As you might have guessed just
reading this site, I have quite a few guitars, so it takes a long time
to get playing time on any single one of them enough to get the strings
really dirty and dull-sounding. Naturally, I do have certain favorites
that I gravitate to, but I typically just change the strings on those more
often than the others. Since I go through a lot of strings, I bought
a bunch of bulk packs of basic strings for cheap from juststrings.com and
got a 3' length of 2" diameter PVC pipe and a couple of end caps from a
hardware store in which to store them.
However, a while back I decided to try
out a set of Elixir strings for my Gretsch 6120 because, well, it's worth
the special treatment. In all honesty, the bought them was because
I wanted to support a local guitar shop, and Elixirs were something I was
considering trying for a while. Elixir strings cost a little more,
but were reputed to hold their brightness longer because the polymer coating
on them keeps the grime out. They can apparently be cleaned repeatedly
with normal solvent cleaners, etc., although I've done nothing but play
them. I am very impressed with the sound and durability considering
how much I play my 6120 and how long they've been in use on that instrument.
If you just have a few guitars that receive the majority of your attention,
I definitely recommend giving Elixirs a try.
Honestly, it takes a little bit to get
used to the feel of the polymer coating. At first it feels like your
finger tips are sweating. There's an unexpected slickness to them,
although this is probably an advantage for players who However, you
get past this pretty quickly, and I don't even notice a difference between
instruments with these string on them versus conventional strings.
As for the sound? That was my main
goal. I put the Elixirs on the Gretsch because I really wanted strings
that would hold their brightness. Sure enough, they have so far,
even more than a year later as of this point. The only thing I've
noticed that's odd about them is that the "skin" on them starts to look
kind of frayed after a while where the pick strikes them. Surprisingly,
this hasn't had any appreciable effect on the tone. I hope that continues
for a long time.
I eventually bought another set for a second
guitar. I still have my original set on my Gretsch, and it still
sounds great more than a year later. I play one of my Strats a lot
though, and the original set of strings were beginning to sound like by
this point, so I decided to upgrade to the Elixirs on it. Whereas
the Gretsch was still fairly new by the time I changed the strings, I had
been playing the Strat for years by that point, so I did notice a slight
change in tone. However, it was very minor, just a slight increase
in brightness, but that is once again why I went with the Elixir strings
on this guitar; most people like a bright tone on their Strat.
I also have several basses, so I would
be interested in hearing how the bass Elixirs (both flat- and round-wound)
hold up. I have need for both, but I haven't purchased either yet.
If anyone has any experience with these, I would be happy to hear