I don’t like Elixir guitar strings. Something about the way they sound. If you put Elixir strings on, your guitar tends to sound like a great guitar. In fact, it sounds like every guitar with Elixir strings. And i don’t like that sound, it’s just not full enough. Too tinny and fake-ish.
I also don’t like the idea that my strings are coated with chemicals that my precious guitar would be exposed to consistently. So I don’t buy Elixir strings. I once received a FREE full set of Elixir ultra thin nanoweb light gauge (.012) strings for testing through Taylor. Nine months later, they sit here unopened and untouched. It’s not that I didn’t want to test them. I fully intended to try them out and compare the sound to my current strings, but I didn’t want to risk losing the sound I had.
What strings do I use? I’m glad you asked.
I’ve made a lot of changes in string choices, but in the recent years I’ve been discovering round-core strings. Your basic acoustic string, E through G, is made by wrapping phosphor bronze or nickel or other material around a central core. Nowadays it’s all done by machine on a hexagonal core, like Elixirs. The advantage of round-core is a theoretically better sustain then a hex core which “digs” in to the winding. I say “theoretically” because I don’t know of any actual scientific proof and some say hex core gives better sustain because of the digging in. It’s a debate that continues to rage on in forums across the interwebs. I think round-core makes more sense.
My first foray into this new world was with DR Sunbeams. They sounded great from the start but after several weeks the tone and sustain got dead quickly.
Nowadays I play with Newtone guitar strings. Even more specifically Newtone Master Class Nickel strings. They are round-core and handmade in the UK by a former coal-miner! And I’ve grown to love the nickel plated strings. Like most strings they sound pretty bright at first, but after a week or so of playing the tone gets to a nice warm, natural sound. The ones I had on were on for over a year, and I only changed them because I wanted to try some new Newtone Double-wound strings in a different gauge.
My guitar of choice is a Yamaha F730S. No fancy electronics or anything, just a great full-size acoustic guitar with a great sound. I may drop a LR Baggs pickup in eventually, but it’s fine for what I need right now.
You can hear what the guitar sounds like with the Newtone MC Nickel strings in the videos below. Their not great recordings, but it’ll give you an idea of how it the guitar/string combo sounds.