Established in 1958, UK string brand Rotosound is responsible for defining some of the greatest guitar and bass tones committed to tape, from Hendrix to The Who, Guns N’ Roses to Florence + The Machine.
Rotosound’s strength is the fact that everything is manufactured in-house, often on proprietary machinery, and the new Ultramag range of Type 52 Alloy (52 per cent nickel) electric-guitar strings is no exception, with computer-controlled winding and tension control playing a vital role.
For the purpose of this review, we test two sets, in gauges 0.010 and 0.011 (0.009 is also available), on an instrument that had previously been strung with another brand’s coated strings. Feeling a little sadistic, we select a Bigsby-eqipped guitar to fully explore Rotosound’s claims of low friction, balanced tension and tuning stability.
Rotosound’s secret new recipe for the Ultramag range results in higher magnetic content in each string with, one might hope, a resulting surge of power, mystery and the hammer of the gods. The Ultramags feel good in both gauges and ‘bed in’ quickly and easily, with only a couple of full stretches along the fretboard.
Recording our guitar prior to and after restringing, we are impressed with the clarity and warmth we hear. There is a subtle rise in volume and the quality of the sound is very good indeed. Even after a couple of hours’ play, both sets retain much of their initial tone and despite some gratuitous Bigsby use, tuning stability is good. Strong work!