String Shootout Series - Review: D'Addario Balanced Tension Guitar Strings

D’Addario introduced their Balanced Tension guitar strings on January 15, 2013. The industry has had plenty of time to use them and have their say about them. That doesn’t stop us here at Playing With Chaos from putting them through our testing lab. Here are the results.

Tone: Bright, with even tones that can be used for various genres of music.

Tuning Stability: 3.5/5

The strings sound great when they’re in tune, but I found that bending and heavy rhythm playing caused some instability tuning-wise. After 2 or 3 songs, I found myself having to adjust because the notes were very obviously sounding out of tune.

Playability and Feel: 4/5

These strings by D’Addario feel great on your hands and while they are quite bulky as a .10 gauge set, they bend almost as easily as .09’s do. I’m going to hypothesize that this is definitely due to the “balanced tension”concept that they are based on. For those that haven’t read up on the idea, here it is in a nutshell, from the D’Addario press release:

“D’Addario Balanced Tension guitar sets are comprised of mathematically optimized string gauge combinations, resulting in greater control and playing comfort.” You can read all the science behind it here.

Response to Pick attack and Balance from string to string: 4.5/5

The Balanced Tension strings did indeed balance out well. No one string is louder or responsive than the next. This makes playing them easier since it’s a predictable outcome. The strings responded well to pick attack and dynamic changes were easily recognized when I changed how I picked the string.

Depth of sound/Sustain: 4/5

Sustain was noticeably better in the Balanced Tension set than in previous D’Addario offerings from the past.

Durability: 5/5

I was surprised at how “new” these strings felt for the duration of my testing. I recall using D’Addario strings in my teenage years that I could almost feel corrode under my fingertips as I played. Not so with this set. They not only “felt” new, but sounded “new” too. However, one thing about the Balanced Tension strings that was noticeable to me right away is that they didn’t have that annoying “brand new string” sound when you first put them on your guitar.

Overall, I was happily impressed with the Balanced Tension strings. They handled everything from clean, poppy tones, to the heavy handed metal riffs that my neighbors love so much. My only complaint: I had to open a second package because when I was stringing my guitar up with them, one of the strings broke. Upon further inspection, it was a manufacturing defect with the wrapping near the ball end of the string, which was unravelled and as a result could not withstand the pressure of being wound up at the tuning peg.

And...We're giving a set away!

Once again, we are giving away a package of the same type of strings we tested! If you’d like your chance to win a set of D’Addario Balanced Tension guitar strings, sign up for the monthly e-mail list. If you have already done that, you are already entered for all of our giveaways and contests!