PHIL KEAGGY - Grammy nominated and seven-time Dove Award winner, is one of the world’s great guitar players and a pioneer in contemporary Christian music.
- February 21, 2017
- Guitar Accessories
Buying electric guitar strings can be a little overwhelming at first glance. The wall is covered with options at the music store and your eyes will glaze over viewing page after page of choices online . First, you need to determine what gauge of strings you like to play. If your guitar came with 9s on it, you might wanna try 10s. Anything bigger than that and you’ll need to change the nut and make adjustments. There are 8s out there, but that’s really small and, again, you might have to change the nut. The slots in the nut are cut to accommodate the right string gauge. Strings that are too big or small might have an adverse affect on the way the guitar performs. We don’t want you to experience that, so let’s look at some great electric guitar strings to look for.
D’Addario XL EXP120 Coated Nickel 9-42s
Electric guitar strings like these are really sweet. As with all coated strings, they last a bit longer and their performance is balanced and clean sounding. It’s funny, you can try the same gauge and make of strings from two different companies and the strings just feel or sound a little different. You’ll certainly be on a journey when trying to find the right string for you. The electric guitar strings you are looking for are the ones that make you sound the best.
If you’re not used to swapping back and forth between an acoustic with heavier gauged strings to an electric with 9s, you might wanna set your electric up with 10s or even 11s. What happens is you are used to the tension of the acoustic guitar’s heavier strings, so when you play your electric, you sound like you don’t know what you’re doing. It’s because it takes much less muscle to push down the electric 9s so you are tugging on the strings or pushing too hard. This makes the guitar out of tune and sound horrible. Take your guitar to the shop and have them cut a nut and set it up for 11s and you’ll be amazed at how much better you sound.
D’Addario XL EPN110 Pure Nickel 10-45s
If you are a 10s player, you love these pure nickel 10s from D’Addario. They produce the warmest tone with that shiny brightness on top. “Regular lights,” as they are called, are a go-to for a lot of great guitarists. Some guitarists still play very easily with 10s. You’ll hear someone say, “This feels like 9s!” Every guitar is different. Just because your Stratocaster performs well with 9s, doesn’t mean your Telecaster will. With 10s on your Tele, it might feel more like your Stratocaster tension. If 10s feels too tight and hard to press or bend, try 9s. You get the idea.
D’Addario NYXL 9.5 - 44s - Electric Guitar Strings
As you can probably imagine, this is a hybrid between 9s and 10s. You might try these as a small step up. Yes, it’s that meticulous. Finding your string gauge is very important. Then there’s the metal: coating or no coating. You will experiment a while before landing on the strings that make you sound best and inspire you to play. These NYXLs have a wonderful and unique response. They seem round, yet pointed, and they last a very long time.
Just a simple tip, but you should always wash your hands before you play and dry them off thoroughly. When you finish playing, wipe your guitar neck down before you put it away. Cleaning the strings off will remove your sweat and oils and help the strings last longer. Some people change strings every week or two religiously, but if the guitar is sounding bright and happy, why waste the money and time? Change the strings when they need changing.
What if you don’t know the proper time to change them? When they start to sound dull or look discolored or you’re about to play an important gig, change them for then. Otherwise, for rehearsing and shredding, just play them until you’ve worn them out.
Ernie Ball Super Slinky 2223 Nickel Wound 9-42s
These electric guitar strings are a favorite among guitar players. It’s the bright pink pack. Ernie Ball has a great reputation for making really great guitar strings. These Super Slinky Electric Guitar Strings are played by Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, and Angus Young. Ernie Ball’s 2223s are made from nickel plated steel wire wrapped around a hex shaped steel core wire. The plain strings are made of specially tempered tin plated high carbon steel producing a well balanced tone for your guitar. The great news is they’re also very affordable. You can get a 3-pack for $12.25 online. That’s cheap!
Fender Bullets 3150L 9-42s
These are a staple. For years, guitarists have been using Bullets. With their history and reputation, Fender has served musicmakers worldwide and in nearly every genre: rock 'n' roll, country and western, jazz, rhythm and blues, and many others. Just pure clean tone is what you’ll get with these Fender Bullets. You don’t have to overthink this. Just put a set on your guitar and see what your hands and ears tell you. It’s really about what inspires you to play. You may have heard, “A string’s a string,” but it’s simply not true.
There are more options for sure. Elixir, Dean Markley, and more have some good electric guitar strings to check out. Look for a sale and pick a variety of strings to try out. Experimentation is the name of the game here. Don’t be afraid to waste a few packs to find the magic set. You deserve to play what gives you the sound you’re looking for. Don’t settle for the wrong equipment. There are flat wounds, and half wounds that give you that duller or warmer jazzy tone. If that’s your thing, you’ll find those guitar strings among these fine makers. Have fun in your search for the right electric guitar strings.
We all know having the right equipment is an important part of being a musician, but what if you can’t play the guitar that you have now? You’re going to need some lessons. No matter your skill level, Pro Lessons has the lesson plan for you. Learn from a variety of skilled teachers and take your music to the next level. Find out more about our affordable rates by clicking below.