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  1. #1

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    Today I compared two well-loved sets of flatwound jazz guitar strings from two different companies. Both sets were brand new and you'll hear identical playing samples set back to back so you can hopefully come to the best conclusion. I tried to limit as many variable as possible, from the microphone, mic placement, guitar pick, right hand position, etc. The D'Addario Chromes are a standard, and for $15 have been good enough for many players. For twice as much, Thomastik Infeld offers their own set - the Jazz Swing flatwounds.

    Are the TI's worth the money?

    Comparisons are at the following timestamps:
    2:10 - acoustic samples
    3:10 - electric samples
    4:20 - combined acoustic/electric

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    I must have zero for ears because I could not hear and discernable difference. It certainly is not worth twice a much. Maybe this video is not the best way to do this but, as a listener I could not really tell the difference. I am struggling to even come up with anything at all difference but you said you could perceive a difference. I wonder what you heard that I did not.

    Bottom line is tells me TI are very over-priced!

  4. #3

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    I use Thomastik .14s on my L5 and Super 400 - but I really like the clarity of the D'Addario Chromes in this comparison. Going to try the Chromes next time I need a string change.

    Thanks for creating this comparison!

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by deacon Mark
    I must have zero for ears because I could not hear and discernable difference. It certainly is not worth twice a much. Maybe this video is not the best way to do this but, as a listener I could not really tell the difference. I am struggling to even come up with anything at all difference but you said you could perceive a difference. I wonder what you heard that I did not.

    Bottom line is tells me TI are very over-priced!
    The video tells you nothing about how the strings feel under your fingers.

  6. #5

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    It depends on where you live

    thomann.de
    Thomastik JS113 14,90 €
    Daddario ECG25 19,80 €

  7. #6

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    The supposed price difference is primarily a function of where they are made and where they are being sold. TI's are made in Europe. DA's are made in the US. This price comparison is based on American prices. Go to Europe and the price comparison is very different. Even in Canada TI's are $29.99 and Chromes are $23.25 from the same retailer.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by wzpgsr
    The video tells you nothing about how the strings feel under your fingers.

    The round core TIs do have a different feel, likely due to reduced internal friction when fretting the string.

    This is a definitely a first world distinction. Both are great strings. Both last a long time. If they cost the same it could be a tough choice.

  9. #8

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    Like Marty stated, its the round core of the TI's which set them apart. For the past 40 years I hated the "deadness" of flat wounds until I tried the TI's. The TI's feel great- they have less tension than hex core, which means less fretting resistance- and they actually sustain a good amount acoustically. I have them on my Borys electrics and glad I gave the TI's a chance. Now I know why they are prefered by many players.

    Sent from my GT-N5110 using Tapatalk

  10. #9

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    They might sound similar when brand new, but how about 3 months in?

  11. #10

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    Pyramid flatwounds come in hex and round core. I found them to cost less than TIs. The round core have a similar feel to TIs.

  12. #11

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    Ok I think one of my guitars has Ti on it when I bought the guitar. The other has Chromes and possibly they do feel different except the guitars are different and so hard compare. I might even agree that the one that has the TI's on it do feel a bit less in tension or whatever you what to call it. However the double the price is not worth it by me.

    To me it seems like the old problem of marginal differences. At some point we decide where the buck stops...............my mind cannot wrap it's head around a set of strings that cost $30. I can see I am not in the majority but frankly it probably is my level of skill I am still hacking around the neck like a wood chopper.

  13. #12

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    the most important distinction is that d'addario and just about all usa made flats are made of stainless steel outer wrap...

    thomastiks and pyramids are the last string makers around to use more expensive pure nickel wrap...a huge difference in tone and feel

    besides, thomastik deliberately uses thin inner round cores..for max flexibility and equal tension feel...they then use two wraps of pure nickel outer wrap for soft and smooth feel

    no compare!!

    chromes are typical stainless steel on hex core

    thoms are now rare pure nickel double flat wrap on thin round inner core...true vintage style

    thom pure nickels also keep their tone way longer as they are not overly bright to begin with..chromes are bright (like rounds) when new, but diminish noticeably with time

    if thoms werent priced higher due to pure nickel being premium, and coming from europe this conversation wouldnt even be happening

    chromes are no different than any usa made flat... ghs flats, labella flats, etc etc...all ss on hex...but they (d'addario) are a good company and have strong roots in the stringmaking world..they are oem for many guitar makers inc fender..all fender strings are made by d'addario etc...and they have wide and discounted distribution

    but thoms are a whole 'nother level

    cheers
    Last edited by neatomic; 09-29-2020 at 07:50 PM.

  14. #13

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    FYI: Then again, Pat Martino uses GHS Pat Martino String Set: 16-56!

    Yikes!!!

  15. #14

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    Never been impressed that DaDs are included on so many new guitars, figure its a matter of them pricing right to guitar makers.
    the Chromes in my experience start out too bright, take a while to settle in, and the die off in 3-4 weeks of heavy use,
    never a problem with TI... but honest I don’t understand how players put up with strings so long. To me they start to feel like spaghetti after a month or so no matter what brand. YMMI. IMNHO. all that jazz)))

  16. #15

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    I've been experimenting quite a bit with strings on my archtop, and going back and forth between Chromes and TI's JS's have been part of that. I think I'm coming to the conclusion that it doesn't make much difference. I can get a sound I like out of either. TI's do have a softer feel, but I really think that's the because wound strings are lighter. Sometimes I prefer that softer feel, sometimes I don't. On that video, my initial impression was that the Chromes sounded better, which jibes with my experience that at least initially that have a bigger (for lack of a better word) bolder sound. Over time I think they wind up sounding pretty much the same. But then I change from one to the other, and it's like "oooh, different strings, these are sooo much better ..." then switch back and have the same reaction. Shrug. They're guitar strings, of that I am 100% certain.

    John
    Last edited by John A.; 09-30-2020 at 12:54 AM.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by neatomic
    the most important distinction is that d'addario and just about all usa made flats are made of stainless steel outer wrap...

    thomastiks and pyramids are the last string makers around to use more expensive pure nickel wrap...a huge difference in tone and feel

    besides, thomastik deliberately uses thin inner round cores..for max flexibility and equal tension feel...they then use two wraps of pure nickel outer wrap for soft and smooth feel

    no compare!!

    chromes are typical stainless steel on hex core

    thoms are now rare pure nickel double flat wrap on thin round inner core...true vintage style

    thom pure nickels also keep their tone way longer as they are not overly bright to begin with..chromes are bright (like rounds) when new, but diminish noticeably with time

    if thoms werent priced higher due to pure nickel being premium, and coming from europe this conversation wouldnt even be happening

    chromes are no different than any usa made flat... ghs flats, labella flats, etc etc...all ss on hex...but they (d'addario) are a good company and have strong roots in the stringmaking world..they are oem for many guitar makers inc fender..all fender strings are made by d'addario etc...and they have wide and discounted distribution

    but thoms are a whole 'nother level

    cheers
    can't agree more. it's all been said here

  18. #17

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    a test of new strings is not sufficient. Re-test in 6 months of 3-4 hours a day of playing and you'll see that the thomastiks still sound great, have good intonation, etc. Not so with many of the other brands of flats. Initially, the thomastiks are somewhat bright and a bit unpleasant (although not as bright as new chromes) but within about 8 hours of playing, they mellow out and stay relatively the same for months. I have used a single set for over a year playing 3-4 hours a day. No other set lasts that long for me.

  19. #18

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    Both of them sound great, really. I know from experience Thomastics feel nicer, but sometimes I prefer brighter flats. Depends on the guitar really.

    Great tone and playing, OP.

  20. #19

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    I dunno if I’m imagining things but I feel that TI’s are a bit more even sounding across the strings. I’ve felt it was a hair easier to get a balanced sound out of them, whereas the d’addarios seem to have slightly higher highs and a bit looser bass.

  21. #20

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    IME, I can usually get TI flats in the low $20s through most of the online string retailers when you watch for their 10-15% off sales. Given how long they last, it’s worth the difference at that price point to me. YMMV as they say.

  22. #21

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    One word - TENSION

  23. #22

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    Just bought seven TI JS sets from Thomann at ~$15 per set. The $30 shipping is the same regardless of the quantity hence the large quantity so that's like ~$20 per set.

  24. #23

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    From listening to the video, my impression was that the D'Addarios sounded better. It's difficult to get an accurate impression from a video though. The video did a good job comparing them but I was hoping for the presenter to explain his preference and why.

    I decided to give flats a try after many years of playing round wound exclusively. I picked up a pair of D'Addario Chromes for one of my guitars (haven't installed them yet) to see if I like them. If I do, I'll likely give the TIs a try too.

  25. #24

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    Nice playing!

    I agree with Robbie that just on first listen the D'A's sound "better"--certainly mellower. But over time I think the TI's hold their tone better, and do feel better to me on the fingers.

    I have an ES-135 strung with TI's and a Peerless Sunset with DA's--both lights--and the 135 just feels more comfortable and has a more consistent tone--of course factoring in pickups, etc. I should mention I never, I mean rarely, change strings. The TI's feel and sound fine after, uh, a long time of use, without any tarnish or stickiness. The DA's feel a little sticky if I haven't played that guitar for awhile.