Probably like most of you have done with each of your guitars, I have been trying to work out what strings I like best on my Esteve. I started with my old favourite Augustine Red packet, but they started to get harder and harder to find. So I was taking whatever the music shops were suggesting, and each type had ever-so-slightly different characteristics, which was very frustrating because I couldn't easily tell what "was better". I didn't want to go to the effort of restringing multiple sets in one sitting and trying to work it out - they all sound very close - I detest restringing nylon, they take so long to settle in!
Anyway I finally settled on D'Addario Pro-Arte EJ45's, quite a good string. Good bright tone out of the packet (not as bright as some others) but the brightness lasts a long time (longer as some others) which is just what I need, did I mention not enjoying restring & bedding in nylon strings. Some other manufacturers I had also discovered I was breaking the D string - breaking the metal winding at low frets that is - after two or three months. The EJ45's never had that problem.
I had ordered a set online from a music store, no problems, where I'm working at the moment doesn't take me near a music store. Then I got cheeky - purchased a set on eBay, man they were cheap!
About a week ago I put them on. Tuned them in and whoa, the trebles were horrible! Very dull, sound levels between the three strings out of balance with each other. The bass strings were okay, not as bright as I was used to. I was disappointed.
So disappointed that I emailed D'Addario and asked them why it would be that after three sets of good strings I'd get a dodgy batch - a quality issue? Were they a copy/fake?
D'As got back to me real quick and wanted to explore the possibility of them being a counterfeit set. I vaguely thought they might be, but if they were, they were an *amazing* copy. The packet, the corrosion proof bag, the little sticky labels telling you which string was which - spot on. But, I had noticed three things that weren't quite right...the little "flexible" section on the wound basses (for the bridge tie-off) was a lot shorter than previous sets...the E string felt fatter (interestingly, I put my calliper on it and it was 0.1mm fatter. Amazing that my fingers would notice 0.1 of a millimetre!)...and the bad tone of course.
I sent through some detailed photos and yes, they were identified as counterfeit! D'As told me that they were having a lot of trouble with counterfeiting by my neighbours to the North, and had recently gone through a similar story with some electric strings from another guy in Oz.
D'Addario super-generously have sent through several packs to replace these ones - they'd like me to send them the counterfeits. I said it was my own fault for being such a cheapskate, but they seemed very grateful for me bringing it to their attention.
So, be warned! As with everything, if something is too good to be true, then it probably is. And yes, that last song I posted on youtube was played with them - the basses are not *horrible*, but I had to crank the EQ on the treble to get some brightness into the sound. Not terrible, but I had an opportunity for a posting. I've still got them on the guitar, but only until replacements arrive! (I hope they come soon, or I'll be off to buy a genuine set this weekend.)