Acoustic Guitar Teacher In Miami

This is Dyce Kimura I am an acoustic guitar teacher in Miami and I am doing a review today on the Lifespan Martin acoustic guitar strings. I just put them on – my Martin’s [playing guitar]. So by the way, these are the Lifespan Martin acoustic guitar strings. My buddy, Edgar, gave me this pack, so shout out to Edgar I know you’re watching. And I was a little taken back, because on the label it said $31.99 and I was like, “I hope you didn’t spend $31.99 for this one pack.” We’ll talk about price in a second. Let’s first take a look at the sound [playing guitar]. I am playing this on my 19… I think it’s my 99, I forget if it was 99 or 97. It’s a 90 something Martin HD 35 which is very big sounding, very boomy huge bottom end for those Martin lovers. Of course, if you’re playing a Martin guitar it’s logical to want to have a Martin string.

These strings are manufactured – at least the name on them says Martin. For the longest time I resisted buying Martin’s, because Martins were actually made by another company called D’addario. And by the way, in case you don’t know about strings, D’addario makes about 90% of the strings that are on the market and they come in different names like D’markley, Ice blue and all these other strings are actually versions of D’addario in different packages and marketing; it’s very interesting to learn that, including Martin. But these are made by another company called Cleartone. So they’re really good by the way; just to get that out of the way [playing guitar].

Advice From an Acoustic Guitar Teacher in Miami

Acoustic Guitar Teacher in MiamiThese are gage 12-54, which is what I like to use as an acoustic guitar teacher in Miami.  And they sound just the right amount of brassiness in the strings, a bronzy kind of feel, but it has this smoky, shimmery high that’s really nice [playing guitar]. They sound great. And I did some reading on this string and I discovered that these are actually coated strings, hence the name, Lifespan. I was very surprised these are coated, because they don’t sound coated.  As an acoustic guitar teacher in Miami,  am a huge proponent and fan of non-coated strings and I absolutely hate coated strings like elixirs, for instance. And the reason why is because I can really feel the coating around the strings and it really limits my tone, it limits my attack and it’s not a good string for me.

Just to set the premise here, I am a full-time professional, full-time acoustic guitar teacher in Miami.  I play guitar about 8 hours a day. I’ve been playing for 30 years and I’ve been playing full-time for almost 15 years. So I teach lessons full-time and I also performed full-time. So my needs for playing guitar are going to be a little bit different from the average beginner, so I just want to set that apart. So if you’re out there using elixirs and you love them I don’t mean to offend you. When are elixirs good for you, for certain players? If you’re an absolute beginner and you play guitar 10 minutes a day and you don’t want to bother with changing the strings you just put on a set of elixirs and they’ll lasts like 6 months to a year and you never have to worry about them. But if you play on the level that I do, which is professionally – I need the guitar to respond to the way I’m attacking the strings. And so the reason I’ve been so loyal to non-coated strings up until now like these D’addarios is because I get this response that I get 100% of what I put into the strings I’m getting back from the string. The reason I’ve always avoided coated strings before as an acoustic guitar teacher in Miami is because I would feel like I would put 100% into the strings and I would get like 80% back in an elixir. So I would feel like there is a governor on my motor, so to speak, and it would also stifle my tone I would lose the brilliance, I would lose the high, I would lose the stain and it would feel plasticky and I don’t feel like I’m connecting with the actual bronze or phosphor I feel like I’m playing over plastic strings.

Acoustic Guitar Teacher in Miami Dropping Knowledge

Now, that being said, these Lifespan Martins are different. Honestly, when I first put them on I didn’t even know they were coated, because they just don’t feel coated [playing guitar] and they don’t sound coated either [playing guitar]. So I am very, very surprised at how good the sound and also I’m going for a little bit thicker gauge. These (Lifespan) are 12-54 and I’ve been using these D’addarios as an acoustic guitar teacher in Miami forever, they’re 12-53. The lower end is slightly bigger which is giving me a little more base and ‘boominess’. By the way, that .001 of an inch in the gauge, I can feel it. I like it, it’s a 54 [playing guitar].

So I want to go over a few things; how often should you change it strings and why should you change strings and how often do I change strings as an acoustic guitar teacher in Miami.  I changed strings about once a week, but my strings on my acoustics they start to die within about three days. I play on average on my acoustic about two hours a day; sometimes three to four, but on average about two hours a day and within about three days they start to die and then within about a week I’ll changed them. I can play them a few days even after they are dying it doesn’t really bother me that much. When I would perform full-time – now I teach/perform, but when I would only perform then I would often change strings every performance or every other performance if I was playing every day as an acoustic guitar teacher in Miami.

So why do you need to change strings? I want to get into that topic you because you can run into a lot of situations as an acoustic guitar teacher in Miami.  Basically, strings wear out just like anything else on the earth, but what makes the strings wear out? Well, dirt, grime, oil from your hands and your sweat is the starting point. So when you play, your hands sweat even if you don’t have sweaty hands – I don’t really have sweaty hands, but oil is coming off my hand. Also when I’m playing in extreme situations like, I live in Miami, Florida it’s very hot if I’m doing outdoor gigs you better believe I’m sweating. The sweat hits your strings and they start to rust, they start to corrode. The strings are made of metal, they’re made of bronze and steel and they’re going to start to corrode the strings and rust them. And also the oil from your hands and in your sweat and the rust is attracting dirt and the dirt gets caked in there and it turns into grimes/oil/just take up nasty dead skin which is actually pretty gross. So all of that get built up on your strings, like, I’m a an acoustic guitar teacher in Miami and someone comes in for lessons and they’ll hand me this guitar, some ancient archaic guitar like, “here, my grandfather gave me this guitar and I want to play it.” I’ll look at the strings and they’re like 10 years old strings and they are completely rusted all the way through and my hand feels like barb wire while I’m going to play it and there is no way to expect that guitar to stay in tune or to be able to handle the abuse of real hard playing or sustain nicely or to have a nice brilliant ring.

Acoustic Guitar Teacher in MiamiSo why should you change your strings on your acoustic? The only thing that you can do on an acoustic – the only variable, the only control that you actually have to over anything that can change on your acoustic is the strings. It’s not so with electric, with electric guitar you could change the strings, you could change the pick up, you could change your guitar cable into a fatter one, you could change your pedals, you could turn them on our off, you could change your amp, you could change your tube, you could change your speaker, you could change your mic set up. It just all depends – there are so many variables in changing your sound, you could change your pick up selection. But really, all we get for acoustic is we can change our strings and maybe we can get a new pick, that’s pretty much it. So strings end up being a really big deal for acoustic guitar teacher in Miami-probably more than for electric.

So if you’re an acoustic player and you don’t know how to change strings; I’ll put a link at the bottom of this video where I teach you how to change strings on acoustic. And of course, you can feel free to contact me I teach on Skype and I am an acoustic guitar teacher in Miami. But changing your strings is pretty important. How often should you change strings? If you’re an everyday strummer and let’s say you’re a beginner or intermediate you should be probably changing them once every two months. If you are intermediate to advance you should probably change them about once a month. If you are advanced and for real you could change them anywhere from once a month to once a week. At one point in my life I was changing them every day; I would cut them off at night and wake up in the morning put in new ones on. So playing guitar cost me $5 a day for the strings as an acoustic guitar teacher in Miami.

Speaking of cost, I want to get into the cost. The cost was a kind of major turnoff for me with the strings and I want to get into the math I’ve got my calculator here, because I usually buy strings in bulk. Let me see if I can kind of show you my strings stash.  I usually got couple hundred dollars worth of strings I usually buy them by the case for lessons as an acoustic guitar teacher in Miami. Here’s a case of electric, I’ve got two cases of acoustics and got all these acoustic strings. This is probably about 400 dollars worth of strings here. So I have every single gauge and every single type of guitar that you can imagine. And so cost – if you’re changing strings once a week that’s four times a month, that starts to become important.

These are what I usually use, D’addario 12 and they corrode pretty quickly like I said they’ll give me about a week of hard Pro playing and within about three days they are corroding. If I’m doing a show, within one show the strings are done. I might not necessarily cut them off after one show, because I tend to be a little bit more frugal I might let them stay on there for just a few more days. And you know what I find that that surprises a lot of people, a lot of people they cannot believe they think you should change the strings as often as that they change tires on their car which is like every other year. They don’t realize that strings are constantly getting worn out especially me because I am an acoustic guitar teacher in Miami. These lifespan – well, let me go back to these strings I bought these for a case these are $40 with free shipping on Amazon prime with 10 sets that averages out to about $4 a set.

So when I got this (Lifespan) from my buddy Edgar, actually, he’s my student and I’m his acoustic guitar teacher in Miami and he gave me this pack of string and it had this number, $31.99, and that looks a little copiously suspicious to me. I didn’t say anything at the time, because it was a gift. I went and I looked it up on Amazon and I could not believe how expensive these strings are. So check this out, they actually are charging people – the cheapest price I found for this strings is a two pack set for 16 dollars plus tax which comes out to maybe $8 or $8.50 plus tax with free shipping per pack.

Now, what they’re going to see in their defense for this price is, “well, this is a coated string and so you won’t need to change your strings as often,” and that’s always been the difference. For instance, the number one player for coated strings is elixirs and elixirs will run you like $16 or $15 a pack. But they’ll say you could use an elixirs for like a month straight or two months straight and they won’t start to wear, which I disagree with, because they do wear even if they’re coated and they don’t wear I play my guitar so hard as an acoustic guitar teacher in Miami. I’ll play so hard that I’ll actually rip that coating right off in the strike zone. I’m not playing harder than I should I’m staying within what the instrument can resonate comfortably, but I am ripping that coating straight off the string if I use it for more than a day or two. So for me, it’s not worth it but if you’re a beginner playing and you don’t play as aggressive as I do it may be worth it to spend  $15, $16 on a pack of strings.

Also, if you don’t know how to change your own strings and you’re paying the music store like $35 or sometimes even $50 to change your strings for you, so if you’re going to do it you might as well have coated strings so you don’t have to do it for like a year; I understand all that. You can always get an acoustic guitar teacher in Miami to change your strings.  Click here for beginner guitar FAQs.  But I change my own strings and I do it all the time, so I’m looking economically. The cheapest price was a two pack for $16 for just $8 a pack which is double what I’m paying for D’addarios. Then other sellers are selling like one pack standalone for $11.54. Here is somebody that wants $15.99 and then here is somebody that actually wants $89.95 for 5 packs which when I did the math on my calculator was like $17 a pack, so it’s pretty hyped. Would I pay $8 a pack? Maybe. I’m very much a purist in terms of tone. So does it sound good? Yes, it does [playing guitar]. Does it sound coated? No, it doesn’t. That’s in their defense [playing guitar]. Is it worth $8? I don’t know, you tell me; leave me a comment and let me know your experience and what you think of this.

But the coating is very, very thin so apparently this company, Cleartone, they did a really good job with that, a very innovative job with making a very, very thin coating have it [playing guitar] have really nice shimmer to it [playing guitar] and even the lead sound [playing guitar] and then of course the chords [playing guitar]. I mean you could hear it. It’s very chimey, it’s brilliant, you could hear the articulation of every string. It’s doing a great job in absorbing my strumming power and reflecting it out. I don’t feel like anything is getting diffused like I felt very diffused with elixirs, I don’t feel diffused with Martin Lifespans [playing guitar].

What I’m going to do is I’m going to play this pack for about a month while working as an acoustic guitar teacher in Miami and maybe I’ll come back with an annotation or a note inside the video and I’ll let you know how they’re holding up, but my gut feeling is that I’m going to opt for the non-coated. Coated string is the graze now in 2016; it’s been since like 2012 when it came out. But why do I play non-coated string? It’s will because I play very aggressively and I want the full range to resonate into the body of the water, I don’t want anything coating my sound that stops the string from ringing and I don’t need protection, because I just simply change strings all the time. So because I’m willing to change it once a week or more than once a week they never really get decayed or rusty or dirty or broken down enough to actually need a change.

So I just want to fill you in on a little vocab that I have learned as an acoustic guitar teacher in Miami. But when the string when you’re playing it and if you hit it really hard, when you strum it really hard you can actually break this coating – even around the non-coated strings there is a treatment on the string that makes it sound brilliant and give it its continuous resonate and sustain. If you hit it really hard with a pick over and over there’s just little breaks in that continuity of the metal and that creates an interruption in the vibration and the sustain so you get less louder strings that don’t sustain, they don’t resonate they don’t shimmer, they don’t sound beautiful, they won’t articulate the chords with the nice overtones. So that’s what ends up happening when those strings start to break down. That’s why players that’s have a discerning ear they want to change those strings as often as they need to or as often as they can afford. So like I already said affordability is a big thing to me. I like how I can get these by the case for $4 a pack and these are more expensive. So I’ll see you next time. Click here to learn about how to play fingerstyle acoustic.  Thanks so much and I’m out.