> liddas Wrote:
> > Sorry if I jump in this with a slightly OT
> > but what scale of strings did those early LPs
> > with?
> > And in the LP / stones era, what scale of
> > did Keith and MT use on their LPs?
> I'm not sure about original 50's type strings but
> as I recall Mick used .010-046 gauge on his Les
> Pauls. Keith uses a slightly heavier gauge for
> open tuned guitars but for standard I don't
I think they had real heavy wires in the '50, thats what Ernie Ball says.
He was the first to introduce those .010-046 sets.
"THE STRING IS THE THING - THE GAUGE IS THE RAGE
It was the store's customers who were responsible for EB taking the step that carried his name and his business - far beyond the city limits of Tarzana. He noticed that beginning students were having difficulty pressing down the third string of the Fender #100 medium gauge set, which were the most popular electric strings of the day. "The third string was a 29 gauge, like a giant cable, and the poor kids were getting finger blisters."
IF YOU DON'T DO IT . . .
"I called my Fender sales rep, Tom Walker, and asked him to tell Leo Fender about the problem. Tom reported back that Leo wouldn't allow lighter gauge strings on his guitars because they caused string buzz, and he wasn't about to re-engineer his neck tension rods. I thought, "OK, Leo; If you won't do it, then I will! I talked a string manufacturer into making me some custom medium gauge sets with a 24 third string instead of a 29."
In the early 60s rock and roll guitar was exploding. More and more people came in to buy a set of guitar strings, throwing away the sixth string, and then buying a banjo first string. This caused every string in the set to be much thinner. Ern thought there should be a rock & roll string set packaged with these lighter gauges. "Again, I called Tom Walker to explain my idea; and again, he reported back that Leo Fender wouldn't discuss it. Then I contacted the people at the Gibson guitar company and tried to talk them into making Rock & Roll strings, but they thought it was a lousy idea. OK; if you guys won't do it, then I really will! And that's how I came up with the first set of Slinky strings (Regular 10 - 46). At first they were only sold locally in ly in my retail shop."
"It occurred to me that a guitarist might want a set of strings in any combination of gauges of his choosing, so I called the string maker again and asked for more strings, but this time I ordered plain strings, all gauges 8 through 24, and all even-numbered wound strings 18 through 58. I built a storage rack out of plywood and pieces of electrical conduit. This fit conveniently next to the workbench behind the counter. When I was busy with customers I would invite a string buyer to use the workbench behind the counter and experiment on his own. Soon scores of guitar players were tinkering around with the Custom Gauge string rack. They loved it!"
The legendary Merle Travis and the Ventures were regular store customers. They took the strings along on their tours, and when asked what kind they used, they would reply, "Ernie Ball." Mail orders started coming in, first from out-of-town guitarists and later from other stores. "We weren't a string company yet." Ernie says, "We were just a little store that had some strings people wanted to buy."
The demand for EB's Slinky strings continued to grow and in 1967 he sold the retail store and moved the string business to Newport Beach. "I wanted to change my lifestyle and work shorter days, learn to surf, learn to fly a plane, and grow a beard." With his staff of only two employees, he found himself doing everything from laying out artwork to packaging string sets. His sons, Sterling, David, and Sherwood, helped out in the warehouse after school.