As you know, I’ve been working on using only my fingers while playing my electric guitars and the experiment has been both delightful and slightly disappointing.

The sound I am able to create with my fingers is delightfully unique and I can really change the tone and the sound of the string just by the way I choose to strike it with my finger or thumb.

I was experiencing a disappointing problem having the treble strings sound brightly harsh while the bass strings sounded dull and thumpy.

I couldn’t figure out the why of the disparity of sound until it was time to change strings.

I discovered, to my horror, that I was fresh out of DR Pure Blues and I decided to put on a pack of D’Addario EXL115s instead.

As I tuned up the guitar, I began to discover a clarity in the bass strings that I wasn’t getting with my Pure Blues.  The EXLs seemed to have a better tonal balance across the bass and treble strings and I couldn’t hear much of a difference between my fleshy thumb striking a bass string and my bony index finger plucking a treble string.

I wondered why.

Then I realized the EXL115s had a nickel plating on the steel bass strings and the Pure Blues used an all nickel wrap on a round core for the bass strings.  That was an amazing discovery because I really like how the Pure Blues sound with a pick to create that old school Blues sound, but using my fingers, the sound differential between the strings — while playing the same songs! — was a substantially different experience.

When I used the EXL115s, the bass and treble strings were equalized and sounded just great up and down the fretboard using three fingers and a thumb.

I took the Pure Blues off another guitar and put on DR Tite Fits instead — they are a nickel plated string from DR — and found the experience to be the same as the EXL115s:  Unification of plucking sound.  Wild!

Strings make a difference.  You might not think there’s much wiggle room between pure nickel and nickel plated guitar strings, but the fingers tell the truth of the tone.


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