WHAT'S OUR DEAL?
People ask us a lot: why strings? Why not make guitars, or pedals — y'know, something a little more...fun.
Well, the fact that people ask that is exactly why we make strings. See, guitars are fun. Amps are fun. Pedals are tons of fun. But strings? For most folks that’s just something you grab off the rack — an excuse to go to the guitar shop down the street and check out all the gear that’s a little more, well — fun.
Strings are way, way more important than people think. When you play the guitar, you’re really playing the strings. You manipulate the length or tension of each string to create a given pitch. That pitch resonates through the wood of the guitar or engages the electromagnetic field of your pickups to create the sound you know and love.
If you were to write the true signal chain of an electric guitar tone, it would go something like this: Strings > Wood > Pickups > Electronics > Cable > Pedal > Cable > Pedal > Cable > (etc) > Amp > Speaker > Microphone > Cable > Preamp > Outboard Effects > DAW/Speaker System. Notice where that all started? The strings. Yeah — they’re kind of a big deal.
So why have strings been so overlooked for so long? Well for one, there haven’t historically been a ton of options to choose from. Sure, there are tons of brands filling up the wall at your local shop, but within each brand you might have 2-4 wrap materials and 4-5 gauges to choose from. So sure, you could pick between a dozen different brands’ Nickel-Plated Steel .010s. But what if you wanted .0095s, or a set of .010s with a wound third or a heavier 6th string? Well, that all depended on who you were…
See, famous players have been playing customized sets of strings for decades. So if you were a well-known name, just call up your old pal at the string company that sponsored you and he’d whip you up a custom set to your liking. But if you weren’t topping the charts — sorry pal, ain’t happening.
So that’s what got me into all of this. Shoot, we’re halfway through this thing and I still haven’t introduced myself — I’m Scott, I started Stringjoy in 2014. I’m the guy in most of our YouTube videos and ads and stuff, the one with the nerdy glasses. So I’ve been playing guitar since I was nine and have had the blessing of living a very musical life. I’ve gigged, I’ve recorded, I’ve produced, I’ve run live sound, I’ve worked at a record label, I’ve managed bands, you get the idea. Well long before I started doing many of those things, I started messing with my strings — combining sets and gauges to make a set that did what I wanted it to do.
If you’ve ever had the pleasure of trying to make a custom set of strings back in the day, you already know this, but it was a pain. Worth every bit of trouble, but a pain nonetheless. You had to buy single strings at the store that had been sitting out on a shelf for years, you typically had to mix brands to find the gauges you were after, and there were a lot of gauges that you couldn’t find at all. So initially I started Stringjoy to scratch my own itch — to make building custom sets of strings easy and accessible to players at all levels.
Though we were super small at the beginning (I started this whole thing with $500), it didn’t take long for the word to spread about the world’s first guitar string custom shop, and players came rushing into the fold, from metal players wanting a fuller bottom end for dropped tunings, to country players wanting to achieve the perfect twang, to prog and fusion shredders looking for a perfectly balanced set of strings to optimize their technical efficiency. We were pretty overwhelmed with the demand for the first few years, but we put in long nights and the occasional weekend to make sure we were always shipping orders in a timely manner and communicating with honesty, kindness, and expertise with all of our players.
Over the course of those early years in the string game, I discovered the other reason strings have been overlooked for so long: they just weren’t all that good. Best I could tell, as much as players thought of strings as something cheap they could grab off the rack — a lot of the companies making strings felt pretty much the same way about them. Sure, in their marketing they’ll use words like “quality” and “premium” ten times in a one-page ad, but if you look at how they make strings they make them as fast as humanly possible, with as little labor as possible, and save every penny they can on the material side.
These methods make the strings you’re probably used to — they sound alright when you string them up, require quite a fair bit of work to get everything to intonate and balance out tonally, and they lose a lot of their tone after the first few days. Players just had to accept this as the way it is, and many feel that way up to this day. Once I saw this for what it was and figured out the reasons why so many strings on the market just didn’t “do it” for me, we pivoted from just being the world’s first true string custom shop (though we’re still that too) to making strings that were just downright better than the other strings on the market, regardless of gauge.
When we built out our manufacturing arm here in Nashville, we optimized our process for string performance, not manufacturing speed or labor efficiency. Making a Stringjoy string takes time. It’s hard work. But our job isn’t to make the cheapest strings — our job is to make the best strings. And if we do that job right, our strings will sound fuller, perform better, and last longer than anything else out there.
Now there’s one more thing you should know if you’re considering becoming a Stringjoy player: we change things. Most strings companies have been doing things one way for decades and are afraid if they improved anything they might lose customers. At Stringjoy, we don’t shy away from innovation, and we don’t wait to put out a new “premium” line to include any improvements we discover. When we find a better way of doing things, we implement it on all of our strings. We’ve made countless improvements to our strings over the years — some you would notice, many you might not — and we have no plans on stopping. I think we make the best strings in the world right now, but I still think our finest strings are ahead of us, and I hope I never feel any differently.
If you have any questions about us or our strings, or want some help finding the perfect set for you, give us a shout anytime at [email protected]
We can’t wait to welcome you into the Stringjoy family!