We all like to believe in our private moments that we are always right and never wrong, but sometimes, in those quiet times, we do some reflecting and we reconsider what was said before. Today is one of those moments when my private reflections must become a public recantation, and I appreciate your attention and kindness in the forthcoming rebuttal of two of my recent BolesBlues.com reviews.

The first recantation has to do with my review of the Gibson Les Paul as the best Blues Guitar in comparison with the Clapton Stratocaster.

In my original review rundown, I ultimately picked the Clapton guitar as the best Blues guitar, but over the last week or so, I’ve come to believe the Gibson Les Paul may be a bit better because it behaves better when bending and the short scale makes it super easy to play up and down the fretboard for finding those classic Blues runs. The original electric Blues guitar in widest use was, without question, a Les Paul — and I understand that better now because I’ve been using my Standard more and more…

That recantation leads me to a sub-recantation concerning my disappointed review of the 1957 Les Paul Custom VOS — yes, the action is too high, but that action also means the strings are easier to bend without sounding other strings.

The tone of this ’57 is also totally unique and it feels great in your lap — standing up with it is a different, back-breaking story — and I suppose that’s why it’s an expensive piece of wood.

The VOS paint is starting to crack a bit on the back after less than eight months of ownership. That’s not a good thing. All my guitars are properly and constantly humidified. I still love the sounds it makes in my hands — it both growls and purrs.

The second, and final, recantation has to do with my original review of the DR Tite-Fit Strings. I spent too much time obsessing on the packaging and warnings and not enough on an extended experience with playability.

I rediscovered the DR Strings when I picked up my ’57 Les Paul and started toolin’ around with it a bit. The guitar sounded incredible. The Les Paul VOS used to have Gibson Vintage Strings but I had replaced those a while back and fitted it up with DR Tites.

DR Strings are strange in that they are round-wound and DR tells you NOT to stretch out the strings when you install them because that only creates weak spots in the steel. Not stretching your strings means they can take longer to “come in” to their right sound and that seems to be what happened with my DR Strings.

I had my DR Strings on my ’57 for a couple of weeks and played it and tuned it up every time. Then, for a week or so, I was working with other guitars and didn’t touch the ’57.

When I finally returned to my DR Tite-Fit ’57 Les Paul… I was shocked by the outstanding sound and playability. The DR Strings had found their voice in that week I left them alone and the strings sang with a quiet and mellow and clear tone that I really dig .

I have since put DR Tites on all my guitars to test this sound break-in theory and I admit, confess and recant that every single guitar sounds better with DR Tite-Fit strings than any other brand I’ve tried.

My fingers no longer get cut with the DR Strings and the only thing around here that is bleeding now is my heartfelt regret for being so wrong about the Gibson Les Paul and DR Strings early on and now, in the heat of my current recantation, I’m hoping the healing can begin.

20 Comments

  1. I pretty much remember the first Dr string review by you…it’s always delightful to go back and rediscover something likable what was missed earlier!

  2. Right! I sort of felt sick to my stomach playing the Les Pauls with the DR Strings and having such a great time after writing the original reviews. I knew I had to recant, but I wanted to play intensively for another week or so to make sure I wouldn’t have to recant my recantation.

  3. David,
    Whenever I see the letters DR together I think of Duane Reade, the pharmacy that is all over Manhattan — so I giggled a little thinking about guitar strings at Duane Reade.
    Thanks for the update!

  4. As I was walking to work this morning I saw a gentleman with a guitar case and a five inch circumference sticker with the DR logo on it. 🙂 It was a nice start to the morning.

  5. I love that, Gordon! Did you comment on the DR tag? That would’ve made you such an insider! SMILE!
    Someone DM’d me on Twitter yesterday saying he hates Gibson guitars and he hates DR Strings and having them both together is too much hate than he can bear…

  6. If only! I generally jog up the stairs past the people on the escalators (or slowscalators or americathisiswhyyouarefatscalators) so I didn’t get to give him a shout out — though now I wish that I had. 🙂

  7. “The original electric Blues guitar in widest use was, without question, a Les Paul.” Wow, really? I don’t think so… when you look at photos of black blues players from the 50s and 60s, you never see Les Pauls with humbuckers being used, ever. The Les Paul with humbuckers such as those pictured above, was a marketing failure that went out of production after only three years. It wasn’t until the late 60s that English rock musicians adopted this model for its ability to drive amps into distortion, that these guitars became popular. You do see the P-90 equipped Goldtops occasionally being used, but they are not the majority, more guys used strats, hollowbodies, and off-brand catalog guitars. In fact most guys used whatever they could afford or what they thought looked cool. I’m not counting the white players who adopted the sunburst Les Paul because to me they are more “rock” than “blues”, but it’s worth mentioning that both Clapton and Bloomfield eventually switched to Fenders.

    A few examples:

    BB King – ES-335
    Albert King – Flying V
    Buddy Guy – Strat
    Otis Rush – Strat
    Gatemouth Brown – Telecaster, Firebird
    Earl Hooker – SG, Danelectro
    Robert Nighthawk – Gretsch

  8. Talking DR strings, I need some help and advice please, At the age of 67 I decided to revisit my (three chord) guitar playing days of the 1960’s, only this time I am learning to play ‘duh blues’, many more chords and the more licks the merrier, and enjoying myself immensely in the process 🙂 I have two acoustic guitars : Tanglewood Nashville 1V TNSF CE, Epiphone/Gibson PR200. and my latest guitar is a Gretch Electromatic 5420T in Gretch Orange of course :-). Rummaging about in my attic a few weeks ago I found one of my old electric guitars a strat look alike (Marlin slammer -serial number 832222) considering how cheap it was to buy way back in the 70’s or was it the 80’s I was surprised to hear how nice it sounded. so nice in fact that I decided to at the very least buy it a new set of strings. Not knowing anything about strings available in 2015 I started doing some research on the net wanting to play the blues and not being super rich I decided to buy a set of DR Pure Blues strings PHR-9/46, 9, 11, 16,26,36,46. I was initially very pleased with the sound and playability of this set of strings. However I had only played my Marlin with her new DR’s fitted for about half an hour a day for approx one week. when, reaching out to pick her up by the neck, my index finger lightly touched the e string (0.9)
    which snapped!!! bizarrely !?, This kind of flew in the face of the claims made on the packet, 1) Noticeably longer life, !!!!????? 2) Easy bending and great feel, 3) Brighter edge to sound. So having read such great reviews of these strings, I put it down to bad luck, maybe a freakish fault, or weak spot on that particular broken string? and proceeded in surfing the net looking for single DR replacement 0.9 e-strings, not an easy task finding someone who sells individual strings they all seem to be sold in sets??? Eventually I found a string supplier in the UK and decided to buy x 10 individual strings for the simple reason that buying 10 strings at the same time reduced the price, and I reasoned that if I was going to break any strings it was most likely to be that particular e-string. Unfortunately said supplier had only x 2 packets in stock, desperate to replace my broken string I bought the two packets. The first string I put on my Marlin broke before I even had the chance to start tuning it!!!! What the…….!!!!! anyway, thankful that I had bought two packets I removed the string from the second packet only to find that it was rusted???? What the….???!!!!. So first thing this coming Monday morning I’m going to be on the ‘blower’ to the company Strings..D…..t , asking for a refund!!! My problem is that I have now been put off this make of strings!!! So going back to the beginning of this post, I need some help and advice please, Should I stick to the DR’s maybe a heavier string set-up, PHR – 11/50, 11,14,18,28,38,50 maybe??? or should I ditch this make and go for something else????? all advice gratefully excepted Diolch! Thanks!

    1. Hi Pedr!

      I feel for you with the DR Strings theory problem. It sounds to me like you have a sharp spot on your saddle, or the nut isn’t cut right or your tuner is out of pressure. To so continuously break one certain string suggests more a problem with the guitar setup than the strin quality. You can always try a higher tension string that won’t as easily break if you want to do some A/B testing.

      Rust on strings is an indicator you are not buying the freshest strings. Some strings sets sit in a warehouse or a music store for a long time. I’d buy my strings from an online dedicated strings store like JustStrings.com — they tend to always have a lot of new stock and do high volume business because that’s the only thing they do… strings.

      As well, if rust irritates you, buy a brand that comes in a sealed foil pouch like Ernie Ball or GHS. They are packaged in such a way that they will never start to rust until you break the package seal.

      I’m thrilled to learn you’re getting back into the guitar! It can be a great pleasure to play.

    2. go with the Gibson vintage reissues. they tune right up way faster and the intonation is more stable. oh ya, they sound great! got em’ on my 335 dot 59′ reissue and it’s tone city! who has 2 weeks for strings to tune up? I’ve tried the dr’s tight fit and pure blues and J. Pearse, even THOMASTIK, you name it, I tried it! On this axe I keep coming back to the Gibson’s, especially since they are way less expensive now. I remember paying almost $12.00 a set. now you can get em’ in bulk of 12 sets for less than $6.00 a set. I am not endorsed by Gibson, just been playing for 45+ yrs and like helping out with somethings I know about. take care!