Different Types of D'Addario Strings - XT, XS, Uncoated wire coated, film coated

Different Types of D'Addario Strings - XT, XS, Uncoated wire coated, film coated

Nov 14th 2023

Reviewing the Different Types of D'Addario Strings

Anyone who’s played guitar for more than a minute has likely heard of D’Addario. The family behind the world’s biggest manufacturer of musical instrument accessories has been in the business since the 17 th century. After Charles D’Addario emigrated from Italy to New York City in 1905, the family was involved in multiple successful string companies before Jim and John Jr. formed J. D’Addario & Company in 1973. (One of their previous ventures, Darco Music Strings, is now owned by C.F. Martin & Company .)

D’Addario is also responsible for several guitar string innovations. John Sr. developed the first nickel-plated electric guitar strings in the 1960s, and in 1974, they introduced the first phosphor bronze acoustic strings. Today, they have string lineups for electric guitar, acoustic guitar, bass guitar and other instruments. But which strings should you put on your trusty steed? Strings and Beyond has put together this outline of the most popular D’Addario guitar strings to help you decide on the right set.

Coated Guitar Strings

The demand for treated guitar strings, which have a special coating to resist wear and corrosion, rises seemingly every year. D’Addario has responded with two lineups of coated strings: the XS and the XT. They’re available in many gauges for guitars and bass guitars, both electric and acoustic. D’Addario coated strings also use their proprietary NY Steel and Fusion Twist, technologies which make the strings more tuning-stable and less likely to break.

D’Addario XS Strings

Want the longest-lasting strings D’Addario offers? These film-coated guitar strings are some of the most durable strings around. Guitarists have reported playing over 25 shows on XS strings and still having them sound like new. The ultra-thin polymer coating gives them a smooth feel for guitarists who like fast action. You may give up a little brightness, but if you like amazing string longevity, the trade-off is worth it.

D’Addario XT Strings

The D’Addario XT String lineup is for people who want a long string life while retaining more of the benefits that traditional uncoated strings offer. XTs are wire-coated strings, which makes them sound and feel more natural. Yet they still have great corrosion resistance; according to the company, XT strings last up to four times longer than uncoated strings. (Note XT strings replaced D’Addario’s previous EXP string lineup.)

Uncoated Guitar Strings

Even with so many advancements in coating technology, we know some guitarists will never give up their uncoated sets. They still offer the most brightness and projection while being less expensive upfront. To that end, several series of D’Addario uncoated strings exist for the pickiest of players. Unless otherwise noted, these strings are made for bass guitars as well as six-string guitars.

D’Addario XL Nickel-Wound Strings

Introduced in 1974, XL electric guitar strings (sometimes called EXL strings) are D’Addario’s flagship model. Nickel wound XL strings are based on the original nickel electric strings the D’Addario family invented and have been called the “Player’s Choice.” With a tone on the brighter side, these strings are known for their versatility, adapting to almost any playing style and music genre. One way they do this is with an array of string gauges that include extra-super light, jazz light, medium top/extra-heavy bottom and “Nashville tuning.” They’re also available for seven-string, eight-string and 12-string guitars.

XL ProSteel Strings

This is a variation on the XL string for electric guitarists who want the brightest possible sound. Instead of nickel, ProSteel guitar strings are wound with stainless steel. This gives them an unmistakable presence and crunch, in part because magnetic pickups detect stainless steel better than nickel. Currently, XL ProSteels are only available for six-string electric guitars.

D’Addario NYXL Strings

If you like to bend the bejeezus out of your strings but are tired of mid-show breaks, NYXL electric guitar strings are for you. These are the strings that introduced the “NY Steel” core and Fusion Twist construction mentioned earlier. Together, they increase the string’s tuning stability by 131% versus regular steel strings. That’s a big deal if you play in constantly changing environments or want to do serious shredding. D’Addario has also given them a better mid-range response for rhythym players. NYXL strings are offered in 16 different gauges for six-string electrics, and there are options for seven- and eight-string guitars, too.

D’Addario EJ Strings

Simply put, these are the OG phosphor bronze acoustic guitar strings . They last much longer than 80/20 bronze strings while producing a balanced, warm tone. The wrappings are round-wound around a hex core, adding some brightness to help counter the darker-sounding phosphor. The sonic balance and harmonic richness remain the standard other phosphor bronze string-makers strive for. If you want them in an acoustic bass version, look for D’Addario EP strings.

Other D’Addario Strings

That’s only some of the guitar strings D’Addario makes. Here’s a quick recap of some more string designs:

  • XL Half-Round: Strings that offer a smoother feel and warmer sound than regular XLs for jazz guitarists.
  • XL Pure Nickel: The ideal vintage string for reproducing the original 1950s rock-and-roll sounds.
  • XL Chromes: The mellowest-sounding electric strings in the D’Addario catalog with fuller low tones.
  • 80/20 Bronze: The right acoustic guitar strings if you want maximum brightness and projection.
  • Nickel Bronze: Strings designed to highlight the unique natural character and frequencies of your guitar with excellent clarity.
  • Flat Tops Phosphor Bronze : Semi-flat strings that sound like they’re broken in right from the start so they squeak less.
  • Pro-Arte: D’Addario’s lineup of classical guitar strings with nylon, carbon and Dynacore construction options.

Want to learn more about the hundreds of D’Addario guitar strings available at Strings and Beyond? Browse our full selection or call us at 877-830-0722 for assistance.