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Review

Elixir Optiweb Coated Strings

Issue #47

Optiweb differs from the company’s Polyweb and Nanoweb technologies in that it doesn’t impart a slick feeling to the string’s surface and still gives a natural tone, akin to an uncoated string.
Tom Quayle

Pros:

Coated string longevity with the feel of an uncoated string
Great tone
Saves you money in the long run        

Cons:

None to speak of

Elixir Optiweb Coated strings

They're so new they aren't even in the shops yet, but Elixir's brand new 'Optiweb' coated guitar strings have been secretly on test for some time now. Fortunately, Tom Quayle was one of the first to try them. Here's his report.

Elixir has been producing coated string for years now and has become the biggest name within the industry in this regard thanks to its existing Polyweb and Nanoweb string coatings for both electric and acoustic players. String coatings are interesting in that they without a doubt increase the longevity of your strings, giving you a smoother feel and quality tone for longer, but they also definitely change the way the string feels and plays, with many players not being able to adapt to the altered way the string interacts with your fingers and guitar. Others (this reviewer included) love the slick and smooth feel of coated strings, especially for legato techniques, where the added smoothness makes playing even easier. However, enough players have asked Elixir to produce a coated string that feels and sounds like a standard string that the company simply had to oblige. Thus, the Optiweb coating was devised and launched at the recent NAMM show in the USA.

Optiweb differs from the company’s Polyweb and Nanoweb technologies in that it doesn’t impart a slick feeling to the string’s surface and still gives a natural tone, akin to an uncoated string. This means that, in theory, the string lasts as long as a Polyweb or Nanoweb coated string (many months in most cases) but feels much more akin to a normal guitar string, seemingly giving you the best of both worlds and a much more accurate grip for bends and vibrato for those players that like to dig in to their guitars and play more aggressively.

Elixir has been producing coated string for years now and has become the biggest name within the industry in this regard thanks to its existing Polyweb and Nanoweb string coatings for both electric and acoustic players. String coatings are interesting in that they without a doubt increase the longevity of your strings, giving you a smoother feel and quality tone for longer, but they also definitely change the way the string feels and plays, with many players not being able to adapt to the altered way the string interacts with your fingers and guitar. Others (this reviewer included) love the slick and smooth feel of coated strings, especially for legato techniques, where the added smoothness makes playing even easier. However, enough players have asked Elixir to produce a coated string that feels and sounds like a standard string that the company simply had to oblige. Thus, the Optiweb coating was devised and launched at the recent NAMM show in the USA.

Optiweb differs from the company’s Polyweb and Nanoweb technologies in that it doesn’t impart a slick feeling to the string’s surface and still gives a natural tone, akin to an uncoated string. This means that, in theory, the string lasts as long as a Polyweb or Nanoweb coated string (many months in most cases) but feels much more akin to a normal guitar string, seemingly giving you the best of both worlds and a much more accurate grip for bends and vibrato for those players that like to dig in to their guitars and play more aggressively.

Having had a guitar strung up with a set of Optiwebs for over a month now, I can attest that is seems that you can indeed have the best of both worlds. These strings have been played for a few hours every day over the last month and a half and still feel almost as good as the day they went on, with no discernible loss of tone or the telling dirt build up and 'position shift whistling' associated with uncoated strings. The feel is far more akin to an uncoated string with far less of the slickness of the Poly and Nanoweb coatings – of course these are still available if, like many other guitar players, this slickness is one of the things you love about coated strings.

It’s all very impressive and should make a lot of guitar players who love the longevity of coated strings but not their feel, very happy indeed.

Optiweb is a great addition to Elixir’s range, allowing the company to broaden its customer base further with Polyweb providing a warm tone and slick feel, Nanoweb a brighter tone and smooth feel and finally Optiweb for a crisp tone and natural feel. As with the rest of Elixir’s range, Optiweb strings costs more than your average guitar string per pack, but since they last such a long time it’s certainly not something to complain about and the average user could easily see a few months' use from a single pack. If you’ve always wanted your strings to last longer but have been put off by the feel of coated strings, now’s your chance to dive in and see what the fuss is about!


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Issue #49

Andy Timmons

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