As a guitarist, you need to keep your guitar strings changed to sound the best you can. But which strings should you buy, and how do you know the best string deal? The options are daunting, and making a wise decision is difficult. You need good information to make the correct choice for your style and instrument. But where do you get started with so many options?
There are several options that affect your choice, including what kind of guitar you play, what style of music you play, whether you use standard or alternate tunings, and many others.
Not only that, but guitarists often have to choose between tone quality and longevity in their strings. You might spend more money on strings that sound great out of the box, but lose their tone quickly. Old strings are harder to tune, easier to break, and just don’t sound as good. These qualities may differ from brand to brand. A working guitarist might need to choose between absolute tone quality and durability. These facts are especially important when it comes to acoustic guitar strings, since you can’t hide a bad tone with your amplifier.
The more knowledge you have about string brands and models, the better you’ll be able to make a good choice. I’ve reviewed a number of different varieties of string and come up with my personal top 5 best string brands. I consider tone and feel to be the key factors, but durability also counts. A string that lasts longer and sounds ok may get a higher rank than one that sounds great but is shot after the first gig. These comparisons will possibly not hold with particular string types. For example, the #4 brand might make better acoustic strings compared to #2 if I were only comparing acoustic string models.
D’addarios are often considered a value string brand. They are usually well-priced and sound good new. They also had the shortest lifespan of all of our top 5 brands. A good time to buy D’addario strings for the majority of applications is when you’ve got a gig on the agenda tonight or tomorrow and realize either you need a spare set of strings (just in case) or are several bucks short until payday and need strings that sound decent in the short term, but could change them when next Friday rolls around.
GHS are notable for the Boomer strings. They are best because of their excellent durability, though they certainly sound quite good also. These may very well be strongest strings I’ve ever played – I had to try hard to break one! They maintain their good sound for a long time also, and they’re perfect for nonstandard tunings. In the event your budget or personality dictates rarely changing strings, GHS could possibly be it in your case.
3. Ernie Ball
Slinky strings, Ernie Ball’s most prominent series, generally sound fantastic right from the package. In addition , they feel great under your fingers. Ernie Ball brand made the best-feeling strings from the brands I tried. The tonal qualities of their electric and bass models blew away other brands for the majority of applications. I especially rate the Slinky 9-gauge electric guitar set top of the list for rock and metal lead guitar use. Their acoustic models lag behind my top 2 brands, however, additionally the string life is often short.
2. Dean Markley
Dean Markley is my old standby. I have been with them ever since when I first played a guitar when i was 10 years old. You will not make a mistake with either their Blue Steel or Vintage lines. They outlast any uncoated brand I’ve tested, and they are great workhorse strings. If I have a full slate of shows approaching on a long weekend, I’ll put Dean Markleys on there inside of a heartbeat and know I will be sounding great all weekend long.
Elixirs absolutely are a prime demonstration of getting what you paid for. Yes, you’ll likely pay double the amount for a set of Elixirs than any other string brand, but they may very well last in excess of two times as long, yet still seem like the time you purchased them. In reality, sometimes my Elixir strings have improved with age – the opposite of many brand experiences.
Elixir does coat their strings, and a few feel coated strings sound flatter or duller than non-coated strings, but I cannot see it. I have personally used precisely the same set of Elixirs on my acoustic for six months, with public performances at the very least once a week, with hardly any drop in tone quality or feel. The coated string takes just a bit of time to get used to, but as soon as you do you may never buy another model of strings.
This brief review should present a nice presentation of the basic characteristics of string brands. The exact model you buy might vary according to your style needs or whether you play acoustic, electric, or bass, but hopefully now you have got a better thought of where to start looking.
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