Which acoustic guitar strings are better for you? Here is my test and review of the D’Addario XT, XS, and Phosphor Bronze strings!
Wow, thanks for this! I’m a beginner who has been on this journey for about a year…my husband has always changed my strings but I’ve promised myself I’d learn on the next change. Which is due now . I’d been agonizing over what strings to use, and this really helped. I listened to the tests and took notes. I was pleasantly surprised that my unsophisticated ear was able to hear the differences, and that I had preferences! I was relieved to learn that my least favorite were the old strings. As it happened, I preferred the sound of the plain strings, and the XTs were my second choice - it’ll be fun to experiment for myself. I’ll spend some time watching the rest of the recording. Thank you again, Justin, this must have been quite a project for you.
Yes but to enter the competition for free strings you have to input your email address, postal address etc. Then sit back and wait for the spam!
I have a Taylor GS MIni I have been taking lessons with, in addition to JG resources, and decided to take the plunge and try some new strings. I really wanted lighter strings and ended up working through 4 gauges of strings until I settled on the D’Addario XS Coated Phosphor Bronze Medium (.013-.056), which are recommended by Taylor. They’re not lightest but sound best to my ear on the Mini. It was a costly experiment but I’m satisfied I have it sorted and am now a wiz at string changing!
D’Addario has a reward system and the strings I mentioned were free because of the previous purchases.
So far I’ve only had coated strings on my acoustic. I’ve been using Elixir 12s, and a few weeks ago took off a 3 month old set of those and put on D’Addario XS 12s. The Elixirs were starting to peel in spots.
The new XS sounded better than the old Elixirs (of course). Now they’ve been on 3 weeks, they’re starting to sound a bit dead. Especially the low E.
I’ve got another set of XS to put on, sounds like I should try XT and a few other strings to find what I like best - and what lasts.
After watching some of the video (1:07- yikes!) I decided to check when I last changed the strings on my acoustic (D’Addario EJ15 phosphor-bronze). It was back in April 2022.
I wasn’t too concerned because I figured they are coated, so no problem. But upon checking, I find they aren’t coated. 14 month-old uncoated strings. So I ordered a set 10 gauge D’Addario XS strings online. At AUD25 they aren’t cheap, so I hope they last. I’m also hoping they get rid of some of the squeaking sound as my fingers slide along the strings.
This has been very helpful and I need to say thank you for including the strings changes chat part in the video: you made the whole process look so effortless and easy that I took courage, rewatched your tutorial and finally re-stringed my acoustic guitar for the first time in my life! It seemed even easier than restringing my classical guitar! And…oh the sound of the new fresh strings! That made me realise how dead the previous strings were, you’ll be happier without knowing how long they were on Now hopefully I’ll be less lazy and re-string more frequently, I also want to experiment and try different types out. Thank you
I put these ones just yesterday and they sound so nice and bright And I removed the XS .10 so we’re doing exactly the other way around
Mine did last…until Justin made me realise how dead they sounded
Do you find the EJ15s more squeaky than the XS strings? Mine are still in the mail.
I prefer the sound (and feel) of uncoated strings, but they definitely go dead very quickly.
I’ve just been living with the fact that the strings need frequent changes, but lately it’s been kind of hassle. I tried the XS strings, but I didn’t like the way they felt. I like the XT strings better. I’ve been trying those out on one of my guitars, and I think I’ll stick with them. They definitely last longer than the uncoated strings, and the sound and feel is pretty good, too.
So I think I’m settling on “XTs for everyday use/practice/etc,” and “uncoated for recording.” But I’m also kinda lazy, so I suspect at least half the time it will be “didn’t bother changing to uncoated before recording…”
Yes, in my opinion.
I wouldn’t be able to say probably
I’ve come to same conclusion. I’ve been using XTAPB1253 on both my acoustics since they replaced the EXP 16 light strings now for the past 9 months and happy with them.
OK. I’ve since fitted the XS strings. I’d say they squeak exactly the same as the EJ15s.
And maybe my ears are playing tricks on me, but the new low-E XS string sounds duller than the 14 month old uncoated EJ15 it replaced. I’ll see how long these last, but I think I’ll try XTs next, or maybe just go back to EJ15s.
Might be worth seeing how you like Elixir’s as well @jacksprat
I replaced my dead-sounding low E with a fresh XS low E, and it sounds a bit better but still not great. I’m yet to try EJ15s or XT’s but will, however right now my opinion is Elixir’s sound better, don’t squeak much and seem to last a long time. Although I haven’t left strings on 14 months yet…
Thanks James. I’ll get some Elixrs. They come with Nanoweb, Optiweb and Polyweb coating. Which have you tried?
For my acoustics I’ve only tried the Phosphor Bronze, which is Nanoweb. The other coatings are only 80/20, and I tried 80/20 strings from another brand and they were too bright for me so I’ve just stuck with phosphor bronze since for the warmer tone (regardless of string brand).
FWIW on my electric I prefer the D’addario XS over the Elixir, but hey, so much of this is personal preference.
I’ve changed strings on my acoustic quite a few times, try to change at least every 10-12 weeks. Started with D’Addario Phosphor/Bronze EJ15 uncoated, which delivered a warm and pleasant sound for something like 6-8 weeks and slowly “died” within the following two weeks. Used them for a while before switching to Elixir 80/20 Bronze, Polyweb, which at the beginning delivered an amazingly bright and clear sound but lost this very quick and got a mediocre tone after that. I then switched to Martin Authentic Acoustic Lifespan 2.0 80/20 Bronze, treated. They gave a very balanced, warm and satisfying tone and lasted longer than any others I’ve used so far. Would say, that on my guitar and to my ear, the best sounding and lasting so far. Out of curiosity, I put on some Martin Authentic Acoustic 80/20 Bronze uncoated a week ago, half the price of the Lifespan, but also half the joy, they sound horrible so far. Might be some influence as weather conditions here have changed, but yesterday it’s was so annoying, that I almost lost motivation to play. They started to drone and apart from that, I totally miss that “fresh strings experience”! I think, I’ll stick to the Martin Lifespan or try out some coated D’Addarios.
EDIT: After a few days the Martin uncoated strings sounded much better, I think, they somehow settled. The awkward sound has gone (humming), but the uncoated strings feel a little less comfortable under my fingers.
Thanks for sharing the details of your experience Andrea…you have a pretty fine ear …really I wouldn’t have noticed my strings were dead if Justin hadn’t made this lesson but nevertheless I was able to appreciate the new ones at least …I’m not totally hopeless
I’m taking this as a test… let’s see what my ear can do…only…I’ll be cheating a bit because I recorded right after restringing and I will compare the sound to the recording
Yes, concerning how my guitar sounds for sure, a little less when I do eartraining .
I’m sure, after experiencing how dead strings sound and hearing the different sound of new ones, next time you will recognize immediately when they are loosing their good sound. Hey, I mean, you are the one with better ears! You did so much transcribing and figuring out melodies, I just can’t believe that you were playing on dead strings
I’m a little afraid of all that transcribing in Grade 3 . I hope my ears won’t let me down!