D'Addario EXL110 vs EXL110BT balanced tension

10-46 are probably the most popular gauge of string in the world and are certainly the biggest selling strings for us at Sound Unlimited. There are historical reasons for this gauge’s popularity. It was the closest the manufacturers could get to making a balanced set of strings back in the ‘70s and all other gauges have since been relative to these early tensions.

D'Addario think that this has left an opening for innovation, by making use of the extreme precision with which strings can be manufactured using the most modern technology. They are the only company we deal with who print the gauges and tensions of the strings on the back of their packets. It was always going to be D'Addario who pushed the boundaries and came up with a new perspective on what a set of 10-46s should be.

So why introduce another string gauge at 10-46?

It’s all about the balance. The EXL110 gauges .010 | .013 | .017 | .026 | .036 | .046 have been around since 1970s as the standard or regular gauge. As a consequence of their popularity, they have become the established norm and form the core of the electric strings market.

But the thing about the standard gauge strings is that they are actually not a consistent tension across all of the strings. They represented the best that manufacturing could produce 40 years ago but are not a true reflection of what todays best string-producers can come up with.

If you look at the numbers for D'Addario’s top selling EXL110 strings, you can clearly see what they are talking about. The low tension B string and high tension A string being particularly noticeable. The idea of producing a more balanced set of strings is a very logical progression and evolution. Thus was born the EXL110BT balanced strings.

There is a significant drop in tension on the D and A strings and an increase in tension to the B. You can see the top E, G and bottom E remain same string as in the EXL110.

What are the balanced 10’s like in use?

I have tried them and there is no doubt, you will most definitely notice the difference with a set of balanced strings. At first the EXL110BTfelt a little odd, no doubt because of how accustomed I am to the standard 10-46. It didn’t take long for the even tension to start feeling natural.

Moving through scales had excellent consistency in the feel and velocity of the string when picked. Crucially, the treble strings felt very well balanced (as you would expect), particularly when it came to bending the strings. All in all, I was very impressed.

I was really pleased with where I ended up with the EXL110BTs on my PRS Custom 24. It has always been the way that PRSs are ‘precision’ instruments and this seems to sit very nicely alongside the concept of a balanced set of strings. Everything feels…. precise!

EXL110BT Not available in Bulk

The D'Addario EXL110-10P have a 20% saving over the single pack of EXL110. It would take a significant increase in popularity for D'Addario to bring the Bulk Packs to the new Balanced Tension range so don’t expect this anytime soon.

But at this stage in establishing the EXL110BTs in the marketplace, people will be unlikely to buy them in larger quantities. So the good news is that single sets cost exactly the same as single sets of EXL110s.

In our opinion, you should be buying a pack of these along with what you normally buy so that you can give them a try.

Our discount module will still give you an extra 5% discount when you buy a mixture of any 10 packs of strings. So no excuses for not trying them if you are a ‘Regular Slinky’ devotee, as well!!

Do we recommend them?

Yes we do!

For an experienced player these strings will feel odd at first because of how accustomed you are to ‘normal’ gauges. They won’t suit every guitarist and every guitar but no string ever will.

It’s more about experimenting with your instrument until you find what suits you best. If you use regular gauge strings, D'Addario EXL110BTs ought to be very high on the list of strings for you to try. There’s a very good chance you will be impressed.

We think D'Addario should be congratulated on producing yet another excellent innovation.