The premier choice for players of a variety of genres, the Cleartone 80/20 bronze acoustic strings are not every guitarist’s first choice of string, but they should be. These strings are highly underrated, and best suited for players seeking a crisp, punchy tone from their acoustic guitar. While these strings aren’t necessarily best suited to a particular genre in specific, they instead perform well in a variety of genres. This positions the Cleartone 80/20 bronze acoustic strings as one of the best multi-purpose strings on the market. Just what are the exact benefits of the Cleartone 80/20s? We’re glad you asked! The following comprehensive review will dive into all the aspects of the Cleartone 80/20s one should consider before purchasing, including sound and construction qualities. It should be noted that we discuss the 7611’s, which are 11 gauge 80/20s but Cleartone makes identical strings in heavier or lighter gauges (7610, 7612, 7613, etc).
Suffice it to say, the name “Cleartone” is not an accident. The Cleartone 80/20’s boast a reputation as one of the crispest sounding strings on the market, especially emphasizing the high end. This makes these strings especially well-suited towards larger, more bass-heavy instruments such as dreadnought guitars and auditorium guitars. The Cleartone 7611 will gift these instruments with a punch that duller strings simply cannot provide. Of course, the inverse of this is true as well: instruments that are prone to emphasize treble frequencies may come across as too thin when strung with the 7611’s. As always, the best thing to do is experiment with a variety of strings to find what works best for your specific setup.
Basic Construction and Durability
Being an 80/20 copper type, the most important aspect of the Cleartone 7611’s construction is the copper (80%) and zinc (20%) wrap. This blend has been optimized to provide super stability and durability with a minimal effect on tone, and these days the 80/20 format is the most popular type of acoustic string. Like most all 80/20 strings, the Cleartone 7611’s copper-zinc wrap surrounds a steel hexcore. Unlike most 80/20 strings, the coating on the 7611’s is incredibly thin. According to Cleartone, the total thickness of the coating is only one micron, which is many times thinner than any competing string. This noticeably changes the feel of the string in one’s hand, as the stickiness inherent in thicker coatings will be largely absent. Despite the thinner coating, Cleartone claims that the 7611’s are just as durable as the competition, though obviously in practice this is largely dependent on individual playing habits.
The high-tension copper winding and solid steel core work in tandem to keep the 7611’s in tune. Like any string, this product requires proper stretching to stay in tune and will fall out of tune with excessive bending. If properly set up, however, the 7611’s are remarkably accurate and should more than exceed the needs of both professionals and hobbyists. It’s important to note that these strings were constructed with standard tuning in mind, and players that utilize other tunings are more likely to experience tuning problems.
Price and Availability
One of the downsides of the Cleartone 7611 is its availability. Unfortunately, this product isn’t commonly available in many small scale music shops in the United States and Europe. These local music stores are just as likely to carry Cleartone products as they are to not stock them. Fortunately, Cleartone products are available online retailers (such as Amazon.com), where they can be found in both specialized music marketplaces and more generalized websites.
On average, consumers should expect to pay $10-$14 per pack. This price is slightly higher than much of Cleartone’s competition, but they justify this by offering superior tonal quality and feel. For this reason, the Cleartone 7611’s could be a considered a good value despite the pricetag. That being said, these strings are definitely worth testing out to see if they suit your guitar and playing style.