The guitar was introduced to the music world in the early 1920s. When you think of playing the guitar and build a perfect guitar tone then you may probably think of the best brand of guitar, the amplifier and the effect pedal, ignoring the most important thing i.e the strings to have that perfect tone. The strings play a crucial role while playing the guitar as the wrong strings may not only spoil the sound but are more prone to snapping.
The heaviness of the string depends on the sound and style you want. Light gauge strings are better for electric and acoustic guitars as you do not have to press hard down the string. Heavy gauge strings are perfect for heavy electric riffs. Most standard gauges of the guitar strings will cause your guitar strings to become loose while playing which you need to retune after every song. One of the best things about metal gauge strings is that they stay at the correct tension even at lower tuning. Choosing the best guitar strings for metal is very crucial in having the correct and ideal sound quality while playing the guitar.
Factors to consider while purchasing string gauges
- Body Style- Always remember to string smaller-bodied acoustic with lighter gauges and heavier gauges with larger-bodied instruments.
- Playing Style- If much of your playing involves fingerpicking style then light gauge strings are easier to play. For hard strumming, a better choice would be to go for medium gauge strings and if you are playing a mix of fingerpicking style and strumming, the light-medium is the best option.
- Desired Tone-The desired tone of your guitar depends whether you have a heavier gauge string as it produces more strong and deep tones and lighter gauges give a more subtle and treble note.
- Instrument Condition and Age – Vintage guitars are quite delicate and tension of the heavier strings can cause the neck to bow and bridges to lift. You can consult the manufacturer to understand how safe is your heavy strings for your guitar.
Let us have a look at some of the best guitar string for metal available in the market. In this article we will be concentrating on best guitar strings for metal and rock, focusing on the features and the characteristics of the strings which make it ideal for that particular genre.
There are several best guitar strings for metal available in the market
Nickel Wound Electric Guitar Strings of D’Addario is the most popular electric guitar strings as these strings are very accurately drawn with nickel-plated steel into hexagonally shaped high carbon steel core. D’Addario manufactures a huge range of strings and the best among them is XL Nickel Wound Electric guitar strings. Hence it is considered to be the best guitar string for metal.
- The round nickel strings give a high-end sound that is long-lasting and has a distinctive bright tone and excellent intonation.
- These nickel strings are perfectly wound with nickel-plated steel onto a hexagonally shaped high carbon steel core for strings for perfect intonation and stellar magnetic output and longer life.
- These guitar strings are ideal for a wide variety of guitars and musical styles.
- It is the choice of countless professional musicians due to its ability to deliver high quality.
- D’Addario has many years of experience in string making and advanced winding technology to bring forth the most consistent, long-lasting and durable guitar strings.
Dunlop is also another popular brand which has a lot of different string set to offer. DHCN1150 Heavy Core Nickel Wound Guitar Strings from Dunlop is probably the heaviest metal strings and are wonderful for trash metal, speed metal and even for heavy rock styles of music.
- These strings are designed for dropped and lowered tuning.
- As the name suggests these strings have heavy metalcore.
- It has a string set of 6 whose gauge varies from .011-.050
- These strings are best suited while playing metal and rock.
- Strings are chosen carefully to give you high-quality sound and will not fall out or break even if you play aggressively.
- The heavy core strings are incorporated in such a way to give musicians the ability to retain tight low end and smooth top end while playing clean or distorted.
Another popular name among the guitar string for metal is Ernie Ball. The Earthwood Medium Light Acoustic Phosphor Bronze Strings are manufactured in California, USA and it has got the finest and the best material available in the market. It comes in various sizes- medium, medium light, extra light, light, rock & blues. You can choose the size as per your requirement.
- These strings are made in the combination of metals such as copper, tin and phosphorus in various compositions.
- The manufacturers claim that it has got excellent clarity, has the loudest and most expressive tone as compared to other guitar strings.
- Its ability to be played at lower tunings and its strength make it quite popular among the musicians.
- These strings come in element shield packing which helps to prolong the string life and keeps is fresh.
- The color of the string varies from light orange color and gives an excellent sound clarity.
- These guitar strings are made with the finest and freshest raw materials.
Unlike, other brands of string, Elixir NanoWeb Acoustic Guitar Strings are coated completely. The anti-rust coating on the strings ensures longer string life. These acoustic strings are designed in such a way to boost the rich, dynamic tone and excellent clarity.
- Elixirs Acoustic 80/20 strings are constructed with 80% copper and 20% zinc with a bronze wrap wire.
- These specifically designed strings give you a more brilliant and crispier tone with an expressive and vibrant feel.
- Its unique ultra-thin NANOWEB Coating gives a traditionally textured non-coating feel, which helps to enhance the grip and reduces finger squeak.
- Its anti-rust technology gives long-lasting protection against corrosion, thereby extending the string life and tone life as well.
DR Strings specifically designs guitar strings for metal guitarists. The hexagonal coil wire makes these strings more stable for heavy music. The stable strings are well adapted for playing low tunings.
- The main feature of these guitar strings is their durability and longer string life because the hexagonal core wire and nickel-plated steel are coated with a molecular bonding liquid polymer which prevents rust and corrosion.
- These are high voltage nickel plated guitar strings.
- These strings are slender and hence considered to be apt for metal due to the fullness of sound.
- Another best part is that it is quite pocket-friendly and is suitable for beginners.
GHS started manufacturing the strings way back in 1964 which were specifically designed for metal as people wanted to hear something better, harder and stronger. Since then GHS has been manufacturing strings for this genre.
- These strings are considered the signature string used by David Gilmour.
- These strings are power strings as it offers a brilliant tone and powerful attack.
- GHS strings are manufactured in a climate-controlled facility and use only fresh raw material.
- Its airtight packing ensures the freshness that gives durability and prevents rust and corrosion.
- It introduces the nitro-pack, in which every single string is sealed in a nitrogen environment devoid of oxygen
Here, we have picked and listed some of the best guitar strings for metal. If you are planning to replace the strings of your guitar then you can very choose any of the strings listed above which best suits your need.
In this article, we have mainly focused on electric guitars as they give the metal sounds. To get the power-packed sound you should always go for the heavier gauge and nickel wound strings. Having an attractive and costly guitar is not the only criteria for having a crisp and excellent sound clarity, but you should always check the strings as they have a very crucial role to play in determining the sound and tone of your guitar. When you are investing your time and money into something, and then make sure that you do thorough research on the product and then go for it. So, what are you waiting for, get ready to rock the party with your power-packed performance…!!
How to choose the right kind of strings?
Choosing the right kind of string entirely depends on the type of guitar you have. If you have a classical guitar, then you can go for nylon strings and if your guitar is acoustic or electrical then you need to choose a metal string for your guitar. The gauge size also differs for different strings and if you fix the wrong string in the gauge then you might end up breaking the neck and bridge of the guitar.
Are heavier guitar strings better?
Heavier strings produce a bigger, fuller and more powerful sound as compared to their lighter counterparts as the heavier strings have more mass to vibrate. Hence experienced guitarists, prefer the heavier strings but it requires extra finger pressure and strength. Many guitarists prefer heavier strings because of the extra tension in the strings and beefier tone they yield. The additional tension offered by the thick strings prevents the guitar tone from being thin and loose.
For the beginners which one is better- the heavier string or the lighter one?
If you are the beginner then the lighter strings will be more beneficial for you as you do not have to exert too much force on the strings and the chances of getting a sore on your finger due to the pressure of the strings will also be less. Moreover, the lighter strings are budget-friendly and you do not have to shell out a huge amount to replace the strings of your guitar. But one the negative points about light strings is that it tends to break frequently and you need to change the strings now and then.
How often should you change the Strings of your Guitar?
The best thing is to keep the thumb rule in mind – change the strings of the guitar every 3 months or after every 100 hours of practice. Strings tend to get damaged over time. Old strings give a bad sound and are quite difficult to get in tune and can break any time. So it is always advisable to check for the signs of wear and tear. Strings get damaged very soon due to corrosion as the moisture from the air and our fingers rust them over a period of time, due to which the strings may break unexpectedly.
Moreover, old and damaged strings will not give the desired sound quality. Over the period, the windings also become lose making the metal string fall apart. Hence it is very important to check for the signs of wear and tear on the strings and regularly change the strings every 3-4 months. If you have coated strings then your string life can be extended to 6 months (Approx) or more depending upon the usage. When you start noticing the first signs of corrosion then you must understand that it is time to change the strings of your guitar.