Review: John Pearse Silk & Bronze Strings

As someone who goes through a lot of strings trying to find the best fit for my various instruments, I've been curious about the more recent "silk & bronze" sets advertised from GHS, Martin, and John Pearse. I've always thought silk & steel strings sound and feel terrible, but judging by others' reviews of these new type strings online I figured I'd give some a shot.

Since picking up this guitar (click for link) I've been using it as my go-to flattop guitar, strung up with GHS "extra light" 50w-11s of the 80/20 variety. I like the sound of them and the authoritative volume, but I've gotten used to the slinky feel of 24 3/4" scale Gibson archtop guitars and wanted something really cozy for fingerpicking (note: tailpiece guitars will generally feel slinkier due to the extra after-length on the strings which allows more flex).

Being a fan of Pearse strings, I chose a comparable set (gauge-wise) in their silk & bronze series and what can I say -- I'm a convert! These things feel great: it's immediately noticeable that they're more flexible and a lot easier on the fingers, especially in closed chords up and down the neck. I noticed a tiny volume loss, but since that particular guitar is darn loud anyway, it's sort of welcome. Tonally, they're very similar to a regular p-bronze set but with a definite focus on the fundamental rather than a lot of ringy overtones (a plus in my books).

Anyhow, I'm hooked as far as these go for flattops, but these may not be for everyone. Folks who like to bang bluegrass leads on their D-18s probably won't opt for these but I can certainly see them put to good use in most other genres.

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