How can I buy Kemp Strings?
Kemp Strings can now be bought from this online shop. Just click on the Shop tab.
Can I get Kemp Strings optimised for my specific instrument?
I can design strings for any guitar or similar instrument but prices and time scales depend on the number of requests received for particular instruments.
I don’t have a tremolo arm. Are Kemp Strings strings for me?
Yes. The feature that will be of greatest use to the majority of players is that Kemp Strings have unprecidented matching of sensitivity for conventional pitch bends. You don’t need a tremolo arm to appreciate the benefits of Kemp Strings.
What’s the science behind Kemp Strings? Are they the same as equal tension strings?
Kemp Strings have been designed through research carried out at the University of St Andrews as published in the journal PLOS ONE:
Kemp JA (2017) The physics of unwound and wound strings on the electric guitar applied to the pitch intervals produced by tremolo/vibrato arm systems. PLOS ONE 12(9): e0184803
Kemp Strings are carefully designed to balance the engineering strains of the strings, not just have equal tensions. Other strings may have balanced tensions until you bend them, but only Kemp Strings will give matched pitch intervals when you apply the same force in bending them.
My trem doesn’t return to pitch when I use the tremolo arm. What can I do?
Make sure you clean and lubricate the nut and areas at the bridge/saddles that the strings touch. Then tune up, do a full pull up and release on the tremolo arm and retune, then do another full pull up and release on the tremolo arm and retune and keep repeating this process until the the tuning is stable (no retuning necessary after full pull up and release). If you do a big pitch dive and release on the bar the pitch may be off afterwards, but don’t retune, just pull up on the bar and release and your tuning will reset nicely. The above is assuming you are using the instrument with the bridge floating. If you have your trem set up so that it is flush with the body (so the bar can’t be raised) then repeatedly tune after a dive bomb until the tuning is stable. If you do a big conventional string bend then the tuning may be off afterwards, in which case press the tremolo arm down and release to reset the tuning. Here’s my video demonstrating all this:
Can I fine-tune trem chords?
Trem chord tuning is very sensitive the distance of stretchable string behind the nut and saddle heights. Increasing the height of the saddles above the tremolo mounting screws increases the pitch change for a given tremolo arm movement (and lowering has the opposite effect).
Standard Strats® have a neck radius of 9.5 inches. I have set up my strings on my Strat® to have a radius of 10 inches when measured with a GW Understring Radius Gauge. The top of the low E string on my set of 9s is 5mm above the top of one tremolo mounting screw while the top of the high E string is 4.5mm above the top of the other tremolo mounting screw. Larger neck radius values can be accomodated EITHER by raising the tremolo bridge screws very slightly and lowering all the saddles very slightly OR decreasing the neck angle and lowering all the saddles very slightly. Smaller radius values can be accomodated by increasing the neck angle very slightly and raising all the saddles very slightly to compensate. The distances of stretchable string behind the nut must match the instrument that the strings have been optimised for in order to get the best for in-tune trem chords. Any changes to tremolo mounting screws and neck angle should be carried out by an experienced guitar technician. Please do email questions including requests for sets designed for extreme radius values to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is the intonation different for Kemp Strings in comparison to regular strings? What about 3 saddle vintage style Telecaster bridges?
Yes. Setting the saddles positions for correct intonation in standard tuning after installing Kemp Strings means the low E, A, D and G strings will be close to equal. This is actually a proof that the strings are very close to being exactly equal in terms of sensitivity to player control. This feature is also happens to be handy for vintage Telecaster (uncompensated) bridge designs that have pairs of strings on three saddles.
I have a locking birdge and conventional nut. Do I want Kemp Strings optimised for Strat® or for locking systems?
You want to use the strings optimised for Strat® if the distance of strechable string behind the conventional nut for the low E, A, D and G strings fans as on standard Strat®. Original Floyd Rose® bridges have a radius of 12 inches with the (removable) factory shim in place and this is compatible with Kemp Strings optimised for Strat® if a standard nut is in place.
Can I use Kemp Strings in different tunings like Drop D?
You can use Kemp Strings in different tunings but the trem chords won’t be in tune unless the strings have been designed for that tuning. D standard (DGCFAD) works well for trem chords with standard tuning Kemp Strings as the lowest pitch four strings are in fourths. Please email email@example.com if you would like enquire about availability of strings for specific tunings.
If a set is optimised for Strat® or optimised for locking systems, does that mean they must be used on that sort of guitar?
No. The feature that will be of greatest use to the majority of players is that Kemp Strings have unprecidented matching of sensitivity for conventional pitch bends (and this isn’t nearly as sensitive to individual instruments as the trem chords aspect).
Strat® is a registered trademark of Fender Musical Instrument Corporation (FMIC)which is not affiliated with Kemp Strings.
Floyd Rose® is a registered trademark of Floyd Rose Marketing, Inc., which is not affiliated with Kemp Strings.