Core Matters – The Difference a String Core Can Make


D'Addario Wire Works Factory

Both the classical Dynacore, and the acoustic and electric NY Steel Hex Core Guitar Strings are relatively new products on the market and I recently got curious about how different these  D’Addario strings’ cores were from previous cores. I found most of my answers with Steve Mucciolo, a D’Addario fretted product specialist. While many of my detailed questions went unanswered, due to proprietary issues, the basics are clear.

The Dynacore basses found in both the new D’Addario Pro Arte Carbon Guitar String Sets and the relatively new D’Addario Pro Arte Dynacore Sets (titanium trebles) are indeed unique and were developed based on customer requests for a string with superior tuning stability and more precise intonation. Differences between these bass cores and the standard Pro Arte bass cores run from the material to the manufacturing process. As I expected the actual core material is not the same, with different stretch properties from the Pro Arte core. But the manufacturing process is also quite different.  The cores are pre-twisted, before actual winding, and various winding techniques are paired with numerous combinations of alloy types. What I was most surprised by was the fact that the direction of the twist, number of twists, and other parameters such as core tension, stretch, wrap tension, and wrap direction and speed were all specially calculated for each diameter. So in effect each bass string in a given set is a different and uniquely designed and manufactured product.  It is no surprise that over a year of attention from teams representing 4 divisions of the company went into development of the Dynacore bass strings. As players we only know by playing the sets if they are a match to our preferences and needs, but when this kind of effort is involved, with results targeted by player input, the possibilities are tantalizing.

The story on the update of D’Addario EXP Electric Guitar Strings,  EXP Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings, and EXP 80/20 Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings is about the new “NY steel” in the Hexcore of their bass strings. While shorter on details it is perhaps more interesting in background, with a chain of events that goes back to the 1970’s. Apparently D’Addario ended up part owner of a new steel wire company when National Standard Wire of Worcester, MA, the one best source for musical wire since the mid 1800’s, drifted off course. When a few employees took over the old machines in order to keep the product alive and needed investment support, D’Addario became involved. By 2008, as the last of those maverick employees retired, D’Addario became sole owner of what was then known as Truspec Wire and Renaissance Wire Mill. They were then able to focus the company on developing their ideal product. 6 years later, having developed a new proprietary steel mill within the D”Addario factory to accomplish it, NY steel was born.

But what does that mean to us as players? Of course we are starting with a modern style hex core, so a bit stiffer feel and brighter tone than those found with round wound strings are to be expected. But the particular advantages being sought in development of this product were increased break resistance and better pitch stability, even in the hands of an aggressive player.  In addition to these “new steel” based changes, proprietary coating machines now draw and coat the wires in-line with the intention of creating a coated string that has the feel and sound of non-coated strings. For those of us who like the durability of coated strings but not the change in character coating can bring, this is good news. Once again the proof is in the playing, and individual tastes and preferences vary. But with all these factors at play, hopes are running high for the new generation EXP strings to give many players a fresh perspective on string options.

2 thoughts on “Core Matters – The Difference a String Core Can Make

  1. Well it’s a strong string But it takes 24 hours on the guitar to tune to pitch and what about those folks whom don’t sit well with titanium (I have six sets laying in a drawer) why don’t SBM sell bass sets and spare D strings separately ? I asked you this two years ago

    1. Hello Ben,

      We have asked D’Addario since they released the full sets to supply the basses and singles numerous times, but they have yet to make them available. We have hopes it will happen.

      Operations Director

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