Are coated strings really worth the extra money?

Discussion in 'Acoustic Instruments' started by mike80, Jul 21, 2008.

  1. mike80

    mike80 Member

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    What is the general consensus on them?

    I have a Sigma by Martin acoustic that sounds pretty good. I haven't really used one specific brand of strings on it since I got it several years ago. I did have one set of coated strings on it that sounded good for nearly a year, but I don't remember which brand they were. I've been using Elixer nanos on it the last couple times I've restrung it, but they don't seem to last any longer than a non-coated string. For the extra 6 bucks a set that I'm paying for them, I can't seem to justify it since I could buy 2 sets of non-coated strings and they would probably last just as long.
     
  2. Shawn S.

    Shawn S. Member

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    On acoustic they don't seem to do their magic as well as they do for electric.
     
  3. bluesmain

    bluesmain Member

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    I guess its close to a wash even by paying a few bucks more for the strings and getting a few more gigs between change outs.
     
  4. zombywoof

    zombywoof Member

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    tried 'em once - didn't do anything for me.
     
  5. in a little row

    in a little row Member

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    never felt coated strings had the same bite or feel under my fingers
     
  6. powermatt99

    powermatt99 Member

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    I actually like them on my acoustic not my electric. Go figure.
     
  7. Shawn S.

    Shawn S. Member

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    When I first tried them they had the polywebs. I hated that feeling. Then they finally upgraded the entire like to nanowebs.

    With the amount of hours I play, and the nastiness my hands/fingers secrete... I don't have much of a choice, unless I want to waste time every 3 or 5 days changing strings.

    But I really do feel you, it's just a matter of "gotta do it" where I'm only forcing myself to look at it half-full. :)
     
  8. David Collins

    David Collins Member

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    The benefit or curse of the coated string depends greatly on your playing style. For some players with a less aggressive attack, or fingerstyle players they can indeed give a very long useful life. For most however, I feel that their lasting tone can provide a false sense of sustained quality long after they should have been changed.

    While the strings don't corrode quickly, they still wear. Pressing them against the frets still flattens the windings and wears the coating. Picking them shreds the coating, and this adds up to a string that though the tone is still like new, the balance is not. Buzzing and intonation problems are common symptoms from a string which has an inconsistent mass, both along it's length and on the top and back of it's diameter.

    The core still is limited in the number of times it can flex back and forth at it's ends, and how many times it can bend and straighten at the tuner (not a good candidate for those who switch tunings often). Windings can still loosen, and buzzing and breakage can be the final reason to change.

    I feel strings should be changed long long before they ever become tempered to a breaking point. Face it - strings cost less than a pack of cigarettes or a gallon of gas for most people. One gallon of gas!. If you play an instrument a lot, changing strings once a week shouldn't even be that big of a deal in my opinion. That's cheaper than one pack of smokes or one trip across town and back each week. I've always thought once a month appropriate for a more casually played instrument, at which point there's no need for preservative coating unless you have extremely acidic sweat.

    Now if it's an instrument that's only played occasionally, coated strings are great as they wear with playing time, and not with storage time. For some they can last a great while because of their less aggressive playing style. For those who like them specifically because of the feel or sound though, I usually warn that they may not last terribly longer than a standard set. Everyone's experience will be different, but when I play with a heavy pick I shred the coating so fast that they actually need changing sooner than uncoated.
     
  9. snacker

    snacker Member

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    i have really acidic sweat, so if i use uncoated, i have to change them before every gig (on gigging guitars, every month on at home and teaching guitars) - i use elixirs on everything now and only have to change them if i break 'em (gigging or every 6 months for others)
     
  10. Lawn Jockey

    Lawn Jockey Member

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    I detest them in all forms. Give me P/B all day, any day.....even if it means changing every fourth day.
     
  11. shally

    shally Member

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    i think they are worth it to you if you are a retailer, and your guitars get touched a lot by a lot of different hands and then arent wiped down

    the instruments sound and feel fresher for a longer time hanging on the wall
     
  12. Lawn Jockey

    Lawn Jockey Member

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    Manufacturers are now shipping with coated strings. Taylor (Elixir), Larrivee (Cleartone.....the worst friggin string ever produced by man). I think they are doing it for the reason you cited.

    But IMHO they are masking the "real" character of the guitar by not using P/B strings and letting the instruments shine tonally.

    It's more work....I understand....but at least to me...it would be worth it.

    I don't suspect you'll see many Goodalls, Lowdens, Olsons shipping with coated strings.
     
  13. mike80

    mike80 Member

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    I've heard just the opposite, which was my reason for trying coated strings in the first place. 2 of my buddies swear by Elixers on their acoustics but won't even touch them on an electric. That was what got me to try them, but the store I went to didn't carry them, so I ended up with another brand of coated strings. I liked them, so I ended up trying Elixers but haven't had much luck with them.



    David, that is a very interesting post. I didn't take into consideration some of the points you make. Thinking back on it, the set that lasted nearly a year didn't get played as much as I'm playing the guitar now.
     
  14. Troubleman

    Troubleman Silver Supporting Member

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    Funny - the only guitars I like them on are Taylors. They calm some of the highs. Even at that, Elixir Nanowebs only.
    I've really acidic perspiration. I can etch metal. Electric guitar strings will lasts two gigs - ten hours or so of playing (with warming up) and they're dead. With acoustic guitars it's even worse - give 'em six hours of playing. For me, between gigs, they're worth it. They don't sound nearly as good as a new set of John Pearse Phosphor-Bronze (which is what i typically use), but at least they're not dead when I open my case.

    They're definitely worth it on my Taylor 355 12-string..

    jb
     
  15. Dave Orban

    Dave Orban Gold Supporting Member

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    I would say only if you're the type with acidic sweat that eats-up "regular" strings after just one gig...
     
  16. stuagu

    stuagu Member

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    they did nothing for me but its seems the words of common sense have come from
    mr collins
     
  17. willhutch

    willhutch Supporting Member

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    It's another one of those things that come down to personal preference. I use elixirs on my electrics. 1) I like the tone 2) I like the feel 3) They sound good (to me) for a long time. I am happy to pay for them.

    Never tried them on acoustics.

    FWIW, my body chemistry is not hard on strings.
     
  18. mkolesa@mac.com

    mkolesa@mac.com Member

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    fyi... my 2 goodalls arrived with nanoweb lights and that's what he recommends afaik...
     
  19. Lawn Jockey

    Lawn Jockey Member

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    WOW!! I would have NEVER guessed that.

    What strings to YOU prefer though?
     
  20. klaetos

    klaetos Member

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    I use the Nanoweb P/B on my Taylor. I have tried a few other brands non-coated but I like the sound and feel of the Elixer better.
     

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