Hands-On Review: GHS Signature Strings

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GHS custom-crafts the perfect sets for modern masters

By Bret Michener

GHS Eric Johnson Signature Series Nickel Rockers Light Electric Guitar Strings

For over 40 years GHS Strings has been making guitar strings with superior tonal response, a silky feel, and long life. During that time GHS has maintained one of the industry's most vital and innovative research and development programs resulting in a wide variety of strings for all types of instruments. In recent years they have worked with a number of top artists to create string sets with just the right tone and feel for each artist's unique style. Now the GHS Signature Series strings let the rest of us benefit from the energy and judgment of those whose playing we admire most.

Electric Guitar

Eric Johnson--At one time or other I've manned all the standard fretted instruments from mandolin to bass; but at heart I'm a guitar man. As such I have a special reverence for the king of tone, Eric Johnson. The nickel rockers out of which he built his signature set have been around since before Hendrix wore a headband. GHS's unique rollerwinding process slightly flattens the string for easy sliding combined with the openness of roundwound strings. Eric's custom light set starts with the standard .10 and .13 but then trends heavier on the bottom four strings to land at a .50 on the low E. He uses this set for his long-scale guitars and the slightly heavier medium set (.11 to .52) on his short-scale axes. I used them in the same fashion and was really impressed with their combination of easy play and ballsy low end.

GHS Dave Mustaine Signature Electric Guitar Strings

Dave Mustaine--Moving to the heavier side of music the Dave Mustaine set is built of GHS's Progressive roundwound strings made with "filament-grade alloy" which produces a greater magnetic response from your pickups. Dave leveraged that response by selecting strings that start with a very bendable .10 but quickly plunge down to a .44 on the A string and a bold .52 on the bottom. The result on my Flying V was truly megadethly power chords, perfect for a walk on the dark side.

Zakk Wylde--The wild man from the land of Oz uses these super-heavy low-end Boomers roundwound strings to crank out crushing metal. Their heavy gauges (.10 all the way up to .60 for the lights) provide higher tension so they can handle drop tunings without going buzzy. When Zakk wants to get all the way down, he uses his low set that goes from .11 to .70. That's heavier than a normal D string on a bass. Guitar strings don't get heavier.

Acoustic Guitar

GHS Doyle Dykes Signature Acoustic Guitar Strings

Doyle Dykes--Easing on over into the acoustic realm, fingerstyle heavyweight Doyle Dykes uses lightweight strings (.115 to .54) with a very well-balanced tone. I had no trouble achieving a lot of volume from my Taylor with these brilliant strings featuring a super-durable yet flexible alloy of copper, tin, and phosphor tightly wrapped on a hexagonal core for incredibly long life.

Laurence Juber--As long as GHS has been making strings, Juber has been making beautiful music, from classical guitar at London University to Wings to Hollywood to his current incarnation as a fingerstyle wizard. His signature bronze strings have a warm, mellow tone and come in four different weights to accommodate your style and your instrument. Cryogenically treated with a bronze-plated hex core, they last a long time and have well-defined highs.

Banjo to bass

J.D. Crowe--In the world of progressive bluegrass virtuosos, Crowe stands head above the crowd. It's no surprise that his signature banjo strings make those lightning-fast runs flow smooth as silk. My banjo was sorely in need of new strings when I put these babies on and the difference was astounding. The medium .10s on the high strings and lighter .11, .12, and .20 in-between provided the perfect marriage of fast play and bold tone.

GHS M3045F Flea Signature Bass Boomers Medium Electric Bass Strings

Flea--This guy hardly needs an introduction, and neither did his signature set of Bass Boomers--I was already using them when I got this assignment. In fact, like Flea himself, I've always played Boomers in exactly these gauges (.45, .65, .85, and 1.05). Roundwound with nickel-plated steel wrap, Flea Signature Bass Boomers provide the deep, rich tones that form the core of any good bass style with brilliant high-end, too, for funky slapping.

Winning lineup

The GHS Signature Series made a convert of me. While I've always used GHS strings on my bass, now I'll be using them on all the rest of my instruments as well. For fabulous feel and perfectly balanced tone, the GHS Signature Series provides something special for everybody.

Tags: Strings

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