Review: D’Addario guitar strings

First impressions can be deceptive. I realised that when I reviewed the Ernie Cobalt strings and the Dean Markley 11-52 strings. But it seemed especially true when I tried out the latest offering from D’Addario. To be honest, my first impression of their new strings was “I can’t play them!”. Fortunately, there’s a lot more to them than that, as I soon found out, in and outside of my guitar lessons.

Strange to start with

So what was it that made me and my guitar tuition students feel strange playing with the D’Addarios at first? Technically, these strings are different to their previous ones which changes your playing technique. While the strings are made of the same nickel wound the makers have always used, they are 11 15 19 28 37 50 as opposed to the original 11 14 28 38 49. This means they’ve been mathematically optimised for an evenly balanced fretting bending and picking experience. Plus some of the strings are heavier, which did affect some of my students in their guitar lessons

Time to adjust

What does this all mean for the keen guitar player? Well, a bit of a readjustment in how you play. This was something I found on my own and with students in my guitar lessons. After 20 years playing one way, it took me a little time to adjust. This was also true for intermediate players in my guitar lessons. Obviously, my beginner guitar tuition students wouldn’t know any different, so this wasn’t an issue for them.

A great all-round sound

But what happens after you get over that slight weird feeling? A great playing experience, both in and out of guitar lessons. The strings feel smoother and more modern than the originals. I tried out different styles with students in my guitar lessons and came to the conclusion that the strings are better for the modern player rather than the traditional. They are great all-round guitar strings, but not so good for playing jazz or blues. Because they’re not overly loud, I would also say that these aren’t the best choice for playing metal. But for anything else, they’re great. Plus they’re good for general use in guitar lessons, too.

A few days later…

A week or so on and these strings are still holding their own. They feel very sturdy. They’ve proven themselves on another score, too – all thanks to the winter weather we’ve been having this spring. The studio where I give guitar lessons gets very cold. But I didn’t need to retune the strings, despite temperature changes from freezing to warm. They stayed well in tune throughout.

Brighter and better

That’s the playing covered, but what about the techie stuff? In my opinion and judging by the response they got in my guitar lessons, these strings sound brighter. In my view, the makers have changed the way they produce them and improved them in the process.

Another good thing: the strings are sealed inside and out in their packaging so that they last longer. But there’s more. Unlike other manufacturers, D’Addario have improved their product without hiking up the price. While their old product was good, their new one is even better. If I had to sum it up, I’d describe it as a good all-rounder built to last.

Like I said, there’s much more to these guitar strings than mere first impressions.

Rob Greco

 

 

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