There have been a few new innovations in guitar strings over last several years. New long life coatings and new string alloys are just some of the new ideas manufacturers have come up with to sell their strings. Some have made a real difference to players, others haven’t. At the end of the day it is a personal things for each and every player.
Dean Markley have come up with their own new innovation with their new patent-pending Hyper-Elliptical winding process. This is foundation for the Helix line of guitar and bass guitar strings. Here I review the Helix Electric 9-42 gauge guitar strings.
The Helix string’s unique elliptical winding process allows Dean Markley to add more mass compared to regular strings of the same diameter. The additional windings over a standard string also give the strings a smoother feel. Dean Markley say that this also gives the benefit of a brighter and more resonant tone, and greater string life.
I strung up both my Ibanez RG470 and my custom MIM/Warmoth Strat to see how the Helix Electrics fared.
The first test of a string is how long it takes to stretch and settle in. The Helix Electrics had a reasonably short settling in period, and once this was over they stayed fairly well in tune on both my floating double locking bridge equipped Ibanez and my more traditional Strat.
Tone-wise the Helix Electrics have a fairly full and balanced tone, and definitely sound a little “bigger” than the equivalent gauge of a regular electric guitar string set. If you prefer the bigger sound of a larger string gauge, but have difficulties with bends and the like then you might find the Helix Electrics to be a good compromise.
The smooth feel of the wound strings makes them feel particularly nice under the fingers. String bends and slides are a nice and smooth over the frets as well.
I’ve had the Helix Electrics installed for a few weeks now, and they are still holding up quite nicely. While they don’t sound quite as vibrant as they did when first installed (what strings do), they are no where near sounding lifeless.