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Elixir Optiweb Nickel-Plated Electric Guitar Strings

Like they're not even there ...

 

by Chris Loeffler

 

Coated strings can be a polarizing proposition for players; some swear by them and enjoy the slicker feel in addition to the longer lifespan, while others prefer the rawer, more resistant feel of traditional nickel or steel. Following the successful launch of their Polyweb coated strings, Elixir came out with the Nanoweb series to meet traditional string players in the middle, with a smooth feel and a slightly brighter tone. Taking their line extension to the logical conclusion, at Winter NAMM 2017 Elixir debuted their Optiweb series of strings, which feature a coating so thin they claim there is little discernible difference in feel or tone from an uncoated string - while still maintaining a longer life.

 

The Elixir Optiweb series electric nickel-plated steel strings are currently available only for electric guitar, and are available in Super Light (.009 - .042), Custom Light (.009 - .046), Light (.10 - .046), Light-Heavy (.010 - .046), and Medium (.011 - .049) gauge sets.

 

What You Need to Know

 

To cut to the chase, the Optiweb strings I evaluated indeed felt and sounded like uncoated strings of similar specs from major manufacturers I’ve played like Ernie Ball regulars and D’Addarios. I probably wouldn’t have identified them as coated has I not known beforehand. Unlike the Polyweb coating, which has a glassy feel and a warm tone that endears it to jazz players and people who prefer their sound on the dark-side, or the Nanoweb, which offers a slightly faster but balanced feel with brighter tone that sounds fantastic with single coils and bright guitars, the Optiweb has enough snap and sparkle to make vintage-style humbuckers growl.

 

The break-in period of the strings was pretty standard; within an hour of light playing they were holding pitch even with multiple whole-step bends. Probably the most notable things about them was how unnoticeable the coating was.

 

I received a couple pairs of Optiweb electric strings to evaluate in late December, as Elixir knew their biggest value proposition, extended string life, needed a fair amount of time to prove itself. As someone who is in the habit of changing my strings every month or so (my body chemistry tends to dull strings pretty quickly, and I’m not always as diligent about washing my hands before playing as I should be), I can attest that as of the publication of this review (March) there is no noticeable deadening of tone or loosening of slack.

 

Limitations

 

It doesn’t appear they offer individual strings at this time, so if you break one string you’re buying a whole new pack.

 

Conclusion

 

Strings are a pretty personal preference, and what works great for one player can be considered “unplayable” to another. What I can attest to is the Elixir Optiweb strings feel and sound like a good set of uncoated nickel-plated strings. They are bright enough to make even the darkest pickups come alive, have the comfortable, familiar play of traditional strings, and certainly do last longer, even with less-than-ideal maintenance and care.   -HC-

 

Join the conversation in the HC Electric Guitar forum!

 

Resources

 

Elixir Optiweb Nickel-Plated Electric Guitar Strings Product Page

 

Buy Elixir Optiweb Nickel-Plated Electric Guitar Strings ($12.99)

 

                                  

 

____________________________________________ 

 

Chris Loeffler is a multi-instrumentalist and the Content Strategist of Harmony Central. In addition to his ten years experience as an online guitar merchandiser, marketing strategist, and community director he has worked as an international exporter, website consultant and brand manager. When he’s not working he can be found playing music, geeking out on guitar pedals and amps, and brewing tasty beer. 

 

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