So, having played around with my Intrepid for a few months, I was really struggling to figure out what exactly to do with it. Most amps I tried really didn't like the low F#, and since I'm not a huge Meshuggah fan, I didn't really have much to do with it on its own.
So, I decided it would be fun to try out a high A string. However, since the Intrepid is 28.625" scale, I would need one of Gary Goodman's special strings from octave4plus.com.
Since these are apparently handmade to order, it took about a week and a half for them to show up. Not too bad, overall. They also came with a page full of instructions!
Apparently, you have to let these stretch out in order to have them able to reach such a high tuning at such a long scale. So, according to this documentation:
1) First, tune to high E.
2) Wait a few minutes.
3) Tune up to high G.
4) Wait 5-10 minutes for longer scale guitars.
5) Bring up to high G#.
6)Wait another length of time.
7) Gently ease up to high A. If the string doesn't seem to be moving when you turn the knob, STOP and wait for it to stretch out some more.
Wow, this is complex! Alright. So, I put a string on (these things are like human hairs!) and started an episode of Top Gear on my laptop. 15 minutes later, I gently began to ease it up to high G. It tuned smoothly up, then held tune at G.
I left it there for the rest of the episode (45 minutes) then began to ease it up. It again tuned smoothly up towards G#, then suddenly, 'ping'!
The ball end launched out the back of the guitar, and the string was dead. Sigh. Now I know why they require that you order at least 5 of these damn things!
By being extremely careful and waiting 15-20 minutes between moving up half steps, I eventually got the second one up to high A. Gingerly, I began to lightly play it, and it held! Volume was good, it balanced pretty well tension-wise with the 9-42+56 Elixir set that was on there, and it sounded pretty good!
So far so good. I played it lightly for a while, then left it overnight. Did the same the following day. Damn, these things are a lot of work!
The fourth day or so, I jammed on it with my brother and it held up just fine. Then, I brought it up to my room for a little cool-down practice to get to grips with it (I tuned it AEAEAAEA for some crazy drone slide fun) and generally had a blast.
Woke up at 5am to the 'ping' of the string self-destructing.
A bit annoyed, I put a third string on, spent an hour getting it up to high A. It broke two days later mid-jam, and I wasn't playing very hard.
So, now I have 3 .006 strings, and I've restrung my Intrepid to low F#. These things are more of a bother than they're worth at this scale length, in my opinion. I certainly couldn't trust them live, and at an hour or more to restring, I couldn't deal with it dying on me.
I mean, don't get me wrong! It is a technically impressive feat that a .006 string can even exist, and exist tuned to such a high note on such a long scale! But, after going through half of my supply of these things and having them last barely longer in terms of playtime than it took to get them on (and I am NOT a hard-hitting player by any stretch of the imagination, not on an 8!) I'm gonna have to give these a .
I simply cannot trust them to hold pitch and survive even one live show. It's not my string path (totally clean, no burrs, although some sanding might be in order to truly ensure that); it's not my technique (light pick attack, little to no bending/vibrato on the high string, scale length an inch and change below 'designed' spec.) They simply don't work for me, and if they're this bad on a 28.625" scale instrument, I can't imagine dealing with them on the 30" scale, which they are ostensibly designed for.
Please note though: the Intrepid is not a top-shelf custom instrument. It will likely need some cleanup and work before it is truly ready to use these, and by not doing so myself, I may have skewed the results.
If you have any questions, arguments, or complaints, please feel free to post them. I've got three more of these left, and I'm willing to try again if someone can give me a really, really good reason to (or some factor I may not have considered!)
EDIT: Gary got in touch with me, and chastised me a bit for not talking to him first. Indeed, getting in touch with him would probably have been a good idea; I just wanted to share my total-n00b experiences with these strings. He has even generously offered to take all 3 strings back and send me new ones free of charge. What service!
Please note, for anyone who wishes to order these: specify scale length, bridge type, and distance from tuner to nut, as these are all apparently important factors in deciding which string to send you!
Also, others have recommended
-sanding the string path with 600 grit sandpaper to really smooth things out
-letting the string stretch overnight at high E before following the rest of the instructions
Finally, please note that I am very impressed with the fact that these strings do work at all! My main point in posting this review was to let everyone know that these are truly not ordinary strings and really need a lot of care and attention and time to get them functioning properly... so if you're impatient, you will break them.
You did everything right, it sounds like. The fact is, that I have not been able to hold a High A on anything other than the 25.5 Bison. I tried on both the RG2228 and the Cooley LACS and busted strings within hours. With the 25.5 Bison, using the Goodman .006's, I have broken 2 strings ever since I have had the guitar, and one of them was really my fault because I was seeing just how far I could push it. Im fairly convinced for high A, its gotta be 25.5, shorter, or at the very least fanned.
If the headstock, tuning machines, and nut were perfectly designed for High A with every possible favorable factor working in harmony, I think you could go longer in scale, but thats just a guess based on where I have seen string breaks occur.