Strings are often the most overlooked and underrated aspect of a guitar. Sure, you can spend a small fortune on having the best gear possible, but even a newly minted OM-42 or a vintage Gibson can’t live up to its full potential with a cheap, corrosive set of strings. To really bring out the tonal nuances of both your instrument and your playing, you need a set of high quality strings that are made to go the distance.
That’s where Martin comes in. The historic acoustic brand have already been making strings for quite some time now, but their newly updated range pairs the latest technology with Martin’s renowned craftsmanship and attention to detail. Undoubtedly, these are player-grade strings. They’re ready to handle every sweat-drenched gig you throw at them and still intonate perfectly for the next three weeks of rigorous use. They feel better, sound better, and tune better than any string Martin have used before.
What’s more, they come in three distinct varieties to cover every base your creativity takes you to. First up comes the Authentic Acoustic SP Strings. Think of these as your workhorse string that you’ll want to buy in bulk and load your guitar cases with. The strings are braced with Martin’s highest ever tensile-strength core wire, so you don’t need to fret about breaking a string during heavier moments of playing. These are built to withstand the demands of today’s modern musician, capped off with tin-plating for added corrosion resistance. Once summer rolls around, I’m turning my strings to rust within 45 minutes of playing. Thankfully, the SP Strings manage to retain their brilliance without sacrificing any tone.
Moving further through the range, you’ll find Martin’s Acoustic Marquis Silked. These are the Cadillac of guitar strings. If you’re looking for some extra protection for your fine guitar, these are the strings for you. Perfectly suited for vintage instruments, Martin have added a soft silk wrap to the ball ends of these strings to prevent wear and tear on the bridge and bridge plate as you play. What’s more, the tone is to die for. While this might not be apparent in a live mix, these are well worth stringing up for a recording session where their tonal subtleties really come to life.
A common criticism of ‘rust-proof’ strings is a clinical, dry tone. Often you’ll find that’s a sacrifice you’ll need to make for longer lasting, long-life strings. However, Martin has developed a solution to this problem: their Authentic Acoustic Lifespan 2.0 Strings. Using a brand new technology exclusively developed by Martin, these strings protect the core wire and the wrap wire to prevent corrosion and rust— all without compromising tone. At the end of the day, if you’re compromising tone, your strings are becoming more of a hindrance than they need to be. These make a wonderful addition to any gigging guitarist’s arsenal, able to withstand a series of long, sweaty stage situations without giving out. As an aside, the slightly duller tone garnered by playing them in for a few hours is just as stunning as a fresh set.
If you’re compromising on your strings, then you’re compromising your guitar — simple as that. Martin have been making the world’s finest guitars for decades, so it comes as no surprise that their new range of strings fall into the same category. At the end of the day, what do you have to lose? A new set of strings is probably the cheapest, most cost-effective way to upgrade your tone. And that’s something we can all get behind.