GHS Carlos Santana Big Core

Legendary guitar tech rené martinez helped develop the pure nickel wrap over a larger core wire concept for GHS, and he also showed the strings to Carlos Santana—who dug them so much he adopted them as his signature GHS Big Core series ($10 retail/$6 street).
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While, to my eternal sadness, the Big Cores didn’t bestow me with Santana’s near endless sustain, they delivered a fat and punchy tone, a tight feel, and sonic longevity. When I received a BCM set (gauged .0115, .015, .019, .028, .038, .056) six months ago, I put the strings on my Epiphone Elitist Country Deluxe, and immediately recorded the spanking new wires to Pro Tools LE direct through a M-Audio FireWire 410. After using the guitar on 25 recording sessions, five live gigs, and countless home practice sessions, I tracked the now half-year-old strings back to Pro Tools.

The September 24, 2007 recordings documented a thick, almost thud-y attack with a robust snap on the B and high-E strings. There were no overly ringing harmonics or stinging treble—the roundwound nickel strings almost sounded broken in from the get go. String-to-string articulation was clear, clean, and balanced. During testing, I did not clean the strings even once, and despite my less-than-nurturing treatment, the February 25, 2008 recordings revealed the strings lost just a little snap, but had retained most of their punch and chunk. The tonal shift was fairly obvious when presented with a recorded A/B comparison, but when bashing around live, the strings sounded as sharp and revved-up as they ever had. These are fabulous strings for rockers, rockabilly rebels, jazz cats, and others who desire meaty warmth and clarity.

Kudos: Feel great. Sound great. Tone lasts through at least six months of torture.
Concerns: None.
Contact: GHS Strings, (800) 388-4447;