Phosphor Bronze vs 80/20: Which Is Best Acoustic Guitar Strings?

phosphor bronze vs 80/20
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The sound produced by each brand of guitar string obviously varies, making it quite hard to tell which kind is the most ideal one for you without trying them all out first before making a decision. Because of that, today we will give you everything you need to know about phosphor bronze vs 80/20 strings. Let’s get started! 

Differences between phosphor bronze vs 80/20

80 20 vs phosphor bronze
Which acoustic guitar strings type is suitable for you?

To have a phosphor bronze or an 80/20, you must know about the differences between them first. Don’t worry, we have made a very detailed and informative comparison about the phosphor bronze vs 80/20 guitar strings in this paragraph. Let’s take a closer look at them. 

Here is our table so you can easily follow to: 

Factors

80/20 Bronze

Phosphor Bronze

Year of invention

The 80/20 guitar strings appeared for the first time in the 1930s period.

About the phosphor bronze guitar strings, they were invented in the 1970s period. 

Material

The 80/20 string is made just like its name, it has 80% of copper. The last 20% is zinc. 

It is reported that the phosphor bronze strings contain about 92% of copper.

Usage time

The 80/20 strings are usually used for a short time. It is said that it often lasts for a month. 

The phosphor bronze guitar strings are mainly staying stable for a longer period of time, perhaps 3 to 4 months.

Sound

The 80/20 strings create a bright tone

The phosphor bronze strings made a natural sound. 

Player note

This is really important: the 80/20 guitar strings are easily affected by the user’s sweat.

According to professional music players, the phosphor bronze strings are not affected by sweat. 

Coating

Can be used even without coating. 

Can be used even without coating.

String core

Round and h

ex

Round and hex

Key specifications between phosphor bronze vs 80/20 strings

To be more specific, we have made a summary to be easily read. Here are the key specifications about the main differences between phosphor bronze vs 80/20. 

Specifications80/20 Bronze

Phosphor Bronze

Material

80% of bronze20% of zinc

92% of bronze
8% of tin
Less than 1% of phosphor

Measurement

From extra light to light then medium and ends with the heavy one. 

From extra light to light then medium and ends with the heavy one. 

Life expectancy

Can be lasted for one or less than one month

Usually can be used for several months, from 3 to 4 months

Tone 

Bright

Natural and warm

String core

Has a round and hex core

Has a round and hex core

The features of Phosphor Bronze vs 80/20 guitar strings

For further information, we have collected and made a very detailed introduction about each type of guitar strings – the Phosphor Bronze and the 80/20 guitar strings so you can have the best comparison on your own.

Phosphor Bronze Guitar Strings

80 20 bronze vs phosphor bronze 1024x696
Phosphor Bronze Wound Guitar Strings

It is reported that most guitarists enjoy experimenting with various types of acoustic guitar strings. And then, eventually, they usually wind up with one of the myriad phosphor bronze models.

The phosphor bronze guitar strings can be used for any gauges, from extra light to heavy. This means that guitar players can use them with whatever types of music. 

This is undoubtedly the type of guitar strings that are mainly bought depending on its durability and affordability. Even yet, the lifespan of phosphor bronze strings is dependent on your playing style. If you use them too hard, they will not last for such a long time. 

Key features

Here are some key features about the Phosphor Bronze guitar strings that we have made: 

  • Materia: 92% copper and the last 8% is from tin
  • Gauges/ Measurements: All types, from extra light to heavy
  • Usage life expectancy: two to three months
  • Coating: Can be used with or without coating
  • Sound: The Phosphor Bronze guitar strings create a warm and natural sound
  • Styles of music: All styles of music. 

A brief history

When phosphor bronze guitar strings first became available, the introduction of phosphor to the bronze and tin alloy was deemed groundbreaking since it increased their longevity.

Indeed, it is reported that those guitar strings were created to address the drawbacks of the 80/20 strings that flooded the market at the time.

The D’Addario firm produced phosphor bronze guitar strings in 1974, and they have since become one of the most popular kinds of strings for acoustic guitars.

Materials and durability

The manufacturing procedure for phosphor bronze guitar strings is quite similar to almost any other kind of steel guitar string. Producers and guitar companies usually wind their strings either using core wire or so-called music melody and one out of the four commonly used wounding procedures.

The word phosphor bronze typically means that the substance used to wind the string. As previously stated, phosphor keeps these guitar strings less corrosive, hence increasing their durability. Furthermore, these Phosphor Bronze guitar strings are 92 percent of copper and the last 8% is from tin. This means that they will break in quickly after several hours of play.

Sound

Only an experienced and skillful expert will hear the differences in sound which are created by various steel guitar strings. By and large, it is also recorded that the bass will be less pronounced when using phosphor bronze strings than when using 80/20 strings.

Furthermore, the phosphor bronze strings will make your guitar sound and tone become warmer by emphasizing the mid-range notes. If your guitar has a small body, phosphor bronze strings might be an excellent choice since they will enhance its qualities. This is kinda a great choice, isn’t it? 

Other noteworthy features

Because phosphor bronze strings come in a variety of gauges, you must choose which gauge is most matched for your style of play. By choosing a larger string gauge, you might emphasize the bass, whereas smaller gauges can be used to boost the instrument’s melody.

About the coating outside, it may extend the lifespan of phosphor bronze guitar strings by keeping them from corroding and deteriorating prematurely.

Additionally, it’s important to note that the specific characteristics of a phosphor bronze string set vary according to the brand and the version itself. This is why you should carefully consider all of the qualities that a phosphor bronze string set will have to offer before buying a product.

Reliability

Most of the strongest guitar strings are not impervious to aggressive methods of playing music, therefore the length of time you can rely on a pair of phosphor bronze guitar strings is determined on your style of play.

You might only need to change these Phosphor bronze strings every several months, since their lifespan is just only 2 or 3 months, in some situations. Phosphor bronze strings do not deteriorate swiftly, however their tone does vary somewhat as they age. 

If you are an experienced musician or just starting out, just for your information, using phosphor bronze strings will enhance the tone of your guitar.

80/20 Guitar Strings

bronze vs phosphor bronze
80/20 Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings 

After some decades of being the only form of guitar string available, 80/20 strings have begun to lose some of their initial popularity. Despite this, acoustic guitar strings are still one of the most commonly seen forms of acoustic guitar strings currently on the market, thanks to the wide range of models that are available.

The 80/20 guitar strings are renowned for their unique sound, and despite their poor reliability, they are still used by a large number of musical performers.

Key features 

  • Materials: 80% of copper, the last 20% of zinc
  • Gauges/ Measurements: All types, from extra light to heavy
  • Usage life expectancy: one or less than a month
  • Coating: Can be used with or without coating
  • Sound: The 80/20 guitar strings create a bright sound 
  • Dreadnought and concert acoustic guitars are excellent candidates for this setup.
  • Acoustic guitar strings that are known to age more quickly than other types of acoustic guitar strings
  • Styles of music: Suitable for all styles of music. 

A brief history

According to some professional musical players, the 80/20 guitar strings were made from a composite material which is primarily of copper and zinc with the measurement being 80% copper and 20% zinc. Their founders, John D’Addario and John D’Angelico, chose this metal since it can help the guitar have such a bright sound, which they realized that it is appealing.

When the 80/20 guitar strings were first introduced to the market in the mid 1930s, they were the main type of steel guitar strings which were available on the market. It still continued until the discovery of bronze phosphor strings appeared. 

Despite the fact that the 80/20 strings have lost a few of their fame and popularity, they still continue to be regarded by composers, musical performers in the music area because of the heavy sound when used properly.

Materials and durability 

Since the 80/20 guitar strings are made of 80% of copper and 20% of zinc, the 80/20 guitar strings can have such a bright and light melody. According to the producers of the 80/20 strings, they usually used one out of four wounding methods. 

It is said that the 80/20 strings might have a round or hex core, with the wire being manufactured of high carbon steel, just like the rest of the strings. Even though they have a round or hex core , they are still susceptible to corrosion, which reduces their overall durability.

Sound

The 80/20 guitar strings can be used in almost all types of music, but it was commonly seen in some rock n roll albums from the 1960s or the early 1970s. 

Here are some examples that you might want to know: The bright sound that the 80/20 strings create was appeared in “Blowing in the Wind” from Bob Dylan, and it is even reported that the 80/20 guitar strings’ sound was found in one of the greatest hit of all time- “Yesterday” of the Beatles.

Even though it is said that the 80/20 guitar strings create not so good mid-tones like the phosphor bronze, the 80/20 guitar strings are still worth trying. 

Other noteworthy features

The 80/20 guitar strings are used for two main measurements, extra light and heavy gauges, according to some musical players while the phosphor bronze guitar strings can be used in every gauges. The type of guitar strings also depends on what type of music (included sound and tone) that you target. 

In our recommendation, the 80/20 guitar strings are used for all types of guitars, but the best match might be for the jumbo and dreadnaught versions since they have a large body. 

Reliability

Since the materials in 80/20 guitar strings are made of a great 20% of zinc, they are quite different from others. In comparison to other kinds of steel guitar strings, the 80/20 guitar strings are more susceptible to corrosion. Many guitarists and professional music performers as well as composers believe that sweat may be a contributing factor to the rapid durability of these guitar strings. 

And yes, the 80/20 guitar strings are not expensive, so it’s quite fit for someone who has a tight budget. It is also easier to change once a month due to its cheap price. 

The above 80/20 acoustic guitar strings can be used by both professional music performers and beginning guitar players because they have the ability to improve the sound characteristics of any type of guitar.

Pros and Cons of Phosphor Bronze vs 80/20 guitar strings

Which is right for you?

Here is the list of pros and cons between the Phosphor Bronze vs 80//20 guitar strings that we have made for easy track. Let’s take a closer look! 

Phosphor Bronze

The Phosphor Bronze has quite a lot of advantages, you might wanna try this one: 

Pros

  • Sound: Natural and balanced
  • Corrosion resistance: Exceptional
  • Standard gauges: can be used in all types of gauges

In conclusion, the Phosphor Bronze is a great choice for country music.

Cons

  • Jumbo acoustic guitars: Cannot be used
  • Performance depends on the companies

80/20 guitar strings

While the Phosphor bronze guitar strings are used for small/ handy/ medium guitars, the 80/20 guitar strings can be used in a variety of guitars.

Pros

  • Sound: Bright bass-heavy 
  • Standard gauges: can be used in extra light and heavy
  • Cheap

Cons

  • Lifespan: Short, for 1 or less than a month
  • Tones: Not so good

Should I use Phosphor bronze or 80/20 guitar strings?

As we have said before, the usage of which type of guitar strings you need depends on personal preference. Once you truly use the guitars, you will recognise which type of strings you need to use. 

Because both 80/20 strings and phosphor strings use their own distinct tones, the great argument between phosphor bronze strings and 80/20 bronze strings is dependent on personal liking . Bright Brass strings may be a better choice for you if your preference is for a bright and brilliant acoustically tone, and/or if you prefer a darker tone acoustic guitar. But if you like a natural and warm sound, the Phosphor Bronze is a great option. 

Because every musician player has their signature unique playing technique as well as musical emphasis and distinct expectations for his or her guitar, you should experiment with both types of guitar string types, even if it is the Phosphor Bronze or the 80/20. 

Substitutes for phosphor bronze vs 80/20 guitar strings

The tone that is generated by 80/20 or phosphor bronze guitar strings may not even be appropriate for the type of music you perform. You could discover that experimenting with various types of acoustic guitar strings, even if it is the Phosphor Bronze or the 80/20, will help you in finding the sound that best suits the type of music you want to create.

Since that, we highly recommend you to try as much as you can. To support your decision, here are some alternatives to Phosphor Bronze vs 80/20: 

Silk and Steel Strings

In our opinion, the Silk and Steel strings create such a warm and mellow sound. And the most special feature of it is that they almost create no string noise. This is also the reason why many musical players love to use this. 

The Silk and Steel Strings are made of steel wire with an outer wrap wire and a silk filament. That’s why it is called the Silk and Steel Strings. 

Which types of guitars are the best match for Silk and Steel Strings? The answer is Martin Guitar MA130S or D’ Addario EJ40. Those guitar types are also common with the 80/20 guitar strings, or sometimes are the nylon strings. 

For new guitar players, silk and steel strings are an excellent choice because of the low pressure, which makes it easy to finger rhythms accurately.

Nickel Bronze

Looking for equipment could help your tone capabilities ? Nickel Bronze guitar strings are a great choice for you and your beloved guitars! 

The sound that Nickel Bronze creates is suitable for almost any type and genres of music, from the studio usage to live performances. And it is quite a good option for new guitar learners since the Nickel Bronze guitar strings are not too difficult to use. Another outstanding point of it, in our opinion, is that they are not easily broken while you are playing and performing. This is also the reason why Nickel Bronze is used by lots of young guitarists. 

Note: The D’Addario Nickel Bronze strings do not have any coat.

Aluminium Bronze

The Alumni Bronze guitar strings are reported to have a crisp sound, which is quite different from the others. Many professional and skilled players said that the differences in tone and sound that Aluminum Bronze creates are quite warmer, deeper but also clearer than the sound of 80/20 guitar strings. 

There are two types of models: Round and Hex Cores, each of them offers a separated tone measurement. But please remember, the Aluminum Bronze guitar strings are quite rare and hard to buy since they are not sold in all music equipment shops. 

FAQs

What is the best brand of the Phosphor Bronze guitar strings? 

Here are our answers: The top brands of the Phosphor Bronze guitar strings can be mentioned are D’Addario, Elixir Strings and John Pearse. 

Is it difficult to tune the Phosphor Bronze guitar strings? 

In fact, it is not very difficult to tune phosphor bronze guitar strings than it is to tune any other kinds of acoustic guitar strings. This chore may appear difficult to a new musician at first, but it becomes less difficult as you grow more familiar with your instrument.

How can I know that the 80/20 guitar strings are matched with my guitar? 

If you have a large size guitar, the 80/20 guitar strings are the best choice. A jumbo dreadnought or a vintage guitar model, the 80/20 guitar strings are the essential and suitable alternative for you to try out on your instrument.

Ending

And that’s the most detailed information about the Phosphor Bronze vs 80/20 guitar strings that we can give you. In this article, we have shared with you everything you should know about Phosphor Bronze vs 80/20 guitar strings, from what definition they are, how to play it to the similarities as well as the differences between Phosphor Bronze vs 80/20 guitar strings.

We hope that with our sharing, you can choose the best one that fits you perfectly. If you find our sharing is helpful, please share it with your loved ones and hit our subscribe button to get the latest notification on music equipment.

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