The Old Guitar Ensemble School

Web Pages from times gone by - April 2004

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This page is from April 2004

Oval Strings - April Fool 2004

The Setup...

The constant march of technology has produced some recent innovations in guitar strings.

D'Addario Corporation have stolen perhaps the greatest march on their competitors, at least in the steel-string arena, with the introduction of hexagonal core wire, a patented technology that generates extra "bite" to the sound because of the way the windings latch onto the core, while leaving the core free to move, rather than binding tightly to it.

Guitar String Hex core Guitar String
Conventional string Hex-core string

But now, Augustine has come up with something quite remarkable - an elliptical or oval core.

This makes for a string that is stiffer from side to side than it is up and down.

Oval Guitar String
Oval Augustine String

It offers some incredible performance enhancements - comfortable under the fingers because of the greater surface area it presents, it cuts into the fingerboard and frets so much less. Being stiffer from side to side, the primary mode of vibration is up and down, improving the bass response of the lower strings, and helping to remove that annoying "back of the thumb" buzz when strings vibrate across the soundhole and catch your right hand thumbnail. By the same token, fingering up the neck is easier because open strings do not vibrate across the path of neighbouring strings as with circular strings.

The Punchline...

There are of course more details on the manufacturer's site. I must confess their portmanteau name for Oval Augustine doesn't do that much for me, though the bulk packaging is quite retro. Click for site.

More April Fools here