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As a guitarist, you are most likely on the hunt for the best strings to go with your guitar to provide you with the most amazing quality sound you can achieve.
If you don’t have a whole lot of experience with guitars or music in general, you may not understand the impact that a poor-quality pair of strings can have on the sound that you’re producing.
In order to ensure the best tonal quality of your instrument, you should stop spending so much time looking at better guitar models and start looking at the strings you have on your guitar. The proficiency of the strings of your guitar should be held at the utmost importance, even more so than the quality of the tonewood on your instrument.
Today, there are a great amount of guitar string brands on the market with a great difference in price tags too. Depending on how experienced you are with your guitar, you could choose high quality, professional grade strings. But, if you aren’t as experienced with your guitar, beginner’s strings will suit you perfectly.
Among all of the brands that you see on the market, Elixir is one of the most trusted brands, as they produce the most high-quality guitar strings, especially since their strings are extremely durable and don’t show a lot of wear-and-tear.
Elixir produces some of the cheapest guitar strings that are of incredibly quality; many people complain about the lack of variety that Elixir offers to the market, but I personally believe that that makes the entire string shopping experience a lot less confusing.
Elixir Nanoweb guitar strings and Elixir Polyweb guitar strings are their most popular guitar strings, mainly because of the lifespan that these strings have.
However, the biggest question that a lot of musicians have is which string is better for their personal experience, which is what we’re going to talk about today!
So, what’s the actual difference between Nanoweb strings and Polyweb strings? The only actual difference between the two strings is the protective coating on the strings. Both of the sets of strings have a unique coating on the string that protects the guitar strings against damage.
This means that the protective layering over top of these strings will increase the tone life of your guitar, which is why Elixir strings have some of the best tone life on the market. The special coating that each string has around it can affect the tone of your guitar and the longevity of your resonance, while also having an effect on your playing style.
However, there is a small problem that some users experience with both the Nanoweb guitar strings and the Polyweb guitar strings. Musicians who don’t have a lot of guitar experience or have an understanding on how to properly take care of the strings are the people who have this problem most often.
If you place your strings on your guitar for a period of a year or longer (with semi-regular playing), you’re going to find that your strings may shed the coating that they have; the shedding of the coating will leave you with guitar strings that feel like and appear to look like an old rope.
Most guitar strings aren’t even going to last you an entire year, as most strings need changing every two to three months, even if you’re only playing casually.
There is a common misunderstanding in the guitar community that you can only use Polyweb strings on an electric guitar and you can only use Nanoweb strings on an acoustic guitar.
However, this is untrue, because brands such as Elixir create both Polyweb and Nanoweb strings for both guitars. For example, when shopping for guitar strings for an acoustic guitar you’re going to have to choose between Polyweb strings or Nanoweb strings.
|Polyweb guitar strings||Nanoweb guitar strings|
|Extremely durable||Thinner coating that Polyweb guitar strings|
|Will last longer than Nanoweb strings||Lighter than Polyweb strings|
|Great for rock, pop, or metal guitarists||Brighter sounding than Polyweb strings|
|Duller, deeper, and darker tone||Traditional sound and feel|
Nanoweb guitar strings have a thin protective coating; the coating on this string is so thin that you can’t even really feel it. This means that Nanoweb guitar strings produce a bright sound compared to Polyweb strings. The thinner coating on the strings also allows the authentic sound of your guitar without muting too much of the resonance.
If you happen to be a musician who tends to play at a lot of live venues or a lot of live shows, the Nanoweb string may be something that you want to check out.
Nanoweb strings are a lot easier to play than Polyweb strings, especially since they’re so much easier to manipulate. You can create your desired sounds from your instrument with very minimal effort or motions.
However, just because Nanoweb strings are easier to manipulate, doesn’t mean they’re always the best choice for you. If you happen to play a lot of music that requires a lot of heavy hand action, realize that Polyweb strings are most likely the better choice for you.
These strings are perfect for ballads, flamenco style, covers, and slower styles of music; using a delicate string in a genre that requires a lot of fast movement will cause your strings to snap easily. If you happen to have an acoustic guitar that’s extremely dull and flat sounding, a pair of Nanoweb strings may really help develop your sound.
I would also recommend using Nanoweb strings if you are looking for a smooth feel on your strings, while also looking for an uncoated and classic tone from your instrument, no matter what type of guitar you’re playing on. I found that Nanoweb strings really have a precise sound with a quality tone, perfect pairing with a lot of my acoustic guitars.
In summary, Nanoweb strings:
At the opposite end of the spectrum, Polyweb guitar strings have a thick coating around them. The sound that Polyweb guitar strings produce isn’t nearly as bright as the sound that’s produced from Nano strings.
This is due to the weight of the Polyweb strings, as they are actually rather heavy. Thicker strings are actually less prone to vibration, which means you may have to apply more pressure to create strong vibrations to produce the same sounds consecutively.
While Nanoweb guitar strings may be more forgiving with the styles of music that you use to play them, Polyweb strings are for a musician who is very specific playing style or genre. Polyweb guitar strings are perfect for those who happen to play in heavier music genres, such as hard rock, heavy metal, or pop.
Using a thicker gauge string for heavier styles of music means that your guitar strings are going to last longer, because of the thickness of the guitar string.
The extra thick coating on the Polyweb strings protects the actual string against dirt that’s on your fingers and the surrounding humidity.
Polyweb guitar strings are also perfect if you happen to be someone who has acidic hands; if you have acidic hands and your strings are constantly snapping or breaking, no matter how great of a job you do cleaning them, Polyweb guitar strings are the best strings for you! They won’t break, strip, or snap due to the acidity on your hands, because of how thick the coating is on each individual string.
Specifically, Elixir also managed to completely eliminate the squeaking sound that their Polyweb guitar strings produced. The elimination of the squeaky sound is especially useful for acoustic guitar players and musicians who do a lot of recordings. String squeaks have been reduced on the Nanoweb strings, but aren’t completely eliminated like they have been with Polyweb strings.
The biggest downside that comes with Polyweb strings is the sound difference that they produced; Polyweb strings feel and sound very different compared to most other guitar strings on the market. However, these strings are so thick and they actually feel incredibly similar to nylon strings, because the string coating is so thick.
The dull tone is a big complaint that a lot of musicians have with the Polyweb strings, but if you happen to have a really bright sounding guitar and are interested in adding some warmth to your sound, Polyweb Elixir strings would pair well together.
I would also highly recommend using Polyweb guitar strings if you’re someone who enjoys playing with a metal pick, as the metal pick creates a strong metallic sound when hitting the guitar string.
This is because the thick coating on the Polyweb string dampens the clanging sound that a metal pick causes, which you can hear especially when using other types of guitar strings (such as Nanoweb).
Choosing the right guitar strings for your instrument really all depends upon two things: what type of guitar you have and what genres you’re looking to play.
For example, if you happen to be looking for strings for your electric guitar, it’s highly recommended that you use nickel wound strings. You may want to try the Elixir 10-46-gauge nickel wound guitar strings, as these are one of the most popular guitar strings on the market today for electric guitarists.
On the other hand, acoustic guitar players are going to want to look at steel string guitars or nylon strings, with a thicker gauge (if you’re looking for a heavier, thicker sound).
However, if you’re more interested in having a delicate and soft sound, a thinner gauge guitar string will be what you’re looking for your acoustic guitar. Using ball-end nylon strings are perfect for those who are looking to play folk songs, but using a ball-end nylon string would be too heavy for flamenco style.
However, once you’ve gotten a bit further in your guitar journey, don’t continue to use nylon or light gauge strings just because you have weaker fingers.
Using light gauge strings when you’re first starting out is a great tip to train your fingers to get used to playing the guitar, but this isn’t a great piece of advice to follow for a long period of time. You’re going to need to build up calluses on your fingers to get used to playing for a longer period of time, so you may as well start up working on those calluses now.
|Nanoweb guitar strings||Polyweb guitar strings|
|Light coating||Heavy coating|
|Doesn’t reduce brightness or sustain||Smoother feel|
|Less expensive||Longer lifespan|
|Very similar to uncoated guitar strings||Aren’t as delicate|
Elixir has created both Polyweb and Nanoweb guitar strings come in a variety of gauges for both electric and acoustic guitar, which are:
Elixir Polyweb Electric Guitar Strings:
-Super light 9-42s
Elixir Nanoweb Electric Guitar Strings:
Elixir Acoustic Guitar Strings:
Elixir’s acoustic guitar strings come with a couple of different choices; they offer an 80/20 Nanoweb coating, an 80/20 Polyweb coating, and a Phosphor Bronze Nanoweb Coating. The Phosphor Bronze Nanoweb coating provides a warm tone with the 80/20 bronze Nanoweb coated strings provides users with a bright tone.
All three styles of acoustic guitar strings from Elixir come in these gauges:
Now, maybe you’ve tried out Elixir before and you’re never wanting to go back. Don’t worry! There are other brands out there who have their own spinoffs of Polyweb and Nanoweb strings and these brands include:
All of these brands produce either Polyweb strings, Nanoweb strings, or both. These strings may be cheaper than the Elixir strings, just depending on where you live. They all have strings that are worth checking out, even if you’re not into the Polyweb or Nanoweb strings!
All over the world, guitarists argue over which string is a better string: Nanoweb strings or Polyweb strings. Depending upon your playing preferences, you will most likely have to choose which string is better for your personal tastes based upon trial and error.
If you’re a beginner guitarist, I would recommend that you use Nanoweb strings because they’re a lot softer on your fingers. However, if you have stronger fingers and more experience, Polyweb strings will be a better choice for you.
Also consider purchasing your strings in bulk, because you’re always going to need more strings and they never go bad! You can save some money by purchasing what you need in a bulk setting, which will help to make your guitar journey a bit cheaper in the end.
If you do happen to be a beginner, it’s a good piece of advice to just use strings that are popular. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to waste a whole lot of time and money playing around with different types of guitar strings if you aren’t even comfortable holding a guitar yet.
Make sure that you never skimp out on your strings, as the difference between the perfect string for your dreams and something not so great is probably only a few dollars!
Danny grew up playing anything that looked like a guitar. Since some kids just don’t know how to grow up, he continues to write about guitars because you can do that these days.
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