Coated guitar strings are a fairly polarizing topic amongst guitar players. Many find them to be too dull, and the drop in volume can be too much for some. But coated strings can be a godsend for those who find that they eat through regular strings.
Cleartone are a company who claim to have created the best of both worlds – a coated string that offers coated string longevity, and the tone and volume of a regular non-coated string. They were nice enough to send me a few sets of their nickel-plated electric strings with EMP (Enhanced Molecular Protection) in 09-42 gauge.
Enhanced Molecular Protection (EMP) treatment is typically used on hard disk platters, which require an extremely thin and durable protective coating. The treatment measures less than one micron. The EMP coating actually bonds to the metal, rather than coat in the traditional sense. This also means that it doesn’t flake off like many coatings. Most manufacturers only coat the wound strings, whereas Cleartone coat all strings to ensure maximum string life.
I strung up both my Ibanez RG 450LTD, and my custom Ibanez-style guitars with the Cleartones. I have had them on for just over a month now.
Stretching period wasn’t the fastest, but after several passes with my String Stretcha the Cleartones were holding tune.
As mentioned earlier, coated strings typically are quite a bit quieter and duller sounding than regular non-coated strings. It really has previously been a choice of strings that sound great, but don’t last, or strings that sound dull, but last a long time. The Cleartone strings surprising sound very close in volume and brightness to regular non-coated strings. It’s amazing to think that you could perhaps have the best of both worlds with Cleartones.
The Cleartones are fairly bright, without sounding too sharp, and have great definition and clarity for coated strings. So much so that it’s near on impossible to tell the difference between them a non-coated string that’s been on a guitar for maybe a week.
String bends are about as easy most other strins on the market. Fingers glide quite nicely over the string , without feeling too slick.
I’ve had the strings installed on both guitars for over a month now, and they still look quite nice and shiny, and sound pretty much as good as they did when first installed.
Overall, I’ve been really impressed with the Cleartone electric guitar strings. Cleartone have successfully combined the positive parts of both non-coated and coated strings. Now you can have a coated string that lasts, and sounds great. Cleartones are definitely worth trying out, even if you haven’t found a need for coated strings in the past.