Thursday, December 18, 2008

Best Guitar Gear for 2009 - Strings 'n Things

Dr. M. & her vintage, Aria Pro II - Fullerton model. New strings make all the difference! ("Dizzy" Blouse by Fender - The Collection)

We've found some of the best guitar tools, parts and accessories to help keep your axe fit as a fiddle. (O.k. maybe as a guitar!) If you are willing to learn how, changing the strings on your guitar is probably the best way to keep your tone pure. There are many different rules but my guitar teacher said after something like 40 hours of playing, the strings should be replaced. This may sound like a lot of work but many professional musicians change strings much more frequently than that. In fact, they often have guitar techs that tour with them to do JUST THAT before each concert. With the right tools, you can change your own strings and even experiment with new types such as the coated varieties. Either way, you can save time and money if you do it yourself.

Gravity Guitar Innovations-Pro Bridge Pin Puller

Here are some serious tools to have on hand to make the task not only easy but will lessen possible damage to your instrument. This Pro Bridge Pin Puller by Gravity Guitar Innovations should be first on your list.
Extremely well made and foldable, Gravity's Pro Bridge Pin Puller easily removes bridge pins for quick string changes. It fits all standard bridge pins and will not damage the bridge or pins. I like the fact that this bridge pin puller is easy to hold and chrome plated. Comes with a key chain clip to keep it handy. Its the best pin puller I've found! By Gravity Guitar Innovations.

Ernie Ball - NEW Extra Slinky Strings
Made for electric guitar, Ernie Ball has come out with an upgrade to their famous coated Slinky strings. I attended a Heavy Metal workshop taught by the lead guitarist of Jack Frost and he said he uses these strings. He did rip it up, I might add! I've found these to be very light and easy to bend. They have a great feel for sliding fretwork, hammer ons and pull offs. In other words, they won't work your finger pads.
Our expert guitar tech, Randy Cauvanaugh pictured below, did the set up said these strings are similar to Elixir's. He aslo said the reason why many guitarists choose coated strings is because they tend to last a little longer than non-coated ones. If you don't like to change strings so frequently, this might be just what you're looking for. Made in the USA. Visit Ernie Ball or click on thier banner ad in the left hand column on this page to check out their online store.

Planet Waves Pro Winder Tool
You can literally wrap up your string changing job with one of Planet Wave's most useful multi-tools, the Pro Winder.
The Pro Winder is touted as the ultimate all in one restringing tool. It both winds and cuts. It's extendable handle increases torque and control. It has a hardened steel cutting edge, (comes with a protective cover), that clips evenly. The overmolded plastic head accomodates a variety of pegs with a sure grip. My guitar teacher demonstrated how to change strings in class but one thing he forgot to bring was his winder. He recommended that we definitely invest in one! Saves time and gives your strings a nice shop finish. I would definitely go with the Planet Waves Pro Winder because it has just about everything you'll need to change your strings except the strings themselves! Visit Planet Waves online at:

Pro Guitar Tech - Randy Cauvanaugh
We'd like to thank our professional guitar technicians of Freehold Music Center, namely Randy Cauvanaugh, for his expertise and participation in this article. Mr. Cavanuagh is himself a professional musician and does all of the set ups, upgrades and modifications to our electric guitars.
Want to learn how to replace your guitar strings yourself? Read the article, "How to Change Your Guitar Strings" at by Kathy Unruh right here:

Hey! We're still rockin' down to the wire with the Best Guitar Gear for 2009! Who knows? You might get some cash for Christmas so you can buy your own gift. We'll keep it goin'.

Also see 2009's Top Gifts for Audiophiles over at the Best Picks BLOG!!!:

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