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I use D'Addario Acoustic Guitar  80/20, .011 - .052 strings on my 2007 Gibson L-4A EC Rosewood . They are not coated. I play daily between a half hour and two hours. Seldom do I miss a day. I am too lazy to wipe down my strings each time I put down my guitar.  I do keep the neck wiped regularly. I change strings about every three weeks. I always change strings a day before a gig.

I use D'Addario Electric Guitar Pro Steels .010 - .046 strings on my 2010 Gibson ES-335 Satin Black. Also, not coated. I play it fewer hours per week than the acoustic. I change those strings about every 4 weeks. I always change strings a day before a gig.

I have used coated strings. They cost more and last longer. In my opinion the acoustic tone suffers. 

Does wiping strings after each use make much difference? Are the string maintenance products worthwhile? How often do other players change strings? Are coated strings worthwhile?

Discussion & opinions, please.

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I was first exposed to coated strings when I bought a Taylor acoustic guitar and it had elixir coated strings on it.  They lasted a really long time, so I tried a set for electric and was equally impressed.  The coated varieties usually cost 2 to 3 times as much as a regular set of strings, but will last about 6 times longer so I think they are a good value, if that is a consideration.  But how the strings sound is to me the most important thing.  The Elixir strings (acoustic and electric) are what I consider very bright sounding, which I don't mind.  But if "bright" is not what you're looking for then I would stay away from them.

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In keeping with a SC only responder thread, I use Thomastik-Infeld Jazz (flat wound) strings.  As flat wounds go, they are brighter, have less tension (possibly due to lower string gauge in bass strings), and last forever, not to mention the great feel of flat wounds. I've got  two or three sets that have been on guitars for well over a year, and they're still fine. I wipe down strings after each use and return guitars to their cases. I don't really know how much that helps. My fingers are not unusually oily or corrosive. I also have a string rejuvenating liquid that I've never used, but I can imagine that it may be somewhat effective on non-coated strings.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 1/19/2020 at 9:16 PM, tlwwalker said:

I use D'Addario Acoustic Guitar  80/20, .011 - .052 strings on my 2007 Gibson L-4A EC Rosewood . They are not coated. I play daily between a half hour and two hours. Seldom do I miss a day. I am too lazy to wipe down my strings each time I put down my guitar.  I do keep the neck wiped regularly. I change strings about every three weeks. I always change strings a day before a gig.

I use D'Addario Electric Guitar Pro Steels .010 - .046 strings on my 2010 Gibson ES-335 Satin Black. Also, not coated. I play it fewer hours per week than the acoustic. I change those strings about every 4 weeks. I always change strings a day before a gig.

I have used coated strings. They cost more and last longer. In my opinion the acoustic tone suffers. 

Does wiping strings after each use make much difference? Are the string maintenance products worthwhile? How often do other players change strings? Are coated strings worthwhile?

Discussion & opinions, please.

I can turn a new set black by just thinking about it, so always take a piece of cloth, pinch each string and wipe it in its entirety after playing. Definitely helps - doubles the lifespan.

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On 1/20/2020 at 2:14 PM, zigzag said:

In keeping with a SC only responder thread, I use Thomastik-Infeld Jazz (flat wound) strings.  As flat wounds go, they are brighter, have less tension (possibly due to lower string gauge in bass strings), and last forever, not to mention the great feel of flat wounds. I've got  two or three sets that have been on guitars for well over a year, and they're still fine.

 

Totally agree about these strings. Expensive but absolutely worth it.  I've had a set on one of my archtops for 3 or 4 yrs, just thinking about changing them now!

However the longest-lasting strings I ever had are Optima Gold (plated) strings, no contest at all. 

And they are incredibly LOUD too.  Worth shelling out for once in your guitar-playing life as a birthday/Xmas pressie!

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  • 1 year later...

I have now been using Elixir coated strings for almost a year. At just under $13 per set, they are still more economical than the uncoated alternativebecause of how long they last. I find my acoustic strings last me 90 days plus. The electric about the same, maybe slightly more.  I conclude the coated strings are my best choice.

Strange side note:  I noticed that my capo did not pull the strings sharp with the coated strings on my 2007 Gibson L-4A EC but did not mention it to anyone for fear of being thought to be crazy.  Then my buddy with the Hummingbird started using the coated strings. Then out of the blue he told me about the capo thing happening with him, too.  Anyone else have this happen?

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I used (and have some sets left) Elixer Polywebs on electric guitars for about 3 years. I noticed a small change in tone which was inferior but acceptable. Strings do last longer, but they reach a point when the coating frays off where I pick. This is the main reason I decided to stop using them.

I now use EB Paradigm . These are expensive, & they don't last quite as long as coated, but they are the best sounding strings I have used.

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Okay, I'll play. 

Coated strings. 
I'm not a fan. 
It's not about the cost, but rather the feel. 
And I don't care for the way the coating flakes up after awhile. 

Does wiping strings after each use make much difference?
Yes. 
It only makes sense. 
Wipe off the salt and microscopic skin debris after each playing, and the strings have less of a chance of becoming corroded and dirty.

Are the string maintenance products worthwhile?
I use Finger Ease.
And a soft terrycloth washcloth. 
The strings look better and feel better afterwards, and string life is extended.  (And the fingerboards and frets seem to like it.)

How often do other players change strings?
I can't speak for anybody else.
I change mine every six-to-nine months. 
I'm a fan of Ernie Ball Super Slinkys on Strats and Teles and Primo Slinkys on Gibson type guitars.
My acoustics get D'Addario phosphor bronze, extra light.

Are coated strings worthwhile?
I couldn't tell you. 
That's like asking if being married is better than being single. 
You're bound to get a lot of opinions. 

Have I ever broken a string while playing, practicing, or gigging?
Never, ever. 
Not once in 46+ years. 
Just lucky, I guess. 

Is being married better than being single?
Depends upon the wife. 
If she's cheerful, amorous, and accommodating about all the guitars, then the answer is yes. 
If, on the other hand, she's testy and mean-spirited, and stingy with the poon-tang, it's best you cut her loose and go the bachelor route. 

😑

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On 1/19/2020 at 3:16 PM, tlwwalker said:

I use D'Addario Acoustic Guitar  80/20, .011 - .052 strings on my 2007 Gibson L-4A EC Rosewood . They are not coated. I play daily between a half hour and two hours. Seldom do I miss a day. I am too lazy to wipe down my strings each time I put down my guitar.  I do keep the neck wiped regularly. I change strings about every three weeks. I always change strings a day before a gig.

I use D'Addario Electric Guitar Pro Steels .010 - .046 strings on my 2010 Gibson ES-335 Satin Black. Also, not coated. I play it fewer hours per week than the acoustic. I change those strings about every 4 weeks. I always change strings a day before a gig.

I have used coated strings. They cost more and last longer. In my opinion the acoustic tone suffers. 

Does wiping strings after each use make much difference? Are the string maintenance products worthwhile? How often do other players change strings? Are coated strings worthwhile?

Discussion & opinions, please.

I was recommend Cleartone Strings by a forum member and they are treated (as they say on the pack) and don't feel like it. I only play acoustic so I can't comment on their electric strings. I used to be a Martin string guy but not any more. Currently on my 000-28 I have a Cleartone EQ's which I think just recently came out. They are only a few bucks more than D'addario and I notice no loss in tone, The EQ's have different types of strings in the pack to balance out everything (so they say). I just know for now I'm sticking with Cleartone, and I have chased tone on acoustic strings and tried a lot brands.

Edited by Sgt. Pepper
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Strings last forever at my house.  I don't know why. It's nothing for a set of strings to be on a guitar for 3-4 years. My Merton with the funny fish skeletons around the edge has had Elixir nano 13s since early 2018 I think. My P- Bass has the same D'Addarios I put on in 2003. I have one classical that had the same set from 2005 to 2014. The 2014 set is still on it.

My J-100 has the same strings since 1998 but that's a different set of circumstances. It was my father's and he passed away in 1999 and I just haven't played it.

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1 hour ago, ksdaddy said:

Strings last forever at my house.  I don't know why. It's nothing for a set of strings to be on a guitar for 3-4 years. My Merton with the funny fish skeletons around the edge has had Elixir nano 13s since early 2018 I think. My P- Bass has the same D'Addarios I put on in 2003. I have one classical that had the same set from 2005 to 2014. The 2014 set is still on it.

My J-100 has the same strings since 1998 but that's a different set of circumstances. It was my father's and he passed away in 1999 and I just haven't played it.

Well at 13 I knew little about guitars. I thought strings should be changed when they broke. So I never changed them. At 16, Mom bought me a Tube Amp that she said cost her $3,000.00, It was as tall as me and actually for a band on stage, not for the home. That thing was so loud I could barely play on #1 without knocking pitchers off the walls. The sustain was awesome, and kept getting louder and louder, the ears couldn't handle it. With that amp and not knowing about strings, I never wiped them down nor changed them.  At 26, I got married and sold off those guitars but they never sounded bad.  So they were on all my guitars for 13 years Lol. Of course I change them now. 

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2 hours ago, Retired said:

... At 16, Mom bought me a Tube Amp that she said cost her $3,000.00 ... So they were on all my guitars for 13 years ...

1) Was the amp your Mom purchased for you really a $3000 amp?  That is, I am really hoping someone was not stealing from her.

2) 13 years, wow.  For me when strings go bad, it becomes hard to tune.  That is how I knew when to change them back in the day (these days, I like to change them more often before I get to that point).  Your strings did not give you tuning problems over that 13 years?

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Regarding string changing. If you have a bunch of guitars you rotate, strings can last for ages; months at a time. Maybe even years?

 

When I had one acoustic and one electric (which was for most of my life), I changed strings every fortnight on the electric and every week on the acoustic. 

The reason the acoustic needed a quicker change was because I was constantly altering tunings. That deadens them PDQ. Of course I was playing constantly back then.

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 Acoustic..

Cleartones are probably the best in long life strings that I've ever used.  Not tried the Cleartone EQs yet. 

After having used Elixirs for years and constantly disappointed in the way they age (coating shredding off) I don't get much more than 3 months out of them.  I've got two acoustics that have had Cleartones on them since May of 2020.  They still sound like the day I put them on, no shredding and they hold tune like a newly broken in set.  They seem to project a bit better too, (more volume).  They are impressive.

I can get a months out of a set of EJ16s too,  my hands are pretty dry.  I don't usually wipe down the strings after playing either. 

On the other side of that, I do have 5 acoustics, so it's not like one is getting all the hours since I do tend to play the all.   The ones that get played the most, usually get the coated strings.

 

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I just started using coated Elixirs on my acoustics because they don’t get played very much, they seem to be lasting longer without oxidation or  rusting. I use about 2 or 3 sets of Ernie Ball’s a month, on my electrics, the only brand that seems to be strong enough to consistently to survive my pre-stressing them until they set, so they hold there tune when stretched a step and half or two. I too have found that wiping them individually with a clean dry cloth helps them survive longer. I also keep a Scotch Brite pad in my guitar case for emergencies.

Edited by mihcmac
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I have tried most of the mainstream strings over the years, but have pretty much settled on D’Addario EXL-110s for my six 6 string and one 7 string electric guitars.  I tend to alternate between guitar and bass: guitar one day, bass the next.  I rotate the guitars, trying to give each of them equal play.  Before I play, I always wash my hands and arms up to my elbows and when I’m done playing, I wipe the entire guitar down, including the strings.  I rarely change strings because they don’t oxidize,  go dead or break.

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19 hours ago, 01GT eibach said:

1) Was the amp your Mom purchased for you really a $3000 amp?  That is, I am really hoping someone was not stealing from her.

2) 13 years, wow.  For me when strings go bad, it becomes hard to tune.  That is how I knew when to change them back in the day (these days, I like to change them more often before I get to that point).  Your strings did not give you tuning problems over that 13 years?

I know that all sounds hard to believe, Like the Maxwell Smart, "Would you believe."  I wasn't with my mom & dad when they bought me the amp but she has told me many times thats what she paid for it.  Back then, we had a bet which she lost and I was holding her to buying me a Keith Black 426 Hemi for my race car. Well that never happened so I guess she got me the amp instead? Of course in the 70's a engine like that cost around $10,000.00, I got the amp instead.  I wish I still had it. Ever watch Back to the future? Michel J Fox cranks up the amp and blows up the room. This had 4- 13 or 16" speakers in, I can't remember the exact size and then 2 smaller ones on each side.  This amp belonged outdoors on a stage. I don't even remember why she bought something so powerful for the home except, she had no idea what she was doing. But I could put a cheap $100.00 guitar on it and make it sound like Thousand dollar guitar. Back then, I was asked many times to bring my amp and play with my 2 cousins on stage. They played in some bar.  Yeah, for the 70's that price sounded unbelievable to me too.  Maybe she did get ripped off?  I looked up amps many times from the 60's and 70's and have never found one like the one I had. Maybe she bought it from a rock star? Haha. But no, I never changed strings back then unless they broke. Think there were 2 guitars I had that busted a string out of about 13 I had.  I didn't even own a tuner, Fred, my cousin who taught me to play taught me to tune them by ear.  Thats how I tuned. Sometimes I had my sister hit an E on her piano, and I tuned from there. I just  hummed the E and tuned the A and so forth. But yeah, They all sounded great to me. I didn't learn about changing strings every week to a month or so till after I retired and joined this Gibson Forum.  The one guitar I kept was an 30 year old Acoustic.  When I retired and got it out, it still had the original strings on it and the price tag on it.  Do I win the Nobel Prize? LOL

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I learned that most coated strings use highly toxic fluorinated chemicals called PFAS compounds that are quite bad for you, so I don't use them. Very small doses of PFAS have been linked to cancer, reproductive and immune system harm, plus other diseases. The brands I questioned didn't tell me if they use PFAS or not, so I took the safe way out and assumed they do.

I play guitar for a living and these chemicals are absorbed through the skin and build up in your body over time. There would be no Ctrl+Z to undo the harm if they get to me years later.

I use 9s on my gigging Parker guitar. I haven't gigged in almost a year due to COVID-19 😞 , so I'm stretching out the time between string changes.

In a normal world I change them on the gigging guitar at least once a month, and sooner if I notice any tuning issues, lack of sustain, rust, or intonation issues more often than that. I don't like to change them the day before the gig. If I have a day off from gigging, I change them that morning so that most of the stretch is out by gig day.

How long they last depends on the gigs. Some gigs I play more saxophone and wind synth, others more guitar. Outdoor gigs in Florida, especially near the water makes them rust quickly.

I use D'Addario XLs

On my backup guitar and my archtop guitar I don't change them on a regular schedule.

Insights and incites by Notes

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43 minutes ago, mihcmac said:

So this is what they mean by "String Theory".

one of our own,...  Jinder wrote a song,,

"Over Thinkers Anonymous" 

 

think about it...................

They are strings.....................  but we can consume pages and pages of threads on these,   the least of things,, which sometimes are not the least of anything...

..it's a paradox I say..

"oh... Boy, fetch me more vodka please??! I must ponder, and thou-est my muse...."

 

Edited by kidblast
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On 3/1/2021 at 4:14 AM, merciful-evans said:

Regarding string changing. If you have a bunch of guitars you rotate, strings can last for ages; months at a time. Maybe even years?

 

When I had one acoustic and one electric (which was for most of my life), I changed strings every fortnight on the electric and every week on the acoustic. 

The reason the acoustic needed a quicker change was because I was constantly altering tunings. That deadens them PDQ. Of course I was playing constantly back then.

 

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yeah, if you have a herd of sweet guitars that you rotate around, you don’t change strings a lot.  My strings last a long time.  I use primarily Martin SPs lights.  I play gently and almost all fingerpicking.  I’ll change strings when I change batteries.  Once a year.  Could be a little longer at times.

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In another lifetime in the army, I carried my guitar every where I went and had to make my strings last way longer than normal... So basically I'm saying, that what ever you are doing , that works for your situation, is correct... Whenever you put on a new set, your guitar takes on a new sparkle..

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