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Will D’Addario XS Strings Rule The Guitar World?

D'Addario XS 3-packs header image

Believe it or not, that isn’t a click bait title. That’s a genuine question, and one we’d like to address here.

D’Addario XS is the best of the best when it comes to guitar strings. It’s comprised of D’Addario high-carbon NY Steel core, premium NYXL wrap wire, and a unique complete polymer coating. Other coated strings beware, these are game changing; and we don’t throw around these terms lightly.

A longterm supporter of D’Addario strings may recall the release of the EXP range in the early 2000’s which saw the first real increase in guitar strings life. EXP is a strings treatment which around 2018/19 morphed into XT which is more-or-less the same (something of a rebrand). Until in late 2020 D’Addario released the XS range, and it’s genuinely different. It’s taking the guitar world by storm and there just isn’t a serious competitor yet.

Let’s unwrap the strings and learn more…

D'Addario XS strings detail by Strings Direct


The Heart Notes

At the heart of every XS string is D’Addario NY Steel. This NY Steel core wire is produced exclusively in D’Addario’s purpose-built, dedicated wire-drawing facility in Farmingdale, New York. Here, they use advanced machinery and processes to draw high-carbon steel wire which has unmatched strength, stability, and break resistance.

NY Steel is up to 40% stronger and 131% more stable than the next best competitor. At the time of writing this article no other brand can match this. I’m actually trying to be impartial, but this is just a fact.


Fusion Twist

Fusion Twist is a way of locking in the ball-end creating a more stable anchor point. Using heat fusion and some D’Addario engineering magic eliminates any movement or slippage at the ball-end. Combining this with NY Steel is how D’Addario creates strings with exceptional tuning stability that play in-tune instantly.



The Wrap, And Tone

D’Addario NYXL is the wrap wire used in XS strings. This wrap wire is high-quality, premium nickel-plated steel which is engineered to produce thick, and punchy electric guitar tones with boosted midrange response - somewhere between 1kHz-3.5kHz. You’ll notice your tone controls and you amp are more responsive to your playing!



XS Coating

The XS coating is the cherry on top and star of this show. XS is a full-string polymer coating, 10x thinner than a human hair, that covers the entire string. The wound strings in XS sets are completely film coated; and to match the wound strings D’Addario XS plain (non-wound) strings are dispersion coated and nickel-plated. With these treatments XS achieves the maximum string life possible by creating a complete barrier against dirt, gunk, and oils.

This coating also gives the added benefit of a smooth feel which also reduces a little finger noise without compromising the tone of the string inside.



D’Addario XS is the amalgamation of decades of string making advancements, utilising the best technology, and highest-quality materials available. D’Addario has produced an incredibly long-lasting set of strings which have an engineered tone able to enhance any guitar they’re used on.

D’Addario XS is currently unparalleled in all aspects: tone, stability, strength, consistency, longevity, and class.  So, will they rule the guitar world?  What do you think?!


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D'Addario XS FAQs

What is the difference between D’Addario XT and XS?

Although both ranges dramatically increase string life, they do it in different ways.  D’Addario XT is a treatment applied to the wrap wire of the wound strings before it’s wound onto the core of the string.  The XT treatment is inconspicuous and the result is a long-lasting string which feel like regular ‘non-coated’ strings.

D’Addario XS however is full film costing which covers the entire string after the string is wound.  This creates a barrier which is impermeable to dirt and pollutants resulting in maximum string life. XS is a coating that you can feel.

Both XT and XS use the same XT treated ‘plain’ (non-wound) steel trebles strings.

What is XS coating?

XS is a full film polymer coating that covers the entire wound string.  XS achieves the maximum string life possible by creating a complete barrier against dirt, gunk, and oils. This coating also gives the added benefit of a smooth feel which also reduces a little finger noise without compromising the tone of the string inside.

Are coated strings better?

Well, that depends what you’re after.  There are many advantages of coating strings; namely their inherent long tone life and consistent, smooth feel.  Full cover coated strings like XS are great for players who play longer sets and would otherwise hear their tone becoming dull in the course of a show; or players that want one set of strings to sound amazing for a complete recording session or multiple rehearsals.

In another respect they great for guitars that aren’t played so often and the strings typically stay on for a long time.  For example, if you shave an acoustic guitar just hung on the wall for sporadic strumming, a coated set will guarantee a great sound every time you feel like playing.

They’re often good for players with allergies.  Read more on that here.

The only downside is that one can feel the coating, and we know this isn’t for everyone, yet… !

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