Electric Guitar Strings

So many string choices for your electric guitar. As for acoustic guitars, there are differences based on composition, wrap style and treatments. But many of the differences between sets are simply in string gauges. Heavy bottom and light top end or the opposite. Sets for Drop D tuning. You can generate a lot of variation playing only with gauges.

D'Addario EXL115W Nickel Blues/Jazz Wound 3rd Electric Guitar Strings
Standard Round Wound. D’Addario EXL series stings are your standard ball end, round wound electric guitar strings. The EXL115W used to be my favorite standard design string although you can get these without a wound 3rd. I still use these on some of my guitars.
Fender 150M Original Pure Nickel Electric Strings - Medium
Fender Bullets for Stratocasters. Bullet end strings look like tiny little bullets with the tip pointing up the length of string. This isn’t just a gimmick but a design meant to fit into the trem block of a Stratocaster. I have owned two stratocasters and tried using ball end strings on my first Strat. Big mistake. Ball ends don’t fit nicely into the trem block and get stuck when you change strings. Not only do bullet end strings fit nicely and slide out when you need to change strings but they make your Temolo (Whammy bar) work better. If you have a Stratocaster, you need these strings.
Ernie Ball 2225 Nickel Extra Slinky Electric Guitar Strings
Slinkys for ultra bending. In my previous post on acoustic guitar strings I mentioned how fifty years ago the choices in string gauges were heavy and heavier. All the rock and blues riffs that require extreme string bending to play would be nearly impossible with strings that thick and stiff. It also makes it more difficult for beginners to learn to play. Ernie ball notices all of this about the same time I was finding only strings that were too heavy. His Slinky line of strings were the answer to this and were the first sets of electric guitar strings that came in light gauges that could be easily played including whole note bends and more.
GHS Compound Nickel Rockers
Compound WoundGHS makes Compound Nickel Rockers™ for electric guitars. I can’t find any of the big only music merchants who carry this particular string but you can get it at JustStrings.com. GHS’s description: Rollerwound! “Compound wrap” means two layers of wire have been wound on the string core, resulting in a smoother surface than a string made with a single wrap. Excellent For Jazz.”

Newtone makes a double wrapped string similar in concept to this and also difficult to find at mainstream merchants. These are their Archtop series with a double wrap over a round core. Find these also at JustStrings.com.

D'Addario ESXL110 Steinberger Regular Light Double Ball End Electric Guitar Strings
Double Bell Ends for Steinberger. These are a specialty string, “compatible with all Steinberger and Steinberger-licensed copy model guitars including those with the Trans Trem system.” If you own a Steinberger or compatible guitar you’ll know you need these. The system used on these guitars makes changing strings really fast.
Thomastik JS113 Medium Flatwound Jazz Swing Electric Guitar Strings
Flat Wound for early rock, rockabilly and jazz. Flatwound strings are the best string if you are annoyed by the squeaking noises from moving your fingers up and down the fretboard. It’s surprising to find how many early rock tunes were recorded with flatwound strings. Of course, if you want that early bebop jazz tone then flatwound strings will produce it. The biggest problem is compared to round wound strings, flatwound sound dull while round wound sound brighter. Among the best (and most expensive) flatwound strings are these Thomastik-Infeld. I have them on a jazz guitar now and love them. However, if I truthfully assess these by value, though these are better they probably are not worth 3 to 4 times the cost of other flatwound strings I’ve used. Still, if you like flatwounds you should try these at least once and see for yourself.
Ernie Ball 2245 Stainless Steel Power Slinky Strings
Stainless Steel. The acid in sweat off your fingers can corrode normal steel. Stainless steel alloys resists this and thus lasts longer than plain steel.
D'addario Ehr360 Half Round Jazz Medium Electric Guitar Strings
Half round. Half round strings are D’Addario’s name for strings that have been ground (polished) smooth so there is less string noise. They are somewhere between flatwound and roundwound strings in feel as well as brightness. “D’Addario Half Rounds Electric Guitar Strings are round wound with stainless steel and then precision ground leaving the outer surface smooth and “semi flat.” 
Gibson Vr9 Vintage Reissue Pure Nickel Electric Guitar Strings
Pure Nickel. Many companies offer “pure” nickel electric guitar strings. The Fender Bullet strings listed above are pure nickel. The magnetic properties of the string material are important to tone on electric guitars and pure nickel give a classic electric guitar tone.
Cleartone Extra-Light Coated Electric Guitar Strings
Coated Strings. The number one cause of strings going dead is all the gunk that comes from your fingers. Oils, acids and dirt all end up on your string and change the strings properties until the intonation is off. Plating strings with Nickel or Brass or making them from stainless steel can help. But the modern improvement has been high tech treatments with proprietary formulations that resist all that bad stuff. Think non-stick surface. Cleartone strings is one of the newer of the modern coated strings.
Ernie Ball Cobalt Skinny Top Heavy Bottom Electric Guitar Strings (10-52)
Cobalt. The set pictured actually illustrates a Skinny Top Heavy Bottom string set  (10-52) as well as a Cobalt set. “Engineered to maximize output and clarity, Ernie Ball Cobalt Power Slinky Guitar Strings feature innovative string technology. Cobalt provides a stronger magnetic relationship between pickups and strings than any other alloy previously available.
Cryogenically Treated. The Blue Steel strings from Dean Markley are treated in liquid nitrogen. This is supposed to produce better tone and longer life. The set pictured are designed for Drop D tuning.

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