Blisters on My Fingers: The 5 Best Electric Guitar Strings

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As with every aspect of playing guitar, the strings one chooses are an important factor in the overall sound. You might find, in the beginning at least, that your focus will be simply on how challenging the strings are to attack; how your action is set. Eventually, however, you are going to start developing a signature sound. As soon as you begin to have an idea of how you like that sound to feel, the next step will be finding the right strings for you. I’m sure you’ve picked your axe, you’ve got your amplification, and now, before going completely Frankenstein and digging into your pickups and wirings, let’s find a string that’s right for you. I’d start with one of these five, because you’ll find top quality, reliability, and great sounds in these products, and that’s exactly what you want.

5 D’Addario EXP

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I’ve actually been a huge fan of these strings, and use D’Addario on my acoustic as well. I’m always very pleased with the delivery: just enough toughness to handle my attack, but delicate enough for my bends and sweeps. I have never come across any manufacturing flaws, and have never had an issue with premature snapping.I am a lazy string changer. Actually, I much prefer the warmth of well broken in strings to the metallic crispness of a brand new set. Again, this is personal preference and might not mean much to you. Regardless, these strings are superior to just about anything else on the market and are very reasonably priced.

4 Elixer Nanoweb Coated

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Have you ever pulled a guitar out of the closet after months or even years of playing it, and incredibly the strings were in good shape? You probably had Elixers. Have you ever been jamming with a group of guys when you decide it would be a good idea to all have new strings at the same time? Then, after a few weeks of practicing and performing, your other guitarist needs to change his strings but yours still seem like new? Again, you probably had Elixers and the other guy didn’t. Still, longevity is certainly not the only factor here. These things pack a punch, providing a powerful presence and a crisp tonality. It’s no wonder they are used by such rockers as Keith Howland, Kasim Sulton, Michael Kang, Joel Burleson, and the list goes on and on.

3 DR Tite Fit

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No shredders, I have not forgotten about you. Yes, I understand you could easily use the Slinkys for your arpeggios, but here is the string you really want. Everything DR makes is of the upper echelon, although, I do have a bad taste in my mouth over neon fluorescent strings. That’s just me, and unless you’re starting a Kittie cover band you probably have little concern one way or the other. Anyway, these strings are reliable, crisp, vibrant (not neon), and the first choice of Alexi Laiho. If you don’t know who that is, then maybe you shouldn’t be shooting to be a shredder.

2 Dean Markley Misfits Skullbuster

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If there’s one thing every guitar player can mutually appreciate, it’s a string that can take a beating. These strings are that and more. Now, I understand you might be looking for something straightforward, something not endorsed by a specific rocker, something with no gimmicks. That’s all well and good, and Dean Markley has plenty of reliable, masterful products, and I by no means am discrediting any of them. The Skullbusters, however, are not just gimmick. These are badass strings designed for a badass guitar by badass musicians, and they are of a superior quality. So if you’re a thrasher, these are the strings for you: heavy, solid, and providing an intense resonance.

1 Ernie Ball Super Slinky Nickel Wound

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I suppose I could delve into the manner in which these strings are manufactured. I could probably do some point-by-point analysis as to why exactly I believe them to be the superior string. What I should do, however, is showcase the fact that these are the first choice for such iconic musicians as Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Joe Perry, and Jack White, and the fact that the sweet sounds you hear on Led Zeppelins “Dazed and Confused” were created using these strings. Honestly: enough said.

So hopefully this will help you get started. And don’t worry; it always comes down to preference, no matter what. So let us know what you think. Maybe you like those neon’s.

With an insatiable appetite for all things music, from Gregorian chant to dubstep, and a penchant for funk and psychedelic rock, Nik Silva is everything an avid music appreciator should be: open minded, eclectic and obsessive to the point of nerdyness.

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