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Sometimes guitar string brand does not matter

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When all you need are strings that just work, brand really isn't a consideration.

Some guitar players spend a lot of money on strings. For example, one of the more popular expensive offerings is D'Addario NYXL. D'Addario claims that they stay in tune 131% better.

Do they? I have no idea. Maybe they do. But ultimately I buy whatever is cheap and readily available.

An example of this is seen above. I have a pack of Fender and Ernie Ball strings. Yes, they are both in 8-38 size because that's the string set size I like. But the point is the reason why I bought them. Cheap - for the moment.

I always go for the cheapest decent strings I can find since I know they will be used, wear out and need to be replaced. And it's usually true that the lowest prices (at least in the USA) are commanded by D'Addario, Fender, Ernie Ball and sometimes GHS.

When going cheap, catch a wave

I've learned over the years that guitar string pricing comes in waves.

A particular brand of string in the size you like will stay at a good steady low price for a year or so, but then suddenly become difficult to get and spike in price. I have absolutely no idea why this happens, but it does.

When the wave is good, the string is readily available and the price is low. When the wave has passed, availability drops and the price goes up.

Whenever a wave ends, I jump ship and catch a wave from another string brand. Rinse and repeat. I've been doing this for years.

Some waves don't return

Bigger string brands like D'Addario, Fender and Ernie Ball that are used widely by many guitar players all have pricing waves. Whenever a point comes when the price goes up for that brand, it will at some point come back down.

But then there are other times when a wave happens and it just never comes back.

I won't mention any specific brand here, but there are certain American string brands that were decently priced with good availability. These brands stopped doing that, started using fancier packaging, didn't improve the strings at all, then jacked the price up. You literally just pay for a fancier box the string set comes in.

Paying extra for packaging? Stupid. I don't do it.

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