The other day we were taking a pile of old records down the Record & Tape Exchange. Before consigning them to oblivion we gave each one a quick play just to check that they really weren't wanted. And mysteriously, a pattern began to emerge. Most of them had strings on them. Over and over again, interesting ideas got swamped under a glutinous sheen of stringy cheese and were thus glued up and ruined.

No, we're not saying that strings are always an abomination, but it is noteworthy how often their casual use vandalises what might have been worthwhile music.

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