Product Review: D’Addario XS Electric Guitar Strings – The Evolving Science of Coated Strings

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As seen in Guitar Girl Magazine Issue 20 – Summer 2022

As seen in Guitar Girl Magazine Issue 20 – Summer 2022

D’Addario has taken the science of coated strings to the next level with the release of their XS series, which was originally announced with the release of its acoustic strings in 2021. In April, they added their electric strings. The countless hours of research and scientific testing have resulted in a string that features a new, ultra-thin coating that is ten times thinner than a human hair. Underneath the coating is D ’Addario’s patented Fusion Twist, plain steel core. D’Addario claims that these materials provide a long-lasting string that maintains feel, tone, and intonation longer than some of its competitors in the market. 

I was sent a set of the XS Electric 10-46 gauge strings to test. They also offer a 10-52 set as well, for those players looking for a larger gauge in the lower end. I put them on my Fender Stratocaster, which is equipped with Seymour Duncan SSL-1 pickups, and was not disappointed. I played the guitar through a Fender Deluxe Reverb amp, so I could experiment with a really clean tone and then had my Ibanez TS808 Tube Screamer on deck for checking out the distorted tones.

These strings feel great — what guitar player doesn’t like the feel of new strings? They offer a really nice, bright tone through the clean Fender Deluxe Reverb. I like these strings because they offer a nice balance of flex without being too slinky, but you aren’t going to tire your hands while bending. When I engaged the Tube Screamer, I got a really great sonic array of balanced frequencies and tones. I know that some of these new materials incorporated into this new line of strings are intended to improve the overall sonic balance, and I did notice a lot of tonal clarity in the clean and distorted segments of my testing. 

With all these high-tech coatings, people may wonder if you can feel a difference in the string surface, and I didn’t really notice anything unusual about the feel of these. They felt the same with finger slides and bends. When writing this article, I had played on them for approximately three weeks and had not noticed any major changes or diminishing qualities in their tone or intonation. I did, however, notice that I did not have to tune these as much while I was breaking them in, so that was definitely a plus.

All the advances in materials and technology for strings are truly impressive. Using materials that increase the string life and maintain tone and intonation longer allows musicians to spend more time performing and less time changing strings. Retailing around $18 a pack for acoustic strings and $15 a pack for electric strings, in my opinion, they are definitely worth giving a try. 

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Born and Raised in Miami, FL, Vanessa started playing music at a young age. Progressing through high school, Vanessa was playing and performing on multiple instruments including guitar, piano and trumpet. She was awarded a scholarship to attend Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. During her time there, she studied the guitar playing of such influences as Pat Martino, Slash, Pat Metheny, John Scofield, Eric Johnson and many others. After graduating with a degree in Music Business, she went on to work with such artists as Pat Metheny and Christian McBride. After years in the business end of the industry, she decided to pursue her own performing career and moved to Atlanta, GA. Once in Atlanta, she was playing with several groups, and doing recording sessions.  A year later, she was chosen as a finalist by Beyonce to audition for her all-girl backup band. Vanessa has traveled the world playing guitar, visiting countries such as France, Germany, Egypt, Italy, Japan, South America and the Caribbean. She has performed on the bill with such renown artists as Darius Rucker, LA Sno, KISS, Skid Row and Paramore. She is currently recording and performing as the front woman for rock trio, BAST.