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Old 11-13-2012, 01:00 AM   #1
ToddHirano
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How to find the Right Strings

Hey everyone!

First of all, I appreciate the big help you all, the UG community, have been to me! I'll be returning the favor as soon as I get set in my new job and get adjusted to having my first child

Now, to my question: How do you find the right strings? I feel like I still haven't found the right strings for me, BUT I don't have the budget to be able to buy a new type of strings every time :S Any advice?

Thanks in advanced!
-Todd H.
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Old 11-13-2012, 01:05 AM   #2
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I did it by trying several different brands before I settled on something I liked. You're gonna have to try them out.
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Old 11-13-2012, 01:07 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by lemurflames
I did it by trying several different brands before I settled on something I liked. You're gonna have to try them out.


Yeah... I figured that much :P Thanks!
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Old 11-13-2012, 01:11 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by ToddHirano
Yeah... I figured that much :P Thanks!


well, you can go after ones people like a but more. for example, many people here do prefer d'addario strings so that might be a good place to start.

i used ernie ball for years cuz the price was right but they aren't my fav, i tried GHS and i don't know of anybody who likes them (including me). many people like elixir's tone but not the feel of the strings. dean markley blue steels are another one i like, but i still prefer d'addario. fender brand strings are pretty shit. i tried a couple DR strings and wasn't impressed.

more people can chime in on their preferred strings if they feel like it
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Old 11-13-2012, 01:18 AM   #5
lemurflames
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D'Addario is a good place to start. It's what I ended up sticking with. I'm a little disappointed in their 7 string packs though. :/
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Old 11-13-2012, 02:32 AM   #6
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As far as brands go I like D'addario too. Good strings and cheap. My advice would be to stay away from Gibson.

When it comes to gauge, just think about what you want more out of your current strings. Less breakage? Easier bending? Fatter tone? Remember they make heavy bottom/light top sets and vice versa, so for example if you can't stand anything but light gauge strings on top but would like some stronger low strings that is an option.
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Old 11-13-2012, 02:48 AM   #7
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I like ernie ball... I tried dean markleys and I didn't really like them much.
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Old 11-13-2012, 03:21 AM   #8
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I like the tone and feel of Washburn Slicks, Light Custom.
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Old 11-13-2012, 03:57 AM   #9
RndyW0
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Fender actually make surprisingly good strings, judging on what Gibson strings were like I did ask in my local music shop about Fender thinking they'd be terrible but their 9s are perhaps some of the best 9s I've tried.

That said, I'm always a hybrid string set sort of guy. The skinny top, heavy bottom Ernie Ball strings are what I mainly use on a lot of guitars though I do tend to use D'addario string on my Dean, just a personal preference though.
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Old 11-13-2012, 04:28 AM   #10
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I'm guessing that you're not doing much with drop tunings; if not, then you probably don't need skinny top heavy bottom strings.

Are you using acoustic or electric? If electric, then your scale length matters. Fender style (25 1/2") doesn't need strings as heavy as you'd need on a Gibson style (24 3/4") for the same effects. Also on a short scale guitar (like a Mustang--24") that principal goes even further. 10s on a Mustang feel and sound like 8s or 9s on a Strat.

I can't speak to acoustics much; 1 only have one of those and I've always used 13s on it. I've had the factory Fenders, D'addarios, Ernie Balls, and now Dean Markley's on it, but they all feel and sound the same to me.

On electrics, I've had factory Fenders, but mainly Ernie Balls. Occasionally had some D'addario replacement strings. Couldn't realy feel much difference. The only strings I really didn't like were some Ernie Ball stainless steel strings; they were kind of sticky for the first month, and just didn't sound good.

As for sizes, I have 9s on a Superstrat shred guitar, 10s on all my Fender products (2 Strats and a Mustang) and Skinny Top heavy bottoms (like 10s on top 3 and 11s on bottom 3) on the two guitars used for drop tunings.

The only 2 things I didn't like about the Fender strings were
- They had bullets instead of balls at the end and they were harder to change out on the Strats
- I never saw them available in bulk or in individual gauges; I can buy a dozen sets of Erie Balls for $3-4 per set and I can get packs of single guages, which come in handy if I break them while chaning them. That doesn't happen as much now that I stretch them with a String Stretcha instead of by hand.

Hope this helps...

Last edited by jetwash69 : 11-13-2012 at 04:32 AM.
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Old 11-13-2012, 04:40 AM   #11
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I only use D'Addario, nothing feels and sounds like them, I just bonded with them. I prefer heavy bottom/light top as that ^^ guy, and I not always downtune, they work wonders for standard tuning too. I LOVE THEM!!!!
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Old 11-13-2012, 05:40 AM   #12
I K0nijn I
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I play with Elixir Nanoweb 10s. Love them.
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Old 11-13-2012, 06:33 AM   #13
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Dunlop 11-52 or DR Blues similar gauge.
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Old 11-13-2012, 06:40 AM   #14
saberrocks
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After trying basically everything I finally stuck with Dunlop, great quality.
Although I use GHS Low Boomers on one of my guitars all the time.
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Old 11-13-2012, 06:40 AM   #15
Sakke
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Ernie Ball Cobalt Beefy Slinky. I play in D standard, occasionally drop C.

I went for lighter top as what I used to have with D'Addario. I think I've tried DR, Ernie Ball, Dunlop, D'Addario and Skull Strings. I believe I'm settling with these Cobalts for a while. They last long and they sound great.
Plus they feel better than regular strings. Well, I mean, D'Addario had that sort of smooth feel. I wanted that from these strings, only that these cost a bit more, but they're worth every penny.
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Old 11-13-2012, 07:10 AM   #16
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I have settled on A'Daddario. Good quality and feel and really affordable. 9's on all electrics except for an SG tuned down, which has 10's

For accoustics I really recommend their EXP phosphor coated strings. They are pricy, but last a really, really long time and don't get rust on them. The set I have now is about 9 months old and they look the same as the day I bought them.
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Old 11-13-2012, 07:46 AM   #17
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When I had enough guitars, to keep the string cost to minimum by ordering in bulk, I got a whole bunch of different gauges of different brand strings (Fender 11's, DR 12's, D'Addario 9's, Earnie Ball 8's, and Dunlop 10's). From doing that, I chose the string brand that sounded the best, with the string gauge that felt the best, now I use EB 10's typically, but everyone will be different.

I don't get the whole budget thing, as strings only tend to differ in ~$1 between brands (Save Elixer)
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Old 11-13-2012, 07:48 AM   #18
ruletheneck
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try a little of everything. look up what most players in your style use to get the general gist, but also take a peep at what players with particularly sweet tone and technique use. i think that the feel of your strings is one of the biggest factors in how

i've found that for me, fat top light bottom is perfect - nice warm upper strings for leads, and low-tension bone-crushing wound strings for rhythm. also the output of each string is pretty nicely balanced. D'Addario 11-49s on my metal guitar, my god those are awesome strings. Thomastik-Infeld 12-50 flatwounds on my jazz guitar, though they aren't quite right.. i think i want a roundwound E in them? mind you, half the problem is the fact that im using a solid-body mahogany guitar for jazz until i can afford an acoustic-electric...

best of luck!
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Old 11-13-2012, 07:57 AM   #19
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I've always been an Ernie Ball guy, personally.

I've tried S.I.T., D'Adarrio, DR, GHS, and Fender for Electrics and Martin, Elixer, and S.I.T. for Acoustic, and I still prefer Ernie Ball both ways, although Elixers sound great on Acoustics, due to how long they last. If they weren't so expensive, I would probably always buy them, but I don't play acoustic enough for it to matter.

In terms of electric, Ernie Ball has always been my go-to. I've done setups/restrings for tons of people, and I always ask them what they prefer. If they don't have a solid answer, I usually throw a set of .9's or .10's (depending on the scale and action) on from Ernie Ball, and most of the time people tell me how much they like the strings.

Personally, Power Slinky's are my favorite. I want something that bites back at me. I can't stand it when I can barely feel the strings, or when it feels like I'm going to break them when I'm strumming or bending. I've got a set of Skinny Top Heavy Bottoms on my backup guitar, as I share it with my girlfriend, who prefers somewhat lighter strings. It's the best compromise we could come to, and they aren't too bad, but the higher strings still just aren't enough for me. I've considered trying Beefy Slinky's, but considering I tune to Eb Standard and drop Db/C# I think it would be overkill on the string tension.

As for what specific type of Power Slinky's, my favorite so far are definitely the Cobalts. They're more clear and bright, with slightly more sizzle to them when distorted. It's certainly no massive difference, but it's definitely there. They seem like they don't quite last as long, but it could just be that they benefit more from being cleaned after each use, which I don't do. The Regular ones are a nice balance between string life, brightness, clarity, etc. including price. There's nothing overly special about them compared to the others, but there's nothing really bad about them either. The Coated version just kinda had an odd sound to my ears. I'll probably try them again soon, but they seemed like they were kinda muffled, for lack of better word. Not really like a set of old strings, but they were just a bit lifeless compared to the others. I tried a few sets, but it's been a while, and that was before Igot my current amp, so I'm probably going to give them a second chance. They definitely lasted the longest, but they're no Elixer by any means. I have yet to try the Stainless Steel or RPS versions, and I think there might be one or two more types, but I can't remember. Most stores are going to be doing good to have the three I listed. Hell, I've been asking around for the RPS ones for years and haven't found a place that stocks them I could order them online, but I usually forget when I'm doing that

In the end, though, it's the same as anything - different strokes for different folks. You'll find what you like and probably stick with it forever. Unless I tried something that just blew the pants right off of me, I doubt I would switch from my Power Slinky's.

One thing that stays true, though, is that thicker strings have a thicker sound, which can be good or bad, depending on your setup, what you want, and what you play.
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Old 11-13-2012, 10:16 AM   #20
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Ernie Ball are my strings of choice. I love the feel of them. I have tried plenty of other strings, but I just cant make them work for me like Ernie Ball. I have even tried D'Addario. Plenty of times. As in I had a 12-pack box and they all were gone within 2 months, with constantly breaking strings. Not just your standard high e-string, but every string has equally broke on me while using them. Yes, D-string, A-string, G, low E... they have all broke. And it got so bad halfway through the box that I just only replaced the one string, so I have about 4brand new strings left in total, but with nothing to do with them.

Ernie Ball strings on the other hand have always worked for me. They don't break unless I have been playing a few shows in the month and I have been sweating a lot. And even then, they last for at least 2 months per set.

Before anyone guesses that there may be bridge burs or anything like that, there aren't. I have checked and such and there cant be. Everything is smooth. So I just blame D'Addario being crappy strings for me.
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