There is a lot of speculation about the vintage guitar sound of a Gibson Les Paul. The modern models are not able to sound like an original 1950s Les Paul. Of course there are uncountable reports about the wood, the pickups and the stop-tail-pieces and this is why I do not want to concentrate on these topics in this text. The question that comes to my mind is: If the sound of the Beano Album by Eric Clapton is such a legendary one or the first records of The Rolling Stones sound in a fantastic way, could there be any factors to which we should pay a little bit more attention?
We all know that the first Les Pauls has been manufactured in the early 1950s. The most legendary ones are those of 1958 and 1959. The first records of The Rolling Stones have been recorded in the early 60s, the Beano Album by Eric Clapton in the middle of the 1960s.
At this time roundwound strings have not been invented yet. These kind of strings appeared for the first time in the middle of the 1960s. Therefore it is possible that as well The Rolling Stone as Eric Clapton used flatwounds.
To me the influence of the strings on the sound seems to be hardly underrated and after the plectron they are the first crucial factor on the sound of a guitar.
The sound of flatwound strings differs from the roundwound-sound. They sound a bit more round, muffled and got a smooth attack.
Especially the bridge pickup of the Fender Stratocaster is known to have quite a lot treble. This seems to be meaningful if you pay attention to the fact, that the first Fender Stratocaster, as well as the Fender Telecaster or Gibson Les Pauls have been developed and tuned with/for flatwounds.
Todays strings are mostly roundwounds made from different materials.
The first flatwounds have been made of nickel. Those nickel-made strings are getting sold by Pyramid.