Elixir Nanoweb Vs Polyweb. What Is The Difference?

This is our comparison of the Elixir Nanoweb Vs Polyweb guitar strings.

I’m a guitarist of 25 years and still, to this day, Elixir are my go-to strings. I thought it would be a good time to introduce you to the differences and what makes them so popular.

I’ve included my favorite Acoustic and Electric Guitar strings from Elixir.

Read on to see all the finer details with each set of strings and what suits your guitar requirements best.

Product Range Comparison

The Story Behind Elixir Strings

Elixir Strings began in 1997.

They started by evaluating their favorite guitar strings from the market place. In an attempt to discover what made them sonically ideal.

Then came the process of experimenting with various coatings. Trials were held with 15,000 guitarists, to find out which coating process worked best with real players. There’s no better test than using the demanding ear of a guitarist eh?

Finally, after vigorous testing, they found a number of successful coatings. Polyweb and Nanoweb was born.

Since that day various combinations have improved the string building process. The first Elixir long-life strings were brought into the mainstream. Eventually elevating Elixir to the top, with other giants of string manufacturing.

Elixir scaled up the business creating coatings, not only for the acoustic and the electric guitars. But bass, mandolin, and banjo.

Elixir strings have a few different ‘flavors’, yet the alternative choices are from the same basic build concept.

Manufactured in huge numbers today by W. L. Gore & Associates.

The Elixir coat is like no other string provider in the market. It expands the life of your string tone by decreasing the deterioration from your skin oil and everyday elements.

In essence, the coating blocks corrosion longer than your standard string. In the long run, this saves you money and increases the longevity of your tone.

Elixir Nanoweb Vs Polyweb? Acoustic Guitar,

The Elixir Acoustic range comes in 3 flavors.

Nanoweb-Phosphor Bronze

  • Key Features: A nice balance of rich, full bodied tone and great high end transparency. Sensitive and soft to touch.
  • Best For: Ideal for recording purposes, as the finger squeak factor is reduced. Epecially nice for big open chords.

Nanoweb-80/20 Bronze

  • Key Features: 80% copper. 20% zinc. A much Crispier tone, better for expressive playing. Nice energetic feel. A textured uncoated feel, so not as nice as the Phosphor Bronze in fingertip comfort. 
  • Best For: Fingerpickers, Busy guitarists who are all over thr fretboard.

Polyweb-80/20 Bronze

  • Key Features: 80% copper. 20% zinc. You get a warm yet hearty tone. It’s a good choice if you’re looking for a set of strings that don’t need warming up. Superb middle range of tone. Thinner on your fingertips, almost like the standard set from other brands. 
  • Best For: A set of strings in the middle of the sound spectrum. A player who likes to do a bit of everything.

Elixir Nanoweb Vs Polyweb? Electric Guitar,

Here are the different types of coating for the Electric Guitar:

Nanoweb-Nickel Plated Steel

  • Key Features: Bright, highly responsive with a metallic twang. Superb soft feel for smoother playing. Stays in tune better than competitors.
  • Best For: Perfect for the lead guitarist as the Nanoweb are clear and precisensitive and soft to touch.

Polyweb-Nickel Plated Steel

  • Key Features: Distinctly warmer in tone. Fingertip Friendly. Great for metal or aggressive players. Slick and Smooth. Thicker coating gives you that little more to hold on to. Fat tones and punchy low end.
  • Best For: Perfect choice for the rock riffmeister. 

Alternatively (Electric Guitar)

If you are still searching for that brighter sound. Elixir offers a solution.

An Optiweb coating is available. It offers a very thin layer. This provides you a more natural brighter and sharper sound. Perfect for such genres as country or reggae. Any music where the guitar needs to sit at the higher end of the frequency. 

Elixir Optiweb: Electric Guitar

This thinner type coating means you don’t need the initial ‘stretching in’ stage to warm the coating up. You throw the strings on and you’re ready to play a show. 

Depending on how much high-end you want in your tone, the Opiweb is a great alternative.

From My Personal Experience

If you’re looking to find out whether Polyweb or Nanoweb lasts longest. I’ve been using both over the years, and these are my thoughts.

I played guitar in a working band, we were rehearsing or playing live four to six times a month. I’m happy to say I recently played 4 straight gigs in short succession. My Elixir strings were still sounding great on the last show, and I hadn’t broken a single string.

Take into consideration the sweat, grime, and temperature changes at live shows. These are all elements that wreck the life and tone of your strings. The lifespan of the Elixir coated string is exceptional in my eyes.

My experience tells me there is no difference in how long Polyweb or Nanoweb last. Both have very similar lasting qualities.

So whether you’re playing acoustic or electric, live or in your bedroom. I’m confident you’re going to get 2 to 3 times more out of Elixir, in comparison to your standard uncoated strings.

Obviously, everybody breaks strings. This could be down to many things. Like poor guitar intonation, aggressive technique, or quick changes in temperature.

It’s impossible to add any comment about Elixir strings being stronger than the conventional uncoated set. Breaking strings can happen anytime, It’s just one of those things.

Sound Difference

As a guitarist, you’re probably looking to find out the tonal characteristics between the Poly and Nanoweb.

Let’s take a look at this chart to give you a clearer idea of what Elixir coating suits you best. 

Feels more natural, lively, and bright.Warm and mellow
CrisperFaster Feel
Clearer, perfect for the lead guitaristBigger Sound. Good choice for the Chord player. Rhythm guitarist
Transparent and offers a wider spectrum of tonesDeeper and darker
Similar to the conventional string setPowerful and thick.

Coating Difference. How Do They Feel?

Nanoweb Vs Polyweb

Polyweb coating is thicker than the Nanoweb. Polyweb gives you a slicker, softer feel to the strings. Meaning you can play a little faster and move around with less effort.

This may have its drawbacks if you sweat a lot. Some players have difficulty fretting quickly when sweating. Due to the slippier feel of the Polyweb, this may have your sweaty fingers skating around too much.

The Nanoweb coating is thinner, less dense. In essence, forcing you to fret the note with less room for error.

It’s been said by Nanoweb users that you have more control over every note. The Nanoweb has a similar feel to your standard strings.

Here’s a helpful short video:

Spot Fakes

How To Spot Fake Strings (Important) (AG)

While it may seem odd for an item such as guitar strings to be counterfeited, there are many reports of such online.

The good news is that there are a few easy ways to spot fakes, so you can be sure you’re getting the best strings from a trusted manufacturer. First, you want to check the packaging of your strings.

Most manufacturers seal each individual string inside the pack in separate packaging. Check to make sure that the markings on each package match the box, and match the information from the manufacturer’s website.

Companies like Elixir and D’Addario also stamp quality control codes on each package that you can look for.

As you open each string, inspect it closely for signs of corrosion and poor wrapping.

Many people complain that the fake strings they receive are poorly constructed and the windings are loose right out of the package, making them difficult to play.

If the strings are properly sealed with quality control stamps, and they appear in good condition before you install them, you have nothing to worry about.

Getting the best guitar strings is easy when you know what to look for.


One of the first things you will notice when shopping for guitar strings is that they come in several different weights

Medium gauge strings are the standard, but they tend to be stiffer and more difficult to work with for beginners. On the plus side, medium gauge strings produce a more robust sound with better volume.

By contrast, lightweight strings are easier to press and hold, and they are a bit more flexible if you are going for a modern sound.

Many beginners prefer lightweight strings until they can build up their finger strength. Once the calluses build up, it’s then a good time for medium-weight strings.

Beyond the typical light and medium gauge strings, you may also come across extra light or heavy gauge. These types of strings are used less often, but you can always experiment with them to see how they change the sound of your playing.

Polyweb Vs Nanoweb
Don’t give your child SRV strings (018-.074)!

Carefully consider your string gauge if you’re a beginner and give yourself the best possible chance to succeed. You’ll be learning easy guitar chords and various guitar exercises when you first start. Lightweight strings are fitting for this stage.

One important note:
Before you string up heavy gauge strings on your instrument, double-check that the manufacturer has approved that gauge for use. Acoustic guitars use a complex system of braces inside to withstand the tension of fully-tuned strings. Some are not designed to withstand heavy gauge strings.

Using too heavy of a string gauge could cause the braces to crack or warp. This is also a good time to learn how to tune a guitar.

Alternatively, it’s a very sensible option to contact a guitar tech for advice.

Buying Tips

If you are buying strings for a small bodied guitar. Purchase light strings, especially for acoustic based instruments. The smaller bodied guitars will struggle with the pressure of big strings pulling the neck. And Vice versa, if you’re looking for strings for a Baritone Electric, go heavy gauge.

Fingerpickers and intricate guitarists may need lighter to medium strings, as they tend to move around the fretboard more. Strummers, go for medium to heavy, and get the most out of your open chords.

In essence, the heavier end of string gauge gives you more of the bass sound. More resonance and power. Light to medium can assist you with higher notes, subtle picking, and easy access around the scales.

So, lighter strings are easier to play but you lose a lot in tone. It’s safe to say light strings break easier as they have less strength. Medium to heavy strings are superior when it comes to sustain and lastability.

If you want more sound from your acoustic or fatter riffs on your electric, you’re going to have to go heavier gauge.

If you’re still not sure of what gauge to buy, stay around light medium, or medium. Or, after a little experience, do what the great Jimi Hendrix did, mix and match the 6 strings to suit you and your music.

When To Replace

Let’s start with the obvious, don’t wait until they break!

The frequency you should change strings depends on how often you play, how you play, and in what conditions your instrument is played and stored.

Active performers may need to change their strings on a bi-weekly basis depending on the number of shows and rehearsals per week.

Occasional players may take a month to three months to wear out a set.

Most players change strings when they lose their brilliance, sound too mellow. If the intonation falters or when their instrument is difficult to keep in tune. Generally, you can see the build-up of grime on the strings.

I can always tell just by listening. The sound becomes dull and the resonance disappears. It starts to sound…well crap!

Changing one string after it breaks is not recommended as the newer string will be brighter sounding than the rest of the set.

Still Can’t Decide?

There is an easy answer to this issue: Buy a packet of both strings. 

Buying a packet of both will give you an idea of what YOU like, and what you don’t. 

There are a lot of variations of strings from both brands but the main characteristic lies in what suits your guitar, your music, and your technique. So until you try different flavors of Elixir.

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