The time has come to re-string your electric guitar. Choosing a new set of strings can seem overwhelming with all the different brands, gauges, and string types available. In this review and comparison article, we go through the five best strings available for electric guitars and a buyer’s guide on how to choose strings for your electric guitar with a buyer’s guide.
Choosing strings for your electric guitar need not be a mammoth task if you follow our tips. Take a look at the best options below to get you started on your guitar string journey.
Best Guitar Strings for Electric Guitars Reviews
The guitar strings we will review are based on reviews from online retailers’ bestselling strings for electric guitars. While there are many more brands and types of strings available to choose from, these are the top five strings you can buy based on their popularity and ratings from those who have purchased and used them. Let’s dive right into it.
Ernie Ball Hyper Slinky Nickel-Wound Strings
Ernie Ball is one of the leading manufacturers of guitar strings and is known for its “Slinky” strings. With a wide variety of high-quality strings for both acoustic and electric guitars, they are the chosen brand for musicians like Eric Clapton, Slash, and the band Metallica.
The Ernie Ball Hyper Slinky nickel-wound strings are one of the bestselling strings on the market. They are available in single, three-packs, and six-packs for your convenience and are great for musicians who play their guitar, often resulting in the strings needing replacing on a more regular basis.
These strings are light gauge but can be purchased in various gauges. Light gauge strings are great for beginners and are easier to play with less wear on the fingertips. They produce a different sound than heavy gauge strings and are known to bend easier and create a beautiful tone.
Ernie Ball strings can be used on any make of electric guitar and are perfect for any genre of music. Some customers have noted that the E or 6th string is wider towards the 12th fret than the other strings. This has been noted and corrected by the manufacturer. All strings are nickel-wound and are resistant to corrosion caused by sweat, dirt, and humidity.
Packaging is an essential factor when buying strings. Ernie Ball packaging will keep your strings safe from dust and humidity and are resealable for when you only want to change one or two strings.
Ernie Ball strings have used the same design for over 50 years and are quality strings that you can trust.
- The hyper-slinky strings are easier to play and cause less wear on the fingertips.
- Good value for money and among the cheapest high-quality strings you can buy.
- The packaging protects your strings from dirt and humidity.
- The light gauge strings bend easier and have excellent sound quality.
- Customers have noted that the E or 6th string differs in diameter around the 12th fret.
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Elixir Electric Guitar Strings with Nanoweb Coating
Elixir strings are one of the few brands that use Nanoweb coating technology when designing their strings. This feature creates a textured, uncoated feel that is softer on the fingers and the fretboard.
The Nanoweb Light Gauge strings from Elixir are field-tested to ensure the quality tone and feel that people can expect from the Elixir brand. Nickel-plated with nanoweb technology, the strings are resistant to corrosion and guarantee an excellent performance using these strings, no matter the environment.
Nickel-wound strings are longer lasting than those without the coating. The coating also protects your strings from dust, sweat, and humidity. Rated highly for their durability and longevity, Elixir strings are sold in packs of 1, 3, or 6 for your convenience.
These strings last longer than most, saving you money and reducing the need to change them so often. They are easy to use, making restringing your guitar that much easier. Some customers have noted that replacing the E (or 6th) string is a bit tricky, but it can be a simple process and so worth it with some patience. If you experience a humming or buzzing sound from your guitar, as some have noted, check the tuning of your guitar and how tight your tuning pegs are.
Elixir strings are compatible with any electric guitar brand and have a wide range of tones that can be enjoyed while playing any music genre that you might prefer. Choose Elixir and experience the harmonics on another level.
- Bright sound and excellent tone
- The harmonics of Elixir strings are superior to any other brand
- Great value for money and affordable
- Players can use them on any brand of electric guitar and for every genre of music
- Buzzing or humming sound when playing guitar
- E-string is slippery and difficult to re-string
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Fender Super 250 Electric Guitar Strings
Fender is possibly the most well-known brand of guitars. They are primarily known for their incredible electric guitars that have a sound that other brands cannot match. Of course, their range of electric guitar strings is of superior quality and will give you the tone and sound quality you are looking for in a string.
Fender Super 250 strings are available in various gauges, ranging from extra super light to regular heave gauge strings. The string gauge can affect the sound, tone, and ease of play, so choosing the correct string gauge is most important.
These strings are available in a 1, 3, or 6 pack for extra convenience and have color-coded ball-end coatings for easy re-stringing. The strings are highly rated for their durability and longevity and are made to last longer than other guitar string brands.
Many people have found that Fender strings create a warmer sound and have less tension when playing your guitar. One thing to look out for, as one customer noted, is any loose flakes on the strings. These can be replaced by contacting Fender customer support.
Fender strings are not only for Fender guitars but can lend a superior tone and sound to any guitar you play. Fender has created a legacy, and their guitar strings are genuinely worthy of the Fender name.
- Color-coded ball ends on strings make restringing your guitar a breeze
- Creates a genuinely unique sound and quality that you can expect from Fender
- The strings cause less tension and are easier on the fingers
- Long-lasting and do not need changing as often
- Loose flakes on strings can cause damage to fingers
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D’Addario XL Nickel-Wound Electric Guitar Strings
A favorite among many musicians, D’Addario is one of the best-selling strings in America and worldwide. Available in various gauges, the strings can be used for any genre of music and are compatible with most brands of guitars.
The D’Addario light gauge strings are available in 1, 3, 10, and 25 packs for convenience and are great for bands and musicians that change their strings often. Affordable, they are among the best mid-to high-priced strings and have excellent ratings from those who have used them before.
Nickel-wound and with a carbon steel core, you can expect a good balance of ease of play and a versatile tone, depending on the type of music you play. The strings make for easy bending and are softer on the frets of your electric guitar.
D’Addario strings are popular for their versatility and durability and are corrosion resistant, thanks to that carbon steel core. Re-stringing your electric guitar using D’Addario strings is easy, but some customers have noted that the E or 6th string can be tricky because it is so thin. The color-coded ball ends make it simple for even the most beginner players to change their guitar strings.
- The strings retain the tuning of the guitar well
- Strings are nickel-wound and are long-lasting
- They create a great sound with good tone quality
- The ball-ends are color-coded to make restringing a breeze
- They are amongst the most affordable strings for electric guitars
- The E string is tricky to re-string
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Elixir Electric Guitar Strings with Polyweb Coating
Polyweb and Nanoweb technology is unique to Elixir and is what sets this brand of guitar strings apart from the rest. Using only the best nickel-plating, the poly web coating protects your strings and makes them easier to play.
If you are looking for affordable strings with a high-quality tone, look no further than the Elixir strings and their Polyweb coating. This technology prevents the strings from rusting and protects against dirt and sweat while playing.
Available in various gauges, choosing guitar strings for your playing needs is easy. The light gauge strings are great for beginners and easy to play with less tension on your fingers and the guitar. While other strings could wear down your fretboard, the poly web coating on Elixir strings protects your guitar from excessive wear and tear.
While some customers have noted that their D string wore down faster than the others, Elixir customer support can offer a complete replacement of your purchase if you encounter this problem. Elixir is a name you can trust for all your guitar string-related issues with only the best service guarantees.
Elixir guarantees that its strings create a warm, high-quality sound and tone. For a smooth play and long-lasting quality, Elixir strings are among the best.
- You can use these electric guitar strings on any guitar and for any playing style
- The Polyweb coating on the strings protects the strings and make them last longer
- The strings are easier to play
- Elixir has excellent customer support for any issues or queries you may have
- These strings guarantee cleaner playing and no buzzing or humming
- D string wears down faster than the others
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Best Strings for Electric Guitars Buyers’ Guide
The strings you use on your guitar can significantly impact the sound and tone quality produced when you play your guitar. But often, choosing the best strings can be a complicated process if you have never bought strings before or if you are a beginner guitar player.
Our electric guitar string buyer’s guide will help you decide on the best strings for your guitar based on a few factors affecting your sound and tone. These are the criteria to use when purchasing new strings for your guitar:
The guitar string gauge is essential and refers to the size and thickness. They are measured in thousands of inches but are easier to read when referring to them in 8ths, which most musicians refer to as the gauge. There are various gauges, ranging from light to heavy gauge strings. But what does this mean?
- Light gauge strings are thinner and easier to play but are known to break more easily. They are great for bending notes and require less effort to push down onto the fret. Light gauge strings have less volume and less tension on the neck of the guitar.
- Heavy gauge strings are thicker and often harder to play. You would need to exert more pressure to push the strong down onto the fret, which can be hard on your hands. Thicker strings break less frequently, though, and have a higher volume. These strings are best for low tunings, like Drop D, etc.
When choosing the string gauge, think about how often you play, the style of music you want to play, and the sound or overall tone you want to achieve. Choose the string type that meets these criteria.
Electric guitar strings differ from those you can use on an acoustic guitar as they are magnetic. Electric guitar strings are available in the following materials:
- Pure nickel
- Stainless steel
These strings are all compatible with any guitar brand and can be used to play any genre of music that tickles your fancy.
When choosing a string type, look for corrosion-resistant ones, which will protect from dust and humidity and can be played in any environment. The most popular types of strings are nickel-plated or wound, as they provide the player with more durability and last longer than any other type of string.
Electric guitar strings are usually nickel-wound. The core of the string refers to the part inside the wind. The core can be made of the same materials as those listed above and can be chosen according to the style of music and tone that you wish to create.
The core is usually steel for wound strings, and the metals are twisted together into a hexagonal shape. This shape holds the outer winding in place. The hexagonal shape also ensures that the string holds the tuning better.
Wound strings are popular to prevent corrosion of the string and prevent them from being damaged by dirt, humidity, and sweat while being played. There are two significant styles of winding methods that are used in guitar strings today:
This winding method involves the core being covered by another metal wound in a round method. The winding is tight, preventing any dirt or humidity from reaching the inner core. This type of winding method also affects the music’s sound and creates a brighter tone. It also creates less tension on the fretboard and your fingers.
This winding method involves wrapping or coating the core in a flat method. This helps to create a darker tone and a smoother playing feel. The flat-wound method is more straightforward on the fingers and is great for beginners learning to play.
The versatility of the string
String versatility is most important. While we have spoken about strings from brands like Fender, D’Addario, Elixir, and Ernie Ball, there are many more brands. Strings made by Fender do not need to be used only on Fender guitars and can bring a high-quality tone and sound to just about any guitar.
You can read reviews or speak to sales assistants at your local music supply store to get a feel for the most popular strings and which strings they would recommend for your guitar. You can also do a bit of your research and look at the bestsellers lists on major retail or online music stores to see which strings are the most popular.
Best Electric Guitar Strings FAQ
While we have provided as much information as possible regarding the best strings for your electric guitar, there might be a few more burning questions that you feel have not been answered. Our FAQ section covers those mundane questions that you never think to ask when buying or considering string selections for an electric guitar.
Why is the gauge of a string so important?
The gauge of a guitar string can impact the way you play and should be chosen according to the sound you wish to create. While some gauges are more accessible to play than others, they also have an effect on the durability of the string. A lighter gauge string, meaning it is thinner, allows you to bend notes better but is also prone to breakage. A thicker gauge string might be a bit harder to play but is more durable. String gauge selection depends on the type of music you play, how often you play, and the sound you wish to achieve.
Do I need to have my guitar re-strung by a professional?
No. It is pretty simple to restring your guitar yourself. Many online tutorials and step-by-step guides will teach you how to restring your guitar correctly the first time. String manufacturers have created ball-end and color-coded strings to make the process more accessible. Why waste money on paying for someone to restring your guitar when you can do it by yourself.
Can I use any brand of electric guitar strings on my guitar?
Most electric guitar strings are versatile and compatible with any brand of guitar. While brands like Fender have now created guitar strings, it’s not to say that players can only use these strings on Fender guitars. The brand of string you use should be based on how often you play, the music you play, and the sound you wish to create.
Do I need to replace all my strings when one breaks or wears down?
Replacing a string can take time, and it might be worth changing all your strings when one wears down or breaks. This is, however, not a must and is down to personal preference. Some strings might wear down quicker than others depending on the tuning of your guitar, how often you play your guitar, and the gauge of the strings you use.
How long do guitar strings last?
It is rather difficult to say how long a set of guitar strings will last you. If you play regularly, have good quality strings, and take excellent care of your guitar, your strings can last six months or as little as two. Buying quality strings might save you the effort of changing your strings too often and are worth the extra cost.
Guitar string choice, just like your choice of electric guitar brand, is personal and should be based on how often you play your guitar, the sound you wish to create, and the style or genre of music you want to play. We have provided the details of the top five best selling strings and provided tips on how to choose them.
If we were pressed to choose our favorite strings from the options we reviewed, we would say the Ernie Ball Hyper Slinky Nickel-Wound Strings take the cake. They are kind to your fingertips and easy to play while being good value for money. They come in good packaging to keep the strings protected until you want to use them. And they have excellent sound quality to boot!