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Coated strings, your experience?


Cla

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Before I start buying every coated string out there to test them, I'd like to hear your thoughts. D'addario exps.. or something like that, cleartones, Martins, dean markley I think makes a coated string. Anyway, you get the point, thanks

Paul

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I've got a '69 B45-12 that had Elixirs on it when I bought it. I left them on there for 3 years and then put on a set of normal D'Addarios. Nothing to do with the Elixirs, I just had never cleaned the guitar up (board, etc) since I got it and just figured I'd change the strings while I did it. I liked the Elixirs on that guitar for the simple reason it doesn't get used much but the strings are still prone to oxidation. I know I'm not likely to wear out a set of strings on the 12 string, but they can go sour from age anyway. The Elixirs seemed to stay nice. I know a lot of people say they aren't as bright when new. Duh, they have goop in the windings to keep them from rusting! Some people also say the coating wears off from pick attack.

 

Overall I guess it depends on the guitar. I don't see any advantage for an everyday guitar but it works well on a seldom-used guitar; they can stay on there for years and still sound good when the dust is blown off the case.

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I'm a seasoned user of coated strings:

 

D'addario EXP's - Useless, sound dull after a very short time.

Elixir - Sound fantastic and stay that way for ages if they don't break first, which they do.

DR Coated strings - Sound amazing for a millisecond.

Martin SP+ - Dull!

 

I use Elixirs and always have plenty of spares when gigging. For crucial gigs (where I can't afford to restring) I restring with standard D'addarios.

 

Hope this helps. I have spoken to Elixir endlessly about friability but, of course, they deny that a problem exists, despite every forum I know reporting the same thing; that their strings break early!

 

However, they do have a good sound (Taylor guitars string all their acoustics with them and reckon them to be part of the 'Taylor Sound'). It certainly helps shift guitars that have sat on a dealer's wall for a month or longer. I also like the slippery feel of them (takes a little getting used to) and find my fingers get sore quicker when I have to revert to ordinary strings occasionally. As for them shedding the coating, its not really a problem with Elixir Nanowebs. If its gets a bit fuzzy from pick attack, the strings will still sound OK. Just change them when you get worried by the fraying. The Polywebs suffer much more from fraying. Nanos sound brighter from the start, whilst Polys sound like 'broken in strings'. I prefer the Nano phosphor bronzes.

 

Currently I'm gigging with an electric band. Its still good to pick up an acoustic and know that its going to sound fresh, even after a couple of months or longer not having been played. At most the unwound strings may need replacing, but they are always cheap to replace.

 

 

Hope this helps. I'll be interested to read other peoples' experiences!

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I can't stand Elixirs. They just don't do it for me at all. They shed, feel greasy, and don't sound particularly great either, to me. Some folks like 'em, but I ain't one of 'em.

 

Dean Markley Alchemys impressed me at first, until I installed them on all my guitars at once. Only then did I realize that the various voices in my collection had disappeared and all my guitars now sounded identical. The only thing I'd use Alchemys for is improving the tone of a really cheap guitar. But on decent quality guitars, they tend to steal the character and homogenize tone.

 

Though I still use only uncoated strings, D'Addario, Gibson Masterbuilt, and DR Sunbeams, if I was going to use coated strings, the only ones that I've tried that I actually sort of liked were Cleartones. They sound good, don't feel greasy, and didn't shed. Sort of expensive, but I liked them. Of course, I never tried them on anything other than a Larrivee, so I'm not sure how they'd react on my Gibsons or Guilds. But I've been tempted, just for the added longevity.

 

Uncle Buck

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I love Elixirs. I haven't had one break yet but I've heard lots who have. The only other downside to Elixirs is the cost and the string dandruff (after awhile), but even that doesn't keep me from treating myself with a set every now and then. Elixir mediums seem to live forever.

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I am not a bog fan of elixirs - sound a little thin & metalic to my ears. Not impressed with cleartone, either. A lot of $$$, for the same sound/feel of elixir. Dean Markley felt "sticky" to my fingers.

 

DAddario EXP are awesome, IMHO: great feel; great natrual warm tone.

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Thanks for the replies, I have tried the elixir poly, not the nano. They felt too soft for me, like I was not getting enough response from them. They stayed the same though forever, I changed them in like a month and they sounded pretty much like when I put them on. Those Gibson masterbuilt stings never sound right to me. I like the martin sp's but with them I experience some trouble with intonation. B string troubles, low E/A string also slightly/ I'm picky I guess. But regular Daddario work best for me as far as intonation, they just don't last long. I may try the EXP coated. :-k

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I've tried Elixer Phos/Brnz and didn't like them all that much. I was talked into putting some 80/20 Bronze on my J-45 and I really liked them a lot. I experienced something for the first time ever a week ago. I actually snapped a string while strumming fairly vigorously. The G string went kapow! As someone who fingerpicked for the first 35 years of playing this came as quite a surprise to me. Story short, will try another set of 80/20 Bronze Elixers soon. If they break again, I'm done. I have J-200 mediums on it now and they sound great. I'm not sure my poor left hand can take them for the long haul and may need to go back to lights.

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Elixers Nanoweb on J45 they do (kind of) feel uncoated wheras the Polyweb feel slippery. They claim the Polywereduce finger squeak which is a load of tosh, mind you I don't suufer from that anyway or a least you can't hear it over all the other squeaks)

 

I go along with the longevity but in all fairness I do not gig so am not the best judge.

 

The SWD has just come back form a reset srtung with Dean Markleys and they do sound very bright, they've put 9s on and I am noticing a bit more freedom than the Elixir 10s and Gibson 10s previously tried.

 

I think the problem is that Elixir don't do 9s for 12 strings( at least I don't think they do) so I might stay with the Dean Markleys!

 

Oh and condolences to TWilson whose "G string went kapow!"

 

Such a difficulty can be very offputting on a gig.

 

Still I'd imagine you were able to steady yourself against your pole! LMAO!

 

(Why oh why did I have to put that vision in my mind, let alone in yours... sorry folks!)

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I don't like any coated strings, particularly...they're fine on a naturally dull or dark sounding guitar that needs that "new string" tone all the time to sound good, but they seem to make anything else sound like a wasp having a seizure in a tin can, to my ears.

 

I really like that just-played-in tone, after a set of strings have been on for a day and done a couple of hours' playing, where they're still fresh and sparkly, but are getting warmer and you can hear the wood of the guitar resonating rather than the string alone chiming away.

 

Having said that, Elixirs are great for a 12-string that is seldom used, as KSDaddy said...Ibis was right, though, if you have a keen pick hand, you'll saw through the G and D strings on any Elixirs apart from mediums. I find the Polywebs are a bit greasy-feeling, and the Nanos are a touch sticky, but if I had to choose I'd pick the Polys. They sounded great on my old Takamine Nashville Series RW/Bearclaw Sitka mini-jumbo, but that thing was a bit of a hound, so I don't know whether that reflects well on the strings or not!!

 

My advice is to try a bunch, and use the ones that suit you best.

 

I have to say, on a non-coated note, lately I've enjoyed using Martin "Clapton's Choice" PB 12-54s on my SJ200. Great strings! Warm, punchy, silky, chalky tone which seems to last well. A good buy. Rotosound 12-54s are incredible, too.

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I don't like any coated strings' date=' particularly...they're fine on a naturally dull or dark sounding guitar that needs that "new string" tone all the time to sound good, but they seem to make anything else sound like a wasp having a seizure in a tin can, to my ears.[/quote']

 

I've been killing wasps for the past week, so your comment really hit my funny bone.

 

:-k

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I think the whole concept of coated strings is to keep dirt out of the grooves in the bronze coil and I have found it easier and less expensive to simply wash my hands before I play and wipe the strings down afterward.

 

It was my experience that coated strings seemed muted and I never found a set I liked. I did not try a set of Clear Tone, however, as they were not available in my market until recently.

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I think the whole concept of coated strings is to keep dirt out of the grooves in the bronze coil and I have found it easier and less expensive to simply wash my hands before I play and wipe the strings down afterward.

 

Absolutely' date=' but I also use Gibsons String Cleaner & Lubricant after each session, and that actually works. I wouldn't recommend doing it too late, when the rest of the family is asleep though. The squeeking sound the guitar makes when cleaning the strings is quite horrifying... ^_^

 

-Magnus

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Elixir Nanos. Put them on my Yamaha. Bright sounding, months later. Very bright

looking too, except up near the frettin' end.

 

Reduced string squeak (my wife hates that) until the coating wore off the frettin' end.

 

I see no reason to replace, almost 12 months later.

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