Gi71...Main Reviews....D’Addario XT Strings
D’Addario XT Strings
Vid Count: 1 Native
Guitar Interactive star rating: 4.5
Coated string benefits without the compromises
Increases the time between string changes
Same core material as the proven NYXL strings
Well priced considering the longevity benefits
The thinner coating will probably be less effective for those with very sweaty hands.
D’Addario XT Strings
MSRP (UK) £14.99 (US) $14.99
Available for Acoustic, Electric, Classical, & Bass Guitar, Plus Mandolin & Banjo
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Combining high carbon steel cores with an advanced corrosion resistance treatment, D'Addario XT strings are designed to give you enhanced break resistance, pitch stability, and long-lasting performance––all while preserving the tone and feel of your favourite uncoated strings. So, just how good are they? Here's Tom Quayle with the verdict.
Guitar strings may very well be one of the least exciting purchases for every guitarist on the planet; however, they are arguably the most essential (and certainly the most regular) purchase. As the contact point between us and our beloved instruments and the very source of every sound we make, strings can make or break (no pun intended!) how a guitar feels, sounds and responds, so buying the right set and gauge is hugely important.
D’Addario is a household name when it comes to strings and, as one of the few companies manufacturing and controlling their own string production from start to finish, are trusted and used by millions of guitarists all over the globe. It’s big news when D’Addario innovates with a new type of string, and their latest development, the XT Strings range, the brand has caused quite a buzz in the guitar industry.
For years now, string manufacturers have been experimenting with coated strings, designed to add longevity to their existing products. The idea is to make them feel newer for longer and thus like a better value proposition to the army of guitarists out there who hate changing strings but love the sound and feel of a fresh set. But coated strings have historically dulled the high-end tone, and feel very different to regular strings thanks to their ‘slipperiness’ and increased tension. As such, many players have shied away from them as too much of a compromise, preferring to settle for more regular string changes than altering their precious tone and feel.
The XT strings are designed to change this feeling of compromise, utilising the same core string technology as D ’Addario’s highly successful NYXL strings, but with an extremely thin hydrophobic, anti-corrosion coating that is almost imperceptible in terms of feel and tone vs a regular string. By using the same high carbon steel found in their NYXL and Nickel Bronze strings, D’Addario quote the same superb tuning stability and break resistance for their XT range but with the added benefit of extended longevity thanks to the anti-corrosion treatment. Because the coating is so thin, the tonal compromises are greatly lessened, and high-end roll-off is all but eliminated for both electric and acoustic strings whilst the traditional ‘slippy’ feel of coated strings is avoided too.
As someone who used to play coated strings but moved away from them for all the reasons mentioned earlier, I can safely say that XT’s exhibit none of the compromised elements associated with earlier iterations of other coated strings—having previously used NYXL’s as my string of choice, the XT’s feel almost identical with no added tension and just the tiniest amount of high-end roll-off that is pretty much undetectable on anything but the cleanest of single-note lines. Having never snapped an NYXL string it hasn’t been surprising to me that I’ve yet to break an XT either and tuning stability has remained consistent over many weeks, where other strings would lose intonation quite dramatically over the same time period. Of course, depending on the pH level of your sweat and how profusely you exude the stuff on stage or whilst practising, your mileage may vary, and I have friends who can only use heavily coated strings in order to maximise their longevity, but my experience has been superb so far.
D’Addario has even included a resealable, anti-corrosion bag for shipping their XT’s. It’s the same core material that the NYXL’s ship in and does a great job of preventing rusted strings straight from the packaging as you might find with lesser quality brands. However, having a re-sealable bag (as opposed to the rip open and throw away one for the NYXL’s) means that you can put unused strings back in the packaging and be sure they’ll be fresh once you need them.
It’s great to see that guitarists can finally get many of the benefits of a coated string without the compromised tone and feel. It’s still recommended that you try any set of strings out to see how your hands react with the materials at hand, but I think it’s safe to say that many guitarists will love the benefits that D’Addarios XT range can bring to avoiding the dreaded string change! They cost a bit more than the average set, but are certainly worth the asking price. Highly recommended.
Be sure to check out the video for a full tonal comparison.