Do coated strings (Elixer or others) help frets last longer?

Discussion in 'Tech-Talk' started by Overthere, Oct 9, 2021.

  1. Overthere

    Overthere Strat-Talker

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    I bought an "inexpensive" Chinese Strat clone. The neck is excellent, but the fret wire is small, and online sources warn that it's not likely to hold up well.

    I use Elixer Phosphor Bronze Nanoweb strings on one of my acoustic guitars. They feel great, produce almost no string zip when recording, and they sound pretty good...though not as good as some uncoated strings I use.

    Does anybody have an opinion on whether coated Elixer Nickel-wound strings would reduce fret wear?

    I'm pretty sure I'll play 10s on my Strat. Any opinions on what sounds best to YOUR ears—Omniweb, Nanoweb, Polyweb—is much appreciated. As some here know, I don't change strings unless I ABSOLUTLEY HAVE TO (heh heh) and the Elixers last a long time. So I want to make a good choice.

    Also, I'm not a string bender but I expect to learn how now. Do coated nickel Elixer strings bend as well, better, or worse than a standard uncoated string? Say D'Addario EXL110s.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2021
  2. Cali Dude

    Cali Dude Senior Stratmaster

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    I could be wrong, but I doubt that any set of strings would increase fret life. I also enjoy Elixir strings. I wouldn't say that strings bend that differently by brand. But, rather, by guage.
     
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  3. Overthere

    Overthere Strat-Talker

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    Thanks, @Cali Dude. Take 10-guage for example. Do you notice that coated 10s bend better of worse than standard, non-coated 10s?
     
  4. Antstrat

    Antstrat Dr. Stratster

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    No.
     
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  5. Cali Dude

    Cali Dude Senior Stratmaster

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    When I was younger, I used "EB" strings for years. I generally used .11s back then. I switched to "Elixir" .10s several years ago. I personally haven't noticed that different brands of the same gauge bend differently. However, I would agree that coated strings feel different and can sound different from uncoated strings. I have Elixir nanowebs on all of my guitars now.
     
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  6. StratoMutt

    StratoMutt Most Honored Senior Member

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    Possibly - until the the plastic wears down and exposes the nekkid strings.

    Not a fan of coated string meself. Sort of like taking a shower while wearing a trash bag.
     
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  7. henderman

    henderman Dr. Stratster

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    not even a little bit.
     
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  8. Mr Jagsquire

    Mr Jagsquire Strat-Talker

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    Can't help regarding fret wear, but I switched some guitars to Elixir this summer as I was having problems with brand new strings going rusty on me half way through a 3 hour rehearsal due to sweaty hands. They have lasted well (though the weather is cooler now, so hard to tell regarding the rusting problem) and still seem to sound the same as when I put them on. Not sure they will make any difference to fret wear though.

    Regarding string bends: I have found different brands to feel different, even the same gauges: I bought some packs of Gibson 'Brite wires' on a deal a few years ago, but found they felt quite 'stiff' compared to the EB 10s I was using at the time. Don't know if it's something different in the construction as some strings have a hexagonal core, but I swapped back and forth a few times to be sure and the Gibson strings have been left in a drawer.
     
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  9. tinkertoy

    tinkertoy Strat-O-Master

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    Elixirs are a bit stiffer than most strings of the same gauge.

    They also dont sound as good as other strings do when first installed. Id say 85 to 90% maybe?
    But after a week or so, the regular strings are dead and the elixirs sound the same, and will for months.

    Optiweb sound and feel most like regular strings. They also don't shed the coating in the picking area like nanowebs do.
     
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  10. Impulsive guppy

    Impulsive guppy Strat-O-Master Gold Supporting Member

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    Elixiers last longer but still get funky at about the same rate.

    I’d say playing style has more effect on fret wear.
     
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  11. Overthere

    Overthere Strat-Talker

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    Yeah, I see the plastic coating fray on my acoustic guitars. It takes a long time for that to happen—maybe 6 to 9 months—and THAT's when I replace them. IF Elixer coatings protect the frets at all, it's worth it (to me) to give the electric nickel 10s a try.

    The only time I take my trash bag off is when I shower.

    Thank you, @StratoMutt, for the infomation and the laugh. =D
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2021
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  12. Overthere

    Overthere Strat-Talker

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    Dang.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2021
  13. Overthere

    Overthere Strat-Talker

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    Thanks, @Mr Jagsquire. That information is helpful. My priorities regarding Elixers for Strats are:
    1. Tone
    2. Playability
    3. Fret Defense
    4. String Life

    That's my concern and my experience exactly. Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2021
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  14. Overthere

    Overthere Strat-Talker

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    Well said, and in line with my experience with the Phosphor Bronze Nanowebs on acoustic guitars. Coated strings are not a perfect solution (85 to 90%, as you say) but I dislike buying and changing strings frequently.

    Exactly in line with my experience. Based on that endorsement, I'll look carefully at the Optiwebs. Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2021
  15. Overthere

    Overthere Strat-Talker

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    Thanks, Ig. Lucky for me, I don't know how to bend yet. =]
     
  16. henderman

    henderman Dr. Stratster

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    i used to destroy frets, i could divot one today...

    i learned to reduce the tension in my body and loosen my grip a bunch and it helped tons.

    then i went down to 8 - 38 strings and was required to use finesse since they are so easy to wiggle around, so now i have even less over grip.

    those things have helped my playing immensely and my fret wear went way down.

    i refretted one of my guitars with stainless and they are a dream to play on since they are a little slicker when polished and after several years now i have no wear i can see.
     
  17. nickmsmith

    nickmsmith Dr. Stratster

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    Yep. If it’s truly a concern, release the monkey grip on the neck, and get thinner strings. I’ve got a friend that frets his guitars like they owe him money. He’s used to high action acoustics with thick strings.

    I’ve never gotten a neck to where it needs a refret. But I do switch around quite a bit.
     
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  18. Overthere

    Overthere Strat-Talker

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    Man, I ALWAYS enjoy hearing what you have to say. Playing guitar (or bass) is and should be a relaxing, even meditative experience. An escape from what's happening "out there." I will think carefully about this, and try to implement it in a way that benefits my life in general.

    When the time comes to replace frets, I hope to go stainless steel. But thanks to your advice above, maybe I won't need to.

    Thank you, Master Po. =D
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2021
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  19. Overthere

    Overthere Strat-Talker

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    I've been playing acoustic guitar all my life. I write songs and sing, and find that tuning my guitars down a whole step, standard tuning in D rather than E, not only helps me sing, but also reduces string tension for a better playing experience. But you're right; I still struggle against "the Monkey Grip." HA!

    I play one guitar mostly. Adding two Strats (set up differently) should help "extend my fret life" in addition to other benefits. =]
     
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  20. nutball73

    nutball73 Senior Stratmaster

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    I've used nanowebs extensively and I believe the coating rubs off on the frets - I have found that the strings bend easier after a while "playing in" on a new guitar. The slickness stays for quite a while, too.

    These days I use D'addarios because they are cheaper, and they definitely aren't as slick.

    Whether that slickness infers longer fret life I have no idea. Note that most fret wear tends to be most common on the top 3 strings, which are uncoated on Elixirs anyway.
     
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