Do Elixir Strings Really Last Longer? Are They Worth It?


Strings are something all guitar players need. Unfortunately, they are also expendable. If you are playing the guitar, you should be aware that you need to change your strings from time to time. While most of us faced a difficult choice of picking a perfect brand, there are many who claim that Elixir strings are the best simply because they last longer.

So do Elixir strings really last longer and are they worth it? The answer is that Elixir strings can last and keep their tone double or even triple the time compared to other brands. In almost all scenarios out there are Elixir will be worth it because their lifespan will surpass 2 sets of regular strings.

I personally use Elixir strings and ever since I tried them for the first time it is hard for me to put anything else besides them, Let me tell you why.

How Long Do Elixir Strings Usually Last?

Elixir Strings Electric Guitar Strings (19027)
2,313 Reviews
Elixir Strings Electric Guitar Strings (19027)
  • Electric guitar strings constructed with nickel-plated steel wrap wire
  • Played for the same crisp tone as an uncoated string
  • Optiweb Coating provides a natural feel
  • Our coating technology protects against common corrosion and debris...

The time you spend playing is a factor in the strings’ lifespan. If you play guitar every day for a couple of hours, you will have to change strings more often compared to someone who plays less often.

However, Elixir strings will keep the tone quality regardless if you play the guitar or not for a longer period than regular strings. This will allow you to postpone changing them until you feel that their tone is no longer what it used to be.

The second factor is whatever the player sweats during the session or not. If he/she does, the strings’ lifespan will be shorter than those who have dry hands. This is the main reason why people with sweaty hands can significantly benefit from using Elixir strings.

Naturally, maintaining your guitar is also an important factor, and if you use string cleaners and other products for maintenance, changing strings is something that you’ll need to do less often. 

The reason why Elixir strings can last longer is that each string has a protective layer over them. Elixir strings use Nanoweb, Polyweb, or Optiweb as a protective coating. Each type will offer something different while protecting strings and allowing longer use. 

On average strings should be changed every 100 hours of playing, in other words about every 3 months. Of course, some players might use them longer, while others should change them sooner. But no matter how good you treat your guitar and strings, you will still need to change the strings sooner or later.

Of course, we prefer it to be later as possible with the addition that the strings will keep their tone as much as possible. If you are the average player, playing 1 hour a day and changing the strings around every 3 months with Elixir strings you will be able to play 8 to 10 months with one set or maybe even more.

What Makes Elixir Unique?

Strings after 15 hours of play

Whenever you play the guitar, gunk will build upon each string and “suffocate” it. As a result, the string will lose both feel and sound over time. Many brands that use some kind of coating are not properly protecting each winding of the string. While it might last longer, it is between fully coated strings and uncoated ones. 

Elixir managed to find a way to coat the entire string. This way, gaps between the windings are protected, and strings are able to keep their mechanical properties even after a while.

This coating will act as a physical barrier between each winding of the strings, and as a result, there will be no way for skin particles and debris to get trapped.

The company has been working on this type of protection since 1997, and today, no one can do it better. It is proven that Elixir strings will extend the strings’ tone life like no other brand. This counts for both treated and coated strings.

Are Elixir Strings Worth It?

Since the strings last a bit longer they have a special protective coating over them. As a result, the price is also higher around double the price of uncoated strings from other brands. Naturally, the main question arises, are Elixir strings worth it or not? 

To summarize, I have created a table where I compared Elixir strings price to other uncoated strings from other brands. At the time you read this the price may change a bit so make sure to check the current price through the links provided in the table. But I believe that the difference between them in percentage will remain the same.

Acoustic Guitar Strings

Type of stringsPrice of one packPrice of 3 packs
Elixir~$14$30 – $40
D’Addario~$6~$17
Martin~$6~$17
Ernie Ball ~$5~$15

Electric Guitar Strings

Type of stringsPrice of one packPrice of 3 packs
Elixir~$13$30 – $40
D’Addario$5 – $8~$14
Ernie Ball ~$6$12-$14
Dunlop~$5~$12

In order for me to answer the question of whether they are worth it or not let’s consider the following scenarios.

If you are the average player playing for about 1 hour a day, then that means that you change your strings about every 3 months. With Elixir Strings, you can push the strings to 8-10 months before you need a new pair. Because Elixir cost around double the amount regular strings do and you suppress the lifespan of 2 pair of regular strings then they worth it

Another example is if you play the guitar casually or you own several guitars that one of them you play from time to time and you want to maintain it’s the tone for as long as possible.

With regular strings, after several months of not playing it or playing it from time to time, the strings will become dull. Whereas with Elixir strings you will maintain the original tone for several years.

Even for a professional musician who performs regularly, for example, Ed Sheeran or other musicians these strings are worth their value. Instead of replacing the strings with each performance you can replace them every 3 or 4 performances. I would say that in this situation it is less about the money and more about the time it takes for a new set to settle in.

As you can see it is hard to say when those strings will not be worth the money. Maybe if you have really dry hands and you maintain your strings regularly. In addition, you play more than 1 hour a day which will force someone with sweaty hands to replace those strings every 2 months.

But you replace them every 4 months or more, then maybe those strings will not matter so much to you. But even so, I would recommend you try at least one set and see the result for yourself.

Elixir Strings 16552 Guitar Strings with OPTIWEB Coating, 3 Pack,...
2,318 Reviews
Elixir Strings 16552 Guitar Strings with OPTIWEB Coating, 3 Pack,...
  • Electric guitar strings constructed with nickel-plated steel wrap wire
  • Played for the same crisp tone as an uncoated string
  • OPTIWEB Coating provides a natural feel
  • Our coating technology protects against common corrosion and debris...

Buying strings in packs of 3 or more can lower the costs of each pack. Elixir strings are not different from other brands. But sometimes you can find such a good deal when an Elixir set of strings will come close to a regular set of strings like the one I found of 3 packs of Elixir strings for $25

Types Of Elixir Strings

The company offers many different types of strings for both electric and acoustic guitars. While they don’t offer as many options as some other brands, it is still possible to pick one of the most popular types. If you wish to hear the different types and compared them between them and uncoated strings you can visit The Elixir Strings Sound Xperience at their website.

Acoustic Guitar Strings

When it comes to acoustic guitars, the strings come in three types:

  1. Polyweb 80/20 Bronze
    will give a warmer sound to your guitar while keeping slick and fast feel under your fingers.
  2. Nanoweb Phosphor Bronze
    The Phosphor type of coating offers the in-between the other two. The tone it produces is rich and full and it has a smooth feeling.
  3. Nanoweb 80/20 Bronze
    This type of coating offers a bright tone while playing the guitar will feel rather smooth

All strings for acoustic guitars come from .010 to .013 gauge including .16 for resonator guitars. 

Electric Guitar Strings

Elixir strings for electric guitars come in three versions:

  1. Polyweb
    will give a warmer sound to your guitar while keeping slick and fast feel under your fingers.
  2. Nanoweb
    This type of coating offers a bright tone while playing the guitar will feel rather smooth
  3. Optiweb
    It has a crisp tone with a natural feeling while playing

Each type of strings offer a different gauge size, and the players can pick between .009 and .012. Elixir brand covers the most popular string gauges. Unfortunately, if you are used to playing something a bit more unusual, like 0.08, you won’t be able to find one that Elixir offers.

Saying that one type is better than the other would be wrong since each has something unique to offer. The most important question is your music style and taste and based on that, you should pick one of the types that Elixir offers. Each of the coatings creates something different, and there are advantages and disadvantages to each. Naturally, the most important question is what you like. 

What Are The Alternatives To Elixir Strings?

There aren’t many types of strings that can compare to Elixir. While other companies make strings that are treated, the results aren’t the same. Not to say that other brands are worse, it is just that other brands rarely focus on prolonging the lifespan of guitar strings. 

Several other types of strings that use protective coating are D’Addario, Dunlop, and several others. There are three types of strings available in the market – coated, treated, and uncoated. For example, Cleartone offers treated strings that went through a similar process in order to protect them. The other type similar to Cleartone is La Bella with their Vapor Shields strings. 

If you are looking for coated strings like Elixir, you can always try D’Addario. The company is known to create great accessories for guitar, and many players prefer their products and strings. 

Finally, there are uncoated strings. While they won’t have the same lifespan, the gauge options and price is a lot better. There are many guitar players who prefer the uncoated sound of strings, and there is no doubt that there is a difference in playability and feel.

Of course, it all comes to personal preference. If you are looking to try uncoated strings, then the best choice might be Ernie Ball or Dunlop. Both companies create various types with different materials and string gauge that varies from 0.07 to .013. 

However, for all players that want to change strings as less as possible, while having the feel and sound of newer strings, there aren’t any other options. Other brands are simply different and offer feel and sound that is unique to their brand.

Unfortunately, you won’t have a chance to find something that will last as long as Elixir, while playing the same. On the other hand, if you love the way Elixir strings sound, then you should simply stick to Elixir’s brand. 

Related Post
if you are not entirely sure how to change the guitar string on your guitar, then check out my post How To Change Guitar Strings (Electric, Acoustic, Classical)

Summary

Elixir strings can last maybe double the time compared to other types. While most agree that players should change strings after one hundred hours, it can vary depending on the playstyle, conditions, and several other things. 

While Elixir strings can undoubtedly last longer, the price is quite higher compared to other brands. There are many players who prefer not having to change strings as often, and the higher price is something they are willing to pay. Saying that Elixir strings are not worth would be wrong since each player has their own preference and taste. 

However, if you are interested only in the longevity of strings, Elixir will undoubtedly last longer compared to almost any other brand.

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Last update on 2020-10-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Jacob

I have been playing guitar since 2004. As long as I can remember I always had a huge passion for rock music and I extremely enjoy playing it. Helping people on their rock journey is what drives me to keep on playing. Read More About Me

2 thoughts on “Do Elixir Strings Really Last Longer? Are They Worth It?

  1. For me, they have become a must at this point. I play guitar fairly regularly (min 2 hours a day) and i tried every brand you can possibly imagine: cleartone (same price as elixirs), ernie ball (paradigm in the specific which are even pricer if you believe that) d’addario (xt, cheaper by a 2/3 euros) and elixir (optiweb). All the ones i mentioned before elixir have already some darkened spots after the first two hours they have been changed, especially cleartone and ernie ball (which was really disappointing since one pack costs 21 euro). In a matter of one week they’re basically like any other strings (maybe pushing it, the d’addario xt lasts a week more). But in a matter of two weeks they’re basically useless. Don’t let me started on untreated ones. Those lasts me 5 days TOP, especially in the summer (and yes, even cleaning em with a cloth after each sessions).

    I do realize im not the norm here (as i know people that can go with untreated strings for like a month or two) and my sweat is probably very acidic. But for some reason elixir don’t seem to be affected by it. They keep their feel and sound for a like a month in the summer, pushing 2 months in the colder seasons. So yeah, for me they’re definetely a must.

    1. I totally understand you!
      When I pick up a guitar I can tell right away if those are elixir strings or not.
      The way you can slide the hand over them, the bends, or even just pressing them feels totally different from the rest, even after several weeks of play.
      This is why this has become a must for me as well.
      By the way, I have sweaty hands as well. Elixir is the only brand I feel comfortable playing after a long time of use.

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