Elixir Acoustic Guitar Strings Review – 5 Things to Know Before Buying


elixir strings
Elixir Nanowebs – My #1 Favorite Guitar String

Elixir’s guitar strings are my favorite for acoustic guitar playing, but I thought I’d make as unbiased a review as possible for anyone wondering whether they should buy elixir strings or not. This list of things is what I wish I could’ve found when I was first deciding to whether or not to buy elixir strings.

If you’re new to Elixir guitar strings, you may be wondering what’s so special about them, and whether elixir guitar strings are worth the extra cost. This will help you make a decision about whether elixir strings are right for you.

These are the top 5 things I wish I knew about Elixir strings before I bought them for the first time. Note: this is a review of Elixir’s Nanoweb strings specifically, which are my favorite of their acoustic strings.

1. Elixir Nanoweb Acoustic Guitar Strings Are Coated

Elixir Nanoweb vs Polyweb vs Optiwe... x
Elixir Nanoweb vs Polyweb vs Optiweb Strings: what’s the difference?

It’s important to recognize that Elixir’s Nanoweb strings are a coated guitar string. Coated guitar strings are strings that have been treated with a thin layer of polymer around their surface. This polymer coating helps coated guitar strings last longer.

Acoustic coated guitar strings are particularly good for preventing corrosion, as acoustic string material like phosphor bronze tends to corrode rather quickly. With the polymer coating used on coated strings, many players find their strings last a lot longer.

2. Elixir Guitar Strings Sound Different

Elixir’s coated acoustic guitar strings do sound different from uncoated strings. Whether or not you like this different sound will be subjective and up to you to decide. But it’s important to acknowledge there is a difference.

Fans of uncoated strings say Elixirs and other coated strings can sound a bit dull in comparison. But Elixir fans often say that even if coated strings lack a little bit of tone right out of the box, Elixirs make up for it in how long they retain this tone, and their overall playability.

Many players also think Elixir strings sound better tone-wise that uncoated strings… it’s up to you to decide.

If you want to see how Elixir guitar strings sound, check out this video of Marty Schwartz from Guitar Jamz. He plays a set of 5-year-old Elixir strings (which sound surprisingly great), and then a brand new set of Nanoweb strings:

3. Elixir Guitar Strings Last Longer

If you have sweaty hands or play guitar very frequently, you likely run through uncoated strings within a week or two at most. I know that was the case for me. It seemed like as soon as I put on a new set of uncoated strings it was time to change them out again. Constantly changing strings was extremely frustrating.

This is the main reason I fell in love with Elixir strings. They last me, and many other players, months at a time. They retain their tone much longer than uncoated strings, and they have never, ever rusted on me.

4. Elixir Guitar Strings are More Expensive

Elixir’s acoustic guitar strings, and the nanoweb strings in particular, are significantly more expensive than uncoated strings. This is because the coating itself, and its application, is a special feature and thus costs more money. Ultimately, whether elixir strings are worth it or not will come down to your own preferences and playing habits.

Personally, the extra cost is negligible for me if it means I can keep my strings on my guitar so much longer. I may even be saving money because of how little I have to change strings now that I use elixirs. If you’re having trouble deciding whether coated guitar strings are worth it, I wrote a whole post on that to help you out – you can check it out right here.

5. Elixir Guitar Strings Feel Different

Coated guitar strings feel a little bit different from uncoated strings, and the Elixir Nanowebs are no exception. In general, you can “feel” the coating on the outside of coated strings.

Fans of coated strings describe this feeling as smooth, or buttery. I find it makes slides and other guitar flourishes easier. The Elixir strings also retain this smoothness for a long time, while uncoated strings get rusty and rough after a few weeks, and definitely are not fun to slide around on.

However, guitarists who prefer uncoated strings sometimes say the Elixirs feel “slippery.” They prefer the grippiness and more pronounced feel of an uncoated string. If you aren’t sure what you prefer, it’s probably best to try both kinds of strings and see what feels best to you.

Are Elixirs Right for You?

Now you know the five things I wish someone had told me about Elixir Nanowebs before I bought them. I hope that’s enough to help you make your decision. If not, I do have a few more posts on acoustic guitar strings that you can check out. I wrote one on whether or not coated strings are worth the extra cost, and a guide to making your guitar strings last longer.

If you want to pick up some Elixir Nanowebs, the best place to do so is Amazon. They have the fastest shipping and the strings are only $14 or so. You can grab the strings here. Thanks for reading, and as always, happy picking!

Wondering What Elixir Guitar Strings Sound Like?

If you’re still having trouble deciding if Elixir’s coated acoustic strings are the right choice for you, I shot a quick video myself where I talk through my opinion of them. I also play some Elixir’s that are a year old to give you an idea of how good these strings can sound even once they’ve been on the guitar for forever.

Are Coated Guitar Strings Worth It? Elixir Nanoweb Acoustic Review

Here’s the video, and make sure subscribe to the official Acoustic World channel!

Ready to Get Better at Guitar, Faster?

Whenever you’re ready to take your guitar playing to the next level, check out my favorite resources below:

Best Strings

Elixir Nanoweb Acoustic Guitar Strings

  • Unique polymer coating allows strings to last for months or years at a time, making for an exceptional value.
  • Provide the perfect mix of boom, range, twang, and brightness that acoustic music is known for.

Best Guitar

Martin D-18

  • Beloved by everyone from Paul Simon to Gordon Lightfoot, the D-18 is one of Martin’s most legendary guitars ever.
  • An excellent, premier quality acoustic guitar for bluegrass, country, folk, rock and more. This is what I play myself.

Free Guide

Chords, Tabs & Lessons for 100 Songs

  • This free guide from Acoustic World gives you chords, tabs, and video lesson for the 100 best songs to learn on guitar.
  • I spent hours putting this together all by myself to help you get better at guitar, faster!

Free Book

Fingerpicking vs Flatpicking Guitar

  • Learn which picking style is right for YOU by exploring examples, history, and popular players of each style.
  • Discover essential techniques and pros and cons of each approach.

Corbin Buff

Corbin has played guitar for over a decade, and started writing about it on Acoustic World in an effort to help others. He lives and writes in western Montana.

Recent Posts