D’Addario EXL110 Strings
Quality, design and unique packaging
Text & photos by Tom Hintz
Back when I played in a working band I was a devout Ernie Ball Regular Slinky player and continued that loyalty when I first got back into guitars recently. Then while on a “look and see” trip to a local guitar shop I noticed that they had 10-set boxes of the D’Addario EXL110 Strings on sale so I bought a box. I had heard of these strings before plus had just recently read that Richie Sambora uses D’Addario Strings which meant I just had to try them.
The next day I also received an email on this site from a guy who also changed to the D’Addario EXL110 Strings but for an interesting reason. He said that his 60-something eyes weren’t so good at identifying strings by their size anymore and he had accidentally switched the E and B strings once. Between the color-coded end balls on the D’Addario EXL110 Strings and the position chart on the rear of the box he was confident that those kinds of errors are gone forever.
The D’Addario EXL110 Strings are considered regular light gauge with the treble E being 0.010”-diameter, the B-0.013”, the G-0.017”, D-0.026”, A-0.036” and the bass E-0.046” diameters. That gives me a good balance between durability, clarity and still being able to bend a note or two without getting red in the face. Of course they make all string styles.
These are round-wound strings that use a nickel-plated steel wind to resist corrosion from acids and salts left by your fingers. The nickel is also a good material for exciting the pickup magnets. The core wire is hex-shaped and made from high carbon steel that lives a long time and produces bright tones. D’Addario also claims that their EXL110 Strings hold intonation exceptionally well and I have nothing in my experience with them to refute that.
In addition to the color-coded ball ends and chart on the box each set of D’Addario EXL110 Strings comes in a sealed plastic pouch that protects them from the environment. You literally get factory-fresh strings when you cut the pouch open!
Plus, to show that they are serious about their product each D’Addario EXL110 Strings pouch has a serial number on it. This helps you to report possibly fraudulent strings to D’Addario. And, yes, it does happen these days.
Since I started using the D’Addario EXL110 Strings my guitars seem to play a little brighter as they claim. I also noticed that the D’Addario EXL110 Strings do not seem to stretch as long as other strings I have used. When I put a fresh set of D’Addario EXL110 Strings on my guitars they stop stretching within the first day even if I do not play the guitar much. After that they hold tune very well.
I have been in the habit of changing strings weekly but have gone to two-week intervals with the D’Addario EXL110 Strings and can hear no difference in tone over that time. I probably could go longer between changes and may try another week but it is obvious that the D’Addario EXL110 Strings are tough and last at least as long as any others that I have tried.
I have three guitars and use the D’Addario EXL110 Strings on all of them. From my Fender Telecaster and Stratocaster to my custom “sort of” Les Paul the D’Addario EXL110 Strings play very clean with crisp sounds and they maximize the range of tones each of the guitars emits.
If you are still looking for your favorite guitar strings you need to give the D’Addario EXL110 Strings a try. I have been very happy with the D’Addario EXL110 Strings and find that buying the 10-set boxes saves me some money and travel when I need to change strings. I also am more likely to change my strings when needed which helps my guitars to keep sounding great.