From the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix to Rush and Guns N’ Roses, Rotosound bass strings have powered rock’s most iconic recordings

Jimi Hendrix and Rotosound strings
(Image credit: Rotosound)

Rotosound strings are a mainstay of bass guitarists today, and it’s no wonder – the brand’s history and influence on rock ‘n’ roll stretches back to the music’s earliest days.

The company was founded in 1958 by James How, a British engineer who became obsessed with zithers after viewing the 1949 film The Third Man, which featured the instrument on its soundtrack. Having amassed some 250 broken or stringless zithers, How repaired and sold them, and with the proceeds developed a semi-automated string-winding machine, the first in England.

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Richard Bienstock

Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.