The decade-long project is based on the idea that tension, rather than gauge, is what determines each string’s optimal relative volume; therefore, tension-based string sets will be most effective at driving complex acoustic tones and will allow for more control over the guitar’s overall sound.
“A string’s tension determines its amplitude; its gauge does not,” explains SCGC honcho Richard Hoover. “The relative amplitude between strings (EQ) is what we want to control, as this determines the guitar’s feel and allows us to maximize the full potential that we built into the instrument.”
SCGC turned to longtime friend and legendary acoustician Roger Siminoff for help in developing the new product. Siminoff’s Straight Up Strings for banjo and mandolin, which are engineered with compensated down pressure for optimum balance based on saddle location, served as an inspiration. By precisely manipulating the strings’ core-to-wrap ratios, Santa Cruz is able to accurately manage individual string tensions, creating a supremely balanced sound output that, the company claims, simply can’t be matched by traditional gauge-based strings.
“Buying strings by gauge is like accepting where your car’s manufacturer sets the rear-view mirror,” Hoover adds. “Santa Cruz strings are instead made to precise tensions, giving SCGC complete control over the sound and feel of their guitars.”
All of SCGC’s production models will be fitted with these strings going forward. In addition, customer demand for the “strings that came with my new Santa Cruz guitar” spurred the company to introduce and sell individually packaged sets of low- and mid-tension strings. —Marc Greilsamer