Pristine, present tone that’s made to last
By Chris Loeffler
Harmony Central Editor
The D’Addario family has been crafting instrument strings for more than 300 years and has one of the most extensive (and storied) instrument string assortments around. Never content to sit on its laurels, the D’Addario company continues to bring innovative new products to the market like the recently introduced NYXL series, a new line of premium strings for electric guitar.
Tough as Steel
The NYXL string series branches from D’Addario’s classic XL series by introducing the strongest proprietary steel formula available on the market complimented with a reformulated nickel plate steel wrap that is precision wound on their state-of-the-art machines. The result is a string with the highest break point in existence that broadcasts loud, punchy tones that are full-frequency with just a hint of mellow warmth in the mids.
Currently available in a 9-42 set and a 10-46 set for electric guitar, one of the first things that stands out about the NYXL strings is how solid and well machinged they are when they are removed from their corrosion-inhibiting sealed plastic envelope. The color-coded ball ends, which take the guesswork out of installing them in the correct sequence, are a nice touch and are very solidly threaded to the string.
Once strung, the NYXL strings do something very odd… they stay in tune after only a minute or two of adjustments. Most practitioners of vibrato or bending are resigned to an extended break-in period for their strings before they can confidently make whole note stretches without falling out of tune, but the NYXLs hold tune and feel settled within minutes. Without ever feeling stiff, the strings have a slightly sturdier and more consistent elasticity when vibrato is applied that translates to more control over the pitch.
It’s Not ALL in the Fingers
The D’Addario NYXL electric guitar strings tend toward a modern, full-frequency tone that is loud and lively. Neither bright as stainless steel nor as lo-fi as pure nickel, the NYXL strings balance a full, present and unaffected EQ with just enough warmth to lend character. The NYXL strings sound equally at home on a Gibson 335 running into a Fender Deluxe as they do through active pickups into a Hughes and Kettner Tubemeister. The strings are loud even without amplification, but plugged into an amp they come alive with a harmonically rich presence that jumps out in any mix.
Built to Last
Having covered the fact that the tone and playability of these strings stands toe-to-toe with the best, the biggest innovation D’Addario NYXL strings bring is their strength and durability. As a player with a heavy hand and a tendency toward bends during solos, I break strings long before their tone is deadened; I can speak with some authority on durability. The NYXL strings not only settle into tune and playability rapidly, but they maintained a consistent feel far beyond the “go to” strings I measured them against. A month of regular, heavy playing (with clean hands!) has little-to-no tone deadening nor or loosening of the tension. In short… they stay fresh longer and maintain the “new string” feel longer than any other string.
Strings are an essential part of your sound and many players fall into the habit of settling on the first set of strings that work for them and move on. Those looking for toneful, solid strings that can survive a beating and make it through the heaviest-handed players without breaking would do well to pick up a pack of D’Addario NYXL strings and feel the difference. Let’s be honest…your strings are starting to sound a little dull anyway.
Check out a set of the strongest, clearest strings on the market for electric guitar and take to task the assumption you’ve found “your” strings already.