About six months ago, I started our spring concerts series with a brand new set of Elixir medium bass strings, based on the various recommendations I had found regarding these, centering notably on their long life span. In spite of the various warnings I had read about their peculiar tone, I thought I'd give them a chance to prove their worth.
So what happened ? Elixir, like some other manufacturers, wraps its strings in a non-metallic coating, in order to protect them from oxidizing while keeping the non-coated sound brightness, which coating typically removes. And, apparently, this coating, which is adequately non-sticking on the finger side, is not really sticking enough on the string side, causing it to be torn after some play.
How long does it take ? I can only suppose it depends on the player, but in my case, these photos were taken after about six months, meaning more of less 150 hours of use.
Chatting with a knowledgeable music store clerk, he appeared to be aware of the problem, describing it to me as soon as I said I had a problem with the strings, without my telling what that problem was: it is apparently a well-know issue: these strings are indeed long-lasting when played very little, as is typical of amateur musicians, with the coating adequately protecting them from oxidation. But on the other hand, frequent and/or rough playing tends to wear the coating off the string, giving them that unpleasant look. OK, then, so be it.
Next brand to be tested: DR Strings, allegedly better fit for more intensive use.
This being said, I'd like to obtain the opinion of other bass players: have you had similar experiences with Elixir strings, or did I (and this store clerk) stumble upon a defective series ?
UPDATE 2007-10-29 : the reason why I'm still considering the possibility of a defective series is the fact that the A string, which has by far the most damaged wrapping, does not seem to be one I use most ; IMO, this has to be the D string, but that one looks almost pristine.