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DR Strings HI-DEF NEON™ - MULTI-COLOUR Coloured Electric Guitar Strings: Medium 10-46

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The purpose of colored or multicolored strings, where each string is coated with one or different colors is to basically make your strings look cool. There are a few brands that do this and the most well-known company is the DR with their DR Neon Multi-Color strings. So what does this mean for a guitar player? Well for starters it means our strings will last that much longer than normal. In fact, most manufacturers project that coated strings will last around 3 - 5 times longer than a standard uncoated string.

Strings HI-DEF NEON™ - MULTI-COLOUR Coloured Electric DR Strings HI-DEF NEON™ - MULTI-COLOUR Coloured Electric

Tonally, players often argue that coated strings don’t have the brightness of an uncoated string. Their argument is that the coating can muffle the sound somewhat hindering it’s natural brightness and resonance. Electric guitar strings are relatively inexpensive as far as guitar accessories go but they're also one of the most vital components of great tone. As strings age they go dull and lose their vibrance, as well as making your guitar sound like the intonation is out as you move up and down the fretboard. Thus it's key to ensure you've always got a great sounding set on whether you're writing, practicing, recording, or performing. We speak to plenty of guitar players every day and you may or may not be surprised that there're players out there that can tarnish a standard set of strings in a matter of minutes due to sweat and acidic perspiration from their hands. Whilst coated strings are great for these players, their extended life certainly appeals to many other musicians too. While the coating does give them a different feel I think colored strings can be a great option for guitarists that are trying to learn to play scales. Since each string has a different color it allows you to be more aware of which strings you are on.If you are a bass player and you’re thinking of getting a D’Addario set with colored ends then the color code, in this case, is quite similar to electric and acoustic guitars. There are no hard and fast rules over when you should change your electric guitar strings, to be honest. Most casual guitarists do it once every two or three months, but if you’re a more serious player who’s putting in a few hours of practice every day and gigging regularly, you’ll probably need to change them more often.

DR Strings | Official Site

Above - This images shows the coating on D'Addario's XS Acoustic Strings and how it acts as a protective layer for the string underneath (Image Courtesy of D'Addario) Before I carry on, I think it’s worth mentioning that Elixir is part of W. L. Gore & Associates. Yes, the company that specialises in fluoropolymers, and produces that waterproof, breathable fabric called Gore-Tex found on most high-performance clothing. As such you can be sure that Elixir products are innovative, forward-thinking, advanced, and reliable.So, whether we’re talking about guitar strings with colored ends or not it’s best not to mix strings from different sets, and if one of your strings breaks it’s better to change the whole set or buy an individual string instead. Closing Thoughts The color code system that string companies use is not universal and each brand has its own method of marking its strings. More so, the same company can use different color codings between different types of strings. Let’s take a look at D’Addario for instance, they have the same method of marking their acoustic and electric guitar strings which are: Above - Image Courtesy of Elixir Strings - This advertisement from Elixir clearly shows how all the sweat, dirt and grime from our hands and the atmosphere can work their way between the windings. Being environmentally conscious is another reason some companies use colored ends. Some string brands put each string in an envelope that is labeled with the string it contains so you can know which one is which.

DR Strings HI-DEF NEON™ - MULTI-COLOUR Coloured Electric

Whilst Elixir do seem to reign supreme, there are some close competitors when it comes to popularity. Granted, adding a coating to strings does add an extra stage (or more) to the manufacturing process and as a result, coated strings do cost more than standard uncoated strings. However, if you look at the bigger picture, coated strings often work out more economical in the long term…. I also want to mention that while D’Addario’s color-coded strings are meant to make the process of stringing a guitar more straightforward and easy, it’s also part of their sustainability campaign, to reduce waste. Fender String Colored Ball End Strings


Then we have a less straightforward color code from LaBella, a company that decided to move towards a more environmentally friendly solution: As always, D’Addario are never far behind and always pushing the boundaries of string technology. Over the years they’ve continued to innovate and refine their coated string offerings and most recently they’ve released their XT range (available for electric, acoustic, bass, classical, mandolin and banjo). Most recently this year they also released their XS coated string range (currently only available for acoustic guitar).

Best electric guitar strings 2023: Give your electric new Best electric guitar strings 2023: Give your electric new

Of course, this simply isn’t the case and this is where things start to get interesting (if you’re string super nerds like us!). The differences really come to the fore when you consider the coating itself and how it’s applied to the string. Both elements being the secret sauce of each brand if you will. D’Addario is the most popular guitar brand that is known for color coding the ball end of their strings, but you can also find other manufacturers that use colored ends on their strings like Fender, LaBella, Rotosound, Cleartone, Dunlop, and other less known brands. Most string companies use their own unique color coding. Coated strings such as Elixir’s promise to extend the life of your string, repelling the gunk and sweat that builds up when playing. While some players prefer the natural feel of an uncoated string, not to mention the lower price, string coatings have evolved to feel evermore natural. They will still feel a little bit different, but they will also stay brighter longer.


Above - Image Courtesy of D'Addario. For D'Addario's latest XS Acoustic string range they've taken the decision to coat the outer surface of the string after it's been wound which is a first for any of their coated string ranges. As you can imagine D’Addario is still an innovative brand so it doesn’t come as a surprise that they are the most famous company that produces color-coded strings for acoustic, electric, classical, and bass guitars. Each color code marks a different string, and it’s unique to the company. Color-coded strings as they are also called are not that common, and there are two reasons why they are being manufactured. First of all the colored ends make it easier for you to identify each string and change your strings. Even as an experienced guitarist I still find color-coded strings useful, especially when I’m short on time or if I need to string my guitar before a gig in a badly lit pub.

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