String Advice Vol. 2

Phosphor Bronze or 80/20?


This is the usual question acoustic guitar players raise when it’s time to restring. While the traditional and conventional answer would be 80/20 sounds brighter and phosphor bronze is fuller and well-balanced, you really need to experience it yourself and listen to what you like.

What do the names mean? 

80/20 Bronze strings refers to the wrap wire on the four thicker strings (G to low E) composed of 80% copper and 20% zinc.

Phosphor Bronze strings have wrap wire on the four thicker strings composed of 92% copper and 8% tin.

Ironically, none of the wire wraps have bronze. 🙂

Here are some tips:

  1. 80/20 for bright sound

80/20 strings give a bright and chimey tone on most guitars and they really are my preferred strings. Some players, however, find 80/20 too “metallic” and harsh, especially when plugged in. So you need to listen to what you like when strung on your guitar.

2. Don’t always go by the books

I have heard phosphor bronze strings sounding brighter than 80/20 on the same guitar. So this means that no two guitars are alike and again, you really must try them out and see what you like.

3. 80/20 tends to improve playability

Due to the difference in metals used in the wrap wire, 80/20 strings typically plays more comfortable than phosphor bronze types. The additional copper content in phosphor bronze strings seems to have made the strings stiffer, so I usually recommend 80/20 for that extra bit of playing comfort.

Read Vol. 1 here:

*photo from Elixir


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