I’m not sure whether I’ve mentioned it in the past, but during the day I work in a guitar shop. Right by the counter is a wall teeming with strings of as many different sizes, colours, materials and combinations as could ever possibly be necessary. In my day-to-day life, few sections of my place of employ bring forth so many questions. Few sections of the store illicit so much heated debate, especially when it comes to the inclusion of a new suitor to the racks. Everybody has their opinion on which set is best for which purpose and just about every opinion holder is so doggedly loyal to their brand as to turn to a quivering mess at the slightest hint of a change in packaging. We’re a bit like smokers in that way I guess. On the occasion a newbie does roll into town all bright and bubbling with intent, this is the audience there to greet them. This is the test that California’s Sfarzo Guitar String Company faces as they launch into the Australian market with Touchtone.
To the laymen, you’re not alone in thinking that there couldn’t possibly be that much to say about six length of wire right? Surely you just chuck any old bit of metal on the neck and it’ll make a sound right? Nope. Nothing is more important than the very thing that bridges the ethereal world of idea and concept and the physical realm. As I mentioned above there are as many different iterations as there are genres and picking the one that works best for you, the player, is one of the most important choices you can make. Coated or non-coated, gauge, the difference between phosphor and nickel, what does 80-20 mean? All of these questions and more smack the consumer in the mouth as much as they must the manufacturer.
As a company Sfarzo have made the pertinent decision not to reinvent the wheel as far as gauges etc. go. They have on offer coated and plain versions of all the classic variations that we, the players, are accustomed to. Where they excel is in the quality of the product - wound by hand on custom built machinery in their own facility, the 10-52 set looks and feels every bit the quality of my go-to brand. All of their materials are cryogenically treated prior to winding, lending them longer sustain, higher output and a smoother under the finger feel.
Now, I’ve not been the most loyal string buyer ever in my time so I’ve been lucky enough to try just about every brand on the market, to varying degrees of success. From the cheapest, foreign packet to giving used strings another go to brand new bags promising sheer un-breakability; I reckon I’ve played enough of the spectrum to know better. As soon as I had Sfarzo’s Touchtones in the nut slot I knew that they were onto something. They may not be the most original or oblique sets on the market, but there is a quality there that definitely competes with the big guns.
Hits and Misses
Competitive quality in a classy, black package
Do we really need another standard string set in an already crowded market?