What strings do you use?

  • If anything I'd assume that Elixirs are easier on frets due to the coating. I use Anderson SS frets, so still zero wear after 14 years of playing.


    NYXL seem to be really hard to fret for me. Like they have more tension than other types per gauge. If anything was going to wear frets out I'd think they would. They sound really powerful though.

  • Elixir plain strings cause a lot more fretwear than regular tin plated strings - cause of the harder "anti-rust" treatment, I guess. That's why I avoid them.


    Fender nickel-plated sound the same as D'Addario XL (same factory?), but are cheaper. Also cheap and good (if you have many guitars) are Darco strings - I learnt about them from a statement of Gregor Hilden. All these are in the same ballpark soundwise.

    Is this your personal experience or do you have some kind of additional source for this?


    I use Elixir strings and I really like them (I have similar problems as suseguitar) and I have noticed some fretwear under the b-string after about a year on a PRS guitar. I just always assumed this was due to my crappy technique :P I noticed the coating getting worn of the d-string especially so I would assume it's rather soft. So is this different for the plain strings, explaining the higher wear of the frets?

  • If anything I'd assume that Elixirs are easier on frets due to the coating. I use Anderson SS frets, so still zero wear after 14 years of playing.


    NYXL seem to be really hard to fret for me. Like they have more tension than other types per gauge. If anything was going to wear frets out I'd think they would. They sound really powerful though.

    I used the Elixir a few times and did like them so I will grab the Opti's. Next re-fret will be Stainless, you bet! ;)

  • Raoul, it's fantastic to hear that I'm not alone on this rust issue. All the vendors I've asked say it never happens, but the ONLY time I bought Slinkys (half a dozen packs), every single one contained strings with "segments" of black rust on 'em. Some top-E strings actually broke when I clamped 'em down (gently) in locking tuners. Not good, but I decided to persist, assuming I must've been super-unlucky.


    Interestingly, I've never bought any other non-sealed string brand and experienced this, and yet the first time I buy a sealed packet... go figure.


    NYXL seem to be really hard to fret for me. Like they have more tension than other types per gauge. If anything was going to wear frets out I'd think they would. They sound really powerful though.

    I got to try 2 sets of 10s, Grant, and you've described my experience perfectly ~ tough on the fingers, stiff-feeling and awesome-sounding.

  • I just restrung my bass with Rotosounds. Very different from D'Addario. A rounded tone, but not bright like the D'Addarios. Quite a different from the LaBella set I tried too. Maybe a bit like flatwounds, seems like a very even and balanced tone - bright, but not excessively so, if that description of sound makes any sense.


    Of course, they're still new, so I'll need to wear them in a bit before I can give a concrete verdict.

  • Raoul, it's fantastic to hear that I'm not alone on this rust issue. All the vendors I've asked say it never happens, but the ONLY time I bought Slinkys (half a dozen packs), every single one contained strings with "segments" of black rust on 'em. Some top-E strings actually broke when I clamped 'em down (gently) in locking tuners. Not good, but I decided to persist, assuming I must've been super-unlucky.


    Interestingly, I've never bought any other non-sealed string brand and experienced this, and yet the first time I buy a sealed packet... go figure.


    I got to try 2 sets of 10s, Grant, and you've described my experience perfectly ~ tough on the fingers, stiff-feeling and awesome-sounding.

    Crap, I have a bunch of Slinky's sets. I bought a bunch of bulk strings over 5 years ago that I just stumbled on when I moved. Fortunately they were not rusted. I tend to like using a custom gauged set but I often have to buy strings individually in bulk. I do use packaged sets too. I didnt think that Slinky's would rust in a package.

  • Is this your personal experience or do you have some kind of additional source for this?
    I use Elixir strings and I really like them (I have similar problems as suseguitar) and I have noticed some fretwear under the b-string after about a year on a PRS guitar. I just always assumed this was due to my crappy technique :P I noticed the coating getting worn of the d-string especially so I would assume it's rather soft. So is this different for the plain strings, explaining the higher wear of the frets?

    The plain strings are not coated with polymer. They are "anti-rust treated".


    Yes, it is my personal experience - there is no official statement saying "we use harder material for our anti-rust treatment, that is pleasurable eating your frets 4 times faster" :D
    There are many factors involved (playing technic, regularity of use...).


    I do make fretjobs and refrets myself. Some companies use softer material for frets and some harder - Gibson frets are very long lasting for example, even before they introduced "Cryogenictreatment" in 2014 (but they are also wider and flatter dressed). Sometimes cheap brands use relative good material on one charge and crap on another charge - I have a few Harley Benton guitars that have nice, hard frets.


    Back to the Elixir plain strings: I tried them a several times over the years with different guitars. I always inspect my guitars when changing strings and for my there is no doubt, that I had considerable more freatwear after 2-3 months with Elixir strings (compared to years of use with normal tin plated plains). So one could think new and smooth Elixir strings are at least better to the frets than old rusty and rough "untreated" strings. But this is not the case I am afraid to say. It seems to be the hardness of the material that matters most. I also had more fretwear with Opitma chrome strings for example. These are just MY experiences! But "googling" in the www unfortunately confirms this thesis to me.


    What I did not tried out (regarding fretwear) are strings, where the plains seem to be coated as well (not "treated", but coated with thin polymer). I heard ghs Boomers are all 6 strings coated?! And I did not dare yet to use Elixirs with my Musicman guitar with stainless steel frets - those frets should withstand the test, shouldn't they? :S

  • I didnt think that Slinky's would rust in a package.

    I didn't either, but now, having thought about it, I don't think it's the way to go unless one's prepared to design insulated, much-more-robust packaging, which of course will only serve to up the price, defeating what was for me the main attraction to them.


    My theory is that even if they package them sans any humidity in the air (they claim "low-level" humidity I think, citing the desert location), moisture is bound to creep in over time, whether it be through "micro fissures", the factory sealing or the material itself. Just as a rubber balloon holds water just-fine but allows air to pass through it, resulting in deflation in a pretty-short time, I believe that this is what's happening, albeit more-slowly.


    Even 'though there's no pressure involved, as in the case of a balloon, environmental temperature fluctuations will exert small pressures for the package to "breathe" IMHO.


    Lastly, what I think is happening is that as temperatures change, any moisture that's managed to find its way in there, cycles through condensation and evaporation. My guess is it condenses on the strings themselves and the inner surface of the plastic packaging... time and again, 'cause there's no "incentive" for the moisture, once in there, to leave.


    The cheapest option I can think of for the company to solve this would be to include a moisture-absorbing gel tablet in every set. Problem solved. ^^


  • Thanks for your insight! :)


    You are right, I doubt we'll get some kind of official statement on this, but the combined experiences sound pretty convincing ... too bad, I really like those strings. :/


    My problem is this: I recently got a new guitar with pleked non-SS frets and the setup feels amazing. Naturally, I would really prefer preserving this state as long as possible. Since you seem to have some experience with these fretwear problems: could you suggest an alternative string that is protected against sweaty hands like mine, but is easier on the frets?

  • Thanks for your insight! :)


    You are right, I doubt we'll get some kind of official statement on this, but the combined experiences sound pretty convincing ... too bad, I really like those strings. :/


    My problem is this: I recently got a new guitar with pleked non-SS frets and the setup feels amazing. Naturally, I would really prefer preserving this state as long as possible. Since you seem to have some experience with these fretwear problems: could you suggest an alternative string that is protected against sweaty hands like mine, but is easier on the frets?

    I really wish I could suggest the solution, but I don't have it. Mostly it's not the wrapped strings that are affected, but the plain strings go black, rough and even rusty very fast. So coated strings, where only the wound strings are protected are not worth the money, if you have to change them quickley - because of the plains react to sweat as bad as before. If the treatment of the plains works (anti-rust plated...), it seems they cause more fretwear.


    As said, it COULD be (should be :D ), that polymer coated plain strings are nicer to the frets - but there are not many in the market (coated ghs boomers, DR Black Beauties...?). Reviews on these strings are mixed and they seem to be not as durable as Elixir strings. If anyone has experience here, please tell us!!


    It is a question of costs for me too. What I do at the moment: Buying cheaper strings I like (Fender...) in multi-packs and online, using Kyser string cleaner - and wash my hands with ph-level neutral 5,5 soap before playing.


    And I accept ordinary fretwear. Don't panic - on perfect new frets slight wear can already look pretty bad, but it usually looks much worse than it actually is!!

  • I have had the rust issue with EB strings in the past but i called them and they replaced every pack. Ive probably gone through a couple thousand packs of strings in the past 10 years and maybe 2 packs had issues.


    If Im at home I wash my hands before I play and ive noticed it makes a huge difference in the life of the strings.