C.F. Martin & Co. Authentic Acoustic Strings

by Christian Wissmuller • in
  • November 2018
  • Top Gear
• Created: November 5, 2018

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“Authentic” has been something of a go-to phrase for Martin Guitars the past few years. Their limited series of instruments build to prewar standards – as determined by forensic analysis of the historic guitars they replicate – was termed “Authentic” and now we have these new Authentic Acoustic stings (“Our best strings ever,” claims the company).

Three lines are being offered – SP (Superior Performance), Marquis Silked, and Lifespan 2.0 – and I sampled a set of each. I tested out a light-gauge (12) set of SP first. Featuring a phosphor bronze wrap with a tin-plated core wire beneath (the unwrapped strings also get the tin-plating treatment), I have to admit these strings immediately improved the tone of my Fender Tim Armstrong acoustic. To be fair, I hadn’t changed strings on that one for a while, so any new strings would have made a positive impact, but I do think these Authentic Acoustics sounded better than the previous set (the brand of which will be left unsaid, in the name of diplomacy). As for that tin plating, allegedly it aids in corrosion resistance, but I can’t really speak to that one way or the other since I’ve only been playing with this set for a few weeks. I can attest that I see no rust on those strings, so… success? That said, I haven’t been playing that guitar under stage lights or in the sun; I doubt I sweat all that much while sitting and playing in my living room.

On to the Lifespan 2.0! These are coated strings and purportedly the “longest-lasting” string ever offered by Martin. I am not a big fan of coated strings on electrics, but was surprised at how quickly I warmed to these – mine featured 80/20 bronze wrap, by the way – on my ancient Washburn acoustic: they play nicely and easily, stay in tune, and… yeah, there you go! As for how long they last, it’s way too soon for me to be able to confirm or deny, but the folks at Martin have never given me any reason to doubt them – let’s assume the best.

Lastly, the most inappropriately matched and poorly planned-out pairing of the bunch (on my part, not Martin’s): a medium gauge (13) set of Marquis Silked strings on my… snatched-froman-office-that-was-closing-before-they-tossed-it-in-the-dumpster, cheap-o, late ‘90s Chinese-made “New York Pro” acoustic. Marquis Silked strings are about as “fancy” as you can get in terms of mass-produced acoustic guitar strings, with a silk wrap on the ends to ensure against damaging the finish of expensive, vintage instruments. In other words, way nicer than the guitar they’re currently on deserves. Also engineered to resist corrosion (and, once again, I’m sorry to say I can’t provide any real-world yes/no

opinion on that), these strings held their tuning well, and – as with the SP set – had this cheap beater of a guitar singing with greater clarity and fullness of sound than in a long while.

Ranging from just around $7-10 (SP and Marquis Silk) and $13 (Lifespan 2.0), these strings are priced competitively and, coming from a beloved and trusted company such as C.F. Martin & Co., I’m sure many players will want to give Authentic Acoustics a shot. MI retailers who carry acoustic fretted instruments would be wise to consider stocking these new strings.

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