D'Addario NYXL Review
Posted by Russell Clements on August 21, 2014
Having been an enthusiastic user of D'Addario strings and equipment for the last 5 years of my playing career I was pretty excited to receive a pack of brand spanking new NYXLs to put through their paces for this review, but the question remains…is D'Addario’s new string range worth the hype and extra money? Read on and find out.
"Play fearlessly" that's the bold statement made by D'Addario on the back of the NYXL's minimalist Yet stunning packaging, everything is as you would expect from a pack of D'Addarios: colour coded ball ends, vacuum packed string packaging for extra freshness, and clear, concise instructions. This however is when I started to realise that I was not testing a run of the mill set of strings, as within minutes of re-stringing my beloved Strat with the NYXLs they were already settled in and ready for work. I was pleasantly surprised that right off the bat I was able to play all of my blues repertoire without the problem of tuning stability issues normally associated with "settling in time" for new strings, already we are off to a good start.
The brightness and clarity associated with D'Addarios more well-known Pure Steel and Nickel XLs were present in spades here, but in addition to the signature D'Addario clarity there was something else going on, a harmonic richness that emphasised my guitars low end and Mid tone was also present. Needless to say these strings truly excelled when my amp was on the point of breaking up into overdrive and creamy distortion tones, as the NYXL’s natural resonance and sustain made my guitar tone soar. The brightness of these strings was also perfect for my playing style, as I sometimes find that pure steels are far too bright for certain genres, whereas the NYXL's have a brightness of tone which is more than your average Nickel XL but not too much to make your nose bleed like a Pure Steel string formula, very impressive.
"Play Fearlessly" was indeed an accurate statement, as I sometimes have an unshakable, guttural, deep down dread that at any moment at the peak of my two tone, vibrato incorporated bluesy bend, that my string is going to give up the ghost and snap. This is one of the reasons why I have used fairly heavy string gauges over the years, 11s, 12s etc. so when I found out that 10s were as heavy as this range went, I was slightly concerned (just as this review was finished D'Addario stated that the NYXL range will be available in other popular, heavier gauges.). Needless to say I should not have been worried, as they have outlasted many other heavier gauge strings that I had installed on my Strat previously and are still ready to go after nearly 6 weeks of hard playing use. Feel wise the NYXL's have more playability and give than a regular Nickel XL which made bending and other playing techniques a real breeze.
I'm a pretty jaded individual when it comes to new guitar equipment including new string formulas and signature sets, but I have to admit that on this occasion it seems like D'Addario are breaking new ground with the NYXL range, which of course is a complete reflection of the technology of our time as the new manufacturing techniques that are available to string companies today undoubtedly would of seemed like science fiction to companies like D’Addario and Ernie Ball less than a decade ago. The guitar community at large seems to agree that the NYXL range are here to say, as growing sales of NYXL's have given the range a well-deserved spot in the current D'Addario catalogue. So if your frustrated with constant string breakage or are tired of traditional string tonality then experience what all the fuss is about by trying a set of D’Addario NYXLs!
Pros: Great play-ability, soaring tone, fast if not non-existent settling in time, peace of mind regarding the ever present string breakage risk.
Cons: More expensive than a usual set of XLs, they produce a tone that may not be for everyone e.g. users and enthusiasts of pure nickel or flat wound strings.
Written by Russell Clements.
If you want to try them for yourself the full range of NYXLs are available to purchase here: http://www.rothkoandfrost.com/brands/NYXL.html