First things first, great guitar strings start with great materials, and at Stringjoy we use only the best. Our high-carbon steel core wire is drawn to exacting tolerances (down to the 10,000th of an inch) right here in Tennessee.
We source our wrap wire from different drawers depending on the material type and the particular strengths of each source, but the vast majority of our wrap wire is also sourced from within a 150-mile radius of our Nashville shop.
Unlike any other company that we know of, we vacuum seal all of our wrap wire spools when they arrive to us and in between production runs to ensure that all of our wire remains as fresh as the day it was drawn.
Every spool of wire is inspected for gauge accuracy, strength and finish quality before, and during, the winding process. Even though we only work with drawers that do consistently excellent work, no one is perfect, and when it comes to our strings we leave nothing to chance.
The first step in the string-making process is ball-ending, where a measured strand of core wire is secured around a polished brass ball-end with a variable series of twists that is dialed-in perfectly for each gauge to offer the greatest stability while minimizing stress on the wire itself.
Our ball-end machines were custom-built for us in a machine shop that designed and built many of the guitar-building machines for Gibson’s Kalamazoo factory, but as with all things strings, great strings depend as much on the skill of the operator as they do on the strengths of the machine.
Too loose of a twist can cause a string to come undone, too tight of a twist can cause the wire to break, so we’ve perfectly dialed our ball-ending processes to account for each gauge’s tensile strength and torsional durability so we can make a perfect string, every time.
A lot of players ask us if we offer a soldered or fused twist plain string, since they’ve had strings from other companies come undone in the past. The simple answer is, we don’t need to.
If you take your time and ball-end the strings the right way, strings don’t come undone. Other companies have this problem because they run their machinery too fast and don’t keep a watchful eye on it. That’s not our style.
Without a doubt, our winding process is what we’re most proud of. Winding a perfect string is an art. At Stringjoy we wind strings one at a time, through a manual and time-consuming process that heavily relies on the skillset of our expertly trained staff.
Depending on the gauge, our strings are made up of as many as 7,700 turns of wire per wind (round wound gauges .064 and under are made with one wind, higher gauges such as you see in bass strings consist of up to four concentric winds).
Our winders’ job is to ensure that each of these turns of wire occurs at the exact right place, and at the exact right tension. Doing this right takes time and requires tremendous focus, but it’s what truly makes a string a Stringjoy string, so it’s worth every second.
It bears repeating that we are not Luddites about this—we use some of the most sophisticated servo-controlled, dynamic motion-sensing winding equipment in the world today. But even the best machines only do what their operators program them to, and parts tolerances and variances require dynamic adjustments from the machine and its operator to produce a consistent finished product. And beyond that, for certain jobs, our older machines which date back to the 70s (like the one you see in the video there) do an even better job than our new ones, so we use those for what they’re best at as well.
Because we’re more obsessive about the winding process than many string companies, Stringjoy strings feature tighter, closer-together winds, which give our strings a smoother feel, increased output due to their higher mass, and added durability since these tight winds keep dirt and oil away from the steel core wire—the part of the string most susceptible to corrosion.
While the most important quality control occurs during the ball-ending and winding process, every Stringjoy string goes through an additional quality inspection before it is coiled.
Coiling strings may seem simple, but it is also an important part of the string-making process. When coiled too tight, strings can deform before they ever make it to your guitar.
A properly coiled string remains somewhat loose inside its envelope and uncoils easily when removed.
Once coiled, Stringjoy strings are placed in individual gauge-specific envelopes that are made with Vapor Corrosion Inhibiting paper, assembled into a complete set, and sealed into an air-tight barrier pouch. This process ensures that Stringjoy strings are always as fresh as the day they were wound.
The Stringjoy employee that performs this final check and assembly signs their name to the inside of the package before sealing it up. Because at Stringjoy we always stand by our product (check out our ironclad guarantee and see what we mean).
Our mission is simple: we want to make the best strings in the world. As you can see, it takes a lot of steps to get there. But to us it’s worth the extra effort, because we know that when you get our strings on your favorite instrument they’ll inspire you to play more, and play more like you.
Whether it’s a half-gauge set, a new alloy you’ve never tried, or one of our ever-popular balanced tension string sets, we’re confident there is a set of Stringjoy strings that will take your playing to the next level. Check out all our options over at our shop.