round core strings, demystified

The most common question we get asked from players interested in trying strings is, How come these sets are more expensive than others out there? It is a very fair question, especially in a guitar world where there is a lot of 'mystique' thrown around about the quest for great guitar tone, rather than nice details and firm facts. So I hope this blog post today will help with this! There's no magic here, just quality and a lifetime's knowledge. So let's dive in.

Gabriel Tenorio Strings explained

There are a wealth of reasons, all important and will of course be evident when you string up and play a set over the course of a few months. But let's help you take the step to try a set for yourself by sharing some of the details and facts about how these strings are made and importantly why the costs are justified in comparison to high street sets available at the big stores.

Gabriel Tenorio has been hand winding strings for many years, training under the watchful eye of mentor and Guadalupe Custom Strings founder, Francisco Gonzalez. Whom you may also know as one of the founding members of the band, Los Lobos. He further developed his knowledge learnt in those teacher/pupil years and stepped into the world of electric and acoustic guitar on his own, beginning his company, The Gabriel Tenorio String Co, soon afterwards offering a level of quality string seldom seen in the guitar world these days. I did a great interview with Gabriel last year which gave a great insight into his knowledge from these training years. It can be read HERE

Gabriel Tenorio Strings explained

Each string in each and every set is hand wound by Gabriel Tenorio, in his work-space in LA, California. Each component of the string specially chosen over years of development for consistency, tone and reliability. From core, to ball end to wrap. Also importantly, each set specifically developed to bring the very best out of it's destined instrument. The Jazzmaster set designed specifically for the Jazzmaster, Strat for Strat, Top loading Tele for top loading Tele and so on. Without a hex core in sight, these strings are hand wound, one by one around the central round core until the set is complete.

The big name string companies, D'Addario, Elixir and Ernie Ball to name some of the most popular, all create a mass produced, factory made hex core string. There's no doubt they're a great product of course, creating the staple to the industry. But it's not the way strings were traditionally made, so let's look into that and what those differences are. In those early days, it was a group of skilled workers winding strings individually just like Gabriel is doing today. Simply put the hex core design allows the factory to produce strings a lot cheaper, the core grabs the wrap quickly and effectively meaning higher numbers off the production line, cheaper materials and more machinery trusted to carry out the production.

Gabriel Tenorio Strings explained

Round core requires a lot more care and attention, to ensure the correct wrap is created. Hex core allows much more dirt and sweat to build up in the gaps between the core and wrap, do you find your high street sets die pretty quick? Well that is the main reason! Round core strings simply don't have that gap, no space for the dirt to build up that results in a prematurely 'dead' string. There are other companies out there also flying the round core flag and doing a great job, most of which I have used myself for many years prior. Once I learnt from Gabriel how important finding what works best for each instrument, it really has opened my eyes in bringing out the best in an instrument. A set of 10s is a set of 10s, that isn't how it has to be. Gabriel's work is a true reflection of a passion for his craft, a love for the guitar and a hands on industry that has passed us by due to a sign of the times and high production levels. Each set has been designed to bring out the best in your guitar, have great playing longevity and life and of course importantly,  great feel and tone. There's no mystique here, no hiding, just a quality string made by a skilled man doing what he loves to do. No factory, no big production, just a string at a time ensuring the best item leaves the bench each and every time. Reason like that are why I'm so proud to have these strings on my shelves and out to you and your guitars under my name, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Be sure to drop by the Gabriel Tenorio part of our store to browse the range, which we're always trying to grow into being a true reflection of the body of Gabriel's work in California. Visit HERE

hanks for reading,


Joel Henderson

Joel Henderson said:

What strings would you recommend for my Tom DeVoe arch-top guitar (spruce top/maple back & sides) with a 25-1/2" scale length?

I am a fingerpicker 90% of the time, but will us a thick pick occasionally.

Thanks, Joel

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