By Greg Olwell
As the engines of our guitars, strings play a big part in the sound and responsiveness of our instruments and they come in many different materials to help us in our search for musical nirvana. One of the biggest trends in the acoustic guitar world for the last few years has been the resurgence of strings wound with Monel, a trademarked name for an alloy of nickel and copper that has been around since 1901 and was commonly used for guitar strings in decades past. They are known for giving a warm, rich sound that highlights a more even, natural guitar tone while offering natural corrosion resistance.
SIT Strings’ American Roots Monel Acoustic is the latest addition to the expanding field of Monel-wound guitar strings. With the words “American roots” right in the name, they’re aimed squarely at the vintage-guitar-tone devotee. The series includes two sets, Light (.012, .016, .024, .032, .042, .053) and Pro Light (.011, .015, .022, .032, .042, .052). I put a light set on a Waterloo WL-S, (see a review in the August 2017 issue) which I normally string with Monels. With its ladder bracing and petite size, it might not be the most relatable guitar for many reading this review, but since I’m very familiar with its sound, using a variety of different strings, it seemed like the right choice for assessing the SITs.
The new strings settled in quickly and didn’t need much retuning once I brought the guitar up to pitch—a good attribute for strings from a company whose name is an acronym for “Stay In Tune.” Compared to other Monel strings I’ve used, the SITs had a little more zip and zing, creating a tone that was somewhere between the warm and fundamental-dominating tone of Monels and the pizzazz of a fresh set of phosphor-bronze strings. The brightness was a nice balance with the woody warmth, and I could see these American Roots strings really appealing to players who have tried Monels and found them a little too dark but don’t want to wait for their phosphor-bronze strings to mellow out after a few weeks of playing.
With a street price of $8.44–$11.99, they’re priced right with the competition, so if you’re looking for a sound that’s not too bright and not too dark, the SIT American Roots acoustic guitar strings are definitely worth checking out. sitstrings.com
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