Looking for the best guitar strings for bending? We got you covered. String bending is a technique widely used by guitarists across all music genres, whether you’re playing an electric or acoustic guitar. It is very simple to do this technique: all you have to do is literally bend the string down or up to transition to another note smoothly. However, it requires a little bit of practice to bend in tune.
Of course, due to the tension that heavier strings have on your instrument, bending is easier with lighter strings. You gotta keep that in mind, especially if you play a genre that has lots of bending notes such as rock and blues. In this article, we will go through some of the best guitar strings for bending to help you find the best one for your use case.
We will also guide you through the buying process and answer some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the subject. Keep reading to learn more.
Related: For the best acoustic guitar strings, make sure to check our best acoustic guitar strings.
Best Guitar Strings for Bending – In-Depth Review
Table of Contents
- Elixir Super Light 09-42
- D’Addario XS Extra Light Acoustic Guitar Strings
- Fender 155L 09-42
- Dunlop DEN0942
The Elixir Super Light 09-42 is a great option for those that want a light-duty string that can still bend easily. The tension of these strings is very low, with a breaking strength of only 9 pounds.
While the tension on these strings is not as heavy as other similar strings, it still has the ability to withstand some damage from bending. This means you can bend the string without worrying about breaking it or damaging the guitar.
- Gauges: 09-42
- Ultra-Thin Nanoweb Coating for Maximum Durability
- Exclusive Patented Coating Technology
- Nickel-Plated Steel Wrap Wire
- The coating on these Elixir electric guitar strings is one of the best in the market. Coated strings last longer than uncoated ones and have a brighter tone.
- While this set is coated, it still provides the natural feel of uncoated strings.
- Available in different featherweight coating options.
- Better tuning stability than other options.
An excellent set for the price, the Elixir Super Light 09-42 light strings will give you the best bending abilities while still maintaining great durability and resistance to breakage. These strings are also kinda affordable, priced at only $10 by the time this article was written. We like the fact that there are several interesting technologies employed, such as the Nanoweb Coating.
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D’Addario is a well-known brand in the music industry, especially when it comes to string manufacturing. The company has been around since the beginning of the 19th century and has provided musicians with high-quality products ever since. The EXP11 Acoustic Guitar Strings are one of their most popular products, offering great durability and tone.
- Gauges: 12-53
- Coated Strings
- D’Addario Exclusive high-carbon NY steel
- Material: Phosphor Bronze
- The coating present on these strings will protect them from weather and ensure better durability, while at the same time maintaining the natural guitar playing feel.
- Even though the strings are coated, they have less acoustic damping than other sets.
- These acoustic strings are made with D’Addario’s high-carbon NY steel so they are much more resistant to breakage if compared to other sets.
- Excellent overall tuning stability.
- More expensive than other options.
This set of acoustic guitar strings from D’Addario is one of the best there is regarding tone and durability. Made with high-carbon NY steel and coated with the best products, the light gauge (12-53) of these light strings makes them excellent for bending techniques with fewer chances of breakage.
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Fender is one of the most well-known brands in the music industry and is trusted by many guitar players out there. The Fender 155L 09-42 is a set of uncoated guitar strings made with nickel-plated steel that does the job very well. This set, in particular, has a 09-42 gauge so it is easy to bend these strings.
- Gauges: 09-42
- High Output and Dynamic Sound with the Smooth Feel of Nickel
- Uncoated Strings
- Material: Nickel-Plated Steel
- These strings, according to the manufacturer, provide the smooth feel of pure nickel, for a more natural playing experience.
- The light gauge of this set will make bending strings easier.
- Even though these strings are uncoated, they have great durability especially if you only play at home.
- Made with high-quality nickel-plated steel.
- Uncoated strings, so they may not be the best option for those who play frequently or at live gigs.
Excellent set of strings for the price, the Fender 155L 09-42 performs better than thicker strings for bending due to its light-gauge and has a good value for the price. This set is uncoated, so it may not be the best option for those playing frequently or at live gigs. If you only play at home and practice and/or prefer the natural feel of uncoated strings, it is a great set.
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Dunlop is a company that has gained a lot of popularity in the guitar strings and accessories industry. Their DEN0942 set is made with nickel-plated steel, which is one of the best materials for electric guitar strings. The quality of this product is confirmed by its price and the fact that the brand is trusted by lots of famous guitarists.
- Gauges: 09-42
- Warm and Aggressive Midrange
- Defined Low End with Smooth Feel
- Material: Nickel-Plated Steel
- This set has excellent overall tuning stability and great feel during playing.
- Made with high-quality material, nickel-plated steel.
- Improved tone. Warm and aggressive midrange with defined low end and smooth feel.
- Lighter string, excellent for bending techniques.
- More expensive than other options on the list.
Dunlop DEN0942 is a no-brainer. If you’re a beginner looking for your first set of strings for bending techniques, this is your go-to. While not as affordable as other options on the list, we like the fact that this set has an improved tone paired with the unmatched feel and durability of nickel-plated steel.
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The D’Addario Pro-Winder String Winder & Cutter is a tool for making your life easier when changing strings. You can use it for winding, cutting, adjusting, and even removing the pins from your acoustic guitar. We definitely recommend you take a look at this product since it will make the process much faster.
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A Pocket Guide to Buying a Guitar Strings for Bending
The first thing you have to consider when looking for the best guitar strings for bending is the gauge of the string. The lower the gauge, the easier it will be to bend. However, this also means that you will have less tension on your instrument which might not be ideal for some genres such as metal.
The material the strings are made of also has an effect on how easy they are to bend. For example, nickel strings are easier to bend than steel ones. However, nickel strings have a brighter tone and feel which might not be ideal for all genres.
Nickel-copper alloy is one of the most common materials used in guitar strings. This material is generally more expensive than standard steel but it also provides you with a lot of benefits. Nickel-copper alloy strings last twice as long as standard steel strings and they are also a lot more resistant, which makes them a great choice for people who play in humid areas.
Material is crucial when looking for the best string for bending because it will dictate how easy it will be to bend down notes and how much tension you can apply before your string snaps. However, if you have never tried out different material types before, we recommend going with nickel-copper alloy strings because they are the most popular and widely used on the market today. If you don’t like nickel-copper alloy, then go with standard steel which offers a very similar tone.
It depends on your personal preferences but we recommend you try out different material types before making a decision.
Roundwound vs Flatwound
Round wound strings are most commonly used on guitars because they provide you with a lot of benefits. First, they last longer than flat wound strings and they also produce a brighter sound which is probably why this type is preferred by most artists and guitar players.
The only downside with round wound strings is that they tend to be more expensive than flat wound ones but this difference in price is pretty small so it shouldn’t really matter to you if you want to get the best string for bending.
Flat wound strings are perfect for people who play in areas where the humidity levels are really high because these strings last longer than round wound ones but at the same time, they don’t get dull as fast as standard steel ones do. The only problem with these strings is that even though they produce a nice sound, it’s not as bright as round wound strings do.
Another important factor is the fretboard radius of your guitar. This is basically how curved the fretboard is and it can affect bending in two ways. The first way is that it can make bending easier or harder. Guitars with a smaller radius are much harder to bend. Guitars with a larger radius are easier to bend.
The second way is that it can affect the amount of buzzing in your bends. Guitars with a smaller radius will produce less buzzing in your bends while guitars with a larger radius might buzz more. In the end, you have to try out different guitars and see which fretboard radius works best for you and the music you play. You can also take your guitar to a luthier to have it adjusted.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Bending?
Bending is when you play a note on the guitar and then you change the pitch of that note by squeezing your fingers down on the strings. The notes sound different depending on how hard you squeeze your fingers down.
Bending is an extremely important aspect of playing guitar as it’s used a lot in songs. Bending also creates a lot of emotion in songs when you play different notes by bending them.
How do I Make my Guitar Strings Bend Easier?
There are many ways to make your guitar strings bend easier. First, you can use more force when picking the strings up. This will cause the string to vibrate more and vibrate at a higher pitch. Another way is to use lighter gauge strings, which will make it easier for the string to vibrate and vibrate at a higher pitch.
Why is My Guitar Strings so Hard to Bend?
There are many reasons why your guitar strings are hard to bend. First, the string is too thick. The thinner the string, the easier it will be to bend it. Another reason could be that you have a lot of tension on the string and you’re not able to bend them because of that tension.
What Gauge Guitar Strings are Best for Bending?
Gauge refers to the thickness of the string. The thicker the string, the more tension that is put on it. As a result, they will be harder to bend and will vibrate faster making them harder to tune. Thinner strings are easier to bend and are more accurate when tuning your guitar. We recommend going with 09’s for easier bending.
Are Acoustic Guitars Harder to Bend?
While electric guitars tend to have easy strings to bend, acoustic guitars are a different story. Acoustic guitars have a lot of tension on their strings so they can be pretty hard to bend so you will need to use more force when trying to bend them. This is because they are harder for the string to vibrate.
In this article, we discussed how to shop for the best strings for bending and presented you with 4 products that are excellent for the bending technique. The best set of strings will highly depend on your own style and preferences so we suggest that you try different options to find the perfect one for you.
Overall, we recommend you stick with a set of lighter-gauge strings such as 09 or 10, so you can easily achieve the best result when bending. Also, remember to take care of your instrument: wipe the fretboard with a cloth or lemon oil after every session and store your guitar in a cool place away from humidity.
How to Buy
You can find the link to each product at their respective titles on the list. We hope you liked this article. If you have any suggestions or questions, feel free to get in touch with us!