The ORIGINAL and only REAL Optimized guitar and bass strings
I introduced and defined Optimized strings to the world. Don't ever forget that!
ZOG is the future of all string set design
ZOG (Zachary Optimum Gauges); Progressive Tension; Graduated Tension; The Perfect Set!; are all trademarks of Zachary Music, Inc.
CAUTION *** Not for Idiots !!!!
*** Read this entire page below. Every word!!!
If you still don't understand the concept and you got confused, agitated, offended or hostile,
then click on this Idiots link for even more info or to be among other idiots for moral support.
Idiots - never a shortage
What the F#CK are Zachary Optimum Gauges?
Only the biggest advancement in Guitar String set design. The definitive way to design all string sets.
- Read Below
If you are somewhat mentally challenged, slow at comprehension or one of the ignorant Circle Jerks from a guitar forum, then just read the short comment below. Its all you need to know.
The whole point with tension is that it just fucking feels better, and it's nice to see someone finally doing something right for a change, and because it is just common fucking sense, all right? Got it? It just feels good, and that's why it's done, O.K.? No other reason for it, no better reason for it. Or would you rather play a guitar that feels like shit? Come down from the fence, stop asking stupid questions, and just PLAY ZOG!!!!!! Ted Noiz
Hi Alex, As you are well aware, it's very hard to get through to ignorant people who are probably very intelligent in most things but lack basic common sense. Neil
Something had been bugging me for years. I knew something was wrong. I was suspicious, it just did not seem right. I didn't look into it for years because I would never even suspect that this could happen and that others did not discovered the problem before me. It is a serious problem and a potentially dangerous situation. Dangerous to your tone and to your touch. This is something that the average player would never question or even notice. Some are even stupid enough not to care. It all depends on how much you know about guitars. If you can't screw in a light bulb, chances are you will not notice any technical details about your guitar and you certainly would not have noticed this serious problem either.
Its not exactly your fault really. I never questioned it for years either.
What am I talking about?I am talking about Guitar STRINGS. When it comes to something as basic as strings we trust the experts to provide us with the proper string sets. We would never even think that they would not provide a fully researched product, scientifically optimized for its intended use. Actually, to be more accurate, strings today are made with the highest technology available. A modern string manufacturer could probably put a man on the moon with all the technology they have at their disposal. What went wrong, as with most of the guitar industry, is that strings were not designed with the PLAYER in mind. The player is one of the least important elements in guitar products design. In the guitar world this is to be expected. Innovation is a bad thing. Improvement is synonymous with poor sales. Sales to hacks is the goal. In the guitar world the lawyers and doctors rule, (as consumers that is) and these guys are not looking for any improvements. They want guitars with all the bad design elements of the past 55 years. These guitars obviously work best as wall ornaments and that's what they are used for. Sorry, I digress, let's get back to the topic of guitar strings.
So the string manufacturers provided us with sets which really do not make sense. Consistent with the guitar industry, they do things mindlessly and anything that is wrong they seriously maintain, in fear that the all important guitar consumer will reject the product and will not buy it. They figure that there are much more important things to the guitar consumer than technical details and strings that work optimally. They know most guitar consumers can't play worth two shits so they won't tell the difference anyway. Guitar consumers are not concerned about things like string tension, optimized or not. I digress again. Shows you how I feel about guitar consumers, that's why I am not part of the guitar industry..
If a certain string set has been offered for decades, then every string company old and new will mindlessly offer the exact same strings as well, with the same specifications and without any concern of them being right or wrong. Kind of like those overly narrow fingerboards on Fender guitars where the strings fly off the frets at the edges of the 7.25 inch radius fingerboard, which is unplayable. Who cares, no reason to fix the problem, being traditional means staying with poor designs. Nobody complains, most don't actually play the guitars anyway. I digress again. What's the matter with me today? Back to Strings..
This is where I come in. Being a player first and foremost, if I find a problem I fix it. I have to because nobody else will. I certainly don't have any desire to be in the string selling business but I have no choice. Zachary guitars and Zachary players must have the right strings. I had to go and buy single strings and construct my own custom sets because I could not get the proper sets at the store.
Well, by fate or an act of God or whatever you want to call it, you have been brought into this crazy Zachary fiasco. As you know, a whole different world of existence. In this world you are virtually forced to reach your highest potential if you are willing and ready to do so.
So, Wake up! ....Your strings are all wrong!
No, I am not talking about the brand. I am not trying to convince you that one brand is better than the other. That's a job of the string companies. The problem is not with the brand or with the material they are made of. That makes no difference.
Its the tension I am talking about. The tension is what matters and it matters greatly.
Would you agree with me that every string on your guitar should have equal tension? In other words, each string should have exactly the same tension when tuned to pitch. Would you agree with me on that?
No??? ...What do you mean NO? Are you nuts? For those who said no, you are idiots and should be on the PRS site looking at grossly quilted tops and drooling over them. That's where you belong, so stay there..
For those of you who do have a brain and said YES, you must agree that every string should be the same tension. Isn't this totally logical? What idiot would not realize this and want this? What string manufacturer would not offer this? For you to be able get the best feel from your strings and for you to be able to have the most balanced tone, you must have them all equal tension. Right ???
Well, ................Almost !
Almost but not quite. You don't win the stuffed Sponge Bob just yet.
Everything about guitars has to do with physics and Myself and Yngwie Malmsteen are no scientists. Isn't that right Yngwie? Yngwie also noticed something was wrong with strings and did something about it. Trouble is he did not actually know the technical reason why, he just went by tone and feel. No problem with that. He plays fast but he is not the smartest guy in the world. He just noticed that its better to go thicker for the lower strings in order to get them to work, compared to what is provided in a regular string set. He didn't do badly and at least he was on the right track. He noticed the problem and therefore deserves to have the Ferrari collection he has.
I researched this string gauge problem for several years. It was very blatant and I noticed it right away after building my first bass guitar. After installing a regular set I purchased at a music store, I was horrified to find the lower strings, especially the lowest string, to have the least amount of tension and the thinnest string having the most tension. Horrible! Must have been designed by the same Idiot who put the 10-46 set together many years ago. Having a top that has more tension and a bottom with not enough tension is totally the opposite of how it should be according to the rules of physics and also for proper tone and feel. I deserve an exotic car collection myself because I figured out that as the strings get fatter they naturally require to have a higher tension relative to the thinner strings. So what you need is a slight gradual increase in tension from high to low. Its called Progressive Tension. This is even superior to having equal tension. Can you believe the genius here. This is what I call the OPTIMUM GAUGES because they are Optimized for your playing and for your guitar to work its best.
These rock stars knew that something was wrong with standard sets but they did not systematically understand why and they did not look at each string and evaluate its tension in relation to the other strings. They simply slapped on some thicker strings on the bass side. They also did not take into consideration the linear increase whenever possible in the string tension from high to low. They just added some heavier gauges to the bottom and called it a "Signature Set" with their name on it. It may have just been a fluke, done purely for financial gain. Some of these guys would even endorse their shoe laces if they could. Ferraris don't come cheap, neither do California Blondes with silicone breasts, but I digress again.
These guitar heroes like Zakk Wylde, Yngwie and other ugly MFs, have signature strings which they call "light top and heavy bottom". Well actually its the string manufacturers who call them "light top and heavy bottom". As usual, what do they know? This designation is really incorrect. These "custom" gauged strings should actually be called "correct top and correct bottom". These custom sets are heavier at the bottom when compared to the conventional "incorrect" sets but the correct term to use for traditional string sets would be "Incorrect Gauges". How is this for marketing the store offered sets? Would you buy "Incorrectly Gauged Guitar Strings" if it was written on the label. That is if they would tell the truth about them?
In fact, the standard commercially available sets, which you are currently playing, don't even follow any logic. As you will see, the tension of the strings don't even correspond to any system. The only explanation I have is that some dummy in the 50s or 60s who started it all, goofed badly, so ever since then everyone other dummy has copied and followed his mistake. Typical of the guitar industry. Now the whole world is stuck on stupid by using these wrong gauges and they will not change because of ignorance.
Here is an example for you. Lets analyze the all too popular 10-46 string set, which has been used for decades by everyone and their dog Rover. I must tell you that this set is actually one of the better gauged sets, there are a lot worse than this, especially bass guitar and 7-string guitar sets, which are atrocious. Six string bass sets are scary bad. This 10-46 set, which every string manufacturer makes is not as bad as it gets but still not fit to be installed on a Zachary guitar.
So here is the standard of the industry 10-46 set with the tension of each string listed when the strings are tuned to pitch. Tension is measured in lbs.
1 2 3 4 5 6
.010 - 16.2 .013 - 15.4 .017 - 16.6 .026 - 18.4 .036 - 19.5 .046 - 17.5
Do you see what the problem is here?
Look at the tension of each string. Compare them.
Do you see a pattern?
Is there any logic to it?
No, there is no pattern or logic.
Remember to arrive at Optimum Gauges should have a slight linear increase in tension as the strings get thicker.
Notice how the .013 is less in tension than the .010 ? It should be the other way around. The 2nd string actually has less tension than the first. Stupid isn't it?
Also notice how the .046 is way below the tension it should be. Shit, its lower in tension than the 5th and even the 4th strings. That will give you one muddy note, no matter how you slice it.
Was the guy who designed this set doing some serious drugs? Most likely, like most of the richest people in the music products industry, he was not a guitar player. Its the only explanation. Most likely he was not a guitar player and this is why he could do an Idiotic thing like this and not even realize it. This is all very consistent with the guitar industry.
How about all the string manufacturers, did they all blindly follow this Idiot? I guess so. What does that say about them?
How about all the guitar players in history ranging from stellar guitar heroes to the hack next door? Were they Idiots as well? How about me? I only noticed this as I was starting to build guitars.
This is the case. We all simply trusted the string manufacturers and they all simply trusted the original dimwit who first started selling this 10-46 set. Meanwhile probably 40 years have gone by. Its funny just thinking about it.
The 6th string is so important because this is what gives your guitar its bottom and all to often it sounds muddy. Unsuspecting players have sold good guitars and amps thinking the problem was with their gear. Don't laugh, many years ago I sold a brand new Fender Vibroverb reissue after I got my PRS, because the amp suddenly sounded totally dead and I thought there was something wrong with the amp. I wish I could have that amp back now. I am still pissed about it. It was the badly gauged strings on an embarrassment of a "guitar looking object". I did not know at the time. I was young.
On shorter scale guitars like Gibson, Optimization becomes even more important and very crucial actually. How many times have we heard the complaint that Gibson sounds muddy in the bass. People complained but never investigated as to why. Well here is your answer. On a short scale that wimpy low string will simply not work.
Also, for those of you and me who like to tune down or play in alternate tunings, when we tune the 6th string down 2 half steps from E to D, having the wrong gauge is a recipe for tonal and and technical disaster. It simply will not work. Going to a longer scale guitar will help the situation but does not remedy the root of the problem.
So the genius that I am, here is what I did to save your ass.
The corresponding Zachary Optimum Gauges string tensions for the ZOG set starting on .010"
* tensions in Lbs, when tuned to pitch
1 - E
2 - B
3 - G
4 - D
5 - A
6 - low E
E .010 - 16.2
(bad) B .013 - 15.4
G.017 - 16.6
D.026 - 18.4
A.036 - 19.5
(bad) E .046 - 17.5
ZOG 10 Set
Pure genius, wouldn't you say?
So what would you like to say to the Idiot who originally put the ever popular (10-46) string set together for you?
He screwed you up all these years and you didn't even know it.
I thought so... The words would not even be suitable for this depraved website. To be fair to most players, we never questioned this atrocity because we expected the "experts", (the string makers) to give us the perfect string sets.
Well, guess what?... They didn't.
And now you know. So remember where you heard it first. I will come to the rescue.
Here is how I fixed your beloved .009-.042 set: * tensions in Lbs, when tuned to pitch
1 - high E
2 - B
3 - G
4 - D
5 - A
6 - low E
E .009 - 13.1
(bad) B .011 - 11.0
G.016 - 14.7
D.024 - 15.8
(bad) A.032 - 15.8
(bad) E .042 - 14.8
ZOG 9 set
Popular Bass sets are usually atrocious.
Here is a very popular Bass guitar set that unsuspecting and uninformed bass players are struggling with around the world.
Now remember that this is one of the more balanced if not the most balanced of all commercially available sets from big string manufacturers. So keep in mind that there is a lot worse then this out there.
Take a look at the tensions and weep.
1 - G
2 - D
3 - A
4 - low E
G.045 - 42.8
D.065 - 51.3
(bad) A.085 - 48.4
(bad) E .105 - 40.3
ZOG Bass set
Notice how the popular set totally ignores the optimization principle and actually goes way down in tension on the two lower strings.
Notice how the low E is actually lower in tension than the G? Notice how the D is the heaviest string in the set? Notice how even the A has more tension than the low E. That poor E has a hard time producing a good tone, physically it is just not capable. Also the player will feel a really tight D and a really sloppy E. Remember, this is one of the better sets you can buy at the store.
As you can see, this is really WRONG and results in a set which will not handle a true strong tone in the bottom.
Now in comparison take a look at the Progressive (Even/Graduated) tension of the ZOG bass set.
Which set do you think will feel more balanced and sound better?
Summery: All you need is to do is remember these 2 rules. This is what constitutes String set Optimization and this is what ZOG is all about.
The 2 steps to OPTIMIZATION
Step 1 - Equal Tension - First it is determined mathematically what string gauges within the set would give exactly the same tension when tuned to pitch. This however is NOT enough and the set would actually NOT feel balanced. The thicker the string the more graduated tension it needs for it to feel balanced in tension. Interesting, isn't it?
Step 2 - Even/Graduated Tension - The tension of each string is increased slightly and evenly as the strings become thicker in gauge and lower in pitch. Just as mass must gradually increase to handle lower frequencies, tension must increase as well, in perfect linearity. As pitch drops, tension must rise. There has to be a negative linear correlation between pitch and tension. As pitch goes down, tension must go up.
ZOG = Progressive Tension
Get "Gauges" out of your head !
You may be starting to realize how ignorant and how brainwashed you are due to a lifetime of Guitar Industry brainwashing. Their goal is to keep you stupid, my goal is to make you smarter. The problem is that you may think of yourself as being smart and unimpressionable but the Guitar Industry has tremendous power over you, due to how much you are in awe of all endorsers. These are paid brainwashers of juveniles, which most guitar enthusiasts are, regardless of their age. Endorsers to the Guitar Industry are worth every penny because they are the salesmen without even having to have skills in sales. You will drink any Kool-Aid, as long as an endorser is telling you to do it. I don't pay endorsers or use prostitutes of any kind, so you will just have to take my word on things I have dedicated my life to.
They have drilled this concept of GAUGES into your head, over your entire life. The truth is that GAUGES mean NOTHING. The sad thing is that you have never thought of TENSION but only of Gauges. The Guitar Industry never even brings up tension, so that you remain unaware of it. Even if they do indicate tension or provide some tension chart, we have measured these precisely and they are terribly inaccurate. They must have just picked some tension numbers at random, the same way they construct their string sets, unmethodically, just increasing gauge and nothing more.
Here is an example of a real idiot. You don't want to be like this goof. If you send me such a stupid comment, all you will get is a Z-slap and then you will have to go cry to your circle jerk buddies about it. It sounds like he is afraid and skeptical to use ZOG, the only correctly designed string set.
Andrew Walden wrote:
Hi I have heard you are notorious for not divulging the gauges of the strings in your sets.
Currently I use strings which range from .13-.65. I think perhaps your ZOG 13 RW 3w set might be what im looking for. How would your set compare?
I play standard tuned down a whole step, and from time to to time will drop the low E down to A. I can really only make this work with something very close to .65.
Would you be willing to sell a single sample set? I have heard good things about your strings, and would very much be interested in buying (the minimum order of 5 sets), if these strings are what I am looking for. Otherwise ill just stick with what ive been using. Andrew
Even though Andrew has a college email address, being an academic of some type. He is an embarrassment to all academics, among whom I know many morons are found.
Either Andrew did not read this page or he does not have the intellectual capacity to comprehend it. Here is an example where someone is totally fixated on Gauge (string diameter), however, Tension does not even enter his mind, even though my work and ZOG is totally about Tension. Optimized Tension.
The other mistake he makes is changing the interval between strings and not realizing that correct tension balance (OPTIMIZATION) within the set will be lost. This should be quite evident, even to an academic. If you change the interval between strings in an Optimized set, you will no longer have an Optimized set. Think about this and see if you can comprehend it.
Also, I hope Andrew means .065 and not .65
The reality is that Gauge is a very unreliable indicator of Tension. Remember, I repeat, its only Tension which matters, NOT Gauge.
Gauge is meaningless.
Gauge has little to do with tension. You never thought of that?
I can have 10 strings made the same gauge but design them so they all have different tensions when tuned to the SAME note.
I can design a thinner string which will have a higher tension than a thicker string when tuned to the same pitch.
With plain strings, the type of steel alloy used with the smallest variation will effect the tension substantially. Understand that the tensile strength and composition of a plain string will effects its tension at any given pitch. Some alloys will tune to pitch at a lower tension and some will tune to the same pitch at higher tension.
String design and specific tension results are not as easy as you think by just thinking of Gauge.
This is why gauge (string thickness) is irrelevant.
What is only relevant is Tension. Tension is a function of wrap and core ratio, mass and also material composition.
This is why I don’t deal in gauges at all. I only deal in TENSION. In fact if you put a gun to my head I would not be able to tell you what most of the gauges are in my ZOG sets.
When I design a set I only specify tension. Gauge does not matter to me.
Its not that I don't want to disclose my gauges, its that my Gauges do not matter, only my Tensions do. In fact the Gauges in any brand of string do not matter. Even if you know my Gauges, it will not indicate what my Tensions are and will not correspond to the Gauges and Tensions of any other brand of strings.
What a revelation this must be for you.
Now go tell this to all your circle jerk buddies.
Yes Andrew, just stick to what you have been doing. Better yet, stop attempting to play the guitar and let smarter people do it instead.
Here is a Summary of the ZOG concept
This is the text written on the back of all ZOG packages.
Dictated By Physics
You may be shocked to know that the strings you have used all along were WRONG. Previous to ZOG™, you were stuck with using unbalanced sets. In conventional sets the tension of each string is arbitrary, and the sets are unsystematically assembled, resulting in some strings being too tight and some being too loose. This results in conventional sets having an unbalanced feel and weak tone. Furthermore, conventional sets do not have the needed Progressive Increase in Tension from highest to lowest string. With the absence of this Even/Graduated Tension™ , conventional sets produce weaker tone the lower in pitch the string are. Regular sets lack the negative linear correlation between pitch and tension. In short, conventional sets do not obey the laws of physics and suffer in performance accordingly, effecting your guitar.
The ZOG™ principle of string set design is based NOT on even tension but on Even/Graduated tension™. Just as string thickness and mass must increase as pitch drops, their tension MUST increase as well. Most conventional sets do the opposite. As pitch drops and mass increases, their tension actually decreases, giving you an unbalanced feel and weak muddy tone.
Even/Graduated Tension™—The tension of each string is increased slightly and evenly as the strings becomes thicker in gauge and lower in pitch. Just as mass must gradually increase to produce lower frequencies, tension must also increase in perfect linearity. As pitch drops, tension must increase, This is a negative linear correlation between pitch and tension. As pitch goes down, tension must go up. ZOG™ = Progressive Tension™
So, before you get excited by all the usual hype and incessant marketing of string materials, coatings, molecular structure, high-tech alloys, heavily advertised brands, paid celebrity endorsers, fancy packaging, etc., remember that none of that matters until you get your tensions correct. Without correct tensions you have nothing! ZOG™ has gotten the tensions correct for you by making these finest custom strings with precise core and wrap ratios for each string in order to achieve Even/Progressive Tension™. ZOG™ are affordable as well. Your search for the perfect string set is over.
MADE IN USA
Ask your neighborhood music store to carry ZOG
Here is how you explain it to them
The reason these people may scratch their heads at first is because they have no clue there is a problem with their strings. They never even questioned it. We would all be the same way if we didn't understand that there is a problem with existing strings sets. Logically, everyone in the world would use ZOG strings if they only understood the problem. So they need to be made aware of the problem first. Once they know and actually understand the problem, then logic will take over and the existing strings will actually look silly and wrong.
Something to explain is that ZOG strings are simply correct. Nothing more and nothing less. They are not any new invention, high tech or anything radical. This is something most store owner would NOT understand. I had a situation where a store owner kept thinking the strings are radical and strange and weird, etc. No matter how much I explained, he just didn't get it. I told him that the strings he has on his shelf are the radical, incorrect strings, which do not make any sense in terms of gauges and tensions. He thought I was insulting him or I was a crazy. This is a very successful guitar boutique store with $3K-$8K Custom Shop instruments hanging behind the counter. You know the type of store I am talking about. Makes me want to go "Postal" when I encounter this level of ignorance, yet its prevalent out there, I am sure you are aware of it.
I will tell you that educating people about ZOG is harder than it sounds. Most guitar shop and music store owners are are either pedestrian musicians or don't play at all. They only care about the money, so explaining something like this is beyond their knowledge and worst of all totally beyond their interest. I had some music store owners look at me like I was a nut and even ask their salesmen who could play guitar to find out if I was a nut because the owner had no idea about anything I was talking about. He literally could not judge for himself. Its quite a funny situation when it happens, sad but funny at the same time. You can imagine if the store owners and employees are so ignorant, what their customers must be like.
Explain the 2 steps of OPTIMIZATION.
1. Determine what gauges are needed to make all strings the same tension when tuned to pitch. Even tension is however not enough and is only a starting point. The laws of physics demand more.
2. Increase the tension evenly as the strings go lower in pitch. Even/Graduated tension or Progressive Tension is the ultimate goal for an Optimized set.
The way to really demonstrate this to the inexperienced is to show the tensions printed on the back of a D'Addario set.
On the back of the D'Addario 10 set you can show them that the strings are not even tensioned and that they are not graduated either. In fact two strings are inappropriately under tensioned in this set. In the 10-46 set point out the 2nd (B string) and how it is under tensioned, being lower in tension than the high E. Also show the 6th (low E string) and how that is lower in tension than the two strings above it, which is seriously the wrong thing to experience on this lowest string, which has the hardest time to handle pitch. The lower you go in pitch the harder it is for strings to handle the pitch cleanly. This is where the "even/graduated tension" comes in.
With this presentation you may educate the store owner and his employees to order ZOG and make them available for the smart players in the neighborhood.
The Story Of How I Came Up With String Optimization
I may have mentioned it already on my Strings page that I was also under the delusion and the hope that string companies design string sets optimally and its one area that I don't have to think about. This is why for years I never even thought about electric guitar strings or redesigning them.
It all started around 1993, when I got a high-quality handmade acoustic guitar with a Cedar top. This guitar was so light and responsive that regular 12s were too heavy for it. Even a light touch would make this guitar resonate and make a big sound. In fact, even loud talking in the room would vibrate the strings of the untouched guitar. I also wanted to play this guitar lightening fast. Consequently I decided that a very light set of bronze strings would best suit it. Which it does. Heavy strings actually overpower and "smash" the delicate cedar (not spruce) top. Cedar is lighter and much softer than spruce if you can image it.
So I looked around in stores for a commercially available light gauge acoustic set. I looked at the gauges and had access to the tension specifications and was surprised at how absurd the chosen gauges were. I looked at all available string sets from various manufacturers and they were all crazy in terms of unmatched gauges within a set. Some were light on top and really heavy on the bottom. All had unbalanced gauges within the set. So the strings would all feel different to the touch and would have inconsistent tone within the sets. So I was forced to attempt to put together my own custom set for this acoustic guitar I had. I put this together by buying singles and making note of their individual tensions in Lbs. I assembled a light set of bronze acoustic strings, specifically for this guitar, starting with a .0105 for the high E and matching up each individual string within the set to balance with the high E. So the whole set felt even, unlike the sets I could buy from stores, which were erratic and absurd in comparison.
This light set I was assembling was unheard of on an acoustic, mainly because it will not really work with a guitar that has a spruce top. Spruce needs heavier strings to make it sound, to make the spruce top resonate. With Cedar this is not needed since it is a much more responsive wood. You would not get much sound out of a spruce top acoustic using these light strings. In my opinion Spruce does belongs on an acoustic guitar, but that's another topic for another time.
So when making this very new set of strings for my highly resonant acoustic, I needed to balance ALL the strings in terms of tension. I did not know it at the time but I was Optimizing this new custom set I had to put together. It was the perfect set of acoustic strings, better than anything on the market that I could find. In fact, I was quite puzzled at the acoustic sets I looked at on store shelves. I was scratching my head but was focused on creating my own "correct" set, instead of trying to figure out why string companies did what they did. At that time, over 10 years ago, I started to get the idea that maybe something was wrong when looking at the gauges of the commercially available sets. I wasn't actually sure what was going on. I thought, I missing something? Some important information that string companies have maybe. Am I nuts here, I asked myself? What the hell is going on. Why are these strings all over the fucking map and inconsistent and unsystematic in design. There seemed to be no rule to how they were assembled in sets. Like someone's drunk uncle had chosen the gauges mindlessly after a bad hangover. So I decided to find out if I was nuts or simply lacking some important piece of information. I called a very large string maker in the USA. I remember their 800 number did not work from Canada, so I paid for this long conversation back in the mid 90s when long distance phone rates were still expensive. After talking to various employees in various positions, being transferred around from one to the other, who had no clue about what I was talking about and who all thought I was some neurotic dipshit. I was finally transferred to the head engineer. I could tell that all these various department managers knew nothing about guitars or guitar playing. Kind of shocking really. They were simply running a business, they were not even players. They had no clue what the hell I was talking about. I was asking them why their sets were "all wrong", and they were ready to suggest that I get counseling. So I was happy to talk to the head engineer. After talking to him for about 40 minutes he could not give me any answer as to why they use the gauges they do. He had no clue, other than telling me that this is what every string company sells and it must work well because this is what musicians want to buy. How can a billion guitar players be wrong? I thought, why would guitar players want to play unbalanced sets? Why would they play the incorrect gauges within a set? I know I don't want to do that. I felt really disappointed after the call and out some money as well. I remember thinking that it was a totally useless waste of time to have spoken to them. I was dejected and upset.
I was at least happy with my discovery and how this 10.5 acoustic set played and sounded and it worked so good on my special acoustic guitar. By the way, this set is even better now with the creation of some custom strings for the set and now it has evolved into my 11 acoustic set and has been totally Optimized, better than ever. A hell of a nice set for anyone wanting an Optimized 11 acoustic set.
Remember, I was only concerned with acoustic strings at that time because I was not playing much electric then. I don't even think I owned an electric at that time. I figured that maybe as an anomaly they had a problem with acoustic sets only but the electrics must be perfect. After all, these are experts, are they not? So I never thought about it, or more accurately I was hopeful that I don't have to be concerned with electric sets. I went many years without paying attention to electric sets. I neglected to check the electric sets until 2005. Therefore, I always set up all Zachary guitars with the "famous" 10-46 set. Then in the back of my mind my acoustic string experience kept bugging me and at the same time I started to notice that on the short scale electric guitars I made, the low E was very undefined and would not hold a centered pitch. It was fuzzy at best. It was tolerable on the 26" long scale guitars but not good on the shorter Gibson-scale instruments. I like to use some alternate tunings as well, where I tune the low E down and also the low A a whole step. I could get away with doing this on the long scale instruments but the short scale instruments were not capable of handling the drop tunings. I really could not get any sound out of that 10-46 set of strings and they were sloppy as shit in terms of both feel and sound.
In fact, even for normal 440 tuning I was not able to use the "famous" 10-46 set on the really short 24.5" scale guitars. I had to set those guitars up with an 11 set to even make it work.
So I looked at the mathematical tension numbers and noticed that in the 10-46 set the worst culprit was the low E, which when optimized should come out as the string with the MOST tension in the set, yet as a .046 it is in fact one of the lighter strings relative to the others in the set. I said what the fuck, this is really wrong and no wonder the guitar cannot handle those low notes very well and why that low E string feels unbalanced and loose under my fingers. The B string was off as well, having less tension than the high E. One of the rules of Optimization is to have the string tension increase as the strings increase in mass (lower in pitch). NOT decrease in tension, as found in the 10-46 set! That is totally wrong and totally fucked.
So I said to myself, something needs to be done about this. I will have to create a new 10 electric set, which will be Tension Optimized and balanced and which I will use exclusively. Then I ran into the problem that if I ship my guitars to players with the ZOG 10 set, how the hell will they be able to replace this custom (and correct) set. I must provide them with strings. I must do it but how?
The last thing I wanted to do is get into the sleazy world of string selling and marketing. Don't you just hate these never ending ads for strings, high-tech this and that, endless endorsers putting their names on them and special shaped cores and windings, hand wound or high precision computer wound, space age materials, colored strings, some freeze them and claim to change the molecular composition, and now the craze with condom covered strings and on and on. They are desperate to come up with something new but they totally neglected to even realize their strings are all wrong. The neglect the most important factor, Tension. Its laughable that they all make the same gauges. Its funny really. The string sets you buy at the store are a bunch of mindless snake oil products with the incorrect tensions.
So I was forced to provide Zach players with ZOG strings. I had to do it. To do this I needed custom strings manufactured to my specs. This really became evident and crucial when I made an 8 string guitar. It desperately needed Optimized strings to make it work. It was a real challenge. If it wasn't for the ZOG strings, it would not function at all.
Then when others heard of this Optimization story they wanted to buy ZOG strings from me even if they didn't own Zachary guitars. Makes sense to me because Optimized strings will make any guitar better. Physically makes any guitar work better.
To get custom strings made I found out that I needed to make a substantial investment and purchase a substantial amount. Other expenses like packaging, bar codes, etc. are also involved. So all of a sudden I am in the string business. All I care to do is to be able to provide the correct strings for people after learning of this hideous problem.
So it took me years as well to notice this problem and if it wasn't for my Cedar top acoustic, which needed a special light set that was not available, I may not have noticed the problem at all. Well, knowing myself, I would have noticed eventually. However, I too had the tendency of trusting string companies to do the right thing above everything else. Again I was wrong. When it comes to the musical instrument business, that is not how the system works and what the priorities are.
GIVE YOUR HEAD A SHAKE!
If you are looking for Guitar or Bass Strings by, Ernie Ball, GHS, D'Addario, DR, SIT, Fender, Gibson, RotoSound, Elixir, Dean Markley or whatever. They all make the exact same gauges and tensions and they are all wrong. Do they care? NO. Do you care? I hope so.
Those other brands unfortunately are all the same and they all make the same mistake. They are all wrong, the gauges and tensions are incorrect and not optimized.
Zachary Optimum Gauges (ZOG) are the only correct strings you can get.
If you are a guitar player, your beloved .009-.044 or .010-.046 sets, as well as all other commercially offered sets, are awful. If you are a bass player, your .045-.105 set is totally awful and you are an idiot for using it.
If you are a 7 string guitar player or a 5 or 6 string bass player, you should be taken back to kindergarten for using what you are buying off the shelf. Its F#cking atrocious. Its beyond Disgusting, like a 5 year old came up with those gauges. You say you didn't know this up to now? You are shocked? Don't worry. I was unaware as well but then I got smart and exposed this crime. Yes you are an Idiot but I was too. More accurately, we did not think because we put our trust in the "experts". So we turned off our brains and didn't analyze it. Never turn your brain off or you will be in great danger. We were also not provided with the tension data. So who suspected? Surely the smarter ones among us knew something was not quite right. Well, now the light has been turned on for you. Remember where you heard it and who was the one who told you. Don't ever forget where you learned of OPTIMIZATION. for as long as you live.
In case you have not learned anything after reading this long page.
So, do you want Equal Tension string sets?... Then this is NOT the place to come for that. These are NOT Equal Tension strings. Equal tension is better than the traditional sets but still not the best and here is the kicker, Equal tension strings still don't actually feel equal.
ZOG sets are NOT Equal Tension... they only feel that way.
Something else I can teach you. For a string set to feel balanced and "feel" Equal in tension they must be PROGRESSIVE TENSION. I have discovered these laws but I did not invent physics.
To make a string set feel totally balanced to a player, equal tension is NOT enough. Equal tension strings will not actually feel completely balanced. Even though the tension is Equal for every string tuned to pitch, you will perceive it as dropping in tension as the the strings get larger in gauge and lower in pitch.
For all the strings to feel equal in tension in a set they actually must be progressive in tension. In other words, the tension must increase as the string go down in pitch.
Now you must be really confused. If your intelligence is below the average you will not get this at all. If you are stupid and also have low self esteem, you ego will try to defend you and you will actually lash and feel threatened. If you are just a hack, you will say "who the Fuck cares". I agree with you, if you are hack, you should not care.
If this my whole concept and unique delivery has angered and offended you, I suggest you go to any of the Guitar Forums for some emotional support. Forums are the home of idiots and they will welcome you with open arms.
So, if you have never been a detailed oriented technical person this will confusion you and make you angry. Relax, let me make it even more clear for you for the umpteenth time, in case you are just a bit mentally challenged. Here it goes:
ZOG are not mathematically "equal tension". Do you know what equal tension means? It means that every string when tuned to pitch is the same tension mathematically. This is good you say and its what you thought ZOG is all about. You are wrong!
ZOG is not about equal tension because equal tension is only a starting point. Equal tension sets are NOT Optimum tension sets. Equal tension actually does not work the best in terms of physics. Equal tension will not make your guitar work its best. Of course its way way better then all the atrocity erratic tension traditional sets you have been buying up to now, where was you head? What you really need when OPTIMIZING is to have a set that is PROGRESSIVE tension.
See, equal tension sets actually do not feel equal tension to the player. They feel as if the lower strings are a bit too slack or under tensioned. This is because, as the strings get fatter and as they must handle lower pitches, they MUST INCREASE IN TENSION. Don't forge this very crucial point. This is what I am trying to teach you and this is what makes Optimized Gauges. Remember where you heard this. Not from the big string companies who don't know shit, you heard it from Alex, the guy who builds Zachary guitars. Admit it or not, but this will change your life forever and you will never forget it. From this point on there is no turning back and Kicking and screaming you will have the proper strings on your instrument and they will be Optimized gauges.
The interesting phenomena is that a mathematically EQUAL tension set does NOT feel balanced. As the strings get lower in pitch the tension must increase for them to FEEL equal within the set. I literally did years of experimentation before I went public with my findings and realized that equal tension is NOT optimum. Only Progressive Tension is Optimum and is what actually feels the most balanced to the player in terms of tension.
So if you are a bit on the slow side, just remember one thing.
ZOG are Progressive Tension or another way to describe them is Even/Graduated Tension, which means an even/graduated increase in tension from high to low string.
Regardless of the mathematics the idiotic argument which claims that its the "feel" that counts and not the numbers is total ignorance. The fact is that its actually not the math which matters, its the feel but the math is totally consistent with the feel. An under tensioned string within a set feels wrong and is WRONG. An under tensioned string is unbalanced in tone and in feel. An under tensioned string will not produce a clear tone with appropriate sustain. An under tensioned string simply does not work physically. An under tensioned string will feel under tensioned as simple as that. The feel is totally consistent with the math.
Here is an example of an idiot whose ego got in the way of reasoning. Its a good thing he can be a somebody on a chat forum.
In theory it sounds fairly decent, however, what about the people who are used to, and happy with our current sounds? According to Zachary, we're still idiots. Timothy Lyons
Yes, you are an idiot for not realizing that its not that you are happy with your current sound. Its not even that you are used to what you got. Its actually that you have not made the effort to compare an Optimized set against your current set. Decreasing the tension as the strings get bigger is just totally wrong and is detrimental to the tone of the instrument. String tension should increase, not decrease as the strings get fatter. Your current set is doing the total opposite to what physics dictates.
People who say they want to "TRY" ZOG strings bug the hell out of me. This is because they show their ignorance and I have no patience for ignorance.
There is nothing to be curious about. After reading my Strings page you should know that this is the way it MUST be and the way it will be. I didn't invent physics, I just corrected the big mistake in commercial string sets. Due to ignorance and/or disinterest you have been playing sets lacking any design principle and sets that were plain WRONG. When you put on ZOG you will put on the first correct set on your instrument and use this set for the first time in your life. Sad, but better late than never.
Why you should Purchase Zachary Optimum Gauges Guitar Strings
I am making available my new Zachary string sets to all Zachary players and even anyone who is a viewer of this web site and may not even own a Zachary guitar. You need these strings regardless of what guitar or style you play. Its simply the law of physics that dictates what is right and what is wrong. Those who are knowledgeable and who care, discover this. Those who ore ignorant and don't care will simply use the same old shit your hero endorses. Guitar players in general are a stupid bunch when it comes to technical issues and all the companies know it. Never fear, you will ALL be using Optimized sets, its just a matter of time now, since the cat has been let out of the bag. The smarter players will just use them sooner, like right away.
Getting ZOG is the best thing you can do, regardless of what guitar you put them on.
There is no advertising of these strings, no endorsers, no hype, just the laws of physics. Its not me who is telling you these strings are correct and what you must use. Its simply the laws a physics that I am bringing to your attention. Science dictates what is right and what is wrong. Science dictates what will make your guitar work well and what will not.
Notice how my prices are very reasonable? About the same price as all those incorrect sets you buy at your favorite music store. I could go on and tell you the Voodoo behind these strings and charge you triple the price. I could nice you to death be insincere and not call you an Idiot 263 times. I could get some guitar products sales guy like Steve Vai to sell you these strings and have to pay him big money. Most of you would believe all that and worship me as a hero and the smartest man on earth but there is no Voodoo here people, just the correct gauges. Simple as that!
All is needed is your brain. Try hard to understand this concept. I have faith in you. If you need some time then take the time. It may come to you in a few days, a few months or even a few years if you are somewhat mentally challenged. But it will come to you eventually. I say sooner is better than later.
You will notice immediate improvement in your tone and in how your guitar feels. As I mentioned, I have spent countless hours experimenting and studying this subject and then having custom strings manufactured to my specs. Now I have arrived at these Zachary Optimized Gauges and sets. There is no going back for me or for you.
Wait a minute! Hold up!
Before you Order any ZOG strings, please consider things carefully and read this "WARNING" from a moron who hangs out on guitar forums and circle jerks with other morons. He is offended by my approach. You bet I am self confident, how can anyone ever accomplish anything without self confidence. I discovered string-set Optimization and created ZOG and this idiot didn't. You bet I am a Genius.
I've seen the Zachary guitars site a few times over the years, and I would suggest that anyone considering his strings first get a general feel for this guys approach, attitude, and...general level of "self-confidence" before giving his information too much weight. One of the classic definitions of a crazy person is the guy who can explain in great detail why he's right and everybody else in the history of his field is wrong. One out of a million times, that guy is a genius. The other 999,999 times....
Cheers, Martin Keith (guitar builder) email@example.com
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