Different Types Of Bronze (Steel) Guitar Strings

I've been asked a lot lately about different types of strings for steel string guitars.  The different types and sound qualities, etc. so here goes...

First of all, there are so many different names put on strings these days to make them sound special or better, it's hard to figure out exactly what you're getting and each time I go to buy a new set of strings, the packaging and names change which confuses things further.

Silk & Steel - When I bought my Guild DV52, it came with silk & steel strings.  They looked like regular bronze strings but the core (material the winding was wrapped around) was silk.  These were easy to fret but had a mellow tone and didn't last too long.

Bronze - Bronze strings, which really aren't bronze but brass alloy over a steel string, give you a medium tone.

Phosphor Bronze - I remember in my incoming inspection quality control days working in factories, specifying phosphor bronze as the material of choice when receiving connector pins because they were denser, harder, and lasted longer than the other pins used.  The same holds true in the guitar string world but you have to know some precautions.  The phosphor bronze strings will probably sound brighter or louder even though they're the same gauge as you used before not only because they are a different material but also because they pull harder on the bridge / sound board due to their greater mass over regular bronze strings.  If you replace say a medium set of bronze strings with a medium set of phosphor bronze strings (same diameters) be aware that they will pull harder on your guitar.  Keep an eye on the face of your guitar after installing them to make sure your guitar can handle them or else when you decide to change over to phosphor bronze, get a gauge a little lighter.  The phosphor bronze strings do last longer than the two previously mentioned types of strings.

Now for some special types of strings...

I'm not here to endorse a certain brand of strings.  Other guitarists (much better than I) prefer different brands.  I'm sure they are very good as well.

My Taylor 12 string came with Elixir strings.  They are coated which seems to make at least the wound strings last longer.  They also seem to sound very bright and there's maybe less squeaking when sliding your fingers on the strings.  I bought a replacement set to put in the case in case a string breaks.  They were much more expensive than un-coated strings and it didn't say on the box if they were phosphor bronze or not.

I put "Martin SP" strings on my Guild.  Martin SP strings seem to be the bright of the bright phosphor bronze strings.  If you have a big bassy, thumpy dreadnought and want to liven it up, these are the strings to try.

Bob, Gman ( o )==#

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