Thoughts about strings.... Rotosound content

Discussion in 'Tonefreaks' started by 5F6-A, Nov 15, 2017.

  1. 5F6-A

    5F6-A Senior Member

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    My experience with strings in general and Rotosound strings in particular has been quite an interesting one. I started playing them in the mid-90s as they were fairly affordable here in the UK. Also they were played by many big names. I remember artists as diverse as Iron Maiden or The Edge from U2 speaking highly of them. I can recall noticing The Edge's Rotosound endorsement inside my vinyl copy of the Joshua Tree LP. I was so happy that I was using the same strings as good old David Evans! I remember buying sets of Rotos in boxes of 10 sets. I loved the fact that I could find them easily in any and every music shop in England. They always sounded okay to me. Kind of not as bright as some of their American brands and with a slight hump in the high-mids but I suppose that was part of the British sound.

    Then I moved to different brands when I moved to the continent. Fenders tended to be quite popular and the nickel strings sounded very good. GHS were good too although much harder to find. Thomastik-Infeld were fantastic sounding but very expensive. I even used gold plated Maxima strings for a while. There were also very expensive and I couldn’t justify the extra cash. They also look too blingy. In the end, I started using D’addarios. They were priced right, easy to find and pretty reliable. Rotosounds were very difficult to find in Europe so I didn’t bother. Also in my mind, Rotosounds were your typical, run-of-the-mill, working class British strings. Good, solid, dependable but not particularly fancy.

    A few years later I discovered the new series for D’addario: the now fairly popular NYXL. I was hooked! My wallet could tell that these were more expensive but they were brilliant. They stayed in tune better and sounded brighter and nicer. Because they also seem to last a lot longer, I could justify spending the extra money. I use them in my Strat in std tuning.

    Now I am back in the UK and I'm using a telecaster for playing slide in open G tuning. I use a small slide but I still like having a little bit heavier strings for slide playing. I decided to try a set of Roto Purples (12 to 52 with a wound third). I felt nostalgic to be able to play Rotosounds again after many decades of not using them, at least in one guitar. The reasons for picking them up again are both sentimental and prosaic: they are fairly affordable and to be honest, strings for slide playing don’t need to be so hard wearing or stable. Also the extra harmonics in the NYXL sets were a little bit annoying when paired with the slide, to tell you the truth. Compared to the NYXL the Rotosounds are slightly quieter, more subdued and not quite as bright. Also they feel slightly rougher as well. Yep, just how I remembered them in the mid-90s. However, slide playing is not a fancy affair. I have always associated slide playing with cheap guitars with a lot of attitude. It almost felt wrong using the expensive NYXLs…. It might sound a little bit strange. Anyway, yes, the Rotosounds still sound a little bit, as Mick Taylor would say, rough-and-ready with a duller overall tone and a slight tendency for mid-rangey tones but I am coming to appreciate them again.

    Also for only 5 of your English pounds per set (give or take a few pennies) they are very affordable although not as easy to find as 20 years ago. Mind you, high Street music shops are becoming a little bit of a rarity as well.

    What you think? Any experience using the strings? Please share!
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2017
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  2. Gooner

    Gooner Senior Member

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    I'm using Rotosound Pinks. Switched from Fender after having a number break at the ball end, prior to that I was using EB's.
    I'm really impressed with the Rotosounds, not having touched them since the 70's, I like the sound (Strat) and they last really well.
     
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  3. DarrellV

    DarrellV Murry Chrirstmers to earl! Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    Sorry, I've only used them for bass a couple times back in the day... Like over 20 years ago.

    My memory of them is I won't buy them again. Your description of them makes sense.

    I always that they were supposed to be the dogs bollocks of strings being played by Entwistle et all..

    They threw my bass out of whack so badly I thought it was broken..

    I know now what it was, but back then i was fairly clueless about the finer points of string making.

    The windings were improperly laid down, or were of poor thickness control.

    This created 'humps' over the length of the string that threw my intonation out the window!

    Tuning was a nightmare as the needle swung back and forth across the meter, never settling in one place.

    I could even hear the beats in my playing! I thought my bass was totally whacked in some strange way that I didn't understand.

    Next regular string change I tried something else just because I wasn't brand loyal back then. I was always trying new stuff.

    Problem vanished! I actually had to put my saddles back where they were and re-set my action after those strings came off!

    Never again! I've now played DR strings for decades. Won't be changing again, no, wait for it, 'Won't get fooled again!' LOL! :rofl:

    Entwistle,Who..... get it??...... :dunno: ahhh :facepalm:
     
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  4. MooCheng

    MooCheng Senior Member

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    Tried Rotosqueaks on a acoustic, tone sounded reasonable, nothing special, though nice enough. but the finger noise was dreadful and got no better, these squeakers had to come off after a couple of days.
    Never tried them on electric, they might be o.k. though on acoustic they never were that good
     
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  5. 5F6-A

    5F6-A Senior Member

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    Noticed the finger noise too....
     
  6. Les Paulverizer

    Les Paulverizer Senior Member

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    After going through a lot of different brands, including some "more expensive than others" brands, I settled on Rotosound or Ernie Ball, both 9-42 gauge, for my Les Paul's, and Fender Super Bullets for the Fenders.
    Frankly neither producers, punters(!) or myself don't hear much difference between the various brands, maybe some are a little easier to bend, hold the tuning a little better than others, last a little longer, but pound for pound (pun intended!) I feel that Ernie Ball and Rotosound are up there with the best, and they're not that expensive, plus Rotosound's will come with an extra high E string, which I think it's a very nice a civilised gesture; much appreciated, "Saahrf East geezers"!
    As for using Fender Super Bullets on my Fender's I can see the point of the guys at Fender coming up with the idea of the bullet end so that it wouldn't get stuck in the slot; too many times when breaking or changing strings on a Fender I had to use something to push the ball end out of the bridge(!) whereas with Bullet-type strings you just lay the guitar on its back and it comes out; easy!
     
  7. 5F6-A

    5F6-A Senior Member

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    Thick Rotos are growing on me....

    [​IMG]
     
  8. 5F6-A

    5F6-A Senior Member

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    I found a set I still have from that era.... 9s of course :D and with the extra 1st string.
    In those days of Floyd Roses and 8s, an extra string was not an outrageous idea.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    IME though, they don't break any more than regular D'addarios, Fenders, etc...

    ;););)
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2017
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  9. Hatefulsob

    Hatefulsob Senior Member

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    I use their flatwoud Top tape .12 on my LP and a carved archtop, great sounding and feeling strings. Only downside is they only make .12’s - they are very affordable and last a long time.
     
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  10. 5F6-A

    5F6-A Senior Member

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    Great stuff!
     

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