Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Gittar Strings

Cant believe there are no discussions on this, so lets start one. What do you use and what made you choose them?
Me, I first started playing and used Black Diamonds. Wasnt many music stores close to where I lived and could get them at just about any drugstore. Then moved on to D’Adarrio EJ 16. Over the past few months however, the last packs that I have gotten have been pretty bad. I dont know if they changed the manufacturing practice but they have really went down hill. Even a couple of friends have noticed it too. So I went on the hunt for a new brand. I ended up with the Martin lifespan model. Never really cared for martin strings until now. These Lifespan strings are very nice. Even the B string hold up. They have a very nice tone to them as well. While they are pretty expensive, they have been worth it so far. I did catch Guitar Center having them on sale one weekend for 6 bucks and loaded up on them.

Hi John,
I caught the same sale… my happiest day ever at GC :smiley: They had a limit of 6, but the girl let me buy 6 mediums and 6 lights. They also had guitar wall hangers for like 7 bucks. I bought 3 of them and they’re just sitting here. I’ll put 'em up eventually.

My favorites are the martin lifespan phosphor bronze (msp7200 in medium and msp7100 in light). I also like the 80/20s, but the PBs are my favorite. Those strings just have the tone I want. They don’t feel odd like some of the early coated strings I tried. I use the mediums on my bigger guitars and the lights on the smaller ones. I had mediums on my OM, but I didn’t like the way the top looked with them… it looked kind of like my belly. I think it would have likely had structural issues eventually.

For fingerstyle stuff, I used to love John Pearse PBs. They have a very natural, woody sound. I have used a bunch of D’Addario PBs. They are tough to beat for availability and price. They have been a good all around string, I am sorry to hear that something may have changed with them.

My next change I want to set up one guitar to lifespans and another to one with Elxirs. I think I like the lifespans better, but I really need to A/B them with new strings. It should be interesting.

Also worth mentioning are the Cleartones. IMHO, they are really nice, they last well and they are often on sale at GC when none of the other coated strings are.

The best set I’ve found so far for my Martin rosewood dread are the Martin Lifespan 7200. Elixir nano pb mediums were ok, little bright and metallic sounding, good tone after they settled in though. Got a dead set of the Martin SP 4200, about to pull 'em off after day 2.

I’ve heard a ton of good reviews on the Thomastik Infeld Spectrum strings. I’ll have to order 'em online, but the look on the guys face when you ask for them at the local shop is priceless. :laughing:

I don’t care what strings I use, but I know I’ll never use another pair of non-coated strings.

Good thread!
I use D’Addario J-75 Phosphor bronze on my mandolin, and my wife uses, D’Addario EJ16 Light Phosphor bronze on her guitars.
Really haven’t tried anything else, but I might have to after reading this thread.

— Begin quote from "Julian"

I don’t care what strings I use, but I know I’ll never use another pair of non-coated strings.

— End quote

I think I’m with you, Julian. I tried the Elxirs, then went back to non-coated strings, and couldn’t believe how much I had become accustomed to the feel of coated strings. I’ve still got a few sets of non-coated strings to go through, but I believe I’m going back to coated strings next time.

I hate that the non-coated strings sound like you’re unzipping a parka every time you move your fingers. :slight_smile: I’m on the hunt for a good set of coated strings. I think the playability and longevity of the coated strings out-weigh the tiny improvement in tone of the non-coated.

My favorite coated strings so far are the D’Addario EXP’s. they last me a little over a month. that is less than the Elxirs (3 Months) but the coating is much thinner on the exp’s. Uncoated turn dead in about 2 weeks for me but sound the best.
The difference in sound comes from the way they coat them. Elixer coats the string after it is finished being wound, D’Addario coats the bronze before it is wrapped on the core.

elixir: sounds a bit muffled to my ears. get the “fray” after a few weeks of playing. sweet spot last forever. best for practice
EXP’s: no “fray”. sweet spot in sound last much longer than uncoated. much more definition than the elixirs. best for playing out
Uncoated: sweet spot last a couple days. best for recording

Just replaced the EJ17’s on my guitar with Lifespan 7200’s. My fingers are very happy right now, but my ears still haven’t decided.

Hey Larry,
It’s a subjective thing, but my ears have grown to love the sound of the 7200. I used to want to play them in for an hour or two, but now, I even like them right out of the box. Also, weeks later with daily play, they still sound decent. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Definitely liking the 7200’s more since they’ve got a couple of hours on them. They’re kind of bright right out of the package.

I put a set of the 80/20 medium lifespans on the D-18 for the first time yesterday (I think they are MSP6200). They have a very pleasant and usable tone right out of the box. They are darker than the PBs. They sound bassier (I don’t think they are, I just think there is less chime to compete). If I was going to be playing out immediately after a string change, these might be a better choice than the 7200s. I really like the sound to start, but I suspect they will progress through their sweet spot too quickly for my liking. I guess I shouldn’t get ahead of myself. So far, I really like them.

I use D’Addario J74’s on my mandolins and EJ19’s on my guitars. Have tried a lot of different strings over the years but always go back to them. Never cared much for coated strings but to be honest I’ve not tried any in a long time. Think I’ll put a set of those 7200’s on the HD-28 next time I change strings since a few of you guys like them.

Hey Bulldog,
If you like a less bright string, the 6200 lifespan (Med 80/20) are much less bright out of the box. They have a more “natural” sound, but the 7200’s sound great for a real long time once they settle in. I have grown accustomed to the 7200’s and the brightness out of the box doesn’t bother me, but your first time with them they can kind of surprise you.

The old HD is pretty heavy on the bass so I actually prefer a brighter string. Sounds like the 7200’s are what I need. Elderly Instruments (where I order strings anyway) has them on sale for $5.25 so I think I’ll get a few packs. If I don’t like them I guess I could always send you and Larry the other two sets!

$5.25 is a great deal. I recently stocked up on them for about that much with the buy one/get one deal last month (I have about 10 each of lights and mediums). If you don’t like them I am sure you can find some takers.

Finally got around to trying the Lifespan 7200’s. I’ve had them on for a week and they still sound pretty new. Think I’m going to like them, I’ll give 'em another week or two and see. By the way if anybody is in the market for a few sets, Strings and Beyond has a great deal on them at the time of this post and they’ll throw in a Martin guitar wallet which I really like.

Ok, three weeks into the LifeSpan strings now and I’m hooked. My Martin seems to like them better than the D’Addario’s which is unfortunate because of the price difference! Just put a set on my Guild D50 Bluegrass Special. We’ll see how it goes.

Glad you like them. Over the past year, I have had two opportunities to pick them up for about $6, so now I am stocked up at about the price of EJ17s (and they sound good for months). They sound good to me for several times longer than uncoated, so I am actually starting to think of them as a bargain. Until the next “big sale” you can get them at GC for around $11. At Elderly you can by three for $9.50 each: … SP7200.htm