Blues is one of the music genres in popular music that has been around for the longest time. Popularized by musicians such as Robert Johnson and Bo Diddley, the style influences many guitarists nowadays. In fact, blues music later gave birth to the popular rock n roll that we all know.
But, to achieve the true bluesman sound, you need the right set of tools. One of them is the right strings for your guitar. The best electric guitar strings for blues are those that can provide a warm sound with a vintage taste. Not only that, but they must be comfortable for you to play, as well as have great durability.
That’s why we wrote this article: to help blues guitar players find the best set of strings for their guitar, as well as discuss all of the factors you must keep in mind when shopping for strings.
Also read: Best Acoustic Guitar Strings
What Are the Best Strings for Blues?
As you might have guessed, our list of the best guitar strings for blues is based on the following criteria:
- They must be made out of high-quality materials.
- They must provide a warm tone with a vintage feel
- They should be comfortable to play
- They must have great durability and longevity
We also took into consideration other factors such as price, ratings, brand reputation and customer reviews when putting together this article. So, without further ado, let’s start.
Best Electric Guitar Strings for Blues – In-Depth Review
Table of Contents
- Ernie Ball Regular Slinky Electric Guitar Strings
- D’Addario XT Nickel Plated Steel Electric Guitar Strings
- Elixir Strings Electric Guitar Strings w NANOWEB Coating
- Ernie Ball Classic Pure Nickel Regular Slinky Guitar Strings
- Dunlop DEN1046 Medium Nickel Wound Electric Guitar Strings
Ernie Ball is one of the most popular choices of guitar strings. The Slinky line, in particular, is sought-after by many guitar players. These strings provide excellent performance for a low price and are made of nickel-plated steel. They’re also available in many gauges, such as 09’s, 10’s, and 11’s
- Gauge: 10-46
- Element Shield Packaging Ensures Your Strings Stay as Fresh as They Were the Day They Were Made
- Bright and Balanced Tone
- Material: Nickel Wound
- Very consistent tone across the whole string.
- Ernie Ball has one of the best packagings in the market. The Element Shield packaging ensures that your strings arrive at you as fresh as possible.
- Excellent performance and tuning stability.
- Favored by many famous guitar players.
Being one of the most popular choices in the guitar community, the Ernie Ball Regular Slinky will be excellent for blues. This particular line of strings is also available in many different gauges so we advise you to try different values before making your choice. If you’re unsure what gauge to get, the Regular Slinky is the best choice.
D’Addario strings are well-known in the market. This particular model is made out of nickel-plated steel and receives a special coating treatment to make sure it has unmatched durability. If this is one of your main concerns, then these D’Addario strings are the best choice for you.
- Gauge: 10-46
- Xt Strings Feature an Extended Lifespan Treatment on Every String in the Set
- Strings Last at Least 4 Times Longer than Traditional Uncoated Strings
- Material: Nickel-Plated Steel
- These medium gauge strings receive a special coating treatment that further extends the durability.
- Even though these strings are coated, they maintain the same natural feel as uncoated strings.
- Lasts 4 times longer than most other strings.
- Very affordable, if you consider how much these strings offer.
These coated strings are for those looking for durability. An excellent choice from D’Addario, it will last much longer than uncoated sets, according to the manufacturer, but will still maintain the same natural playability and feel you get with uncoated ones. Definitely one of the best strings in the market.
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These Elixir Nanoweb light guitar strings are a set of strings that have a very bright tone and a smooth feel. They are coated with NANOWEB, which makes the strings repel moisture and dirt. The coating also protects the strings from humidity and weather, making them last longer and sound better.
- Gauges: 10-46
- Electric Guitar Strings Constructed with Nickel-Plated Steel Wrap Wire
- Played for Their Bright, Vibrant Presence and Dynamic Punch
- Material: Nickel Plated Steel Strings
- Coated with NANOWEB technology. The coating will provide a longer life to these strings and protect it from moisture and dirt.
- Same natural feel of uncoated strings.
- Sounds exceptionally bright and will certainly cut through the mix.
- Affordable, considering the quality of these strings.
Without a doubt, these are one of the best sets regarding durability. This is because the NANOWEB treatment greatly extends the string’s life while providing you with comfortable playability. All in all, these strings also sound very bright and smooth, which is always a great thing for playing blues.
Another set from Ernie Ball. Compared to the already reviewed nickel wound Ernie Ball’s, these are very similar but made with pure nickel. Pure nickel has its benefits: it provides a warmer tone and feels smooth to the touch. Both sound very good for blues and the choice between the two will be a matter of taste.
- Gauges: 10-46
- Warm, Vintage Tone
- Made in California, USA with the Finest and Freshest Materials
- Material: Pure Nickel Wrap
- Pure nickel was widely used when electric guitars first became popular, so this is one of the strings that have the most vintage sound of all, excellent for playing blues.
- Pure nickel wrap wire also has a smoother feel if compared to other materials.
- Available in various different gauges.
- Very affordable.
Priced at only $7 by the time this article was written, these are very affordable set of strings that can take your blues sound to the next level. Made with pure nickel, they sound very vintage and will be your best choice to play the genre. The only drawback is that they are uncoated.
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Dunlop’s DEN1046 strings are a medium-wound set of strings. Dunlop is one of the most popular brands in the music world. This particular set is simple and straight to the point: 10-46, made out of nickel with no coating on the strings. They are not that expensive so they could be a great choice for beginners.
- Gauges: 10-46
- Warm and Aggressive Midrange
- Quick Attack
- Material: Nickel
Advantages & Disadvantages
- These strings are made out of pure nickel which gives them a very vintage and warm sound.
- Great durability if we consider the low price of these strings.
- Available in different gauges for you to choose.
- Balancing process during the manufacturer guarantees tuning stability and intonation.
Pure nickel strings, the Dunlop DEN1046 has a particular tone that is excellent for blues. It is also priced very affordably which is excellent for beginners and those on a budget. We like the fact that Dunlop is very transparent about the manufacturing process of these strings. We learned a lot and ensured that this is a high-quality set.
Key features to look when buying electric guitar strings for Blues
The gauge of a guitar string is the width of the wire in a guitar string. It is measured in thousandths of an inch (called thousandth of an inch). The higher the gauge number, the thinner the string is. Thinner strings are easier to bend and vibrate more freely, thus they produce a brighter tone. The average gauges for electric guitar strings are 10’s.
While light gauge strings have better playability, heavier gauge strings have the best sound projection and durability since they provide more tension. The choice for string gauge is highly personal and we suggest trying different ones before making your choice. If you’re a beginner and is unsure what gauge to buy, go with medium gauge strings.
The material used to make electric guitar strings is one of the most important factors to consider. The material of the string determines how long it will last and how it will sound. The most popular material used is Nickel-plated steel, because it has a bright, crisp tone. Some strings are also made out of pure nickel and they have a warmer sound. There are also other materials such as Titanium, Stainless Steel, and Phosphor Bronze.
Durability is another factor to consider when choosing electric guitar strings. The material and gauge of the string determine how long it will last. The most durable materials include pure nickel, stainless steel, and titanium. They are also the most expensive. As you may imagine, lighter gauges break more easily so heavier gauges tend to last longer.
There are electric guitar strings for every budget in the market. If you’re a beginner, we recommend you stick to a more affordable option since if you don’t like the playability of the strings, you can always replace them later. Some of the best affordable strings for guitar include Ernie Ball and Dunlop.
Frequently Asked Questions
What String Gauge Is Ideal for Blues?
There is no ideal gauge. Some guitarists playing blues music prefer 09’s, some prefer 12’s. The choice is highly personal and will depend on your preferences.
Can You Play Blues on an Acoustic Guitar?
Of course, many blues players play the blues on acoustic guitars. We recommend checking our related articles to find the best acoustic guitar strings for your particular use case.
How Long Do Strings Last?
Electric guitar strings usually last anywhere from a week to a month. Depending on which set you choose, it is advisable that you change your strings at least once a month if you’re only playing at home. If you’re playing frequently in sessions and gigs, it is best to change it once or every two weeks.
How Can I Make my Strings Last Longer?
Making your strings last longer is very simple. First, you must clean the fretboard of your guitar after every session with a clean cloth or lemon oil, depending on the material of your fretboard. As for the instrument, always keep it in a cool and dry place, away from humidity and heat since these can damage your guitar very seriously.
Can You Use Electric Guitar Strings on an Acoustic Guitar?
Yes, but it is not advisable to do so since electric guitar strings have a different tension. If you put electric guitar strings on your acoustic guitar, we recommend that you take it to a luthier for proper adjustments since skipping this step could damage your instrument or hurt your tone.
As we mentioned before, the best strings for blues are those that have a balanced tone across the frequency spectrum and can provide great playability. If you like a set of strings and feel comfortable using it, stick to them. There are no fast and hard rules when choosing the perfect strings.
With that being said, keep a few factors in mind when shopping for your set, such as gauge, material, tone, durability, and price. This will ensure that you get a quality product. We advise you to try different strings before making up your mind. If you’re a beginner, unsure and/or can’t try the strings in person, stick to medium gauge round wound strings as your first set.
How to Buy
You can find the link to each product at their respective titles on the list. Remember to research extensively and to consider your own priorities before choosing your set of strings.Thank you for reading. If you liked this article, make sure to read the related posts. Feel free to hit us up if you have any questions!