Nickel-Plated Steel Explained
A steel alloy that has an electroplating of 8% pure nickel. This is a formula used in the world-famous D'Addario XL string line. This steel alloy is ideally suited for magnetic pickups and the nickel plating provides a cosmetic finish, oxidation resistance and surface smoothness. It is bright sounding and long-lasting without promoting fret wear.
Plain Steel Explained
A high carbon steel alloy wire that is round in cross section. Used for plain steel strings.
When do I change my strings?
Don’t wait until they break! The frequency you should change strings depends on how often you play, how you play, and in what conditions your instrument is played and stored. Active performers may need to change their strings on a weekly basis or even more often if they suffer from acidic perspiration. Occasional players may take months to wear out a set. Most players change strings when they lose their brilliance, sound too mellow, when intonation falters or when their instrument is difficult to keep in tune. Changing one string after it breaks is not recommended as the newer string will be brighter-sounding than the rest of the set.
How can I clean my strings?
Hand perspiration and dirt build-up are the main culprits that shorten string longevity. Wipe strings down with a clean cloth after each session. For those of you with more acidic perspiration, wipe strings down with Planet Waves String Cleaner.
Which string set is for me?
Whether choosing electric, acoustic, classical or other strings, the right string tension for your style is a matter of trial and error and is of utmost importance. Experimenting with different tensions can bring out a completely different character and sound of your instrument and in the style of your play. You should not assume that the string tension the guitar manufacturer selected at the factory is the right tension for you.
Custom blending of light and medium sets or extra light and light sets is also an option. For example the EXL140 set combines the trebles of a regular light electric set with the basses of a jazz EJ21 set. This allows easy bending of treble strings with the heftier bass response of the heavier EJ21 strings.
Light gauge strings are the most popular and are recommended by most makers. Lighter overall string tension ensures longer soundboard and neck life. Heavier tensions are not recommended for guitars built with fragile tops. Medium gauge strings offer more projection on heavier built instruments.
Classical sets are gauged in light, normal, hard and extra hard tensions. Although the total pull of classical strings is much less than their steel string counterparts, the string height is set higher on classical guitars. This fact makes the tension difference critical.