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Elixir Strings - Are They For You?

Longer lasting, great sound and different flavors are some of the reasons you should choose these strings for your guitar.

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Elixir Strings

There is no doubt about it. It is kind of a pain to constantly change your guitar strings. Even though I know it is necessary, it is still one of my least favorite guitar repair tasks. As I'm sure is the case with most guitar players, I postpone the string changing process as long as I can.

For some time now, I have used the notable guitar strings created by Elixir Strings. I like for my strings to maintain a bright and crisp sound and the Elixir's are about as close to my expectations as you can currently purchase. As with any strings, they will sound perfect on most guitars, but there will be exceptions to the rule.

How Do You Know When It Is Time To Change Strings?

This decision is really based on the personal preference of each individual guitar player. The elusive warm "Woody Tone" is what many experienced guitar players often seek, as this is the tone we expect from a fine handmade, solid-wood guitar.

And, yes I do have that preference for my sound as well. I have found over the years of playing and changing strings many times, I acquire that perfect tone after about one week of solid playing on the guitar up until 3 days to a week before they need changing.

Wondering what symptoms are exhibited that are indicative of a pending string change?

Inspect Wound Strings: First inspect the wound strings - especially the ones that contact the first few frets on the fretboard. If the underside of the string, where it contacts the fret is flat and worn, it is time for a string change.

Occasionally you will even experience the windings will split or break - and then you have no choice but to replace them.

All types of guitars will experience this condition and it is common to acoustic, classical and electrical guitar strings.

Guitar Won't Stay In-Tune: Another indication of an impending string change is that you have difficultly tuning or keeping the guitar "in-tune".

This is usually an indication that the strings have been used beyond their expected life expectancy. Often you may observe that your guitar is "in-tune" and in just a few minutes it goes "out-of-tune".

This often means you are going to experience a string break, or your strings are not secured properly at the tuning machine or bridge.

Ordinary Wound Guitar Strings

Elixir Phosphor Bronze Strings - Ordinary Wound Strings

How Can You Tell When Elixir Strings Need Changing?

The great news is that Elixir Strings will last a really long time - but not forever! One typical indication is the 2 high strings, being the 1st and 2nd, or E and B are showing some signs of wear. Elixir strings can last from 3 to 5 times longer than conventional uncoated guitar strings. This of course varies from guitar player to guitar player.

The Elixir String Solution: The first coating process introduced from Elixir was the Polyweb coating. These coated strings tend to have smooth response and a very smooth tone. The tend to sound like strings that have been "played-in" already and you don't have to endure the break-in period. Also the coating gives player comfort and reduction of finger squeak noise.

However, don't get the wrong impression that by "played-in" I mean that they are worn out. This is definitely not the case. Rather, the Elixir Strings folks have decided to take the "bite" or the edge off the strings that would generally have with new strings. These strings will give you a tone similar to playing on a set of strings after several hours.

String Contaminates

Elixir Phosphor Bronze Strings - How Ordinary Strings Wear Out

Elixir Strings The difference between different string coatings gives the guitar player an assortment of tone and feel.

Elixir Strings with the Nanoweb coating feel more like conventional strings - and sound like them too. They exhibit a more lively and bright tone and because the coating is so thin, you can hardly tell that it is there.

Of the two varieties of Elixir String coatings, I favor the Nanoweb coating. I love for my solid wood, handmade instruments to have a bright and clear tone.

What Is It That Makes Ordinary Strings Wear Out?

One of the major reasons the bass or wound strings wear out is because of contamination. The string windings fill up with dirt, oils and other debris from our fingers. This is something that we cannot control too much for even a guitar player that keeps their hands [really|genuinely|truly] clean on a regular basis will contaminate bass string windings.

Most of this contamination is invisible to the naked eye, but it sure does inhibit the vibration of the bass strings. While contamination is the major cause of bass string failure, it is corrosion that wears out the plain steel strings. This phenomena is usually caused by humidity in the air, and perspiration from the guitar player's hands.

The usual effect of corrosion on the plain strings is that the strings become dark and crusting looking and their original brightness is muted. Also you will find that you cannot slide your fingers easily and they go out of tune quickly and loose their intonation.

Guitar Strings With Elixir Coating

Elixir Phosphor Bronze Strings - The Elixir Nanoweb Solution

Elixir Strings Nanoweb Solution

The people at Elixir Strings discovered that by covering the wound bass strings with a thin protective coating was the real solution to string life. All corrosion and contaminates would be minimized. Their coating consists of a polymer tube that if formed to the contour of the wound strings. This coating is flexible, and micro-thin.

I think the best way to relate to this is the protective finish that is giving to guitar bodies to protect them against contamination and damage. Nothing can get between this coating and the string and the coating is thinner that a human hair.

The Plain Steel Strings of Elixir Strings: Elixir treats the plain steel strings with a special anti-rust coating that is designed to protect and extend the life of these strings up to 3 to 5 times that of ordinary uncoated strings.

This is actually a plating process and is part of the break-through technology that Elixir came up with. This assures that your strings will sound and feel like new every time you pick up your guitar.

Elixir Brightness Scale

Elixir Brightness Scale
PN Gauge E-1 B-2 G-3 D-4 A-5 E-6  


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