Thursday, September 19, 2013

John Pearse Acoustic Guitar Strings Set 200L Review


I do not really experiment very much with my acoustic guitar strings, and mostly stick with the trusty Martin SP phosphor bronze stuff. But, every now and then I pick up a set here or there that makes me wonder what else is out there. Recently a store threw in a set of John Pearse 200L strings when I bought a used acoustic, so I figured I would give them a shot.

John Pearse was an English musician and author that you may remember from the PBS series, “Stringalong” and “Cooking with Wine.” He dabbled in the string industry in the mid sixties, and ended up moving to the US in 1978 to work for Martin Guitars in Pennsylvania. This did not last terribly long, as he started Breezy Ridge Instruments with his wife Mary Faith Rhoads in 1980. They made fabulous hammer dulcimers, and the string business came along shortly after. John passed away in 2008, but Mary Faith is still at the helm of the company.

The 200L is a light gauge set for six-string acoustics. They are 80/20 bronze wound, with the following gauges: 0.012, 0.016, 0.024, 0.032, 0.042, and 0.053. These strings are not cryogenically frozen or coated or doused with any other voodoo technology. They are just very good quality strings.

After stringing up my Takamine with these John Pearse strings, I was impressed with what I heard. I realize that the strings I took off were dead, but this set was noticeably louder than the Martins or D’Addarios I have used in the past. This extra volume does not make for a harsh sound, as they end up with a very sweet and pleasant tone. This set is nicely balanced across the range with good tension on the low strings and the high strings are not brittle at all. I have mostly been working on folk music, country and bluegrass, and these strings are perfect for these genres.

These strings are holding up well, too. My daily hour of practice in the hot and sweaty studio has not noticeably degraded their tone over the past three weeks. I will keep an eye on them to see how well they last, but I think they might be a better alternative than the coated strings that I have never had any luck with…

With a list price of $12.45 and a street price of $8.00 these John Pearse strings are not the cheapest ones out there, but I think they are worth it. I am not going to throw away the stacks of new strings I have sitting around the studio, but I will certainly keep these in mind the next time I am shopping for strings.


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