Playing the guitar is a relatively cheap vice. While there are always new toys (like better guitars, different guitars, effects, amps, pickups, etc) that beckon, you can maintain a six string habit on a budget. The biggest regular expense is guitar strings.
I play medium gauge strings on my acoustic guitars. I’ve always been partial to D’Addario phosphor bronze and Martin phosphor bronze strings. I have three acoustics:
1. Aria AW 110 – This was my first guitar, and it is the guitar I play the most. I consider it a friend. I play this guitar while I’m studying, watching movies, praying, cheering for the Phillies, eating dinner, and procrastinating.
2. Ovation Celebrity CC 057 – This poor guitar is neglected. I bought it to have as a cheap backup guitar. This is my Esau.
3. Martin DC1E – This is my baby. Sure it’s not a high end Martin, but it’s still pretty sweet. I play this guitar once or twice a month in church services, at home when I am recording things, and sometimes when I am practicing.
I haven’t changed the strings on my Ovation in more than a year. Like I said, it gets neglected. Several months ago my friend Paul picked it up to play something, and the first word out his mouth was: “Eww.” A response to the corroded strings.
My Aria sounds pretty good with Martin or D’Addario strings and they last a few months. I’m not concerned if the tone drops off a bit on this guitar, for I rarely play it in public. It’s just me and my neighbors who get to hear it.
It was my Martin that caused me to explore more options for strings. When I strung it with Martin or D’Addario strings it would sound great . . . for one week. Then the tone would suffer, especially the bass. Within three weeks it would sound bad. This really bothered me.
Several years ago my brother started playing Elixer Nanoweb strings on his Taylors. He recommended them highly. As my discontent with my Martin’s tone grew, I decided to pay the higher price and try Elixers. I quickly realized that they are worth every penny.
Martin and D’Addario strings cost around $6.00 a set, while Elixer Nanowebs cost around $15.00.
As soon as I switched to Elixer Nanoweb strings I noticed a marked improvement in my Martin’s tone. The lower end stayed crisp for a full two months. I’m now nearing five months with the same set of strings on, and the tone is still solid. I am planning to change the strings later this month, but they still sound better than the strings I’ve used previously after three weeks.
So what makes Elixer Nanoweb strings so special? Magic. Well, magic and one micron of a mystery patented coating that prevents “contamination and corrosion from invading the string’s Critical Zone of Tone.” Whatever it is, it works.
I do not think the coating on the strings makes them difficult to play. In fact, I really do not notice it. What I do notice is improved tone.