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Buying strings online?

Postby garrettendi » Mon May 18, 2020 10:33 am

I bought a pack of Ernie Ball Regular Slinky's online seeing as all the shops are still shut. They've arrived, I've not opened them yet but I'm concerned they might have been in a warehouse for months on end and rusted inside.

The package is foil and says:

ELEMENT SHIELD: Our water-tight packaging resists humidity and keeps your strings just as fresh as the day they were made.

Has anyone experienced buying strings from an online seller only to find they were unusable?
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Re: Buying strings online?

Postby ore_terra » Mon May 18, 2020 10:45 am

it's happened to me, but not with Ernie Ball's as they come in a sealed package.

since I use the "beefy bottom" sets (10-52) and these are not often found at the shops I always get them online. there's no problem at all with that
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Re: Buying strings online?

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon May 18, 2020 10:47 am

I've bought a lot of strings over the years and often kept them 'in stock' for months or longer. I have opened some after a couple of years and found them to be rusty but never a 'new' set. If they are sealed they should be fine but if your open them and they prove to be dodgy a photo of the still coiled string and the packaging should be more than enough proof to get you a replacement or refund.
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Re: Buying strings online?

Postby Random Guitarist » Mon May 18, 2020 10:51 am

Nope, never had that problem.

The only time I had an issue was buying individual strings in paper packets from a local music store some years ago, they were not quite premium anymore.
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Re: Buying strings online?

Postby Wonks » Mon May 18, 2020 11:14 am

No problem with D'Addarios and their sealed packets, or Rotosounds with sealed packs and silca gel.

There will be a big turnover of standard gauges from the main brands, so none of the string packs from the big string sellers should be more than couple of months old. Just beware the smaller sellers on Amazon and eBay, where the pack picture is of an older design to current, as they could well be a few years old (though obviously dependent on when the pack design changed).
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Re: Buying strings online?

Postby garrettendi » Mon May 18, 2020 11:16 am

I did buy from a smaller seller on Amazon, but the pack design was the uptodate.

I will check them carefully before I put them on the guitar!
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Re: Buying strings online?

Postby Moroccomoose » Mon May 18, 2020 11:59 am

There is nothing to say that shop bought strings haven't been sat out the back for months. I have bought online and in shops. Where I buy is based on convenience and price. I'd doubt there is any discernable difference in quality assuming comparing identical brands. Having said that, I'd probably avoid getting them from an online store based in China or somewhere, I might be a bit wary of them being counterfeit.
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Re: Buying strings online?

Postby zenguitar » Mon May 18, 2020 12:46 pm

Buying reputable brands from reputable retailers is the way to go.

Andy :beamup:
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Re: Buying strings online?

Postby garrettendi » Mon May 18, 2020 12:48 pm

I've done some digging and it turns out I bought them from a large music store via Amazon called Hayes Music. They seem pretty large, so I imagine they are reputable!
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Re: Buying strings online?

Postby Music Wolf » Mon May 18, 2020 1:44 pm

I did once have a problem with EBs but that was with a set that had been left in a guitar case stored in the loft for several years. A sealed set should last for a year or more without problems.

I normally use Strings Direct who have been great for stock, service, delivery and price. From memory delivery is free on orders over £30 so I buy 6 or more sets at a time (which doesn't last me very long).
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Re: Buying strings online?

Postby AlasdairEaston » Mon May 18, 2020 4:06 pm

While we're talking about string ordering problems...

In September I ordered three sets of Warwick Black bass strings. 60 quid. Three sets in one go! I've never been more organised or responsible.

Well, recently I took the old strings off my bass and put on one of the new sets. Only to find that the A string was really just another D string in an A string packet. Both 0.060 gauge. I went on to find that all three sets had the same defect. 3 sets and not an A string between them. :thumbdown:

Bad day at the packing plant. I wonder how many packets went out. Still trying to get replacements from the sellers.

But back to the point, I've kept lots of strings around in their packets for a long time and never had corrosion problems. Elixirs for acoustic, Ernie Balls for electric and Warwick black for bass.

Cheers,
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Re: Buying strings online?

Postby GTR_RO » Wed May 20, 2020 10:02 pm

I just bought a couple sets - curbside pick-up.

I try to, whenever possible, to support local business. And I'm not a fan of buying online - a little off topic but I've special ordered a number of books I would not have purchased had I examined them in person.

Besides moisture, what would affect the properties of the string material? I am not a chemist to know the properties of different metals and nylon materials. Moisture seems the most damaging.
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Re: Buying strings online?

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed May 20, 2020 11:14 pm

Metal strings and windings are affected by moisture and corrosion to a greater or lesser extent, plain steel strings rust, nickel, brass, bronze and silver windings tarnish. Plain nylon strings are probably the least affected but the three basses on a classical/nylon strung guitar are metal wound so not immune. The acids in sweat can be particularly corrosive and cause rapid degradation of metal strings. Also the grease will cause a build up of debris between the windings (I remember being advised to boil your strings to get a few more days or weeks of use out of them, I guess this cleared the muck that was clogging them up). Also the windings wear against the frets, wound G strings being the most prone, especially Gypsy Jazz strings which have soft, silver plated, copper windings. Plus all strings suffer fatigue at the break points over the bridge, nut and tuning post. It's a wonder they last as long as they do.....
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Re: Buying strings online?

Postby Eddy Deegan » Thu May 21, 2020 12:25 am

GTR_RO wrote:I try to, whenever possible, to support local business.

Good to hear :thumbup:

I am a believer in supporting of local business wherever possible, wherever you are located (assuming they are not bad businesses of course). My first port of call for all my gear purchases are my local suppliers and I only go further afield if they cannot source it.

Sometimes it means a longer waiting time but that's of no consequence in my book. Other times my orders arrive the next day so on balance it evens out!
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Re: Buying strings online?

Postby Dynamic Mike » Thu May 21, 2020 12:49 am

A few years back I bought a box (30 sets?) of Ernie Ball strings from a shop in Leeds. They were flood damaged stock but were dirt cheap & worth a punt. The box was quite obviously water damaged but the strings were fine. They lasted me a couple of years & I didn't have one bad set and the last set seemed as bright as the first.

Currently I buy strings direct from Duesenberg. They're mid-priced but I've been really pleased with them & delivery is pretty quick. Also, because delivery is 10 Euros for any size order it's a great excuse to justify adding on things like T Shirts, Belts, Straps etc. to she who watches the pennies.
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