GHS Guitar Boomers Zakk Wylde Signature
GHS Guitar Boomers Zakk Wylde Signature

Guitar Boomers Zakk Wylde Signature, Guitar String from GHS in the Guitar Boomers series.

crankyrayhanky 04/21/2012

GHS Guitar Boomers Zakk Wylde Signature : crankyrayhanky's user review

« Thunderous tone, but at what cost? »

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In 1985 I started playing with heavy picks and light strings 9-42. By 2002, I changed to light picks and heavy strings, the ZW 10-60.

I have a Gibson Gothic Studio Les Paul from 2001. I saw Black Label Society in a local bar supporting the disc Stronger than Death. The venue was small as the band was not yet established; I was right up front to watch Zakk belt out awesome tone...I was immediately driven to acquire such a lethal, brutal, and clear sound.
I slapped these 10-60 strings on my Les Paul.

At first, I played in standard E with lots of drop D tuning; eventually I went down to standard D# with lots of drop C#. I stayed there for about 5 years, then settled into standard D/dropC.

The tonal value was increased dramatically for heavy hi gain rhythm riffing. I went from wondering where Zakk got that tone to being immersed- all due to the string gauge. lighter/medium gauges just don't cut it- not enough power and too much floppiness. The heavier gauge really provides a tight modern metal sound. Lead tones ooze with fullness and quality. I play with an aggressive approach, so adjusting to the thickness was not a big challenge- it actually kept my vibrato in check and prevented the over bending I usually wander into with lighter strings.

But there is a huge negative side...all these years, I tried to set my guitars up on my own. I'm no expert, but I understand the basic mechanics of intonation, string adjustment, truss rod, etc. But I couldn't get my Les Paul into proper intonation. The band I was in played a lot of straight ahead pop/punk/rock, so I basically tuned for the song I was playing. A few times I played with other people and attempted to play larger 6 string and jazzier chords- the intonation was so awful it made it impossible. I finally brought my guitar in for a pro setup.

The luthier- well respected in the area and works with top pros- said that the guitar would not ever be intonated properly with these strings, unless I was willing to drill new holes. I believed this to be accurate due to my own explorations into not having enough room on the adjustments for intonation. Instead, I choose to go with 10-52 gauge and that solved the problem. Now the guitar plays like a dream!

I asked how Zakk can do this, and the reply was that Zakk probably has a fleet of techs making custom adjustments. Bottom line, I have about 50 packs of these 10-60 in storage; while I love the tone, it looks like they are going to eBay.

Yes, I miss the bold thick strings, but 10-52 is not too far away, and I do not wish to drill new holes. Knowing what I know now, I would NOT buy again.