Are Paradigm strings worth it? We put Ernie Ball’s most innovative guitar strings to our team of guitar staff to see what they thought…
There are not many guitar strings that come with a 90-day guarantee against rust or breakage*. In fact, Ernie Ball’s Paradigm strings are the first to do so!
So, as Ernie Ball claim their Paradigm strings can provide increased tensile strength of up to 35%, increased fatigue strength of up to 70%, and all the benefits of a corrosion-resistant coating without a thick outer material, we thought we should put them to the test.
We gave a pack of Paradigm strings to four of our staff guitarists, told them to practise, rehearse, and gig as usual before reporting back to us with their thoughts. Here’s what we found out…
Guitar: 2012 Fender American Vintage ’64 Telecaster.
Musical style & playing use: Rock and soul covers band.
String Gauge: 10-52.
Player’s thoughts: “Much brighter than my previous strings with a natural bell-like ring and sustain. They are a lot smoother to play than I thought they would be, as I normally use coated strings. A nice tension at E-Standard tuning also produces some bluesy bends.
Smashed out some AC/DC and Tina Turner live at a gig, sweated all over them. They were fine! Practised the next day and they were still in tune and played like new. Like any strings, they need playing in, but after that they feel really natural to play.”
Guitar: 6 and 7 string guitars.
Musical style & playing use: Metal, live, and studio recording.
String gauge: 10-52 10-56 (7-string).
Player’s thoughts: “Initially felt smoother on the bare strings than other non-coated sets I’ve played. The plasma process was also tangible on the wound strings, but slightly less so. They had a more polished texture than other non-coated sets.
Strings remained feeling snappy and bright for a noticeably longer time. There is an improved low-end compared to a coated set when recording via DI, and they feel more evenly voiced with less volume difference between strings; everything is nice and loud.
The longevity of the strings is definitely better than other sets I’ve played. As a player who usually uses coated strings, I look for longevity for touring and playing under warm, sweaty conditions. They beat the performance of my usual coated strings.”
Guitar: Vintage Gibson Les Paul.
Musical style & playing use: Blues and rock band.
String gauge: 9-42.
Player’s thoughts: “Brighter tone. They have kept their ‘new’ sound for much longer. Smooth bends and better balance across the strings than my previous set.
Normally I play standard Ernie Ball Slinkys and these are a definite improvement.”
Guitar: Fender American Special Telecaster.
Musical style & playing use: Covers band (swing, jazz, pop, rock).
String gauge: 10-52.
Player’s thoughts: “These strings sound brighter and more balanced than my usual set. Played a few warm and sweaty gigs and they have maintained their ‘new’ tone for much longer.
Even with a few extreme bends as a test and they haven’t broken yet! They haven’t corroded at all, despite having played a couple of long wedding gigs and regular practice sessions in warm, humid conditions.”
The New Paradigm
All of our guitarists noticed a definite improvement in tone and longevity with Ernie Ball’s Paradigm strings. Even during one of the hottest summers in years, they retained their bright tone where other strings may have given up, thriving in a variety of real-life situations, such as gigging, recording, and practising.
While these Paradigm strings have proved their worth for us, we’ve all used them in our range of standard playing styles and musical situations with our, admittedly, nicely setup guitars. If you’ve got a guitar with sharp edges (we’re thinking tremolo, saddles, nut etc) or if you have particularly corrosive sweat, we suggest you still treat these strings nicely! So don’t forget to wipe your guitar down after playing and use some Ernie Ball string cleaners for optimum use. Like any other strings, look after them and they’ll look after you!
So, what gives these strings their superior strength? And how do they resist for longer against corrosion?
Ernie Ball Paradigm strings feature a state-of-the-art wire drawing process coupled with their own RPS (Reinforced Plain String) technology. Compared to traditional strings, this radically increases tensile strength (up to 35%) and fatigue strength (up to 70%), and results in a string that is far less likely to break or corrode. Ernie Ball has even offered a 90-day guarantee against breakage!
The RPS technology ensures that the ball end is secured to the string without the need for a traditional wire “lock twist”, which is a common area for string breakage due to the extra stress it puts on the wire. This creates superior strength, better tuning stability, and lets you play your guitar as hard as you need.
High Strength Steel
Ernie Ball’s Paradigm strings use ultra-fine grade, high strength steel with a re-engineered grain structure to withstand more punishment than the average string. Check out this video of Ernie Ball testing their strings in lab conditions.
Ernie Ball utilises a special ‘Plasma Process’ to heat the wire – this removes contaminants and smooths out any defects, helping to prevent against corrosion.
Once treated with plasma, the wire is drawn to the correct gauge and coated in Everlast, a ground-breaking nanotechnology developed at Princeton University. This nano coating covers the entirety of the wound string and creates a barrier against moisture and oils – the common causes of tone loss over time.
The images below are an illustration of the difference between a traditional coating and Ernie Ball’s Everlast Nanotreated string.
* Artist’s representation
We’ve been convinced by the Paradigm’s performance – try a set and see what you reckon!
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Shop Now |Ernie Ball Paradigm Strings
* PARADIGM STRINGS GUARANTEE – Ernie Ball
The Paradigm strings guarantee is validated directly through Ernie Ball and is not the responsibility of Gear4music. See Ernie Ball for more details.