I have been a fan of flat wound strings for a couple of my bass guitars for some time, but I had never tested out Elixir guitar strings before and was excited to see what the Nanoweb and Optiweb technology was all about and if it would be a similar feel to a flat wound. I was given a set of medium gauge Nanoweb acoustic strings and medium gauge Optiweb electric strings to try. I decided to play them for a good while before writing my review as one of the things Elixir claims is that their strings last three to five times as long as a regular set of strings without compromising the tone.
Nanoweb acoustic guitar strings
With the acoustic strings, I noticed that they still had that bright punchy sound that you would expect from an acoustic string. At their core, they are designed much like most other guitar strings, with steel wrapped in bronze or phosphor bronze wire. What makes a difference is that these strings are then coated with an ultra-thin polymer tube that contacts with the strings on top of the windings only so does not compromise on the tone of the string. The coating helps to prolong the life of the string by keeping out the dust and dirt that would usually get trapped in the windings, discoloring the strings, dulling the tone and making them need to be replaced regularly if you play them often.
Elixir claims that you cannot feel the coating, however, I definitely noticed that there was a coating. It did feel a little similar to my flat wound bass strings. It felt smooth and glided easily, so I actually saw that as a plus as it made my acoustic guitar a lot easier and more pleasant to play. I forget the brand of the strings I had on before that as I am always testing out different brands, but I have to say these are my favorite that I have tested so far on my acoustic and I will remember them! They just felt nice to play, bending and pulling off was easy and I really like the tone of them.
I have had them on for a couple months now and my guitar hangs on my wall, I use it daily to teach my students and I have not noticed any discoloration yet and the tone is still great. I would say they live up to their expectations. Although the cost is a bit more than I would be used to paying, I would definitely say it is worth it as I can see these lasting at least twice as long as my usual strings would last- if not three to five times as others have claimed which actually would make them cheaper in the long run. I am definitely a new fan!
Optiweb electric guitar strings
I also tested out the Optiweb electric guitar strings. These are supposed to be their thinnest polymer coating yet and their most natural feel. They also have an anti-rust technology for the nickel plated strings. They definitely have a more natural feel than the Nanoweb variety, but still have a nice glide and ease of playing. I could do my regular bends and vibrato with no difficulty, though not quite as easily as a slinky. The Optiwebs have a bit more of a warmer rounded sound than the Nanowebs, but still full and bright. They also after much playing have not discolored or lost any quality of tone, though I haven’t been playing my electric as much as my acoustic recently so I might have to do a follow-up in a couple of months to see if they have lasted as well as the acoustic ones. I love how you don’t have to change them as often as I can’t say I’ve ever enjoyed changing strings and like to do it as little as possible.
My verdict on both strings? Worth the extra price if you are not a fan of changing strings often, but they do have a slightly different feel than regular strings. The Nanoweb has more of a coated feel than the Optiweb, so test out the Optiweb if you want more of a natural feel. I will definitely keep using the Nanoweb on my acoustic guitar.