After taking a look at its own extensive line of strings, Martin decided to simplify things to make it easier for consumers to shop for the right wires to fit their needs. Three versions of newly redesigned strings are now available under the new Martin Authentic Acoustic brand: Superior Performance ($6.99), the meat-and-potatoes set; Marquis Silked ($7.99 street), which adds a special silking at the ball end to protect bridges and their plates from wear and tear; and Lifespan 2.0 ($12.99), made with a new treatment process for longer-lasting strings. Each set uses features a tin-plated, high tensile strength core wire and is available in 80/20 bronze or 92/8 Phosphor Bronze.
I installed the phosphor bronze versions of all three sets on guitars that seemed appropriate and very familiar to my ears. The Lifespan 2.0 attempts to make the strings sound and look better over the long run. After seven weeks of daily use and numerous tuning changes on a Waterloo WL-S, the Lifespans not only retained the crisp sound of fresh strings, they also still looked new. I heard a much more detailed sound, with extra high-end sparkle and low-mid crunch, than what I’m used to.
The tension, feel, and tone of the SP strings brought a Gibson SJ-200 to life and drew in AG colleagues to compliment the guitar’s lively sound. Likewise, the Marquis Silked gave a Collings D41 dreadnought bountiful tone, with a focus and definition that made this guitar sound better than ever.
There’s no knocking Martin’s previous array, but the effort to make better strings and simplify the lineup seems to have been a great success. The new Martin Authentic Acoustic strings are worth a try for players into full-bodied tone with rich overtones and harmonics. martinguitar.com
This article originally appeared in the January 2019 issue of Acoustic Guitar magazine.