I think that I first started playing the guitar at twelve years of age. It might have been earlier than that though; and maybe as young as ten years of age was my starting off point. I don't remember.
There's nothing so annoying to me as changing strings on a guitar, and getting them into tune - but that used to be something that I just had to do, and I had to do it WAY too often.
Surely there are some ten to twelve year old rural Texas boys out there than are neat and tidy - I assure you that I was never one of them, for I liked to play ball, play in the woods, and get all manner of nasty. I was also a very "wiry" and then boy with a high rate of metabolism. Now, I am a very thin man, very hyper, and with a high rate of metabolism.
What does this have to do with guitar strings?
Well, it has a lot to do with guitar strings, you see - before Elixir started making their fine strings for guitar - we had to deal exclusively with non-Elixir, or sub Elixir strings. Elixir claims that their strings last three and one half times as long as do non Elixir brand strings. I'm here to tell you, however, that even with my sweaty hvac mechanic hands, Elixir strings last a hell of a lot longer than that. Those guys are just plain modest!
Wish I had some Guitar Strings, Old Black Diamond Brand
I'd String Up This Old Martin Box, And Go And Join Some Band.
Fine old tunes by the master's of American Folk Music probably shouldn't be altered for newfangled strings, but certainly - I'm never buying another brand of string than Elixir - when you've found the one and only, you don't go back the other direction.
Before There Was Elixir
Brass Wound Strings, and Phosphor/Bronze Wound Strings.
Before the advent of Elixir strings, there were two options presented by various and sundry - and who knows how many - different brands:
1. Brass wound strings, and. . .
2. Phosphor/Bronze wound strings.
The skinny on those two different types of acoustic guitar stings are that the brass wound strings are typically thought of as sounding the best - but only for a very short amount of time. I've read that musicians about to record in the studio would string up, and tune up with brass wound strings, record a few tracks, and replace them. They'd sound fabulous, and then just be dead after a short while.
Most people always used phosphor/bronze wound strings - and those strings would hold their new set of strings sound for a lot longer, but maybe they didn't sound quite as nice as brass wound strings do when brass wound strings are brand new. Most folks who weren't about to either perform a short set of numbers live or in the studio wouldn't have the time, money, or patience to forever be changing sets of brass wound strings. Without bothering to research - I can assure you without the slightest bit of hesitation that almost everyone playing acoustic guitars - steel string guitars - used phosphor/bronze wound strings.
Learning to change a set of guitar strings and getting the thing into tune isn't quite as easy as one might imagine that it is - in fact, someone could become baffled by it, not realizing the bit of physics involved with the stretching out of the new strings. The strings have to stretch. The first time I strung up a guitar and tuned it - I thought I had some sort of malfunctioning strings or something, as soon as I had it in tune, it was badly out of tune. I didn't realize that guitar strings have to stretch out and get to that place where they will mostly stay for a while - before you can expect them to stay reasonably close to being in tune.
I remember reacting with a bit of horror when my grandfather had told me at a young age that my Uncle Thomas changed guitar strings at least once a week. I was told that he was a real guitarist, and that he played for several hours daily. Clearly, I was being directed towards a role model of sorts.
The Problem With Non Elixir Phosphor Bronze Wound Acoustic Guitar Strings.
If you've not caught on yet - the problem with non Elixir brand strings, either brass or phosphor/bronze is that they cost too much to only sound good for a week's worth of steady playing. If you only bust out the old acoustic guitar a few times a year - then they are fine and dandy. If you just prefer them for some reason that I can't imagine, or otherwise just like to change the strings on guitars - that's awesome! Go right on ahead with your bad self. Three cheers for you, my friend!
But if you are me, and you have perspiring hands - then brass wound strings are out of the question entirely. If I were Eric Clapton, or someone like that, and had a person that changed my strings and tuned my guitars for me - then perhaps I'd prefer brass wound strings.
Phosphor/bronze wound strings are nifty, and they sound really good, and sometimes they sound really good for an entire week of steady playing. You can always liven up some phosphor bronze wound strings with a paper towel and a can of WD 40. You just spray some WD 40 onto a paper towel, and wipe down the strings, and that will make them sound a bit newer than before. It's the sweat from your hands that kills the strings, mostly - but there are also oils from your skin, and whatever you've been touching - that must be contended with as well.
Elixir Solutions - Nanoweb and Polyweb Phosphor/Bronze String Coating.
Elixir is THE solution to the problem of dead and dying strings of either the brass wound or phosphor/bronze wound variety. Literally - Elixir brand strings, after having been played steadily for weeks and weeks on end - still sound like phosphor/bronze strings that are only a day or so old.
When these strings first hit the market, I would hear some old timer or another day some things like:
I just ain't a' spending fifteen dollars for a set of strings.
They would say this as if there were a line in the sand drawn somewhere, and some sort of moral virtue associated with their self imposed cap on the price of a set of strings. I'm here to tell you - that old fools can just keep on buying set after set of un coated non Elixir brand strings all that they want to. I typically purchase only one set of strings for an entire year of playing. There is never really a reason to change these strings unless you just happen to break one. I've never really had Elixir strings go bad on me.
Elixir Acoustic Guitar Strings - NO SCREECHING!
The picture above is me and my Santa Cruz Model "D" guitar - I've had that thing since I was about sixteen. I actually had to audition in order to purchase it - the man I bought it from just wasn't going to sell it to someone who couldn't play. I could play in front of the man without any problems. . .but I was a very shy young man. If I was worth millions of dollars, and could buy the finest acoustic guitars in the world, my Santa Cruz would still not be for sale. Were I homeless and destitute, my Santa Cruz would still not be for sale. The reason I love that guitar so much is because I conquered myself with it. You see, I was in a fight or flight situation waiting backstage to perform live in front of about four hundred home town persons, and I was terrified. Up until the moment that I walked out on stage and performed, I didn't know if I would do it, or run away. I not only did it - I totally knocked the bottom out of it, and ace my performance.
But on my reviews for the performance was one negative comment, and that comment was entirely justified. When I would slide up and down the neck of my Santa Cruz guitar with it's non Elixir brand phosphor/bronze strings - my sweaty, nervous hands would cause a screeching sound, and that is common for sweaty hands sliding up and down the neck of guitars strung with non Elixir brand strings. If I'd have had Elixir brand strings that day (they were not in production at that time), then I'd have had the most perfect reviews of a perfect performance.
Elixir Strings - Polyweb and Nanoweb.
I do not play the mandolin, but if I did, and I'd like to own one; it would never have any other string besides Elixir brand strings on it. A mandolin is an eight string instrument, so much the better for not having to change the strings! I do not own a twelve string guitar - but oh my, if I did own one, you can rest assured that as sure as the sun rises - it would only be treated with Elixir brand strings.
I promise you that I do not work for Elixir strings, and I'm not associated with them in any way. I'm just a person who gets a superior product every single time that I spend my hard earned money for it, and I appreciate it, and I believe that you will too should you ever need to purchase strings. Elixir does not just make acoustic guitar strings, they make musical instrument strings.
Before I move into nanoweb vs polyweb Elixir strings - let me tell you about my ears. I have two very good ears. I can tune a guitar without a tuner. The worst that I've ever done is to have the entire guitar one half tone to the flat side of being in tune. I have good ears. When I hear a guitar with mahogany backs and sides - I know it by it's sound. I can hear the difference even, between Brazilian Rosewood and East Indian Rosewood. I can hear the difference between a Fender Telecaster and a Fender Stratocaster. I've got very good ears. I know a Gibson Les Paul when I hear one. I know a Paul Reed Smith guitar when I hear one. My ears are outstanding.
I can not, however, hear the difference between Elixir nanoweb strings and Elixir polyweb strings. If you tell me that you can hear the difference between polyweb and nanoweb, then I'll not doubt you. I'm positive that some folks can, or they'd probably not be selling both types. Let me just suffice it to say that they both cost the same amount - but that the polyweb is a thicker coating of protection on the strings than is the nanoweb, and will surely last longer. By the same token, the nanoweb strings probably sound just a hair better than do the polywebs, but the thinner coating will probably not keep the strings fresh for as long as do the polyweb coats. I prefer the polyweb strings because that is what I've always bought from Elixir, and I have always been so overwhelmingly happy with that product that I see no reason under the sun to change my string purchasing habits.
Finally, I'd like to thank all readers for reading. I hope that I've managed to relay some information that was not previously known. I have absolutely no doubt that if you are a musician of the stringed instrument variety, and you have not used Elixir - that when you do try Elixir brand strings, you'll never purchase another brand again.
Elixir Nanoweb Medium Acoustic Guitar Strings
The Ultimate In Long Lasting Great Sounding Acoustic Guitar Strings.
Amazon Price: $30.00 $11.15 Buy Now
(price as of Sep 6, 2013)