What is the difference between 80/20 bronze and phosphor bronze?
You’ll probably know already (but have a look if you don’t) that guitar strings sets are composed of a mixture of wound and plain (non-wound) strings. The wound strings consist of a core wire which is then wrapped with a layer, or multiple layers of wire strands. This wrap wire is one of, if not the most crucial tonal element of the string and with today’s acoustic-focused bulletin we’re going to compare the tone of the two major acoustic alloys.
PHOSPHOR BRONZE. This is the most popular of the acoustic guitar alloys. Made from a mix of 92% copper and about 8% tin (and sometimes a little phosphorous) it has a rose-brown colour. This alloy was first used for guitar strings by D’Addario in the 70’s for its natural longevity. The tone is warm and full with a nice amount of clarity.
80/20 BRONZE is an alloy of roughly 80% copper and 20% zinc and is more yellow in colour than phosphor bronze. It has a bright, articulate, percussive, and loud sound with a controlled low-end punch. 80/20 bronze strings are the 2nd most popular of the acoustic guitar strings alloys, and especially favoured giving life back to inherently dark or old guitars.
What do you mean by string 'construction'?
String construction is the term we use for both the winding technique and profile of the wrap wire used on guitar strings. If you look closely at the thickest guitar strings you’ll see that the outer wire probably looks round and cylindrical. This is what is called ‘round wound’ and is by far the most popular and widely used winding; however, there are a quite a few more.
I want 10's - apparently - what does that even mean?
Just one of those fragments of the past that’s forever here to stay… (that’s using imperial instead of metric).
When someone says "I use 9's" or "10's", "11's", "12's", etc... they're referring to string gauge.
String gauge comes from wire gauge and is the literal overall diameter of the string in thousandths of an inch. We use it in its shortened form dropping the ‘0.0’ instead referring to a string of gauge 0.010” as a ’10’.
Strings sets are denoted by their thinnest and thickest gauges. For example, a set of 10, 13, 17, 26w, 36w, 46w will be written as ’10-46’ and then further colloquially referred to as ‘a set of 10s’.
Are guitar strings recyclable?
Well, yes and no; it's not so simple unfortunately.
Guitar strings are made of many different materials and this is the real issue with recycling them at the moment (still in 2023). Although we may think it's as simple as melting them down, actually that's not possible and therefore they have to dissembled. However, unwinding them and breaking them apart is a long and costly process.
There is a pilot scheme in the US with a company called TerraCycle which is experimenting with recycling strings. We're exploring the same avenues here but it's still not possible.
We've looked at all current options, including shipping large quantities to TerraCycle but the carbon footprint for this far outweighs any benefit.
So for now, we're offering a collection scheme where we take strings back from both our customers and other company's in exchange for a 5% discount on your next strings order.
Our hope is that this stops a significant amount ending up in landfill until such time as the strings are recyclable.