By Michael Tafoya
This is a new line of electric guitar string from the Gibson
Guitar co. called Gibson Gear, Elgin, Illinois U.S.A. It’s new
I’ve written articles calling the Gibson electric guitar
“the best” actually; they’re my favorite electric guitar
strings. Like I’ve said before, “I’ve used most of the major
string brands and I play all the time. Also, I know it’s been
said time and again “that guitar strings have so much in
that there’s no discernable difference between the various
brands of strings”. I can understand this sentiment, yet I’ve
come to understand a few things regarding the manufacturing
the elements involved making the string do what it does.
Things like, cover to core ratio, (the gauge or diameter of
wire used for the strings). If you were to put a thicker core
the string would seem to have a stiff feel, where if you’d use
a thinner core wire the string would be feel loose and seem to
bend more easily. Too much in either direction, and the string
doesn’t work for anyone. The same for the alloys or types or
metal used to make the string effects the sound and feel.
I was a die-hard steel wrapped string guy since the early
eighties starting with Bill Laurence steel wrap guitar
I switched to The Gibson “Live Wires” and fell in love with
punch and (feel and sound) consistency not so much the gauge.
Later, when the “Vintage Re-Issue” nickel wrapped string came
out, I tried those and found that they felt smooth on my
fingers and, the strings tended to have a different response
and sound which I thought was interesting. I guess the nickel
wrap with the plain steel strings made me feel like my solos
kicked in the high places. And, I switched to those. You know,
I liked the way those strings sounded. There was a nice decay
and not too much spike compared to a shorter decay and higher
spike like I felt with NPS (“Brite Wires”), yet there was a
problem. The nickel cover was a very soft one so I’d encounter
fret wear immediately. And, the string would lose tone.
The GIBSON HUMBUCKER strings are made to be more alive or
easier for the pick-up to respond to. The package says, “The
only guitar string optimized for the humbucking pickup, Gibson
Humbucking guitar strings utilize a special composite core
and a specially formulated wrap wire. This design offers a
unique magnetic formulation to make the most of dual-coil
high-output pickups”. They sure write purdy.
I don’t use high-output pickups; I use the Gibson ‘57 Classic”
and “Classic Plus” pickups on my Gibson “Explorer” (called my
Frankenfiddle). These strings felt good and the tone had a
blend and consistency between the wrapped and plain strings. I
just put the strings on my guitars, the “Explorer” and 56 ”Les
Paul ”Jr. (different pickups) forgot about it until I was on
stage and rocking. I’ve been using the “Brite Wires” for the
last few years Gibson has discontinued the steel wrap (“Live
Wires”) because I couldn’t afford to change my strings every
single show for a good while there. Which made the “Vintage
Re-issue” a no go. Since then I’ve never wanted to play
that have no sound after the show. Too much hassle. And, the
“Brite Wires” sound, was a good sound, everything was there.
Nothing jumped out to me and I found myself just “playing
So here I am, playing a show and noticed the tone. Plus, my
fingers felt different smacking those wires. The rest of the
night was fun and “in the moment”. The next week I called Gil
Pini at Gibson Gear in Elgin to ask him what was up with these
“bad boys” and he hipped me to the extra iron in those
I don’t have any “insider details” concerning the “Gibson
Humbucker” electric guitar strings. I know they are sealed for
protection from oxidization for the elements as all their
(Gibson Gear) strings are. These are my immediate reflections
as an experienced performing musician, guitarist, and still….
fan!! Keep up the fantastic work, guys. You ROCK!!!!
When I find out more about the “Gibson Humbucker” electric
guitar strings I’ll let you know.
Peace, and find your MUSE,
p.s. I’m not affiliated with Gibson Guitar I’m a fan and
About The Author: Michael Tafoya is a two time Epic recording
artist. He uses Gibson Guitars, Gibson Strings, Epiphone,
Marshall, and Crate amplifiers, and Dunlop guitar Picks.