Any good alternatives to Elixir strings?

I have been using elixirs for the past 5 years or so. I love the way they feel and sound (they basically never get rusty, they can sound roughly the same after months!) - but I noticed that they can break fairly easily when you bend them. I am pretty much constantly replacing my high E string!

Does anyone know of other brands that have the same anti-rust capabilities while being more resistant to bending?

Thanks :bowing_man:

I’ve tried them all over the last 10 years or so. I haven’t found anything that lasts even half as long as Elixirs. It’s interesting that you break them so often, I’ve actually had the opposite experience. I switched to Ernie Ball strings for a couple of months last year just to try them out. I broke E and B strings constantly. Switched back to Elixirs, no more broken strings.

As a side note, despite the Ernie Ball strings being WAY less expensive, because they broke or died so much faster, over the couple of months I used them, I actually spent more money on the Ernie Ball strings than I would have on Elixirs.

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@tommo I hope this doesn’t come across as audacious since you’re an actual scientists and I’m…way less smart than a scientist :slight_smile: Are you convinced it’s the string and not the guitar? For example, guitar A has elixers and the string breaks.

  • You then replace the broken string with a cheap non-elixer replacement.
    • String is fine and doesn’t break anymore
  • Time to change strings, new full set of elixers
  • String breaks

Or is it more like

  • guitar A has elixers and strings break
  • guitar B has ‘normal’ strings and they don’t break

Also, is the string always breaking at the same place? I’ve had this happen in the past and it was due to a rough spot in the hole where the string goes through the post. Just want to make sure we have the right culprit!


Bring it to a good tech - bridge burrs, tuners, even making the angle on the nut right (their never optimum form a factory) would be a good start.

I just looked that one up, so I can’t vouch for them as dealers. But single Elixir brand strings for $1.15 is pretty cheap. I don’t know what the shipping costs are.

Elixir sells them too.

I’m a big fan of the Elixirs too – they sound great and pretty much last forever. They’re really good if you’re the type who has a main guitar or two and then some that are played sporadically on songs/sessions, like a 12-string or a high strung/Nashville guitar. I know this is kind of a “shred” channel, but we’re music people too, and I’ve been around the L.A. session thing for a while, mostly as an engineer/mixer. A session guitar player at that level has to have every color for the producer to paint with, ready to go: modern acoustic, vintage acoustic, acoustic 12, electric 12, P-90, humbucker, single coil, Bigsby, Floyd, baritone, as well as some distinctive instruments or “secret weapons”…so 20-50 guitars on a session is pretty normal, and, of course, many of these guitars are barely getting used once a month, if that. So Elixirs (or coated strings in general) are a game-changer, since even a less-used guitar can be pretty much considered “ready to go” at any time.

Elixirs get around, for sure. There are endorsement deals. The channel has a high profile – maybe you could get them to send you cases at an artist rate.

I noticed you were talking about the “anti-rust” feature. I’ve seen that on the packages (on the singles) but never quite knew what that was. There are other brands that are coated, but I don’t know about the “anti-rust” thing. The coating is definitely a real step up, but the anti-rust thing may or may not be hype – you know, “we love our coated strings, but what can we do to differentiate our plain strings from the competition?” It may be that they’re not really different. I know it’s a drag to stick a fresh string on a guitar alongside ones that have been played for a while, but the life cycle of a plain string seems different than that of a wound string anyway. So are you running into an issue with the relative brightness of the strings being off after you replace a single?

I agree that unless you are doing single-string runs eight hours a day or playing as Johnny Thunders in a New York Dolls tribute band, I’d be surprised at you breaking the same string over and over. I guess if you’re finishing every E minor scale run with a 1-1/2 step bend at the 21st fret, that could do it too. I hardly ever break a string unless I’m doing something pretty physical, although that doesn’t count the .008 high G on the 12-string, which is kind of always liable to break.

My first Floyd guitar was a Kramer with a Floyd Rose II (“II” means better, right? Ummm…). The bridge uses the ball end strings (the string gets threaded through from the back of the bridge), so I got really used to shaking those broken ends out from the rear of the bridge. I was definitely one of those suburban kids with hard rock-era MTV on and a growing stack of guitar magazines…when Vito Bratta said that the Floyd was cool because, if a string broke in rehearsal, you could just wind the same string down, tune it up, and play some more (let’s face it, 90% of the time they would break at the bridge), I couldn’t wait to get a “real” Floyd (not that I needed a reason). After all, the neighborhood music store had the omnipresent collection of singles but, you know, they were forever “all out of .009’s” (because, you know, that’s the only one that ever breaks), and it was awfully hard to want to buy ANOTHER set of stale off-brand strings in the wrong gauge at full price in the back of the record store (near the transcription books we ALL used to try to memorize in-store, right Troy?) when, you know, that new Dokken album just came out with the song that’s transcribed in GFTPM magazine and all you have is ten bucks for a cassette and a couple of slices of pizza (and maybe a game or two of Spy Hunter at the arcade).

Seems like another lifetime…


I recommend checking this out first. Burrs or sharp edges in the tuning post can keep breaking strings, but they can be filed. A luthier can easily take care of that.

If there’s a sharp edge in the tuning hole, it’s likely going to break other brand strings too.


Why not keep the Elixir strings and only replace the high E? (The big deal is the teflon tube that they wrap the wound strings in.)

Ernie Ball claims that their Paradigm strings are very hard to break, perhaps you can try just their E as a single string?

I used to use Elixir and miss them, but they don’t make an 8–42 set, so I switched to regular Ernie Ball.


I have some Cleartone strings, which are coated as well, in 10-46. I haven’t used them as I switched to 8s, but you can have them if you want to PM me your address and I can send them to you.

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I have switched to 9s recently and it seems like the strings pull out of the saddles more on the higher e and b strings more than not but what I do now is leave some of the twist from where the ball was and use that as extra to clamp down on the string and have not had that issue. I use elixirs exclusively. I tried to switch to cleartones and other coated but they do not compete with the longevity I get with elixirs. dont know if thats your issue but wanted to throw that out there.

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Yeah, this was my first thought too - this sounds like an issue with the high E saddle, more so than the strings.

I haven’t found Elixirs to break any more often than uncoated strings. Every once in a while I’ll get one that breaks after a couple weeks of use, but that’s true of any other brand I’ve ever tried, and they sound fresh a lot longer. If you want to try something else, the Daddario EXPs are pretty good, closer in sound to the new Elixir Optiwebs with a very thin coating, but they wear out a little faster. That’s about all I’ve tried that really measures up, though.

Oh, and Juststrings is great - I’ve used them for, damn, maybe two decades now.