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We’ve been big fans of Elixir strings for years. Personally speaking, whatever mutant acid is in my sweat causes any strings I encounter to essentially rust on sight. Which means, for me at least, using standard uncoated strings like Ernie Ball Slinky and the like is a non-starter. After one gig or just a half-hour recording, my hands have eaten through the entire set, rendering them dull, rusted and useless.
Enter the coated string, something Elixir has been at the forefront of for years. I dig the Polyweb coating, myself, and have all my guitars strung up with Elixir strings. Simply put, whatever magic they’re using to coat their strings with keeps mine playing perfectly, without rusting through or sounding dull, for weeks, even months (yeah, really), on end. And yep, I actually like the slick feel that you don’t get with uncoated strings. Your mileage may vary, of course, but that’s my preference. It feels faster and my hands move more naturally with the coating.
Now, for those of you who want the long-lasting and protective effects of a coated string without the slick feel, you’ve been S.O.L. for years. Not any more! At NAMM, we got our first taste of the Optiweb coating, which keeps the benefits of coated strings (mainly, not becoming a rust-bucket under my freakish body secretions) with the more natural feel of strings you’re probably used to.
“Guitarists who choose uncoated strings for their natural feel and tone used to have to compromise on tone life,” says Jason Zambotti, product specialist for W. L. Gore & Associates, parent company of Elixir Strings. And he’s not wrong. You wanted Elixirs in the past but didn’t like the feel? Oh well. Too bad. Now you’ve got no excuse!
OK, so they’re a little pricier than an average pack of strings. But we re-strung our office Strat after NAMM and here we are in April and the strings still feel like new, and sound bright as ever. They even seem to hold tune better than regular strings. So that extra cash means you have to restring less often, saving you in the long run.
Needless to say, we’re total converts. While personally speaking, I still prefer the feel of the Polyweb coating under my fingers over the Opriweb coating, I can see a lot of new customers lining up for the Optiweb option.
feel more natural than previous Elixir strings, less string wear over time.
some people just don’t like coated strings, no matter what we tell ’em.