Up until recently, I had never heard of Wyres Strings until I was in a nostaligic mood, and looked up the great French acoustic guitarist, Pierre Bensusan, went to his site, and saw this page, where he was endorsing Wyres Strings. Intrigued, I looked up the Wyres string company on the web, and looked at the various pros who are using them to get an idea of what kind of musicians have used these strings. What I discovered is that the range of musical styles where these strings are used is very wide, ranging from acoustic to hard rock. That was a good sign. I’ve found other “specialized” string companies who only have appeal in a specific genre of music. Not so with Wyres.
Emboldened with this knowledge (and my incessant curiosity), I contacted Nick Walton, owner of Wyres strings to get his story and to see if I could review some strings. I already believed them to be great strings if the great Pierre Bensusan was endorsing them (and according to Nick, this wasn’t due to some “pay me and I’ll endorse your strings” type of deal. Here’s Pierre’s testimony:
Dealing with strings has generally been for me a source of compromise and often frustration. For more than 30 years, I have been waiting for the right medium, embracing top quality but also longevity, fluidity, touch and beauty of-sound. I came across Wyres Strings and found the answers to all my concerns. These strings are just phenomenal, they are handmade, sound extremely well, feel great under the fingers, allow for an extensive use of their sustain to “work” the touch, the tone and the history of the note, they do not break and, icing on the cake, thanks to a very subtle coating which doesn’t not take any harmonics away, they last for ever ! I feel completely relieved and will always remain really impressed with this performance.
Wyres Strings surpass any other brand on the market today! I am proud and honored to collaborate to a Signature set with Nick Walton and his company. A dream came true.
Note that Pierre wasn’t prompted or coached to say what he said. Coming from a master composer and guitarist such as Bensusan, that is quite and endorsement! Okay, let’s get into details, but first, let me say this:
These are hands-down the best guitar strings I have ever played!!! The sound, feel, and playability are amazing! Like Bensusan, I will never use another string manufacturer. I love these! I know, people swear by pure nickel, and admittedly, they are fine strings, but they are also expensive. As a gigging musician with a family to feed, pure nickels are a luxury I can’t afford, but I can afford to spend a few bucks more on high performance strings. And the fact that they’re coated and will last longer than a normal string makes them even more economical. But that’s not my main motivation. These strings sustain for days, and they have tons of tone – but I’m getting ahead of myself.
Handmade and Coated, And They Feel FANTASTIC!!!
All Wyres strings are handmade and hand-wound by skilled craftsmen. They come in both coated and uncoated versions, but the coated are by far their best sellers. Coating is done with a special process that actually lubricates the string as you play, which apparently results in a longer lasting string from both a mechanical and tonal perspective.
Personally, I’ve never been a fan of coated strings. I’ve always found them to be very brittle feeling and over-bright. I tried Elixirs a few times, and couldn’t stand the sound, plus, I felt as if they were cutting into my fingertips because they feel sticky. Wyres feel that way at first, but after a just a short while, the coating starts working into the pores of the strings, and your fingers just glide.
I gigged with these strings last night for the first time, actually playing a bit of roulette by stringing up with these never-before-played strings right before I left for my gig. As expected, when I first put them on, they were as bright-sounding as any new string. But the thing I immediately noticed was that they were very full-sounding as well. I knew that these were very special strings. I was very excited to play with them.
I strung the strings tighter than standard tuning so they’d be stretched by the time I started my gig. By the way, the strings I played are the 12 – 54 version, hence the model TP1254 – they’re equivalent to “lights”). And once I got to my gig and tuned up, and struck my first chord, a huge smile just formed on my face. They sounded absolutely incredible (which I’ll get into), but almost more importantly, they had a great feel, despite the fact that I could still feel the coating. After a few numbers – I set up my opening set list so that I’d play songs that ensured I’d play up and down the fretboard, either with a capo or barre chords – the strings started to settle, and feel really good. I found that I didn’t have to dig in hardly at all to get notes to resound, and doing little runs with subtle microtonal bends was a breeze! The strings felt almost like electric guitar strings. They were pliable and incredibly resonant – the feel of these strings really got me into a groove!
How They Sound
I guess the proof is in the pudding. I’ve played great feeling strings that just sounded dead. But these strings produce gorgeous tones, and as I mentioned they’re incredibly resonant. The sustain from these strings is like nothing I’ve experienced, short of really expensive sets I’ve tried in the past that cost an arm and a leg. In my solo gig, I play a variety of styles from jazz standards to claw-and-hammer fingerstyle songs. No matter what style I played, these Wyres were the best sounding guitar strings I’ve ever played. It’s no small wonder why Pierre Bensusan endorses these strings (though he plays with a set of 13′s, which I’ll review once I wear this current set of 12′s out).
Obviously, the 5 Tone Bones I assigned to these strings speaks to how much I love them! For me, I won’t be using any other strings from now on. Like Bensusan, I’ve found my string of choice. Now get this: These strings go for $14.95 to $17.95; about the same as what you can get a set of Elixirs for. But these strings kick the shit out of Elixirs, hands down – at least for me. And considering that these strings are nowhere near the brittleness of Elixirs, and they’re handmade, I’ll go with these, thank you. No more machined strings for me!