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.

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 with the adjusted gauges .010 | .0135 | .017 | .025 | .034 | .046

There is a noticeable 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.

EXL110

EXL110BT

String String Gauge (") String Tension (lb) String Gauge (") String Tension (lb)

E

0.046

16.91

0.046

16.91

A

0.036

19.04

0.034

17.22

D

0.026

18.38

0.025

17.21

G

0.017

16.58

0.017

16.58

B

0.013

15.39

0.0135

16.59

E

0.010

16.22

0.010

16.22

What are the balanced 10’s like in use?

There is no doubt, you will definitely notice the difference with a set of balanced strings. At first the EXL110BT felt a little strange, 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 has 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!

D'Addario NYXL - Also in Balanced Tension

NYXL are available in a broad range including the Balanced Tension sets. These are our 'goto' string and highly recommended to give them a try.


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Note: We do not charge postage on orders over £25.

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.