What strings do you use?

  • I tested over months of recordings several brands and I ended up on:


    "Les Paul" type scale I use D'Addario EXL 110 (10-46)
    "Strato" scale I use D'Addario EXL 120+ (9,5-44)


    Very few of us use this set since they are less common but the total tension of 9,5-44 on Strato is the same of 10-46 on Les Paul and it's a great thing at least for me that bendings and pitch are similar changing guitars... Moreover is a very balanced set between high and bass side and I love balanced tensions...


    Last period I tryed and positivelly tested D'Addario NY new types, they still cost too much versus standard ones but tone sustain end durability are all superior to the standard so I believe I will switch to them. I will maintein instead the set scale (10-46 for Les Paul and 9,5-44 for Strato).

  • For about 20 years my fingers have bled and been cut at / after every single gig I've played.


    I discovered about 6 weeks ago that I have nickle allergy so now I use Ernie Ball Stainless Steel Slinky.I haven't had a problem since I started using them.I used EB regular and hybrid Slinkys before that.

  • For about 20 years my fingers have bled and been cut at / after every single gig I've played.


    I discovered about 6 weeks ago that I have nickle allergy so now I use Ernie Ball Stainless Steel Slinky.I haven't had a problem since I started using them.I used EB regular and hybrid Slinkys before that.

    That's pretty hardcore man. :thumbsup: I would have given up long ago.


    Glad it doesn't happen anymore though!!!

    Disclaimer: When I post demo clips for profiles, there will be some minimal post-processing, unless stated otherwise. I normally double-track hard L/R, and add to the main buss a small amount of EQ and a limiter/comp set pretty light as well. Sometimes I get test profiles in advance of release, though 90% of my clips will be from packs I have purchased.

  • I really wish I could suggest the solution, but I don't have it. Mostly it's not the wrapped strings that are affected, but the plain strings go black, rough and even rusty very fast. So coated strings, where only the wound strings are protected are not worth the money, if you have to change them quickley - because of the plains react to sweat as bad as before. If the treatment of the plains works (anti-rust plated...), it seems they cause more fretwear.
    As said, it COULD be (should be :D ), that polymer coated plain strings are nicer to the frets - but there are not many in the market (coated ghs boomers, DR Black Beauties...?). Reviews on these strings are mixed and they seem to be not as durable as Elixir strings. If anyone has experience here, please tell us!!


    It is a question of costs for me too. What I do at the moment: Buying cheaper strings I like (Fender...) in multi-packs and online, using Kyser string cleaner - and wash my hands with ph-level neutral 5,5 soap before playing.


    And I accept ordinary fretwear. Don't panic - on perfect new frets slight wear can already look pretty bad, but it usually looks much worse than it actually is!!

    Yes, cost matters, however, if strings end up lasting as long as the Elixir strings did for me they are much cheaper in the end. So if the strings last 5 times as long, in my book it's okay for them to cost 5 times as much -- I still have the advantage of not having to change my strings all the time.


    Thanks for the suggestions! I ordered some (regular) DR strings, apparently they are somewhat corrosion proof too? and see where that gets me. I haven't tried a lot of strings in general, just the usual Ernie Ball and D'Addario suspects, before I settled on the Elixir ones. The Black Beauty could be another option as could the GHS Boomers, although they seem a little harder to find in my area. The Ernie Ball Paradigm are supposed to be longer lasting, but I'm not quite convinced that is much more that hype and a hefty price tag ;)


    Well, I have a few years of Elixir-experience on my guitars, however, I have no clue what one would consider "ordinary" fretwear -- I use Elixirs exclusively so I have no comparison available to me :D After a year of playing one guitar there are some quite visible dents, sooo...? And trying a different set of strings when the old ones come of doesn't really cost me, telling whether there is a difference to before will be challenging (= nigh impossibe) though, I imagine :P

  • The Ernie Ball Paradigm are supposed to be longer lasting, but I'm not quite convinced that is much more that hype and a hefty price tag

    IIRC Frank tried them. Maybe he can offer some feedback. Calling @Eltzejupp.


    All I know for sure is that Paul Gilbert tested their ability to withstand bends when he first tried them. He hooked a tuner up to the headstock so we could see (in the video) the realtime readout as he tuned brand-new strings up 'til they snapped. IIRC the Paradigms managed to withstand roughly a semitone-higher stretch than "regular" Slinkys.


    Hang on... here's 'tis:



    Later on others jumped on the promotional bandwagon too:



    Kurt probably abuses his guitar more than the strings, but it's a a laugh anyway:


  • I am usually on d'addarios EXL120+. they are 9.5-44
    I found them to have a good feel for vintage tones, and they don't get much wear too quick.

    Ditto. I can't use .010s anymore on electric guitars. Too much effort and it's no fun to play.
    9.5 down to 9 usually and I want to try some 8.5 gauge soon.

    The key to everything is patience.
    You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it.
    -- Arnold H. Glasow


    If it doesn't produce results, don't do it.

    -- Me

  • I like the way you put that, Carl.


    As I said earlier, my hand issues have meant that I've really struggled (stubbornly) for decades (only minimal, sporadic playing mind you) with 10s, as if somehow one day it'd "all come together".


    I explained that I'm switching to 9s for a while to see what happens and am prepared to go as low as it takes (some would say, "What's new?" :D ), but my motivation was always to avoid pain and the never-ending "fight" with the strings.


    I much prefer the way you characterised the struggle (and solution) - it's all about the fact that it wasn't fun. If it's not fun, one's not gonna play (that'd explain a lot in my case).


    It's two ways of saying and looking at the same thing, but life's too-short to be taking the "minimising-pain" approach when in fact the "fun" route puts it in a much-more-positive light. Thank you for reminding me of this critical fact, mate!

  • Elixir 9s


    I too played 10s for ages but I play for a few hours everyday and my wrists were struggling. Not my fingers so much, calluses are fine, but getting very tired hands and wrists which was leading to some issues.


    9s are so much more fun for me;)

  • Vibrato and bends are effortless

    Effortless? Don't say that, man!


    OK, I can see where this is headed. All I had to do was break free of being voluntarily locked into 10s and a world of possibilities opens up...


    9s are so much more fun for me

    Sounds like I'm finally gonna have some fun on guitar. Ridiculous that it took so many decades for me to crack.

  • No pain no gain, but struggling and not playing sure means no gain! I think 10s are better for rhythm but I don't notice that much tone difference from 9s when playing lead. A tad more volume and sustain. I've got 9s in an SG and was going to restring it with 10s like all the others, but I'm not sure. SGs have a thinner neck and factory strings are 9s. I don't know about Custom Shop SGs though.

  • IIRC Frank tried them. Maybe he can offer some feedback. Calling @Eltzejupp.
    All I know for sure is that Paul Gilbert tested their ability to withstand bends when he first tried them. He hooked a tuner up to the headstock so we could see (in the video) the realtime readout as he tuned brand-new strings up 'til they snapped. IIRC the Paradigms managed to withstand roughly a semitone-higher stretch than "regular" Slinkys.

    Well, I saw that video (the Andertons one) and I don't doubt they might be the better choice if I ever wanted to bend, like, 6 semitones on a regular basis, but I am much more worried about resistance against corrosion because of my sweaty hands. IIRC they are supposed to be better on that front too, but by how much? Regular Slinkys don't last too long under my hands :D

  • Trying Stringjoy Balanced Medium Gauge (11-50) Nickel Wound Electric Guitar Strings on epi rosso corsa les paul


    Stringjoy Heavy Bottom Light Gauge (10-52) Nickel Wound Electric Guitar Strings on the rest for now.

  • but I am much more worried about resistance against corrosion because of my sweaty hands. IIRC they are supposed to be better on that front too, but by how much? Regular Slinkys don't last too long under my hands

    They're guaranteed against breakage and corrosion for 3 months, so if you take that as a minimum, you can compare that with what you're getting now.


    I spray my strings with Finger-ease after I touch them, whether playing or even accidentally(!), and wipe 'em down with a "guitar-maintenance" cloth. Actually, I no longer spray them - I wet a corner of the cloth and wipe 'em with that; that way I don't get the stuff all over the fretboard and body. Seems to ward off corrosion extremely-well.

  • Ha! I've always called you Carl as you'd know, and actually went back and edited that post shortly after using your correct name. X/


    I should've just trusted what I've always done when speaking to you, but nooo, I had to go and check my forum-user folder where everyone's name is recorded, didn't I? I had Arnold from Glasgow there even 'though I've always called you Carl. Must've been a late-night session where I spotted your sig and blindly updated.


    So sorry, mate. Silly me... :S