmic riffs. But it isn’t so great for strumming, energy songs. For those it is just too loud. My second guitar is my song writing guitar. It is very forgiving. I can get away with a lot on it. While it is good for playing individual bass lines and rhythmic motifs, it isn’t as good as the other guitar. But boy can you get energy with it. So I use it on the more up-tempo songs that are more strumming oriented. And I use the first guitars wherever I want subtlety and shading. You’ll hear the difference when you listen to our CDs.