Strings

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peter.coombe
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Strings

Post by peter.coombe » Fri Feb 20, 2015 6:09 pm

I would be interested to know what your favourite guitar strings are.

The first time I attended Port Fairy one of the finger style guitar players told me I should be using Elixir strings. After the festival I made some enquiries and at around $45 a set, it was no way, I can't afford that! Jeepers creepers, 10 sets and that is $450!! Anyway, now 5 years later I discovered artistguitars.com.au and ordered 3 sets of Nanoweb 11-52. She was right. My new Blackwood guitar does sound sweeter with these strings and they are supposed to last longer and there is much less string squeak. I'm convinced. However, if there is any chance of breaking a string (i.e. during set up) I won't use them. Longer term, yep, and hopefully much less string changes.

Peter
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scripsit
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Re: Strings

Post by scripsit » Fri Feb 20, 2015 6:47 pm

Peter

Try http://www.stringsbymail.com

I don't like the feel of coated strings, and prefer the standard D'Addario Phosphor Bronze.

I buy these online in packs of 10 for $US45 or so (0.13 to 0.56). With postage and the recent collapse in exchange rate it's still only about $AU60 or so delivered.

I notice they sell the Elixir strings for $US13.45 a pack, so there is an option to get these much more cheaply, too.

By the way, 11s are very light for fingerstyle, especially if there is any drop tuning going on, and I would have thought most people preferred 12s at least.

Kym

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peter.coombe
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Re: Strings

Post by peter.coombe » Fri Feb 20, 2015 7:29 pm

Yes well I had been using D'Addario phosphor bronze 12s, and got them from juststrings.com together with some mandolin strings. Elixir don't allow the American string suppliers to send international. I can't get them from juststrings.com. Maybe some American suppliers will send, but they are running a risk of being black listed if Elixir find out. I was using D'Addario flattops 12's, which is similar to what I use on my mandolins, but the local music shop suggested I try 11's and I do prefer the lighter strings. I also tried 13's and hated them. I guess people have their own preferences, and I would like to know what that is. Thanks.

Peter
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ozziebluesman
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Re: Strings

Post by ozziebluesman » Fri Feb 20, 2015 8:50 pm

Hi Peter,
Elixir Nanoweb strings for me. They have a nice feel and tone imo. I also buy from stringsbymail.
I've worked in a Music Store for over twenty years and I can't remember ever breaking a new acoustic string while fitting. Working in the store I had the opportunity to try many types of strings supplied by the string company reps. Elixirs are my favs but strings are a personal choice as already said Peter.
Very rear a new string breaks unless you tune out of the pitch range.
Cheers
Alan

I used to always hold my breath when I changed the G octave string on a extra light set for a 12 string or a light set on a mandolin. :roll:
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Bob Connor
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Re: Strings

Post by Bob Connor » Fri Feb 20, 2015 9:38 pm

Elixirs are all I use Peter.

When I was still gigging I could get 3-4 months out of a set. An uncoated set would last a couple of weeks at most.

I found at places like Port Fairy that normal strings would last about a day and a half. (all those greasy hands from the food stalls next door to the InstrumentWorx tent - not to mention the Shebeen) lol

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peter.coombe
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Re: Strings

Post by peter.coombe » Fri Feb 20, 2015 9:39 pm

Well I don't think I have ever broken a string while fitting new strings, but when filing nut grooves or getting the bridge height right or fitting the bridge on a mandolin, yep. The frequent tuning and detuning wears the string at the string post and eventually it can snap. On guitars it happens mostly on the G string and high E string. On mandolins it happens on the A and E strings. They always snap at the string post.

Peter
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Re: Strings

Post by ozziebluesman » Fri Feb 20, 2015 10:37 pm

Hi Peter,

Like you I use $4 Darco strings for setting up a new guitar build and the Elixirs when she is set up to rock.

I find the Elixir 80/20 Bronze a bit brighter than the Phosphor Bronze.

I think Maton use Elixir 12 53s on most of there acoustics.

On my shorter scale guitar builds the Elixir 11 52s I feel suit finger picking well.

My own 000 I run in Eb and I really like the 12 56s Elixirs on that particular guitar.

Cheers

Alan
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Re: Strings

Post by Hard Road » Sat Feb 21, 2015 12:08 am

I am a big fan of Elixir strings, EXP's are not a bad string either, not quite as smooth as Elixir but they last a similar amount of time. I will throw a cheap set of Alice or some other rubbish on for the initial setups, always bust a High E or a B string taking them on and off. Interestingly enough a lot of people don't like to record with coated strings, I have a mate who smashes out bar chords in pubs for a crust, around 150 nights a year. He hates wound strings and swears by Thomastik Plectrums in 12's, even though he is lucky to get 2 nights out of them. I was out of Plectrums one time and he had to settle for Elixirs, I was at the pub that night and he come up to me after his first set and asked how was the sound, I had to admit that he was right, the Plectrums had a much better tone live then the Elixirs, at least on his guitar, I guess the coated ones are not going to vibrate/oscillate as freely as normal strings.

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demonx
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Re: Strings

Post by demonx » Sat Feb 21, 2015 3:56 pm

For electrics, I like the UK made Rotosound strings, so I assumed I would for acoustic also, however I have discovered I do not.

Sounds like I need to suss out these elixir strings to see what the fuss is about!

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Re: Strings

Post by Eric Reid » Mon Feb 23, 2015 7:24 pm

Hard Road wrote:I am a big fan of Elixir strings, EXP's are not a bad string either, not quite as smooth as Elixir but they last a similar amount of time. I will throw a cheap set of Alice or some other rubbish on for the initial setups, always bust a High E or a B string taking them on and off. Interestingly enough a lot of people don't like to record with coated strings, I have a mate who smashes out bar chords in pubs for a crust, around 150 nights a year. He hates wound strings and swears by Thomastik Plectrums in 12's, even though he is lucky to get 2 nights out of them. I was out of Plectrums one time and he had to settle for Elixirs, I was at the pub that night and he come up to me after his first set and asked how was the sound, I had to admit that he was right, the Plectrums had a much better tone live then the Elixirs, at least on his guitar, I guess the coated ones are not going to vibrate/oscillate as freely as normal strings.
I'm glad I'm not the only one who hates the sound of coated strings. Longer life? Maybe that's because they sound dead from the start.

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Mark McLean
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Re: Strings

Post by Mark McLean » Tue Feb 24, 2015 10:15 pm

+1 for Elixir.
I like Nanoweb Custom Light 11-52
But definitely don't buy them over the counter in Australia.

There are plenty of online suppliers where you can get them for a fraction of the local price. I use Strings and Beyond. Elixirs are currently 8 sets for $US100 - plus shipping, but that is pretty reasonable. Some of the US suppliers state that they won't export Elixirs from the US, but I have found that if you just go ahead and place an order they send them anyway.
Mark

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Re: Strings

Post by Aphelion Instruments » Wed Feb 25, 2015 7:31 am

Yeah i agree elixers all the way

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Nick
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Re: Strings

Post by Nick » Wed Feb 25, 2015 8:20 am

Elixir on the Acoustic builds (bought online. As you've discovered Peter, over the counter and it's cash + your first born!) and GHS's on electric builds unless the customer has a preference for another brand in both instances. Sometimes I tweak though, I used Thomastik Infeild on an archtop once and it sounded OK until a Jazz friend of mine suggested a different brand and gauge (D'Addario's from memory) and it just made the archtop sound that much better.
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Re: Strings

Post by Woodsy23 » Wed Feb 25, 2015 12:40 pm

With the current exchange rate, Exilir nanoweb from Turramurra Music for $20 seems a good deal (free shipping if you buy 3 or more).
http://www.turramusic.com.au/pages/Cata ... ?CIID=1787
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Re: Strings

Post by Hard Road » Wed Feb 25, 2015 2:34 pm

Mark McLean wrote:+1 for Elixir.
I like Nanoweb Custom Light 11-52
But definitely don't buy them over the counter in Australia.

There are plenty of online suppliers where you can get them for a fraction of the local price. I use Strings and Beyond. Elixirs are currently 8 sets for $US100 - plus shipping, but that is pretty reasonable. Some of the US suppliers state that they won't export Elixirs from the US, but I have found that if you just go ahead and place an order they send them anyway.
Mark
"The definitely don't buy in Australia!" line I find very offensive. When you have your face pushed up against the glass wondering what happened to your favourite local Guitar Shop, you can console yourself in the fact that he had it coming for being to dear? Fact is wholesalers/retailers in Australia don't have a magical "Threshold" and every other developed country in the world protects their local employment, Here they pay GST, Customs Clearance, warehousing costs, reps on the road, advertising etc on every item, even a 10c screw. The fact is we have too many people in this country that are happy to work for our higher Australian wages and shop in an economy where wages are much lower. This uneven balance of trade will have dire consequences on unemployment and our high standards of living eventually, but your strings will be cheaper :cl

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peter.coombe
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Re: Strings

Post by peter.coombe » Wed Feb 25, 2015 4:23 pm

artistguitars.com.au based in Sydney - Elixir strings 10 sets for $120. Factor in the exchange rate and cost of postage it ain't worth buying from the USA any more. Different situation if something is not available here, but things are changing as the exchange rate goes down and the postage costs from the USA become more and more ridiculous. Pity Spruce trees don't grow here. I just ordered some Red Spruce and the postage cost was 50% of the cost of the wood!

Peter
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Strings
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Re: Strings

Post by Strings » Wed Feb 25, 2015 6:26 pm

I buy my strings over the counter as i like the face to face aspect of my local music store
plus i always get a discount.
I could also prolly get them from work but they don't use d'addario phos bronze which i has used for the last however long i have been playing for ;)

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Mark McLean
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Re: Strings

Post by Mark McLean » Wed Feb 25, 2015 7:22 pm

Hard Road wrote: "The definitely don't buy in Australia!" line I find very offensive. When you have your face pushed up against the glass wondering what happened to your favourite local Guitar Shop, you can console yourself in the fact that he had it coming for being to dear? Fact is wholesalers/retailers in Australia don't have a magical "Threshold" and every other developed country in the world protects their local employment, Here they pay GST, Customs Clearance, warehousing costs, reps on the road, advertising etc on every item, even a 10c screw. The fact is we have too many people in this country that are happy to work for our higher Australian wages and shop in an economy where wages are much lower. This uneven balance of trade will have dire consequences on unemployment and our high standards of living eventually, but your strings will be cheaper :cl
OK - that is fair comment. I guess what I should have said is "Definitely don't buy them in single units over the counter", and that is likely to be true anywhere in the world, not just in Oz. I am impressed to see them offered at a pretty good price by Turramurra music if you buy in larger quantities. I will go to them for my next lot. And they are my local guitar shop (or pretty close). It must be hard to make a living as a suburban shopfront, but they seem to be diversifying into online sales and I hope it goes well for them.
Mark

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Dennis Leahy
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Re: Strings

Post by Dennis Leahy » Thu Feb 26, 2015 6:00 am

I played D'Addario phosphor bronze lights (12-53) for many years - nothing else I tried sounded as sweet and pure and articulate.

Another luthier suggested I try John Pearse phosphor bronze strings, and I did. For the first time, I tried a string that sounded almost exactly the same as my favorite D'Addario phosphor bronze lights, and even knowing that it is impossible to accurately remember sound (I guess that is what frequency spectrum analyzers are for), the bass strings seemed to sound a bit more articulate (less muddy), especially in dropped tunings. Time went by, and I realized that I had the Pearse strings on (and still sounding good) longer than the D'Addarios's ever lasted. So with equal or better sound, and longer lasting - I was sold.

But, you need to establish a professional/luthier buying arrangement, dealing directly with the John Pearse company (John is dead - his wife now runs the company) to get a good price. Beware that a "good" price on Pearse is higher than a luthier's price on D'Addario, so you'd need to try a set first, and only if convinced they are worth a bit more than D'Addario wholesale will you likely buy them.

I never liked the feel of medium gauge strings, especially the high B and E which seemed painful to use. But, I like dropped tunings. Pearse came out with a set they call "Bluegrass" which are a hybrid set - mediums on the bass strings and lights on the treble strings. This is now my string, and it's what I'll put on guitars for sale. The extra mass in the low strings is definitely noticeable as cleaner, more articulate bass notes - especially in dropped tunings.

=============

Doing a trade show would be tough - all those greasy fingers, (and some people just exude massive amounts of acids through their skin.) Maybe have a box of those baby-butt-cleaning wipes, and some paper towel before prospective buyers get to try your guitars out? That, and wiping off the strings with a towel after each player is done? I'm sure it would help, but it may be too chaotic in a trade show to be able to do it religiously.
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