I know that I’ve said it before, but one of the hardest things for customers has to be walking into a guitar shop, seeing an entire wall of colorful, shiny, attention grabbing packages of strings, and thinking to themselves, “Which ones should I get?” Sometimes it’s hard to even figure out where to start. As an associate in our little main street guitar shop I like to try to help narrow down the choices as much as possible. If no one is there to make suggestions next time you go shopping for guitar strings don’t wait for them to ask you a question just, start asking them questions! One of the most common questions I hear is something along the lines of “why are those strings more than those strings?” I’ve noticed that the better I’m able to explain the differences between a standard set of guitar strings, and what I like to call “Premium Guitar Strings,” the more likely a customer is to understand the actual bennefits of making the change, and upgrade to higer quality strings.
One of the most common types of premium strings are coated guitar strings. Most companies will manufacture some version of their strings that feature a corrosion resistant coating on the wound strings. This coating will normally inhibit the tone of a string slightly right out of the package, but will give you a more consistant tone for a longer period of time. Some companies (DR strings) will even add a coloring to their coating which allows a player to enjoy playing black, red, blue, white, multi-colored, or various neon colored strings. My favorite coated strings are the Cleartone and D’addario EXP’s, but Elixir is also an extremely popular name in coated strings.
Some other companies offer alternative premium strings that feature different quality materials, metals made through a superior process, different blends of metals, or special shapes, sizes, etc.
Many of D’addrio’s strings, both coated and uncoated, include their new “NY Steel,” a proprietary technology that allows D’addario strings to hold tune better, resist breaking, and last longer in general. Pair that with their EXP coating on their acoustic strings, and you have strings worth every penny of the asking price.
Ernie Ball offers strings that feature a mixture of traditional string metals, as well as added cobalt which responds better to the magnets in electric guitar pickups. Their M-Steel strings also offer increased durability and stability.
Fender offers their Fender Super Bullet Strings with “bullet ends” which fit better into tremolo blocks, and allow guitars to hold tune better, and make better contact inside of the bridge block.
Every player is different, and I can’t make a recommendation unless I know exactly what type of music you play, the sound you’re looking for, how often you want to change strings, and many more factors. The best way to select your next set of premium guitar strings, is by finding someone you trust at your local guitar shop, letting them know a little about your style, and seeing what they recommend. keep in mind, they might not get it right off the bat, every player is different, and looking for different things. When you try new strings, keep the package in your case with the date you put them on writen on the box, so just like an oil change sticker on your windshield, you can track how long they lasted you, and remember exactly what was on there. For more questions, or recommendations visit us at 133 N. Main Street in Bountiful, Utah Call us at 801-298-4777 Email us at: Mail@MurphysGuitars.com or follow us on: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google+