Strings? Elixir Bronze vs PB Nanowebs?

Discussion in 'Acoustic Instruments' started by Heady Jam Fan, Jan 15, 2020.

  1. Heady Jam Fan

    Heady Jam Fan Member

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    Just picked up a Taylor 412ce!

    I got the guitar because I have a left hand injury and I wanted a more mid-focused guitar as well compared to my Martin Dreadnought. I've used Nanowebs for years and I know a lot of people dig them especially on Taylors. The guitar came with a set and they sound great!

    I'm looking for loudness, sustain, playability (due to my injury) and tone.

    I still had a few questions for you guys who mostly play acoustic:
    • Everyone talks about the PB instead of the bronze. Why?
    • People say the nanowebs are loud. Do you feel they sacrifice loudness or sustain over other strings, AND is it worth the tradeoff in having the strings last longer (I have my first kid on the way and won't be changing strings on the reg)
    • Any other strings I should look at? I dig EB Slinky's on my electric due to my hand injury, and their Earthwood strings are pretty popular as well as a great price.
    • Medium or light gauge? Considering my injury, the body size of the guitar, and of course the desire for volume/sustain and best tone.
    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Barnzy

    Barnzy Member

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    Long time Taylor owner and Elixir user here. I’ll give this a shot....

    1. Elixir Phosphor Bronze is their second issued string material. The 80/20 bronze was the original string material if I remember correctly. Maybe that’s why you notice more discussions on PB? I actually tend to prefer the 80/20 bronze Elixir Nanowebs over the PB ones for my personal guitar. But other Taylors sound better with the PB’s. My friend’s Koa grand concert clearly sounds better with PB Elixirs. You owe it to yourself to try both eventually so maybe start with the PB nanowebs and in 4-6 months, try the 80/20’s. I promise you will have a preference! they sound different.

    2. The coating definitely improves the life of the strings considerably over uncoated strings and I do not hear a significant difference in string volume acoustically. I don’t hear a trade off like you have read. They just have a different tone. If you plug in then there is no issue for sure regarding volume discrepancy. It is a non-issue to me but maybe others have a beef about this? Not sure.

    3. I have tried a ton of strings both coated and uncoated. I always come back to 80/20 Bronze Nanowebs for my 414CE. The closest I got to a string I also liked on this guitar was John Pearce Phosphor Bronze... but not enough to replace the 80/20 nano’s for long. I usually try the latest string, then 80/20 nano’s, then another “latest development” acoustic string, then back to 80/20 nano’s. I always come back.

    4. You can easily get away with light gauge on that guitar and still get great tone. For your hand, Custom light would be fine....011-.052. That’s what I would buy.

    The last thing I will say is that the nanowebs coating is better than poly web because poly web flakes off and leaves “dandruff“ on your guitar. Nano seems tougher to me and feels better to my fingers. I don’t really like any other coated acoustic string (... I have tried them all..) so if by chance Elixir nanowebs are not for you, I’d go the uncoated route. Have fun with picking a great string for your new guitar... I would love a 412 to go with my 414Ce and my 355 LTD!

    Barnzy
     
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  3. Heady Jam Fan

    Heady Jam Fan Member

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    @Barnzy
    Thanks dude! Detailed and thoughtful response. I really dig the nanowebs: maintains brightness but in a slightly smoothed out and controlled manner. I don't think I'd want a warmer string, but maybe your right - the PB posts are a bit of hype because they are newer. I remember trying polywebs before nanowebs came out and thought I'd never go back to coated strings, but I wasn't finding anything else I was thrilled with and decided to re-try Elixirs not even realizing it was a new product I bought (nanowebs). But its been years now since I tried anything else because I mostly play electric and I want acoustic strings that won't age when I'm not playing them.

    I'm hesitant to try the PBs because I don't really want a warmer string - one of the reasons I went from a Dreadnought to a Folk/Grand Concert. I could see why they might work on a Koa though.

    I'll probably try the Bronze 11's.
     
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  4. Barnzy

    Barnzy Member

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    I’ll say a couple more things about them, since I see you have a bit of a history with Elixir too. I never liked them on a Martin... never. They were way too bright and “zingy” when every great Martin I heard was warm and rich sounding. To me, the best strings for Martin are Martins...go figure. But Taylor are a different bird and they don’t seem to sound so good with a more subdued string tone to me. I bought my 414ce before Elixir were Taylor’s factory string (1998) and the first set I put on was a game changer for me. I guess I should stop looking elsewhere, but I just like to try new strings for fun I guess. Have to try ‘em all! But yeah... Your guitar would sing with Elixir... just have to figure out which string material resonates best with your new guitar. Lastly (...again...) I find their PB warmer and the 80/20 brighter... but with other string brands it actually seems the opposite. No idea why....
     
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  5. Heady Jam Fan

    Heady Jam Fan Member

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    @Barnzy

    My (new to me) 412ce has Bronze Nanowebs and they sound great (at least that the empty packaging that was in the guitar case, dated that they were put on 10-days ago). They sound great to me, so I'm not looking for anything specifically different, but wanted thoughts from the experts ;)

    Ironically, when I tried Elixirs again was because I didn't like Martin strings on a Martin guitar: it was too dark. The Martin is already a more scooped sounding instrument with a big low end. The Taylor, especially with the grand concert body and Ovangkol wood, has a much tighter low end and more mids. I'm selling my Martin DC-16RGTE because the longer fret scale was tough on my hand injury, but I think the Taylor 412ce tone will also suite my playing style better too.
     
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  6. Barnzy

    Barnzy Member

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    You are at “home base” for me right now then. My guitar is ovankol too. I would be interested to hear what you think of PB’s if you do a string change.
     
  7. Heady Jam Fan

    Heady Jam Fan Member

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    I appreciate your thoughtful responses! I'll report back if I try the PB's.
     
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  8. Heady Jam Fan

    Heady Jam Fan Member

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    @Barnzy
    I decided to put on some nanoweb bronze 11's and noticed the color of the strings already on the guitar are quite a bit darker. They must have been phosphor bronze after all.

    The 80/20 Bronze 11's are much brighter and clearer sounding. No comparison IMO - preferred the 80/20 Bronze. I found the tone and volume much more consistent between using a pick and fingerpicking as well.

    I put a set of Earthwood Bronze 12's on my old Martin, which I just sold. They are nice strings and suited the Martin well. The two guitars couldn't be more different tonally - both sound great, but different applications/preferences.
     
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  9. Irving Pye

    Irving Pye Member

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    What kind of injury? Monels are smooth and true, try a set on that Taylor;)
     
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  10. Heady Jam Fan

    Heady Jam Fan Member

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    They think its a torn ligament on the thumb-side of my index. The ortho said they see this a lot in musicians and it's really hard to treat. I tried a brace twice, which didn't help, and a cortisone shot also didn't help.

    When I was a teenage in a jam band, mid-jam the bass player yelled "dude whats wrong with your finger?" It was bright purple and about 3x the size. I couldn't afford to see a doctor, so just quit the jazz band, put on a brace for several weeks and didn't play for months. Its never gotten better, I just can play more than 20-40 minutes or do too much that would strain it, which is too bad because all my other hobbies are manual as well.
     
  11. Barnzy

    Barnzy Member

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    That my opinion too... the 80/20 bronze are my favourite acoustic string sound. Very cool that you landed there too. I have hunted for different strings that were maybe a bit cheaper and I always wanted to get a non-coated string set to work for me. I couldn’t ever find a contender. Glad you found them!
     
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  12. Bluedano1

    Bluedano1 Member

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    I'm not a coated string fan...
    ( I actually like the rich tone and longevity of Elixir Nanoweb Phosphor Bronze lights on my Martin D, but my really thick calluses ' roll off' the wound strings)
    ....but for those of you that like an 80/20 string, checkout the John Pearse 80/20's. The 80/20's (by alloy composition, regardless of brand) have slightly less tension/more give than a PB, and the Pearse strings just sound great to me- warm and bright), and unlike the old ' bright Bronze' don't start out too zingy, then go dead after a few hours, they last, hold their tone.
     
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  13. Heady Jam Fan

    Heady Jam Fan Member

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    I saw some of your previous posts which helped me select a short-list of contenders. I don't have the calluses I used to when I played constantly, but I always liked the smooth feel of the nanowebs. I'll check out the Pearse and Monel strings next time I need to buy some!
     
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  14. Bluedano1

    Bluedano1 Member

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    I basically nowadays have three or four brands of strings mostly phosphor bronze lights that stay in the mix of what I like to use I like a few 8020 Brands I do not like Monell's or the John pearse pure Nichols I thought I did but I don't
    Just me strings are really personal
    Sorry for terrible smelling I'm an Uber driver voice activated
     
  15. Heady Jam Fan

    Heady Jam Fan Member

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    The smell isn't that bad ;)

    There are too many options for me to try each one, so getting some ideas for a starting point helps.
     
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  16. Bluedano1

    Bluedano1 Member

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    Quickly, for many years (like 25-30) D'Addario Phosphor Bronze lights
    ( and still are) the touchstone or standatd Phosphor Bronze strings for my guitars ( only a few for me)

    Then maybe 10 years ago, ( probably from a posting here?, plus playing some bluegrass with folks...) I chanced onto trying the John Pearse strings for kicks. Nothing earth shattering, but a nice full tone, and IMO amore comfortable wind on the wound strings.
    The 80/20 is the same mojo IMO, good tone, a little more 'give' say on vibrato or mild bends ( I bend, but more finesse, not crazy)
    And then I just started exploring what else I might like
     
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  17. Frozen Rat

    Frozen Rat Gold Supporting Member

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    My Goodall parlor came with Elixir Nanowebs in 12s on it. I played it for a couple weeks with those then decided to experiment with other strings. The nanowebs sounded good, but I felt there might have been a slight bit of loss on the bass (but only after trying other strings, naturally I didn't know that beforehand). Other strings have given me a bit more punchy and melodic bass. The Elixirs produced a decent mid range and a sparkly treble though. These days I only put on Martin Monels as this guitar seems to like those best.

    And there is the real thesis—try different strings and decide which your particular guitar likes best, to your ears. I recommend you not stick with one brand or model in the brand right off, try a lot of different stuff and maybe you will decide something else hits the mark for you even better. And maybe it will be Elixirs after all, but you won't know until you try others.
     
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  18. riffmeister

    riffmeister Member

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    I really like Elixir PB nanos on my Martin and Taylor guitars. Great sound and long lasting. Much better sound than the other Elixir offerings imo. And recently I put a set of D’Addario non-coated strings on one my Taylor guitars and I swear the wound strings went dead before the first set was over at one of my gigs. Unbelievable.
     
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  19. snakestretcher

    snakestretcher Member

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    I have used Elixirs pretty much exclusively ever since they were first available in the UK, although only Polywebs at the time. With my, then, toxic skin chemistry which killed strings in hours they were a godsend. I now use 80-20 Nanoweb Bronze, 12-53. Polywebs don't work for me, either in tone or feel. I'll be interested to see if the Optiweb coating, now only available on electric Elixirs, translates to the acoustic line.
     
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  20. Marty C

    Marty C Member

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    Congrats on the new Taylor. I just picked up a new 812ce dlx as well. My first Taylor. Oddly for a similar reason. Starting to have issues with my fretting hand when I played my Martin D-16. I tried a smaller body Martin but didn’t really care for the sound. I am 6’ even, but my arms are short. I didn’t realize I was shifting the guitar more toward my fretting hand so I could more easily wrap my arms around the big Dread (when sitting). I had to reach too far with my fretting hand and caused my wrist to be at a bad angle. My left hand would eventually get numb. Gives me fit when I sleep. I too started wearing a brace, mainly at night.

    The body style of the Taylor, with the nice rounded edge on the top, fits me like a glove. My fretting hand is now improving and it is a joy to play.

    Working through the string choices also. I never was a fan of Elixer on my Martins, but love them on my Taylor. Not sure which strings came on it from the factory, but I love them. Just having an overly sensitive G string. Seem to hear pick and finger noise more pronounced than any other. Do you get this?
     

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