There’s nothing in the world like a 12-string guitar; the fullness and richness of the sound is simply unmatched by any other instrument. Players like John Butler and Roger McGuinn can make their axes sing like none other, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that any musician can pick up a 12-string and burst into “Ocean”. In order to get the most pristine sounds possibly, players need to be aware of all the aspects of their instruments, including their choice of strings. Today, we’ll examine one of the more popular 12-string sets on the market: the D’Addario EJ38’s.
Okay, we’d like to point out that obviously sound quality is subjective, and yet we can say with confidence that the D’ Addario EJ38’s are some of the best sounding phosphor bronze strings out there. Players typically report these strings having a mellower, warmer sound than many of their competitors; longtime players may recognize this as being a quality also present in the 6 string packs D’Addario releases. Depending on the make of your guitar, these strings also have the ability to resonate for quite some time.
Many players find that 12 string guitars are rather limited in usage to folk and rock tunes, but the D’Addario strings are actually quite versatile. We recommend experimenting with blues, jazz, or even polka with these strings, and sending us videos of you using them (especially if you write polka).
The D’Addario EJ38’s are phosphor bronze strings and are constructed in a very similar manner to all other phosphor bronze strings: a steel hexagonal core is wrapped tightly with a wire. In this case, the wrapping is 92% copper and 8% tin with some phosphorous added for extended lifespan. The strings are round wound, which besides being fun to say is also the most popular style of winding in the world.
It’s worth noting that like most phosphor bronze strings, players will need to properly stretch the strings prior to playing. This will both open up the tone and help to keep the strings in tune during extended playing. If you have some alternate technique, such as boiling the strings, it may help, but an old fashioned stretch has never done strings wrong.
One of the most fantastic aspects of the D’Addario EJ38’s is their lengthy lifespan. In fact, compared to most 12-string packs, the EJ38’s should last substantially longer. D’Addario claims this is because of the phosphor they’ve added, a technique they pioneered back in the 70’s. While that may have been true back then, nowadays, every string brand uses phosphor to resist corrosion and wear, which means that there’s really no telling why the EJ38’s stick around for as long as they do. That being said, if you’re taking these strings on tour, go ahead and order a few packs. You’ll be happy you did the first time one breaks or gets damaged, which inevitably happens during life on the road.
Price and Availability
Another one of the advantages of the EJ38’s is their price point. At only $10 for a pack of strings, the EJ38’s are competitive with most mid-level string companies. Of course, this price is mildly variable, and you’ll likely find them to be slightly more expensive at Guitar Center or other big box retailers and less expensive online. Check around online for deals, or take a look at D’Addario’s website to find authorized dealers in your area.
Speaking of finding deals, you might be wondering where you could pick up a set of these EJ38’s today. Because of the name-brand status of D’Addario, just about every local and big box music store will likely carry their strings. In addition, players should have no trouble finding these strings online; both music websites and general marketplaces like Amazon and eBay should have these strings available for cheap. It’s a great value and a fantastic set of strings to slap onto any 12-string guitar.