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.
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.