D'Addario N6Alloy Beta Test

A while ago the D’Addario company put out a call to action on Facebook for testing a new set of acoustic guitars string, the N6Alloy. D’Addario is to be applauded for this because it gives guitar players (at all levels, by the way) the chance to try a different set of strings with no risk!

I have a 2003 Taylor 310CE and it was due for a string change when the Beta set arrived in the mail. So, I have installed them on this instrument, now let me share my initial thoughts about the D’Addario N6Alloy string set after having played them for a day.

1.) Don’t let the color scare you… Upon opening the package I thought I’d received an “electric” guitar set  – the color is reminiscent of the old Gibson “folk” silk and steel strings (for those of you old enough to remember those)! I checked the supplied information and noted that, indeed, these were “acoustic” strings.

2.) These strings “feel” right, there’s no “slip” on movement with the N6Alloy set (they feel like standard uncoated strings)! One of the biggest challenges I have with Elixer strings is that they tend to be too slick when moving up the neck – if I’m moving quickly I’ll overshoot the fret I’m looking for if I’m not careful, especially if my fingers are wet with perspiration. Up until the arrival of the N6Alloy set I had always used Elixir Polywebs on my Taylor. I don’t like the Elixir Nanowebs because the “coating” wears away too quickly for my tastes. The Polywebs last longer in my case but sound a bit “plastic” to my ears. I use a coated set because I kill standard strings with acidic perspiration.

3.) My ears are sensitive to intonation problems. Elixirs are the standard strings on Taylor guitars, and as such, they are constructed with those strings in mind for intonation issues. In fact my Taylor is the most accurate acoustic guitar I’ve ever owned concerning intonation – it is spot on. The N6Alloy set intonated perfectly at the 12th fret on all six strings. That HAD to happen or I would be unable to use these!

4.) The sound is superb with the N6Alloy set! They have a wonderful acoustic “bite” on the wound strings and a nice “punch” on the unwound trebles. If I had to place this sound on a continuum I’d say they were in between the darkness of the standard D’Addario coated strings (I’ve used these on my Martin D35, so I know the presents of the EXP16s) and the brightness of the Elixir Polyweb set. Really, they sound “just right” to my ears.

5.) These strings tuned up to pitch and stayed put better than any set I’ve ever used. Normally it takes 4 to 5 re-tunings to eliminate the string “stretch” encountered after a string change. This is a big deal if a string breaks and replacement is necessary between songs (those of you having this experience know what I mean!). The N6Alloys were good to go after the second re-tune!

A final note, if you’re playing an older Taylor (or a current unit) that uses Tusk for saddle material you have to replace these every couple of years. There is a tendency for Tusk to “slot” (or wear grooves) into the saddle at the locations where the strings rest. If you notice a raspy sound off of the open D or G string that is typically where the problems lie – it’s not the string!!!

I urge you to try the D’Addario N6Alloy strings as they become available! And, thanks again to D’Addario for this opportunity, it is very much appreciated!