* Prices may differ from that shown
I've played guitar for about 12 years & D'Addario have ended up being my strings of choice, having tried pretty much every kind on the market at one time or another. Most players I know tend to use them too, they tend to cost more than other brands such as Martin or Ernie Ball, but they can last 2-3 times longer & still sound fresh & bright a couple of months down the line. The same cannot be said for other, cheaper varieties.
You get a strong, clear sound from these strings, wether on an acoustic or electric guitar, there are all kinds of D'Addario strings available, ranging in thickness from softer strings such as .011 (the kind I tend to use), through to much stronger & firmer gauges (up to .049). If you're a heavier player & you'll be playing a lot of power chords, thicker strings will definitely suit you, if you have a softer style, the lighter gauge strings will probably work best for you. But like anything, it's important to try a few different styles & find what works for you.
My main guitar is a 1959 Gibson Country & Western, it's a very light guitar & as such suits quite light strings. I play it with .011 guage D'Addario acoustic strings. I had often used .010 guauge strings in the past but now use a slightly thicker string.
I tend to string it every few months as I play it a lot, but you could leave the strings for longer if you weren't playing that regularly. It should still take a few months before the strings begin to blacken, even if played regularly,
You'll pay probably around £10-12 for a set of D'Addario strings in most music shops, whereas other brands may start at as little as £4.99. Rival brands such as Martin cost around £7.99 typically, but you get what you pay for & I find you get a longer shelf life out of these compared to other brands.
I bought a set of these strings for my Ibanez jazz-styled guitar as I was recommended them by a friend. I have to say that overall I am very impressed with the strings. They seem to last a long, long time and don't begin to splinter or blacken for many months (even when played every-day over this lengthy period). Here's my insight into why D'Addario have got it so spot on:
The strings arrive in a brightly coloured card wallet and there is all the relevant information about the product on this card, including product codes, string classification and string weights. The card folds out nicely and can be resealed (not air tight) to keep everything together and inside when not being used.
Within the cardboard packaging which the entire collection of strings (1-6) is housed, there are individual plastic sleeves (air-sealed) which contain each individual string. These sleeves are essentially plastic bags of a similar compound to the super-market shopping bag - coloured a goldey brown. However, they are (according to the back of each sleeve) of 'Corrosion Intercept Technology, developed by Bell Labs and used by D'Addario ... the most significant development in string packaging since 1992'. Basically, they're environmentally friendly, fully recyclable plastic bags which contain 'a gas-neutralising barrier in the polymer matrix' to help preserve string freshness and keep them 'tarnish-free'. I like how the company has considered this, just another step in the right direction for plastic manufacturing - and a nice way to implement such a material.
The strings perform excellently even after being used many, many times (daily) over a period of 3-6 months. I've never used the strings in anything but normal room temperatures, but with fluctuations in temperature of 3-5 degrees the strings continue to perform well at the top and bottom end of that scale.
Tuning them up once a week will keep them tight and in tone, even if you are doing a lot of bending at the top frets, on the top (thinnest) strings. However, excessive bending over a short-period will result in the need to retune those specific strings on occasion.
The strings are colour coded to help you fit them and not get confused - as I often do when re-stringing.
Silver is top-E, B is purple, G is green, D is black, A is red, and bottom-E is brass coloured. These colours are clear and are shown on the strings circular ends, not the strings themselves (to avoid confusion). I like the system, to help you out further, the company have included a key for the strings colour-code on each of the interior plastic sleeves containing the individual strings. This works well and is as clear a way of explaining the system as possible.
The strings don't fray at the ends, they do require some force cutting the heavier ones, and scissors are obviously required. Despite this small hiccup (inherent in all metal as a pose to nylon strings) there is nothing else to fault with the product. Well packaged, well performing, well co-ordinated strings at a reasonable price - not top end, and not bottom.
Based in New York, D'Addario is a company which primarily manufacturers guitar strings. Today i'm taking a look at their Nickel Wound Blues / Jazz Rock gauge strings, which currently retail at £4.87 from amazon.co.uk. I've always assumed that D'Addario are a cheap brand, but when compared to the competition their strings are a little more expensive - a pack of Ernie Ball strings for example are around 10p less.
Specification, Performance & Longevity
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Regarding their thickness, the strings are of the following gauges - .011mm (top E), .014mm (A), .018mm (D), .028mm (G), .038mm (B), and .049mm (bottom E). The equivalent strings from other brands would probably be Ernie Ball's 'Power Slinky' variety which are also light gauge.
I enjoy using this particular thickness of string due to the fact that they're fairly light to the touch and especially easy to bend (hence the blues / jazz in the product's title). They're similarly not too thin to strum and feature a bright tone and clear sound. Of course, thinner guitar strings do break easier than the thicker ones (especially the top E) - but i've found D'Addario Nickel Wound to be pretty decent in terms of their longevity. The lifespan of the strings can be increased if you wipe the strings down after use with a dry cloth - yes, I know it's a bit of a hassle, but it really will reduce the chances of breakage.
- - - - - - - -
Overall, I would highly recommend these D'Addario Blues / Jazz Rock gauge strings as an easy to play and versatile product. Yes, they're a little more expensive than some other brands, but nevertheless offer good value for money in terms of their quality and longevity.
D'Addario are generally known among guitar players (especially in the UK) as being the best and most reasonably priced strings readily and commercially available in most stores. They are renowned for having a very clean and pronounced timbre which is absolutely ideal for playing rock, blues and jazz on acoustic and electric guitars and offers a very pronounced and distinctive sound without being tinny in the slightest. There are a wide range of D'Addario strings available and I have never known these strings to fray or perish as they appear to be made of much stronger stuff than that.
The strings are of good quality and are exceptionally durable. Personally I'd go for gauge 14 strings as that model of D'Addario are particularly good for playing rock and blues fusion as well as power chords, and give out a nice ring than with other strings I haven't quite been able to match. Classical pieces also sound really good on D'Addario strings, especially those with lots of bends and arpeggios. Personally, and especially for classical acoustic pieces I would recommend the phosphor bronze range as these are not only the most aesthetically pleasing, but are also ideally tough and responsive, and trills and hammer-ons won't hurt your fingers too much.
These will run you in the market of around eight pounds a set in the UK, as opposed to the cheaper sets of 6 strings which will be more in the region of about five pounds. Nonetheless, I'd have to say that it is well worth paying the extra few quid, as these are one of the cheapest but most celebrated brands of strings which are widely available as well as being of a reasonable price range. I've always gone with D'Addario strings and will continue to until I find something better. Wholeheartedly recommended.
Back when I was 16 I decided I wanted to learn the electric guitar. It seemed like the thing to do at that age, I was into my 90's indie music and I wanted to be able to recreate some of the great sounds I was hearing. So I got myself a pretty cheap and nasty electric guitar. I must confess I wasn't very good, I tried my best to learn it but never really got very good. It wasn't until a few years later when I bought myself a nice acoustic guitar that I really started taking playing seriously and got a little better. Anyway, after having my first electric guitar for a while I decided I wanted some new fancy strings, so I bought myself a packet of these. D'Addario EXL115 electric guitar strings.
If I'm completely honest, the only reason I bought these was because they were cheap and I liked the packet. I walked into the music shop not having a clue what I was doing, but as a slightly embraced 16 year old I didn't want to admit that. So I strode confidently up to the counter and asked for a pack of these. When I got home and started to try and restring my guitar they seemed like pretty good strings. This was the first time I had ever restrung a guitar so it was slow going but I managed it and didn't even snap a string which is pretty good for a first attempt.
But how did the strings sound? Well not very good, but that's mainly because I was a lousy guitarist back then. They did have a nice tone to them though, as you would expect with new guitar strings. However, as I played away on my new strings the sound did not last very long. It was only a few days before they started sounding a little dull and faded. These are nickel wound strings which means they have a clear tone and bright sound. However, as I said, that bright tone does not seem to last very long. Back then I didn't really have much to compare these strings with, but now I'm older and a little bit wiser, I would say there are plenty of other strings on the market that are better quality.
However, these are pretty cheap strings. Having a quick look online I found them on Amazon for around £4. So they are certainly not going to break the bank. These are good strings for beginners I would say. A more refined guitarist may opt for a better set of strings, but for a casual player who doesn't take himself to seriously then I would say these may be ideal.
Even though the initial bright tone of these strings does not last overly long, they do seem to be reasonably good durable strings. Although they lose that crisp sound, they do still have a nice mellow ring to them which does last a while. I must admit that I never actually changed those strings again, in fact ten years on they are probably still on that guitar buried somewhere up in the attic. It would be interesting to try and route it out and give them a try.
So overall I would say these strings are pretty middle of the road. For a serious player who wants a really good sound then I would say there are far better strings on the market and maybe you should look elsewhere. However, for beginners and players who are just having a mess around then these are pretty good value strings that should last for quite a long time. So in many ways these strings will be fine for many people who play the electric guitar.