Review: MarkBass electric guitar strings

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Review: MarkBass electric guitar strings

MarkBass electric guitars strings
Words by Lewis Noke Edwards

MarkBass electric guitar strings | CMC Music | RRP: enquire for pricing

Guitar strings are a seemingly unexciting prospect, but ask a guitarist and they’ll gush about the strings they’ve been playing since day dot, the balance of their tuning of choice and the gauge of their chosen pack. They’ll tell you about the trade off between uncoated strings and the tone, at least for a fresh set, as well as how the coating has become an essential part of their playing style and feel, all the while retaining clarity, tone and the response of their guitar overall. MarkBass understand that it seems strings are actually an exciting prospect to most!

Known worldwide for amplifying the sound of strings, MarkBass have now announced their own range of guitar strings, again in varying gauges and with various coatings to satisfy even the most discerning player, and we put them to the test. We reviewed three sets, all .10-.46 and used on a guitar in E standard.

Read more gear reviews here.

A little known fact is that the region of Abruzzo in Italy is world-renowned for string making. According to MarkBass, the art of string making was born here, so what better place to go for your strings? MarkBass acquired D’Orazio strings, who are one of the historic Abruzzo string producers, and have been since 1859.

Markbass Strings

Legacy Nickel Plated Steel

Guitar strings are commonly made of Nickel Plated Steel, and the Legacy strings will feel familiar to all players. The 10-46 set is Legacy’s Medium gauge, with options ranging from Light in the 9-42 pack, up to Heavy Medium with their 11-49 set.

The Legacy strings feel classic, retaining good tension, as well as allowing for bends and vibrato with enough resistance that you won’t go wailing over the edge of the fretboard. The uncoated strings provide a bright snap, though not overtly harsh or bitey per se, they’re as classic a feeling set of strings as you could hope for, all backed by MarkBass’s decades of experience in providing quality tools to working musicians who need to rely on them.

Longevo Nickel Plated Steel with Nano-Film Shielded Strings

The MarkBass Longevo strings are where things really get interesting, Longevo translating loosely to long-lived, or denoting something that has a long life. The Longevo Nickel Plated Steel String set has a nano coating that, as transparently as possible, coats the strings and protects the winds from absorbing too much sweat and moisture from your hands, thus promoting longer life in your strings as there’s no build up of rust and mess over time. This gives you not only that new string sound for longer, but that new string feel.

The early attempts at coated strings, from multiple manufacturers, weren’t so successful, the coating affecting the overall snappy tonality of the string, as well as the strings themselves feeling more slippery than the uncoated nickel and steel we were used to. As coatings got thinner, these issues dissolved, and that’s exactly the tech that MarkBass have used for their coated strings.

The Longevo Nickel Plated Steel strings provided that same fresh string feeling, and continued to for some time. I’m using past tense for the purpose of this review, but truly they’re still strung on my guitar and haven’t begun to fade yet! While I could definitely feel the difference between the coated and uncoated strings, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. I felt a little less resistance friction sliding around the fretboard thanks to the coating, while fretting, vibrato and bends still felt great. Both the Longevo and Legacy strings held tuning with great accuracy, albeit with an initial good stretch when restringing. The Longevo strings remove much of the hassle of restringing, especially for those with enough guitars that some might not get played as often as they deserve!

Markbass Guitar strings

Solo Stainless Steel

And now we’ve come to the Solo, and it speaks to MarkBass’ history as a company. They make products for everyone. What about those players that don’t like coated strings no matter how thin the coating is? Well, naturally corrosion-resistant stainless steel of course.

Stainless steel, unlike the nickel coated strings guitarists have used for decades, are immune to the rust, corrosion and other effects of whatever fluids end up on your guitar over the course of a gig. This gives them the feel of an uncoated string, but boast the ability to reduce the sound, feel and life of a string that’s breaking down every time you play it.

The Solo Stainless Steel Strings, again in 10-46, felt great. The exclusive corrosion-resistant alloy steel wire gives them a bright tone, while retaining a harmonically rich sound overall. The material captures all of your playing, but helps to tie together elements of tonewood and your pickup’s own unique voice into something entirely unique and cohesive. This is all to say that they sound great, and capture the essence of whatever guitar they’re strung on, all while preventing corrosion.

MarkBass have nailed this foray into the world of guitar strings, in part because they simply feel and sound great, but they have options available for different types of players who are pursuing different types of feel. All of this on the back of decades of innovation from MarkBass and, in their own words, “made in one of the best places in Italy”.

For local enquiries, visit CMC Music.