Ernie Ball Paradigm Acoustic strings (90 day challenge)

Discussion in 'Reviews' started by AngusWolfe, Jul 1, 2017.

  1. AngusWolfe

    AngusWolfe Likes red things.

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    Now, I'm not a big acoustic player, but I play regularly enough to the point where it's a pain in the arse to buy strings for it. Simply because they go dead after about a week even though I've only played a few hours on it. I wipe it down, I wash my hands before, all that, they still go dead. So this time around I've decided to do a little experiment.

    All of the marketing for the Ernie Ball Paradigm strings have been on their break resistance, and absolutely none about the sound or how fresh they stay over longer periods of time. I have found in the past that Ernie Ball Slinky series strings tend to go dull after a matter of hours, and after a few days the case is even worse. This is why I found it interesting, and perhaps telling, that Ernie Ball put no mention of how these new strings sound or feel.

    Ernie Ball have put a 90 day guarantee on these strings, and say that if they rust or break within that time, they will replace them for free. Consider this challenge accepted. However, the interesting part for me, is how these strings will look, play, and sound at points over that time. So from now until the end of September, I will have this same set of strings on my acoustic, and will try and give regular updates and reviews on them. Let's see how they go.
     
  2. AngusWolfe

    AngusWolfe Likes red things.

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    Some first impressions:
    These are NOT cheap strings. I bought these from a local, independant music shop for £18.99 (well, I bought a lot of things and they gave me a good deal, but £18.99 is the stickered price). For that I could have bought at least two sets and been well on the way to a third. Three sets is probably what I'd get through on an electric in the time I will be using these strings though, so I suppose there is a small save in money if the strings do go the distance.

    Putting them on is the same as any other set of strings, they aren't harder to clip off the ends, and playing a couple of chords and licks and they don't feel any different under the fingers. They do, however, feel surprisingly light considering the gauge. I'm using a set of 11-52s, and while they aren't as light as 10s would be, they don't feel like full fat 11s either.

    Giving the strings a bit of a hammering with the big chords and licks of Guns 'n Roses' "Patience" gives me the impression that these strings aren't as loud as the set of D'Addario Phosphor Bronze that I've used recently. However, I feel that when hitting a big chord, it's hard to hit them out of tune. A bit of a problem if you're trying to play Helter Skelter, but other than that, I count that as a good thing. It makes me feel like it's under control and I can rock out without worrying about sounding awful.

    Sound wise, it's a very well rounded string. I'm using a dreadnought-style guitar, but there's an even spread of frequencies, and I don't feel that the bass response is louder than the mids or treble. If you like that or not is preference, but I feel that it's great for playing songs like Jeff Buckley's "Lover, You Should've Come Over" where small changes in the rhythm playing makes the melody. Single notes ring clear within the chords. Sometimes, with other strings I find the bass overpowers those single notes. That said, I can imagine if you're using a smaller guitar you may feel like you're lacking in bass end.

    I've played for a few hours, and there's no dramatic change. that slight tinny sound of new strings is beginning to go, but I don't see that as a weak point personally, as they still sound fresh.

    We will see where we go in the coming weeks.
     
  3. AngusWolfe

    AngusWolfe Likes red things.

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    just a quick update, we're a few days in now and I'd say they're in the same shape that normal strings would be in after a pretty long session (say, 3-4 hours). As I've easily done twice that on it this week. Thusfar they're doing better than normal strings, but I'd say 90 days is going to be a stretch. We shall see.

    One thing I did notice, they sustain really well. This acoustic is pretty cheap so it normally doesn't ring for long but these have given them quite a sweet ring, especially in the midrange.
     
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  4. ten-foot-tryptych

    ten-foot-tryptych half rock, half gas

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    Following this. My acoustic gets Martin phosphor bronze strings and has done for the last 15 years. I can get 5 packs for the same price as these Paradigm strings. For that extra coin I'd want someone to come around and change the strings on the guitar for me as well! Still, I'm interested to hear your verdict.
     
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  5. AngusWolfe

    AngusWolfe Likes red things.

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    Yeah, under normal circumstances I'd have told them to sod off, but I had a bit of extra money in my pocket this month and I hadn't seen anyone do a long term review of them.

    I hope the current high price is just because they're new to market and want to cover the R&D costs, and eventually they'll come down to something a bit closer to acceptable for everyday use.
     
  6. everfreetree

    everfreetree I... I like trees.

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    Honestly, I don't like Ernie Ball strings that much (I used to use them a lot), so I was very skeptical about the new line, BUT... I was totally going to give them a shot, just to be fair and do... exactly what you're doing, expect maybe with a more grumpy tone, heh.
    And... then I went to the music store and they were even MORE expensive than NYXLs (which I already was starting to shy away from and only use on my nicest guitar), and I just kinda... shook my head and bought a couple packs of EXLs and left.

    Glad someone could carry through with buying them, hah.
     

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