4 Top Electric Guitar Strings for Playing Blues Music
There’s something so elevating in pouring your soul into a heartfelt blues piece.
The feeling of a smooth high note bend from your guts, grabs your listeners’ attention while letting you channel your deepest feelings is second to none.
You’re hooked, addicted to blues soloing…
And if you’re not there yet, looking for the best electric guitar string for blues means you’re on the way.
The problem is that the choice of electric guitar strings for blues is vast these days, and not every guitarist knows what to look for.
If that’s your case,
Let me show you how to evolve your blues tone by picking the right set of strings so you’ll uplift each note you play.
One of the fastest ways to find the best string set is to imagine the tone of your favorite blues guitarist and get the same set they use/ed. (or the closest one available).
For this, you can easily use the following tool: (Don’t worry, I won’t ask for your e-mail, and no registration is required).
Try it, it’s simple,
Best Electric Guitar Strings for Blues Finder By Artist
If finding the best strings by your favorite guitarist isn’t for you, and you need deep explanations and reviews, skip to what you need in the table of content.
Best Electric Guitar Strings For Blues: Top Picks
In my top selections, I’ve considered all the essential features of high-quality electric guitar strings for blues, such as tone, playability, and overall feel. I checked the sets on my Gibson Les Paul Standard guitar played through a Fender ’65 Twin Reverb Reissue amplifier.
Here’s what I’ve found:
Ernie Ball Custom Gauge Nickle Wound Guitar Strings set is a bestseller.
They are favored by many guitarists playing blues because they deliver balanced and rich harmonics.
They have a great tone profile and optimum treble, mid, and bass output.
They also feature element shield packaging that does an excellent job of prolonging string life.
Ernie Ball Custom Gauge Nickel Wound Guitar Strings:
- Light to medium gauge (.010 to .046)
- Nickel-plated steel wrap wire
- Element shield packaging
- High carbon steel hex core
The original version of these strings was created in 1962, and many great guitarists like Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page have played them.
These high-performing electric guitar blues strings are perfect for blues, jazz, rock, and any other style of music you might think about.
They are made of nickel-plated steel wrap wire and a tin-plated high-carbon steel core.
They have a classic, balanced tone that works wonders with almost any electric guitar.
I truly appreciate the element shield packaging of these strings. It is creatively and safely designed to keep the strings fresh.
These strings have incredible tensile strength with RPS technology, which is great because they will last a long time regardless of how frequently you play your electric guitar.
They feature a nanocoating that protects the gaps between the strings’ structure for extended durability and performance.
The .010 to .046 string gauge range is ideal for long-scale length electric guitars. They are also easy to tune.
- They provide a balanced, classic tone with good intonation
- Tin-plated high-carbon steel hex wire improves durability
- Light to medium string gauge is easy to tune
- They feature nano coating for added durability and performance
- They come in element shield packaging
- Some strings may fail to fit into the tuning machines
DR Strings Pure Blues Pure Nickel Wrap Round Core 9/46 Strings
- Pure nickel strings
- Round core strings
- 9/46 string gauges (light to medium)
- Classic American tone and feel
These vintage electric guitar strings are crafted and designed to recreate the exceptional feel and tone of the classic American blues and rock. Their bluesy sound resembles Albert Collins’s sound, known for using light gauge (0.9-0.42) strings on his Fender Telecaster guitar.
When you install these strings on your guitar, you will notice a warm, distinctive, balanced sound that produces a vintage vibe and rich overtones. The chords of the strings ring out round and sweet.
The leads of the DR become more present with plenty of sustain and punch. Not to mention that they go easy on your fingers with highly responsive touch sensitivity.
This pure nickel wrapped on round strings has less mid-range content, but they register a fuller, warmer bass.
The round core string design creates a distinctly vintage and dense tone with superior sustain.
This set has strings that rise in diameter (9/46) from .009 to .046. This set is suitable for electric guitars with a scale length of 25.5 inches.
You can easily compensate with lighter guitar strings for the reduced smooth feel and extra tension when playing a longer scale length.
- Easy to install blues guitar strings
- A rising in-diameter string gauge of 9/46 is ideal for longer-scale length guitars.
- The strings have superior chords that ring out round and sweet
- Round core strings create a dense tone with good sustain
- They have a highly responsive touch sensitivity
- They are not universally compatible with every electric guitar
D’Addario EPN115 Pure Nickel Electric Guitar Strings
- Pure nickel strings
- Round wound strings
- 11-48 string gauges
- Warm tone and uncoated
The D’Addario EPN115 strings are world-renowned as the player’s choice for electric strings, and they have been the go-to for countless artists and records since the beginning of rock.
This incredible set offers the most resourceful gauge combinations. This specific set has three nickel wound gauges (.048, .037, .027) and three plain steel gauges (.018, .014, .011).
This set of 11-48 strings is very popular with instruments with a shorter scale length. They will not suffer the adverse effects of bendability.
The D’Addario XL electric guitar strings are precision wound to ensure that each string delivers unparalleled consistency, clear fundamentals, and excellent intonation.
The nickel-plated steel wrap wire has a magnetic output and a distinctive bright tone.
The bass strings contain an inner steel core wrapped in a round winding. Round wound strings give a clear, bright tone and superior volume. They are just perfect for blues, jazz, and rock.
- They are suitable for electric guitars with shorter scale lengths
- They do not easily suffer the effects of bendability
- Have a magnetic output and distinctive bright tone
- Deliver unmatched consistency and superior intonation
- They go easy on your fingers
- Some models may be susceptible to corrosion
EVH Premium Electric Guitar Strings
- Light to medium gauges
- Nickel wound
- Great for playing low tunes
- Smooth playability
Have you been looking for ultra-comfortable electric guitar strings for playing blues, jazz, and rock? Look no further than EVH Premium Electric Guitar Strings.
The strings are nickel wound, which is great because they are crisper, sharper, more mid-range, and brighter. They offer smooth playability and great tone.
They are designed for unique specifications. They have innovative nickel windings and a high-quality hex core.
They come in various unique and popular gauges, including .046, .036, .026, .016, .011, and .009, to provide a comfortable and enjoyable electric guitar-playing experience.
What makes these strings great for blues and jazz is their tuning stability.
Everyone wants their guitar to stay in tune because no one likes spending too much time tuning a guitar repeatedly.
The light to medium gauge strings will indeed hold and maintain the tune.
Are these electric guitar strings great for Drop D or Drop C tunes?
The EVH strings have proven reliable when playing low tunes, such as drop D or C. They are also brighter with more sustain.
- They are easy to install and tune
- Provide smooth playability and good quality tone
- Light to medium gauges are suitable for playing low tunes
- They will stay in tune once you have them tuned
- They suit long scale length electric guitars
- It is possible to receive strings that are too brittle
Things to Consider When Looking for The Best Electric Guitar Strings for Blues
What string gauge is ideal for blues?
A string gauge is a string’s diameter measured in thousands of an inch.
An electric guitar with high action and heavy strings will discourage even the most excited beginner, as it’s hard to press and produce a clean sound.
The ideal model feels smooth and playable with an exceptionally responsive touch.
Although many famous blues players preferred their unique custom gauge strings, namely mixed gauge, for you, as a starting point,
make sure that your electric steel string guitar has light gauge strings.
So, an excellent benchmark would be 0.10-0.46 gauge.
The most recommended tuning for blues is drop D tuning (light top heavy bottom), which is 0.10 to 0.52 on both Gibson and Fender scales.
Pro Tip: Generally, lighter gauges are easier to play with and can be better for bending and vibrato techniques. Heavier gauges can produce a thicker and more powerful sound but can be more challenging to play.
Selecting electric guitar strings for blues can be challenging. But here are a few more considerations that can help you with your search.
Types of electric guitar strings
There are various types, like flat wounds, round wounds, ground wounds, and half-round.
These days more guitarists choose round-wound strings than any other type because they give the brightest tones when playing blues songs.
Flatwound electric strings have a mellower sound combined with a much smoother feel.
The half-round or ground-wound electric guitar strings combine the finest features of both flat-wound and round-wound types.
The following table explains the differences between the types of electric guitar strings:
Wrap Wire Texture
|Round Wound||Rough and ridged||Bright and punchy||More noise due to ridges||Long sustain||Shorter lifespan due to wear|
|Flatwound||Smooth and flat||Warm and mellow||Less noise due to smoothness||Shorter sustain||Longer lifespan due to smoother texture|
|Groundwound||Between rough and smooth||Balanced between brightness and warmth||Less noise due to smoother texture||Moderate sustain||Longer lifespan due to smoother texture|
|Half-round||Semi-flat||Warm and bright||Less noise due to smoothness||Moderate sustain||Longer lifespan due to smoother texture|
The next video is pure gold for understanding what’s the difference between round-wound and flat-wound strings:
And this video is excellent for understanding what’s the difference between The half-round and ground-wound:
Consider the type of material
There are two main types of materials you can consider when looking for electric guitar strings for playing blues solos and songs.
There are two varieties of nickel electric guitar strings, pure nickel and nickel-plated.
Pure nickel strings have a warm, smooth tone with an impressive output. Moreover, the tone is more round and full compared to nickel-plated strings.
On the other hand, nickel-plated strings are pretty much the same as acoustic guitar strings, except that the windings are made of nickel-plated steel or nickel-iron alloy.
Nickel-plated strings produce a bright tone and are highly magnetic, which means that they can produce a stronger signal and better sustain, resulting in a more powerful and fuller sound. These strings last slightly longer than a pure nickel but wear frets faster.
Stainless steel strings
These types of strings are anti-corrosive and produce a brilliant tone. They have a round stainless steel wound, generating a lovely bright sound. They last longer compared to nickel-plated steel strings.
How Do Blues Guitar Strings Differ From Those Used In Other Music Genres?
Blues guitar strings are distinct from guitar strings used in other music genres in terms of their gauge, material, and sometimes the winding style. Blues strings are thicker, made from pure nickel or nickel-plated steel.
In terms of gauge, blues guitar strings typically have a medium gauge, which produces a fuller and warmer tone compared to the lighter gauges used in other genres. This thicker gauge also provides more sustain and a deeper low end, which is essential for achieving the soulful and expressive playing style characteristic of blues music.
Comparing Coated and Uncoated Strings for Blues Playing
When choosing the right strings for blues playing, there are more factors to consider. One of the most important is whether to opt for coated or uncoated strings.
Coated strings are made with a thin layer of polymer that helps to protect the metal core from corrosion, sweat, and other elements that can wear them down over time. Uncoated strings, on the other hand, are made solely of metal and do not have any protective coating.
Regarding tone, coated strings tend to have a slightly warmer and less bright sound than uncoated strings. This can be a plus or a minus, depending on your preferences and the type of blues music you play. Some blues players prefer the more mellow sound of coated strings, while others prefer uncoated strings’ brighter and more aggressive tone.
Another factor to consider is durability. Thanks to their protective coating, coated strings tend to last longer than uncoated strings. This means you can go longer between string changes and save money in the long run.
Tips for Maintaining Your Blues Strings and Extending Their Lifespan
- Clean your strings regularly: Cleaning them regularly is one of the easiest and most effective ways to extend their lifespan. Use a clean, dry cloth to wipe the strings after every use to remove sweat, oil, and dirt from your hands. This will prevent corrosion and buildup on the strings, which can affect their tone and playability.
- Use string lubricant: String lubricant can help to reduce friction between the strings and the fretboard, which can cause unnecessary wear and tear on the strings. Apply a small amount of string lubricant on the strings and the fretboard to keep them smooth and slick. This will help to extend the lifespan of your strings.
The most recommended inexpensive string lubricant that’ll give you impressive results is:
D’Addario Accessories Planet Waves XLR8 String Lubricant/Cleaner
- Use high-quality strings: High-quality strings last longer and produce a better sound than low-quality strings. Invest in high-quality strings designed for your specific instrument to ensure the best performance and longevity.
Final Thoughts On The Best Electric Guitar Strings For Blues
The winner of this round-up is Ernie Ball Custom Gauge Nickle Wound Guitar Strings. This is one of the best electric guitar strings for blues and one of the most popular sets.
It is favored by both beginners and experts, not only because of the reasonable price point but also because of its excellent sound properties when playing blues.
These guitar strings are nickel-wound, producing a bright tone and a legendary slinky feel and tone that is perfect for blues and other styles and genres.
The string gauge and tone profile (treble, mid, and bass) are perfect for blues playing. Not to mention that the set comes in a water-tight package resistant to humidity which means they’ll be new and fresh when you open them.