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Picato Electrics & Vinci Acoustics get heavy lady test

Distributed by Keith Hand Musical Supplies, (Contact Details).
Set sampled: Vinci 'Phosphor Bronze Acoustic strings, gauge 013'. About £4.25 a set.

American made Vincis are one of those esoteric names that a lot of people have I heard of, but few seem to have actually tried, despite the fact that they've been available over here for some while now. We put a set of their Phosphor Bronzes to the test, using our resident solid-topped Ibanez dreadnought as a reference.

First thing to impress about the Vincis was their tactile feel — tight, close, high quality windings which don't scrub the skin off your fingers the moment you play a bass note. And this quality also helped them to settle in quickly and hold their tuning immaculately well — a definitive plus point, that! They're a very flexible string; ideal for Flash Harrys, or for the primarily electric player who likes to switch to acoustic now and then but might otherwise encounter problems bending a heavier gauge string.

Soundwise, the Vincis are superb. Excellent tone and balance, and bags of projection; very bright yet without being at all tinny. They bring out the best in a good-quality guitar, and on cheaper instruments could well help to counter any inherent 'boominess' by adding a bit of power to the top end.

For live work they have a very up-front presence, and miked-up or recorded they sound great. They last pretty well, too, and 'go off' gradually — I left this set on until they were positively geriatric, and have no complaints on that score.

Overall then, top marks for the Vincis. They may not be as easy to find as a lot of other brands, but if you're after a quality acoustic string then it's worth scouring the shops and giving them a try to see what you think.

Okay, they're not cheap — phosphor bronze is an expensive material — but as the saying goes, you pays your money and you takes your choice!

Manufactured by General Music Strings, (Contact Details).
Set Sampled: Picato 'Electromatic 'Rock'n' Roll' Ultra Light Gauge' (010). RRP £3.85.

Picato strings are almost certainly one of the two or three most familiar names on the market. They may lack the snob appeal of some of the fashionable American-made strings but, particularly when you realise that there are many times more brand-names coming out of the States than there are string factories (go on, be a devil and work it out!) you can soon see through what is going on in many cases.

Picato, on the other hand, are an honest string, made for many years by just the one company and sold without all that hype that goes on elsewhere.

The set we sampled were tried on a Fender with a particularly vicious tremelo arm which can play havoc with your tuning — especially on a fairly light gauge of strings, such as these 10's. Nevertheless, the strings were given the full treatment with the 'wang bar' and seemed to hold their tuning as well as any other that we've tried on this instrument.

One oddity was that the Picato set came with two third strings, one wound and one plain. There can't be many rock players left (nor many others, for that matter) who still use a wound third but it's very nice to be given the choice — wonder what becomes of all those discarded wound thirds, though?

Overall the Picatos seemed to last fairly well and even when the top three strings began to show some tarnishing it was some while before the sound began to suffer as, of course, it will in time with any string. Overall they seemed to perform very well indeed and appeared to last in the way that one would expect a premium grade string to.

Compared with the asking price of some other strings on the market we'd suggest these Picatos would be worth trying as a more economic alternative. You certainly shouldn't have any trouble finding these strings locally and you'd be well advised not to overlook them just because they're so familiar a name and don't, perhaps, have some false exclusivity tag!

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The Oscar

Music UK - Copyright: Folly Publications


Music UK - May 1983

Feature by Katy 88

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