Sound I change strings?

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lincolnbluelincolnblue Frets: 164
I have a set of Elixirs on an acoustic whey have been in fire a few weeks... probably about 10hrs of play at most. They sound fine but the coating is starting to frsy ever so slightly on one or two strings.  It's that a sign to change or will I be ok to keep them on without risk of snapping?
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Comments

  • BahHumbugBahHumbug Frets: 264
    With Elixirs I’ve found that you’re only at risk of breaks if you do a long of tuning changes.  I usually go on tone to decide when to change them.  I find that by the time the tone has started to go dead, they look like shit.
    In summary, if the coating is a bit frayed I don’t worry about it any more.
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  • sev112sev112 Frets: 1305
    If they’ve been in a fire for a few weeks and a beginning to fry , my suggestion is that you do probably need new strings because the sound probably will be different 

    and to get out of the house, call the fire brigade and think about getting the guitar repaired

    ;)

    personally don’t like them for finger picking, have pretty much settled on Martins after trying lots of makes and materials.  Have some daddarios on at the moment to give them a last chance but I’ve found them dying quite quick, esp the thicker ones
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  • Winny_PoohWinny_Pooh Frets: 5535
    I have used Elixir namowebs for up to 18 months and fraying of the coating at the pick position is no issue really. I only change when they feel dead and lose elasticity and snap.
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  • TanninTannin Frets: 526
    Ignore the fraying. That's just what Elixirs do. They will sound fine until they stop sounding fine. Change them then. You will quite likely get 6 months out of the set. The merits of the Elixir sound and feel are debatable, but the fact that they last a long time is not. 
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 57017
    I absolute detest the fraying, it's one of the main reasons I won't use Elixirs. Other than the feel and the sound...

    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone." - Walt Kowalski

    "Just because I don't care, doesn't mean I don't understand." - Homer Simpson

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  • LestratcasterLestratcaster Frets: 778
    I've had a set of Elixir's on an acoustic for almost a full year now and they still sound as fresh as they did when I first put them on! On another guitar I've used the Martin 80/20 MA140's and they're dead after a week.
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  • octatonicoctatonic Frets: 30352
    ICBM said:
    I absolute detest the fraying, it's one of the main reasons I won't use Elixirs. Other than the feel and the sound...
    100%.
    They suck.
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  • SnagsSnags Frets: 3061
    The fraying is normal, ugly, but you just ignore it.

    The sound ... IME varies massively with guitar. I always used Martin Phospher Bronze until I got my better acoustic, which came with Elixir. When they died, I put Martins on and it sounded like shit. They only lasted the time it took for a pack of Elixirs to arrive.

    When my old acoustic needed new strings I put Elixirs on instead of Martins. They sounded like shit, and only last a couple of weeks before I couldn't bear it, thought "sod the expense" and binned them off for Martins.

    So now each acoustic has its own stock of strings ...
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  • LestratcasterLestratcaster Frets: 778
    Snags said:
    The fraying is normal, ugly, but you just ignore it.

    The sound ... IME varies massively with guitar. I always used Martin Phospher Bronze until I got my better acoustic, which came with Elixir. When they died, I put Martins on and it sounded like shit. They only lasted the time it took for a pack of Elixirs to arrive.

    When my old acoustic needed new strings I put Elixirs on instead of Martins. They sounded like shit, and only last a couple of weeks before I couldn't bear it, thought "sod the expense" and binned them off for Martins.

    So now each acoustic has its own stock of strings ...
    See I've just acquired a D28 and it came with Martin MA140 80/20 strings. They sounded like shit a few weeks after. Cos the store chucked in another pack I restrung it last week. Sounds a bit nicer but I think I'll go Elixir next time. I've got a set on my Takamine and they don't sound like shit.

    So I'm hoping the Elixir's won't sound like shit on the D28. Otherwise I'll feel like shit cos the guitar sounds like shit.

    Ok I'll finish now.
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  • TanninTannin Frets: 526
    I've had a set of Elixir's on an acoustic for almost a full year now and they still sound as fresh as they did when I first put them on! On another guitar I've used the Martin 80/20 MA140's and they're dead after a week.
    Both things are normal, though exaggerated. The 80/20s are brass - an alloy of copper and zinc. Brass rings with a lot of treble when new, but rapidly decays to a soft, gentle tone. (Described as either "mellow" or "dull" depending on the guitar and on what you like.) That is a property of the alloy, and all brass strings are broadly similar. A coated brass string lasts longer, but costs more and even when fresh on never has the same treble ring as an uncoated string like those Martins. 

    Most Elixirs are bronze, which is an alloy of copper and tin. The particular bronze alloy normally used for strings has a very small amount of phosphorus added as well, hence the "phosphor bronze" term. Bronze strings never have as much brightness as new brass strings but  keep what brightness they do have for quite a bit longer - around about twice as long as a rule of thumb. And coated bronze strings last longer still. 

    Different people get different results depending on what sort of sound they are looking for, on how much they play, on  their skin chemistry, on how hard they play, and probably other things too. But as a rough guide, most people should get two or three weeks out of a set of uncoated 80/20s, fixe or six weeks out of uncoated phosphor bronze, and five or six months out of Monel or coated phosphor bronze. 

    If you love the sound of Martin 80/20 brass but wish they lasted longer, you could try Elixir Nanowen 80/20s, which don't have quite the same treble zing but aren't bad and last for several months (not as long as coated phosphor bronze though), or else Darco 80/20s, which are exactly the same string out of the same factory with the same great sound, but in a plain package at a significantly lower price.

    (Checking a few UK string suppliers just now so that I could provide a link, they are hard to find. Stringsdirect.co.au usually has them, if I remember correctly. I imagine it's just another Covid out-of-stock from the US - Martin guitars are on 6-months backorder!  My go-to US retailer, Strings by Mail doesn't have them, but here - https://www.stringsandbeyond.com/darco-80-20-bronze-acoustic-guitar-strings.html is one which does. Strings and Beyond charged me double what SBM charge me for postage to Australia (and more than Strings Direct in the UK charge too) but they may be more reasonable sending to the UK. And yes, they really are the same excellent strings you get in the Martin-branded packet.) 
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  • lincolnbluelincolnblue Frets: 164
    I kept the strings on and they were fine, thankfully. I love the sound of Elixirs but have D'Addario EXP16s on my Faith and have fund they last a lot longer than Elixirs. Hopefully this set will be more durable. 
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  • LestratcasterLestratcaster Frets: 778
    Tannin said:
    I've had a set of Elixir's on an acoustic for almost a full year now and they still sound as fresh as they did when I first put them on! On another guitar I've used the Martin 80/20 MA140's and they're dead after a week.
    Both things are normal, though exaggerated. The 80/20s are brass - an alloy of copper and zinc. Brass rings with a lot of treble when new, but rapidly decays to a soft, gentle tone. (Described as either "mellow" or "dull" depending on the guitar and on what you like.) That is a property of the alloy, and all brass strings are broadly similar. A coated brass string lasts longer, but costs more and even when fresh on never has the same treble ring as an uncoated string like those Martins. 

    Most Elixirs are bronze, which is an alloy of copper and tin. The particular bronze alloy normally used for strings has a very small amount of phosphorus added as well, hence the "phosphor bronze" term. Bronze strings never have as much brightness as new brass strings but  keep what brightness they do have for quite a bit longer - around about twice as long as a rule of thumb. And coated bronze strings last longer still. 

    Different people get different results depending on what sort of sound they are looking for, on how much they play, on  their skin chemistry, on how hard they play, and probably other things too. But as a rough guide, most people should get two or three weeks out of a set of uncoated 80/20s, fixe or six weeks out of uncoated phosphor bronze, and five or six months out of Monel or coated phosphor bronze. 

    If you love the sound of Martin 80/20 brass but wish they lasted longer, you could try Elixir Nanowen 80/20s, which don't have quite the same treble zing but aren't bad and last for several months (not as long as coated phosphor bronze though), or else Darco 80/20s, which are exactly the same string out of the same factory with the same great sound, but in a plain package at a significantly lower price.

    (Checking a few UK string suppliers just now so that I could provide a link, they are hard to find. Stringsdirect.co.au usually has them, if I remember correctly. I imagine it's just another Covid out-of-stock from the US - Martin guitars are on 6-months backorder!  My go-to US retailer, Strings by Mail doesn't have them, but here - https://www.stringsandbeyond.com/darco-80-20-bronze-acoustic-guitar-strings.html is one which does. Strings and Beyond charged me double what SBM charge me for postage to Australia (and more than Strings Direct in the UK charge too) but they may be more reasonable sending to the UK. And yes, they really are the same excellent strings you get in the Martin-branded packet.) 
    Hmm interesting. Maybe I just don't like 80/20's as I've been a phosphor bronze user for over a decade. I like that bright warm sound and the Elixir's give me that nicely. My other guitar is a dreadnought as well but obviously completely different in terms of wood and shape. 

    I used to use D'addario phosphor bronze but I ended up restringing every 3 weeks cos they were so dull after that period. I may try the Elixir 80/20, or the Martin SP Authentic Phosphor Bronze. I may like them more and get more life out them who knows.
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  • thermionicthermionic Frets: 6987
    Do D’Addario still make EXP strings? The windings were coated before being wound onto the cores as opposed to the “dipped in PTFE” Elixirs. No fraying, and much better sound on my dreadnought guitar imho. I’ve also liked Martin Lifespan, which are treated rather than coated, although I have no idea what the treatment is. 

    I don’t mind Elixirs on my GS Mini, but I’ve found different strings bring out the best in my other two acoustics.
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  • TheMadMickTheMadMick Frets: 43
    I've just changed the strings on my PRSA40E to Martin Monels (12 - 54). I was told they need time to bed down but they seem to be pretty good out of the packet. They are supposed to last a long time. That could be years before I change again as I play my strings until they are so dead they sound like rope.
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  • jaymenonjaymenon Frets: 523
    edited July 9
    Till recently Elixirs were the only string on which the entire string (after the winding had been applied to the core) is dipped in their coating. So they last - a long, long time.  Apparently the new D'Addario XS are similarly coated - and so logically should give you comparable life to the Elixirs. 

    The fraying doesn't affect how Elixirs sound. I get over a year with each set. 

    Elixirs sound top heavy / tinny for the first few hours - then they do settle in, that tinny top end subsides...

    ...then they sound the same for about a year afterwards (to my ears they sound rather nice). I don't believe that the differences between various strings are as pronounced as many people will have you believe. Though round cores may sound different, no personal experience there...

    If you have one or two acoustic guitars - then yes IMO a few weeks' life from a set of strings is fine. If you have a few more guitars, then the longevity of Elixirs is a real practical blessing.

     
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  • TanninTannin Frets: 526
    All strings sound top heavy / tinny for the first few hours. (With the possible exception of some weird things like flatwounds -  can't say about those, haven't tried a set this century.)

    I'm a big fan of horses for courses: I have five guitars at present. One always gets Elixir phosphor bronze ('coz they sound great on that one), one always gets uncoated John Pierce 80/20 brass light baritone (for the same reason), I've just about settled on uncoated Darco or SIT 80/20s as the best fit for the cedar dreadnought. The Angel I'm still trying different things with, and I've pretty much decided to sell the 12-string and buy another 6-string instead.

    Point is, different guitar, different strings. You just have to try stuff until you find the one you like. And if your tastes change, change your strings.

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  • BlueingreenBlueingreen Frets: 1741
    I've used Elixirs exclusively for at least 10 years and never had one fray. 
    “To a man with a hammer every problem looks like a nail.”
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  • jaymenonjaymenon Frets: 523
    But you should change the spelling in the title of this post…
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