The DR Zebra strings are a pretty interesting set, ideally suited for acoustic-electric guitar applications.
They perform well in an acoustic setting, however, they also have some unique features that make them shine when playing through a guitar pickup.
Before delving into the string construction specifically, it is first important to make sure that you know some basic information about guitar pickups, as the construction of the DR Zebras is related to the way a guitar pickup operates.
In simplistic terms, a pickup is a series of magnets that work to convert the mechanical energy of your string(or in other words the string vibrations) into electrical energy.
Accordingly, the magnetic properties of both your pickup materials as well as your string materials are important, as they both influence this interaction.
Most acoustic strings have a steel core, with a bronze-based wrap wire as it lends itself to a sweeter acoustic sound, whereas electric strings tend to skip the bronze in favor of more steel.
Since an electric guitar typically doesn’t have to produce acoustic sound, it can thus run strings that are more tailored to excel in an electric environment.
So if bronze is great for acoustic sound, and steel is great for electric, is there a best of both worlds situation for an acoustic-electric guitar?
Enter the DR Zebra strings. Typically, an acoustic-electric guitar relies primarily on the steel core of the string to impart disturbances to the magnetic field of the pickup when plugged in.
However, the DR Zebra wrap wire alternates wrap between bronze and steel, allowing the steel in the wrap wire to also impart these disturbances.
The result is that the Zebras give you the oomph of an electric string when plugged in, but the sweetness of an acoustic string when unplugged.
As you’d expect with a half bronze and half steel wire wrap, you are going to get a sound that is somewhere between that of a string with an all-steel wrap wire and a string with an all bronze wrap wire.
The DR Zebras certainly add punch to your tone when plugged, so the real question is whether or not you retain enough of the pure bronze acoustic tone to suit your tastes.
In my opinion, you do. I don’t find that it really detracts or brightens up the acoustic sound too much so I say they are worth a try.
The DR Zebras are available in all the common sizes, ranging from Extra Light (.009’s) to Medium Heavy (.013’s). Unless you play with fishing line or barbed wire for strings, they are available in your size.
The DR Zebras are a great set of strings that are worth trying out if you play your guitar in an electric-acoustic setting.
If you only play acoustic, stick to a set of regular strings, but if you are looking for a little more punch when plugged in, these strings will suit you nicely.