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PostPosted: Sun Nov 01, 2015 8:11 am 
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Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:13 pm
Posts: 1308
Optima Bronze Roundwound Strings (.012-.052)

Strings generously provided by: Strings By Mail,( https://www.StringsByMail.com )

https://www.stringsbymail.com/optima-bronze-acoustic-guitar-strings-12-52-13698.html

Wow, where do I begin? Optima of Germany makes strings for acoustic and electric guitars, as well as mandolins. They’re known for their 24k gold plated strings, but the subject of this review is their Roundwound Bronze Strings. They’re proud of their 100% German made strings, and they should be.

They arrived in sealed plastic, which contained a paper sleeve protecting each string. The strings were well protected from corrosion. I place a very high value on corrosion resistant packaging. The first thing I noticed about the strings where the ball ends. Optima uses a dark alloy, perhaps titanium or tungsten.

After stringing the OM, the strings settled into tuning very quickly. There was a moderate amount of finger funk the first 48 hours, but thankfully my fingers were clean by day 3. The windings around the strings felt silky. The only word that came to mind when I first played them was “amazing”.

Clear, chime, bright, articulate, were all words that came to mind when I played the strings. The attack was immediate and the sustain long. This created a complex harmonic combination that I truly loved. They had great projection. They sounded great whether I played a classical piece, or Rock. I tortured the strings by tuning down to BADF#AD, then bringing them back up to basic tuning on a daily basis. Even after about 50 hours of playing, they sounded strong and vibrant. I usually shy away from bright sounding strings, because the mids usually get lost. However, the mids shined bright as the trebles, with a wonderful mix of warm bass. There was very little finger squeak, and they never fretted out, even when tuned so low.

Frequently when tuning down, especially as low as I tune, intonation suffers. According to the LMI website, “The proportion of stiffness to diameter in a half-section of a string is greater than the proportion in the whole string. And the shorter the section, the greater the difference in the proportion…This is inherent inharmonicity.” In other words, no guitar has absolutely 100% perfect intonation and the looser the strings, the more this becomes apparent. In my experience, some strings handle this inequality better than others. The Optima strings did a stellar job when I tuned down. After allowing them to settle for a day, the intonation was as good as I’ve ever heard.

As a result of their sound, apparent longevity, and their capacity for adapting to different tuning, I’m going to do something I’ve never done. I’m going to transfer them to my newly built, 24.9” scale 00 guitar. I’ll update this review next month to let you know the results.

The Optima Bronze strings are competitively priced. At $12.99 (at Strings By Mail). Their price falls in the midrange, and I consider them a very good deal.

The Good:

Protective packaging
Minimal finger funk after 2 days
Quick break in, held tuning
Minimal finger squeak
Long lasting
Low tension without fretting out; esp. good for those who have physical challenges or arthritis
Excellent intonation at lower tunings
Reasonably priced
WONDERFUL SOUND!

The Bad:

Moderate finger funk the first 2 days

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2015 6:16 am 
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Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2014 12:14 pm
Posts: 940
As a metalworker, perhaps I can offer something. It's highly unlikely that the ball ends are titanium or tungsten. In all probability they are brass that has been blackened, or possibly blackened steel. Or possibly black anodized aluminum.

While titanium might conceivably offer some advantage because it is light, it's difficult to machine, expensive, and would have no advantage in that application over aluminum. Tungsten is heavy, difficult to machine, expensive, and would offer no advantage at all.

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Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2015 7:01 am 
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Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:13 pm
Posts: 1308
MaineGeezer wrote:
As a metalworker, perhaps I can offer something. It's highly unlikely that the ball ends are titanium or tungsten. In all probability they are brass that has been blackened, or possibly blackened steel. Or possibly black anodized aluminum.

While titanium might conceivably offer some advantage because it is light, it's difficult to machine, expensive, and would have no advantage in that application over aluminum. Tungsten is heavy, difficult to machine, expensive, and would offer no advantage at all.


You're right on both accords. There are several string manufacturerers that offer Ti coated strings for acoustic and electric guitars, that impart a brighter sound.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2015 7:31 am 
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Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2006 7:09 pm
Posts: 5419
Location: Hegins, Pa
great review I may have to try a set

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