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4 Best Electric Guitar Strings for Blues

  • Post published:February 25, 2023

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, that grabs your listeners’ attention while letting you express 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 aspire, you’re on your way.

First Place Winner

five stars rating blues set

The problem is that choosing the best electric guitar strings for blues is tricky since there are so many factors to consider.

Because many beginner blues guitarists aren’t sure what to look for, let me help you by showing you how to evolve your blues tone by picking the strings that suit you most.

But first, it’s essential to understand this:

When choosing electric guitar strings for blues, there are a few things to consider, including string gauge, price, and brand.

String gauge is the thickness of the strings, and it affects the sound and playability of the guitar. Lighter gauge strings are easier to bend and play, which is important for blues solos. However, heavier gauge strings will give you a fuller, warmer sound.

A good starting point for blues players is a string gauge of 0.10-0.46. This will give you a good balance of playability and sound. However, you may need to experiment with different string gauges to find what works best for you.

Price is another factor to consider when choosing electric guitar strings for blues. Strings can range in price from a few dollars to over $100. It’s important to find a set of strings that fits your budget.

Finally, you’ll need to consider the brand of strings when choosing electric guitar strings for blues. There are many different brands of strings on the market, and each brand has its own unique sound and feel. Some popular brands of strings for blues players include Ernie Ball, DR Strings, D’Addario, and GHS.

Experiment with different brands of strings to find what you like the best.

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’s Custom gauge regular Slinky is the perfect set of electric guitar strings for the beginner blues player.

Not only is this set so versatile in sound, which means it’ll spice your blues solos with warmth whether you play Chicago blues, blues-rock, or any other electric guitar blues style, but it also comes in a custom gauge that starts with 0.10 (light-medium thickness). Hence, it’s easy for beginners to bend those high pentatonic notes as high as two whole steps.

They are favored by many guitarists playing blues because they deliver balanced and rich harmonics with optimum treble, mid, and bass output, which simply translates to a “WET” guitar sound.

I also like the feature element shield packaging that does an excellent job of keeping them fresh and crisp.

Their shield packaging is a saver since I purchase the 3-pack (more cost-effective) and change the strings once a month, knowing each of the three sets will be as good as new when I unwrap it.


Best for Aspiring beginners – Ernie Ball Custom Gauge Nickel Wound Guitar Strings

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  • Light to medium gauge (.010 to .046)
  • Nickel-plated steel wrap wire.
  • Element shield packaging
  • High carbon steel hex core (Better in holding the wrap wire).

The original version of these strings was created in 1962. If Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page have played them, they’re worth a shot.

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.

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

Click the following infographic to see our top pick exact gauge and ratings.


Best For Vintage Sound – DR Strings Pure Blues Pure Nickel Wrap Round Core 9/46 Strings

best electric guitar strings for vintage sound

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Sometimes you may not have any pacience to dig deep in materials and specs, you just want to get a cool vintage electric blues sound! That’s what the “Pure Blues” are for. 


  • Pure nickel strings
  • Round core strings
  • 9/46 string gauges (light to medium)
  • Classic American tone and feel

The “Pure Blues” 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 sound of playing blues chords on this set of strings comes out round and sweet.

Playing solo leads with the DR set becomes more present with plenty of sustain and punch.

And the best part is 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 and 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 longer scale lengths guitars.


  • Easy to install blues guitar strings
  • A rising in-diameter string gauge of 9/46 is ideal for longer-scale length guitars.
  • Blues chords playing rings out “round” and “sweet.”
  • Round core strings create a dense tone with strong sustain
  • They have a highly responsive touch sensitivity


  • They are not universally compatible with every electric guitar


Best for Advanced Blusists -D’Addario EPN115 Pure Nickel Electric Guitar Strings

best electric strings for advanced

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Why for advanced? They’re hard on the fingers but the sound, o-my “Fat and Juicy”.


  • 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 shorter scales. 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


  • Some models may be susceptible to corrosion

Also For Rock-EVH Premium Electric Guitar Strings

Forth pick

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  • 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 is string gauge?

String gauge is the thickness of a guitar string. It is measured in thousandths of an inch, and it is typically denoted by a number followed by a “g”. For example, a string with a gauge of 0.10 is 0.100 inches thick.


How does string gauge affect the sound of electric guitar strings?

String gauge affects the sound of electric guitar strings in a few ways. First, thicker strings have a lower fundamental frequency, which gives them a warmer, fuller sound. Second, thicker strings have more mass, which gives them more sustain. Third, thicker strings are more resistant to bending, which can make them more difficult to play for some players.


How does string gauge affect the playability of electric guitar strings?

String gauge affects the playability of electric guitar strings in a few ways. First, thinner strings are easier to bend, which is important for blues solos. Second, thinner strings are easier to fret, which can make them easier to play for some players. Third, thinner strings have less tension, which can make them feel more comfortable to play for some players.


What is a good starting point for string gauge for blues players?

A good starting point for string gauge for blues players is a gauge of 0.10-0.46. This will give you a good balance of playability and sound. However, you may need to experiment with different string gauges to find what works best for you.


What string gauge is ideal for blues?

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.

Note: 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.


Yes! Selecting the best electric guitar strings for blues can be challenging.

But Here are some additional tips for choosing the right string gauge for blues:

  • If you are a beginner, you may want to start with a lighter gauge string, such as 0.09-0.42. This will make it easier to bend and play the strings.
  • If you have a strong vibrato technique, you may want to use a heavier gauge string, such as 0.11-0.52. This will give you more sustain and make it easier to bend the strings.
  • If you play with a lot of distortion, you may want to use a heavier gauge string, such as 0.12-0.54. This will give you more sustain and make the strings feel more solid.


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:







Round Wound

Rough and ridged

Bright and punchy

More noise due to ridges

Long sustain

Shorter lifespan due to wear


Smooth and flat

Warm and mellow

Less noise due to smoothness

Shorter sustain

Longer lifespan due to smoother texture


Between rough and smooth

Balanced between brightness and warmth

Less noise due to smoother texture

Moderate sustain

Longer lifespan due to smoother texture



Balanced between brightness and warmth

Less noise due to smoothness

Moderate sustain

Longer lifespan due to smoother texture



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.

Nickel strings

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.


The winner of this round-up is Ernie Ball Custom Gauge Nickle Wound Guitar Strings. This is the best electric guitar string set for blues and one of the most popular.

It is favored by both beginners and experts, not only because of the reasonable price 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 that is perfect for blues (and more styles such as blues-rock).

This specific set’s string gauge is 0.10-0.46, which means it’s ideal for beginners for bending (Which is a primary characteristic of this music genre, and the tone profile (treble, mid, and bass) covers a broad sound spectrum making it versatile for expressing your soul through your playing.

Another benefit of this set over other sets is that it comes in a water-tight package resistant to humidity which means they’ll be new, fresh, and crisp when you open the greenish-golden package.

In conclusion, there are many great electric guitar strings for blues. The best strings for you will depend on your individual preferences and playing style. Consider the string gauge, price, and brand when choosing strings for blues. Experiment with different strings to find a set that you like the sound of and that feels comfortable to play. 

Further Digging:

Want to know what specific string set your favorite electric blues player uses or used? 

Locate the specific set with this “strings finder by artist” tool.