Saturday, January 21, 2017

NAMM 2017: Manufacturer Preview – Ernie Ball Paradigm Guitar Strings


I have been using Ernie Ball guitar and bass strings for decades, so it was cool for me to get to try out their new Paradigm strings at the 2017 NAMM show. In case you have not heard of Paradigm, it is a line of strings that are guaranteed to not break or rust. This is quite a sales tool, so I had to find out a little more about them.

Paradigm strings will be available in both acoustic and electric sets. There will be four acoustic sets (Extra Light, Light, Medium Light, and Medium) and eight sets of electrics that will maintain the usual Ernie Ball sizes and nomenclature (Slinkies, Super Slinkies, Etc.).

How they are made is kind of fuzzy for me as I am not a physicist, but I will give it a try. The strings use a high carbon hex core, and before wrapping this wire core is blasted with plasma to remove impurities, Then the wrapping is applied and the Everlast nano treatment is applied. This is not a dip or a coating, and the overall result is strings that feel like they have a little more bite to them, but it is a slight difference and the tone is identical.

Testing has been intense, with Beta sets going out to select customers and artists, and the results have been good. On the Ernie Ball website you can find videos of Kenny Wayne Shepherd and John Petrucci abusing these strings and not being able to break them. In fact, Petrucci’s whammy bar snapped before the strings did. Cool!

When these strings go on sale they will be priced at around $14.99 per pack, and though I am a little vague on how the warranty works, I think it goes a something like this: 1) Purchase strings 2) register the serial number inside the pack with Ernie Ball 3) If a string breaks or corrodes within 90 days, contact them and they will send out a replacement string (not the whole pack). This sounds pretty simple to me, and I am sure they would not make this offer unless they have a lot a confidence in their strings.

I am pretty excited about Ernie Ball’s Paradigm strings and I am eager to give them a try so you all can get a proper review . Unfortunately, I will to wait until they are released in March of 2017, but something this revolutionary should be worth the wait. For more details go to


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