Claescaster

Tag: 1959 Les Paul

Rig Rundown

I really like Premier Guitar’s series Rig Rundown. Well there is an awful lot of pedals and crap that I don’t really care much for but I like to see the guitars and hear them talk about their equipment, or rather hear their guitar technicians talk about it. Here are just a couple but if you search for Rig Rundown in Youtube you can find a lot more. I have to say that I never cared much for Joe Bonamassa but after hearing what he brings on tour, two real 59′ bursts, and how passionate he is about vintage guitars, I’ve changed my opinion. I truly believe that old guitars were made to be played and I really like that Joe and his crew has been invited to see and often play 75 original 59′ burst so far, apparently only 643 sunburst guitars were made in 1959 and only 53% is accounted for. It’s a weird world we live in where collectors sit on guitars that never see the light of day and real musicians are too scared of taking anything else than re-issues on tour. Hats off to Joe Bonamassa for still playing the real thing and I do understand why people come up to him and lend him famous guitars to play, like when the Kossoff family let him play Paul Kossoff’s 1959 Les Paul.

Guitar strings

Chest Fever, Araceli and Claes in action
Chest Fever in action at Palau Alòs 16/3 2013

How do you chose what strings to use? Do you listen to others, read reviews or actually try all the brands available? In my case I guess it has been a combination of what others are using, what I’ve read good things about and what I actually realised that I like. I don’t really know much about different materials or how some type of strings affect the sound in certain ways. I guess a big part for me has always been the price since I’m a hard hitter and tend to break strings a lot. When I was young I was poor and had to stick to the cheaper brands and now when I’m older and less poor I have too many guitars to afford to string them up with the best brands. I’ve always been stuck in the middle and changed brands many times depending on what’s affordable and popular in the country I’ve been living. I used Rotosound (Roto Reds 11-48) while I lived in the UK and now in Spain I’ve changed to Ernie Ball (Regular Slinky 10-46). The main reason why I changed from 11’s to 10’s was because I felt that I was old enough to use what I wanted and not care about what everyone else said. My whole life people around me have told me that the thicker the better, and that you are less of a man if you play on anything thinner than 11’s. Remember that Billy Gibbons uses 08’s and still has a pretty descent tone on his ‘Pearly Gates’ 1959 Les Paul. When I started to use 10’s my guitar playing changed completely, not only could I play faster but I also started to bend more and play in ways that I hadn’t been able to or bothered with before. My Telecasters stringed with 10’s are pure country heaven and way much more fun than before. I still use 11’s on my Hagström Viking and the Gretsch copy I have. At the moment I’m using Martin M175 (80/20 Custom Light Bronze Acoustic Strings 11-52) on my acoustics. Mainly because my girlfriend Araceli liked 11’s on her parlour guitars and it was easier to buy the same strings in bulk for both of us but also because I like to play acoustic like I play electric and don’t want to feel held back with too thick string gauge. I’m planning to put a set of 12’s or 13’s on one of my Dreadnoughts just to try if it really makes a world of difference to the tone. I would love to know what others are using and why. Please write a comment below and let me know.

Roto Sound roto reds 11
I used these for years but have now given up on 11’s

Ernie Ball Regular Slinky 10-46
My new found favourites, so smooth and easy to play without being too flimsy. I tend to buy them in bulk on eBay from USA

Martin acoustic guitar 11-52
Araceli and I tend to stick to these since you can get a 3-pack for 9,90€ from Thomann

Peavey electric guitar strings

Peavey acoustic guitar strings
I’m not proud to admit it but I do use Peavey’s discount strings occasionally. In Alfasoni you can get them for 2€ and they are perfect when you break a string or you just need to string up a guitar that you don’t use that much.