DR Tite-Fit Review: Strings from the Nagging Nanny State

I love the motto of DR Strings — “The Handmade String: Born in NYC, Wound Up in New Jersey” — that phrase constructs the current essence of my life and I simply find joy in all the musicality and rendering those few words tethered together can express. 
That said, I have a new motto for the DR Tite-Fits — “Nagging Nanny State Strings” — and here’s why that motto fits as it bleeds:


When you open a package of DR Tite-Fit strings you first are met with a Nagging Nanny State photo page explaining how it it is your job to “avoid loss of intonation” by taking needle-nose pliers and crimping the end of the string:

If the pictures aren’t enough, flip over the paper and your eye will be filled with DR Nanny warnings and instructions and history that no guitar player should have to worry about, let alone read, when trying on a new pair of strings:

If that isn’t enough reading, more Nanny State admonishments about string care and winding are printed inside the body of the actual paper packaging:

There’s also a Nagging illustration about crimping the strings on the other side of the paper packaging:

To add insult to further wounding, The DR Nanny State then tells you they are only giving you three envelopes for your strings instead of the traditional six:

Not having separately identifiable strings means you will have three
strings just hanging out and floating free and I hate that.

Gibson
Brites
and Ernie Balls
gives you separate packaging for each string and D’Addarios give you
colored end on the strings so you can easily know which string goes
where without having to feel a string or read anything — and the fact that DR Tite-Fits cost three times as much as those other strings make their stingy packaging a business strategy that helps them without serving you.

Next, in the DR Nagging Nanny State — remember, we haven’t touched an actual string yet — is another warning that guitar strings are dangerous and that they might poke you in the eye. 

Welp, as I finally touched my DR Tite-Fit strings by pulling them out of the envelope, I can tell you that they did “spring” out at me and poked me in the arm and almost found a pricking home in my eye! 

What sort of Nagging Nanny State is this that you get impaled by DR strings by just removing them from a “corrosion free” envelope? 

I was shocked how the strings were not wound in a tight circle like every other string on the market I’ve used so far — the “springing” action of the DR Tites was really the last straw in me putting up with a Nagging Nanny State I didn’t need or want and I still hadn’t even installed a string on my guitar!

I finally installed the DR Tite-Fits on my two best guitars — My Clapton Custom Strat and my Les Paul Standard — and I hated the strings after using them every day for two weeks.  Like the Ernie Balls before them, the unwound strings are incredibly sharp — but not bright sounding — and they dug in and cut my fingers to bleeding on the first few Blues Bends of the day.

Someone on the internet said there are really only two manufacturers of guitar strings in the world — only the branding and the packaging are different — and I’m beginning to sense the ring of truth in that statement. 

You have the “finger cutting” strings like DR and Ernie Ball; and then you have the softer strings like Gibson Brites and D’Addario that are a joy to push and play all day.

I tried DR strings because Justin Sandercoe uses them and I thought they might be a good fit for playing The Blues.  Oh, boy, was I wrong.

My advice to you is to forget paying triple the price for Nanny State Nagging DR Tite-Fit strings and save some money and buy a cheaper — but better quality, and safer — strings sets like Gibson Brites or D’Addario.  Your fingers and wallet and your aching head will thank you.

16 comments

  • Gordon Davidescu

    I can’t even understand the logic behind halving the envelopes. If they use recycled paper (and encourage recycling the envelopes) shouldn’t that be more than enough? :)
    Are the strings themselves recyclable in any way?
    I agree with you — way too much warning.

  • I think they want to save money — so they use three envelopes instead of six and then try to say they’re saving the environment. Silly. Transparent.
    Guitar strings are steel and nickel and they are incredibly sharp when they aren’t on a guitar. If you’ve ever had a guitar string snap on you, the velocity is incredible and if you don’t move your arm fast enough, you will get whipped with a steel string. It hurts and it leaves a mark.
    The ends of guitar strings are also sharp and painful and they can draw blood if you aren’t careful. They’re like six steel-point needles waiting to prick you.
    I think DR adds all that print warning to try to make their strings seem worth the extra cost — these aren’t “ordinary” strings — you have to be “educated” how to use them first…

  • kathakali.chatterjee

    Wow. They should have sent a first-aid kit along with it…

  • That’s a good point — or at least include reading glasses for all that fine print.

  • Pingback: DR Strings Pure Blues 11-50 Review | Boles Blues

  • I just bought these strings (used DR before, but not the Tite-Fit ones), so I’m curious now to chuck them on my guitar after your scathing review. But I’m somewhat complexed by how much you went on about the “fine-print”. I guess DR put that stuff in there about crimping the strings, to help novices who may not have known to do that. To be honest, I didn’t know about it and am going to give it a try tonight.

    So really, quit whinging. If you don’t care what they have to say, don’t read it. They’re not forcing you to!

    And the three envelopes instead of six thing. Why don’t you just string the 6th then the 3rd, then the 5th and 1st, and lastly the 4th and 2nd? I’m not a rocket scientist, but it seemed like the logical way to do it, so you don’t mix up the strings…?

  • Pingback: Picking the Right Strings for Fingerstyle Plucking | Boles Blues

  • Charlie McBride

    Not sure what happened to you, but mine have always sounded amazing.

  • Pingback: Sadowsky Jimmy Bruno Signature Polished Roundwound Strings Review | Boles Blues

  • I really don’t understand this rant, you must have a lot of time on your hands. You’d be surprised how many people do not know how to string a guitar properly, thus the accompanying literature serves a purpose. I see people coming into music stores all the time to have someone else string their guitar because they don’t know how. No one forced you to read this stuff, so why project your libertarian world view onto a string company who is simply trying to make sure that their customers get the best experience from their product? I don’t use the pure blues so I can’t speak to them, but I love the DR Tite-fits. I have been using them without problems for a couple of years now, they sound really great and last a long time… for what it’s worth I am a professional musician who has been playing for decades.

  • givin’ my son 7 sets if DR Pure Blues for his birthday tomorrow!…put a set on my 335 tonite!…”A” string intonatable!…Period!…D string buzzes(loose wrap)!…I have experienced bad(not intonatable) D strings 3 or 4 times before!…Wouldn’t ya think I’d have learned by now!!…These strings are a waste of money!!…Unless!…You can’t hear the bad intonation or wrap(related)!!…then they’re great for you!!..they have a great tone and feel!

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