Student of Guitar

Elixir HD Light Vs Light: Which is Better? (2022 Edition)

Table of Contents

If you’re curious about Elixir HD Light vs Light strings, how they differ, and which might be best for you, you’ve come to the right post!

For simplicities’ sake, I’ve included a table showing the difference between these string gauges.

String
HD Light Gauge
Light Gauge
E (1st)
.013
.012
B (2nd)
.017
.016
G (3rd)
.025
.024
D (4th)
.032
.032
A (5th)
.042
.042
E (6th)
.053
.053

I’ll unpack this more in the sections below.

Elixir Strings

Elixir may not be as big of a name as D’Addario or Ernie Ball. In fact, they only have a handful of different guitar string variants. However, they specialize in specific types of string sets.

Elixir makes both acoustic and electric guitar strings. But what makes them special is the company’s own unique protective layer design. The main purpose of these coatings is protection and longevity.

As a result, all of their strings can last quite a while. There’ll be no rust or other various external factors messing with them. This not only keeps them from breaking too soon but also keeps the tone fresh. In fact, I had these stay on some of my guitars for well over 6 months.

There are three types of protective layers. These are Nanoweb, Optiweb, and Polyweb. Essentially, they’re all foil-like protective coatings. In practice, they give a slightly different feel and can impact the tone.

There are three types of sets for electric and acoustic guitars. However, two of three acoustic guitar sets come with Nanoweb coating. The third one has a Polyweb coating. The Optiweb one is for electric guitars.

These are the acoustic guitar sets by Elixir:

  • Phosphor Bronze with Nanoweb Coating
  • 80/20 Bronze with Nanoweb Coating
  • 80/20 Bronze with Polyweb Coating

The first one is neutral in tone. 80/20 Bronze Nanoweb is bright while 80/20 Bronze Polyweb is smoother and warm.

Elixir HD Light Vs Light

Now, the issue of Elixir HD vs. Light is about acoustic guitar string sets. Contrary to what some may think, this has nothing to do with materials. It’s actually about the gauge. And two of the three types of acoustic guitar strings that I mentioned above have both HD Light and Light variants.

There are some differences when it comes to actual gauges for these three sets. However, you have HD Light within two sets. These are Acoustic Phosphor Bronze with Nanoweb and Acoustic 80/20 Bronze with Nanoweb.

The whole HD Light thing has caused some confusion over the years. It just comes down to a very specific gauge of each individual string in the set. So let’s take a closer look at Elixir HD Light.

The gauge goes like this from the highest to the lowest string:

  • E .013
  • B .017
  • G .025
  • D .032
  • A .042
  • E .053

This is the same for both Phosphor Bronze Nanoweb and 80/20 Bronze Nanoweb sets. Now, let’s look at the Light gauge. Again, these are the measures for both of these set types in the Light size. It goes like this:

  • E .012
  • B .016
  • G .024
  • D .032
  • A .042
  • E .053

So you can notice that the differences are with the top three strings. Light is just one size here compared to HD Light. These top three strings are almost identical to Elixir’s Medium sets. The only difference is the third string which is .025 instead of .026. Other than that, the bottom three strings are identical in both sets.

HD Lite: A Different Kind of Hybrid Set

In some ways, HD Light is like a hybrid set. It has thicker tops and lighter bottoms. This is the opposite of the usual hybrid sets. They usually come with heavy bottoms and lighter tops.

It’s your usual deal for lead players or those who are only guitarists in their band. As far as Elixir strings go, they have Light-Medium gauge sets. The bottom three strings are .035, .045, and .056. But the top three are the same as the Light configuration.

So HD Light does the opposite. You have thicker tops and lighter bottoms. It’s not a very common configuration. And it’s not as popular as Light-Medium. But it still has its use.

Which One Should I Choose?

There’s one thing that I need to point out. Choice of string gauge comes down to personal preferences. But with acoustic guitars, gauges can matter more compared to electrics. A thicker gauge helps you bring more volume. But if you’re using a piezo or good microphones, it may not matter that much.

My preference is to always go with lighter gauges. Or, in some cases, I prefer light tops and heavy bottoms. This gives me a different feel and tone for the bottom strings, especially when I’m playing legato. Meanwhile, I can bend the top three strings easily.

So Light would be my preference. The HD Light option is somewhat specific. This configuration can be a great choice for those who feel like balancing things out in a different way.

I would recommend HD Light for rhythm playing. It can be easier to play barre chords with such a set.

Elixir HD Light vs Light: Conclusion 

I hope this article has helped clear up the difference between these strings and when you might use each one.

And if you want read more about strings on this blog, check out:

Lastly, feel free to leave a message in the comments below if you have a question about this or another guitar-related topic.

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