5 Best Electric Guitar Strings 2021 [Updated Reviews and Feedback]

Your electric guitar tone and sound is not always about a top-notched guitar brand or amps or pickups and pedals. The condition of your guitar strings is nothing you should ignore! Let us guide you through the ultimate list of Best Electric Guitar Strings 2021 and the most updated reviews.

Guitar strings are an important factor that determines the unique qualities and tonal signature of your electric guitar. Strings easily accumulate build-up debris, dirt, dust, dead skin, etc, and eventually, your guitar will start sounding lifeless and dull. Not just cleaning but changing your guitar strings when the time is right is vital than you may think.

Choosing a set of durable, good quality guitar strings will actually boost the quality of your guitar sound and the playability. If you could find some great set of strings, you may don’t have to change them again until many months. We have also chosen some awesome multicolor Neon strings for those who love to be in the spotlight.

Editor Choice

D’Addario NYXL guitar strings

5/5

Why is it better?

  • Break-resistant
  • Stay in tune better
  • Playability

Editor Choice

D’Addario NYXL guitar strings

5/5
  • Break-resistant
  • Stay in tune better
  • Playability

The line up at a glance

We’ve done in-depth loads of researches through many various products and chosen 5 different models to compare. Have a look through all our pros and cons for each one to find your Best Electric Guitar Strings 2021

Image

Summary

Our Rating

D’Addario NYXL guitar strings

Super tough, smooth to the feel, lasts longer & bright tone. The brand confidence is visible through their slogan itself.

4.5/5
4.5/5

Ernie Ball Regular Slinky Paradigm Electric Guitar Strings

Legendary tone, patented RPS (reinforced plain string) technology combined with Ernie Ball’s new state-of-the-art wire drawing process resulting in high tensile strength.

3.4/5
3.4/5

Elixir Electric Guitar Strings with NANOWEB Coating

Screen Shot 2020-12-09 at 17.45.09

Bright, vibrant presence, and proven longlife. Elixir patented ultra-thin NANOWEB Coating.

4.2/5
4.2/5

Ernie Ball Slinky Nickel Wound Electric Guitar Strings

Legendary strings with a history to it. Element Shield Packaging keeps strings fresh. Its balanced tone supports all guitar kinds and tones.

4.6/5
4.6/5

DR Strings HI-DEF NEON Electric Guitar Strings

Multicolor Neon K3 coated strings not just add a cool look to your guitar, it also grabs the crowd’s attention all to you. Long-lasting as well!

4.5/5
4.5/5

Our Picks For Top 5 Best Electric Guitar Strings 2021

1

D’Addario NYXL guitar strings

Super tough, smooth to the feel, lasts longer & bright tone.

+ Break-resistant

+ Pitch stability

+ Comfortable playability

+ Long-lasting

Price Tag

Verdict

“Stay in tune better than any string you’ve played before” is a bold statement made by D’Addario promoting their improved NYXL electric guitar strings. They claim these strings stay in tune 131% longer. 

D’Addario has taken an already great product and found a way to make it better.. Smart!

These strings have more output at the same gauge compared to other nickel wound strings, can easily tolerate more stretch when needed even in extreme bends, great tuning stability, long-lasting, and showcase better retention of their original tension over time. No wonder why it is our best pick.

These strings are not the cheapest you may find around, but you will indeed get what you buy!

Detail Reviews

These strings are born ready to take any abuse including sweaty gigs and messy usage (not cleaning the strings after playing). You will hardly see any tarnish and the tone will stay pretty bright until much longer. These new strings have 6% more magnetic permeability for higher output making them a little louder but maintaining the dynamic control.

High carbon steel used in D’Addario’s NYXL Nickel-plated electric guitar strings offer higher break strength, enhanced tuning stability, and accentuated mid-range frequency response. Compared to the older version of XL strings, these newly engineered strings tune much faster and stay in tune much longer. Wound strings with enhanced mid-range frequency response. Great corrosion-resistant packaging keeping the strings fresh.

D’Addario is one of the world’s largest musical instrument string manufacturers, and they never produce cheaply. They are expensive, but if you do not have to change your electric guitar strings as often as you would otherwise, we believe the price could be worth it.

Plain Steel .010, .013, .017, Nickel Wound .026, .036, .046.


2

Ernie Ball Regular Slinky Paradigm Electric Guitar Strings

Legendary tone patented RPS (reinforced plain string) technology combined with Ernie Ball’s new state-of-the-art wire drawing process resulting in high tensile strength.

+ Tough

+ Naturally harmonic tone

+ 90-day no breakage/rust guarantee

+ Price

Easy to bend/break out of during play

Durability

Poor tone quality (for some)

Verdict

The Paradigm set has enforced a stronger string life while retaining the iconic slinky tone and feel. The specialty of these strings is that the ball end of the strings enables them to lock in tune fast and hold up to aggressive styles without popping. They produce a bright, balanced, clean, and clear sound. They are also natural to the touch which indeed is a privilege. They will work for you hardest and longest they can with no complaint retaining all their tactile and tonal characteristics. 

Except for some claims, the majority of reviews say, not only do these strings last longer and no peeling out the mess as we use them, but are extra corrosion resistant as well. Yet again, let’s also not forget how affordable they are!

Detail Reviews

Ernie Ball is promising that their patented RPS (reinforced plain string) technology increases tensile strength by up to 37 percent, with up to 70 percent more fatigue strength. Impressive!

Longer string life while retaining the company’s iconic Slinky tone and feel. Plasma cleaning provides improved corrosion resistance. Their nano treatment technology helps minimize the dust and dirt buildup. However, these strings feel nothing different than traditional strings and no flaking. Legendary Slinky Tone is a privilege.

Some tests, reviews, and customer feedback state that these strings are very easy to bend unintentionally out of tune during play and can break easily. Some complaints of the poor tone quality as well. Adding to the claims, they say that these strings may not tolerate much abuse and are not very durable.

Deal breaker or not?


3

Elixir Electric Guitar Strings with NANOWEB Coating

Bright, vibrant presence, and proven longlife. Elixir patented ultra-thin NANOWEB Coating.

+ Long life

+ Consistency

+ Quality

+ Traditional texture

Price tag

Poor tone quality

Verdict

Unlike most other brands, Elixir is a brand focusing entirely on guitar strings. 

Elixir Polyweb coated electric guitar strings give a brighter and vibrant tone with a slicker, and gentler feel. Instead of a heavy coated feeling, you will get more like a traditional string feel. Their patented coating technology protects the strings against common corrosions making them last longer. 

These Nickel-plated steel strings will let you enjoy a gentle playtime and you’ll experience fewer squeaks and scrapes as you move your fingers across the strings on the fretboard.

Detail Reviews

Light gauge: .010 .013 .017 .026 .036 .046

One of the secrets behind their string longevity is their applying anti-rust coating to the three high plain steel strings ensuring the durability of the whole set. 

The tone is where Elixir Nanoweb will lose some points. As the coating will increase the string lifespan, they may “deaden” the tone a bit. Also, they might not have an extra bit of sparkle just like D’Addario NYXL or Ernie Ball Regular Slinky Paradigm do. But where it will score back is that they would sound better when they age (especially compared to non-coated strings). 

Well, these strings are pricey. But longevity and tone getting better over the long-term is the most essential aspect you’d buy for that price.

Just so you know;

Elixir Polyweb coated strings: has a warmer tone and smooth feel

Elixir Optiweb coated strings: has a crisp tone and the natural feel of uncoated strings

Nanoweb feels more like traditional strings with a brighter and vibrant tone and feels way less coated than above two options and feels slick/slippery.


4

Ernie Ball Slinky Nickel Wound Electric Guitar Strings

Legendary strings with a history to it. Element Shield Packaging keeps strings fresh.

+ Inexpensive

+ Well-balanced tone

+ Consistency

+ Comfortable and easy to play

Not the best strings for playing pinched harmonics.

Price tag

Verdict

Ernie ball is a popular brand, and their slinky nickel wound strings are strong competitors in the market. They produce around 22 varieties of strings: 10-46 gauge are called Regular Slinky, 9-42 gauge are called Super Slinky, 11-48 are called Power Slinky and we are about to review the highly demanded regular slinky strings between them all. 

Fresh as they are manufactured in America. 

They give out a nice balanced sound, not too punchy or not too muddy. Even the feel is not too grippy nor too slippery. 

They are great for beginners or kids as the feel is smooth and not hard on fingers.

Detail Reviews

Dimensions: 4.5 x 0.1 x 4.5 inches

The 3 lowest strings are nickel-plated string wound around a tin-plated supporting a balanced classic tone, hexagonal and made of high carbon steel core providing excellent durability. On the other hand, the highest 3 plain strings come with a series of twists that prevent slippage and reduce the risk of string break. All strings come with brass ball ends.

As specified, the tone is well balanced and the strings are not too slippery either. These strings have earned quite a reputation by legends around the world including Slash, Jimmy Page, Metallica, Eric Clapton, and more.

Competitive price just as other Ernie ball slinky strings.


5

DR Strings HI-DEF NEON Electric Guitar Strings

Multicolor Neon K3 coated strings not just add a cool look to your guitar, it also grabs the crowd’s attention all to you.

+ Great for Rocksmith players

+ Feel smooth and comfortable

+ Stage presence

+ Long-lasting coat

+ Fun to play

They sound duller than non-coated strings

Coating flakes off onto the guitar

Colors on the two highest strings are not very visible

Verdict

Our final pick is fun to play, bright and musical. Along with some reasonable quality and an affordable price, some may crave to steal the show as well. These strings will definitely get you noticed in any crowd.

Designed to give your stage presence a little extra pop, especially under UV black-lighting

Hi-def Neon multicolor K3 coating delivers longevity, more projection, fewer unwanted overtones, plus enhanced clarity and articulation. Many color and size options to choose from, the look of the strings is a strong selling point itself.

Sound is a bit dull compared to non-coated strings, yet super fun to play, long-lasting coating… sounds perfect for live gigs and those who learn or teach guitar as well.

Detail Reviews

Dimensions: 4 x 0.5 x 4 inches / gauges: .010 to .046

Featuring a hexagonal core wire and a silver-plated nickel-plated steel wrap on the wound strings. Hi-def Neon multi-color K3 coating comes in a wide variety of luminescent color options.

The higher 3 Neon strings are made of plain steel while the lower 3 strings are made with a hexagonal core-based wire and are wound with a silver and nickel-plated outer steel core.

The colorful coating not only adds a bit of flash but also helps the longevity and the playing comfort. And according to most reviews, the coating lasts long. Yet unfortunately, the very coating makes the strings sound duller compared to non-coated strings. And as they age and start to wear, they would leave an irritating layer of Neon flakes on your guitar. Beauty with a flow?


Criteria used for evaluation

Gauge

This measures how thick the strings are, and has an impact on tuning stability, tone, durability and playability. Lighter gauges sound brighter and easier to bend and cause less tension on your guitar neck. On the other hand lighter strings offer less volume and sustain and can break more often. Whereas heavier gauges are stronger and give more sustain & better volume, but could be rough and harder to play. 

Generally, measured in 1/1000th’s of an inch, string gauges range from .008 on the lightest first string, to .056 on the heaviest sixth string. .010 gauge is the most commonly used string gauge set.

  • Heavier gauges are best for Heavy strummers, Slide playing/drop tunings, Low-action guitars, Unamplified acoustic playing, and Jazz
  • Lighter gauges are best for Beginner playing, Blues/Soloing, Vintage guitars, Small-body guitars, and Fingerpicking

Core

  • Round: Core wire is round and allows increased contact between the core and the winding. Produces a warmer tone. 
  • Hex: Has a hexagonal inner wire and allows the winding to be more tightly wrapped and the edges prevent the winding from slipping. Helps last longer and great tuning ability.

Material & Durability

Commonly, the smaller 3 strings are made of plain steel and the latest 3 strings are made of a steel core with a metal wrap, or winding. Different windings may affect the tone, stability, durability and playability of the strings. 

Most common string materials:

  • Nickel-Plated Steel: Most common. Deliver volume and bright tone. Nickel plating helps with reduced finger noise, resistance to corrosion, and finger comfort. Durable.
  • Stainless Steel: Built with a steel core and a stainless steel winding. The winding has no coating or plating. More volume and much brighter tone. 
  • Polymer-Coated: Polymer such as Teflon is used to seal the string. Protect from corrosion and makes the string smoother, but less sustain. 
  • Nickel: Warmer and smoother tone. But easily break.

Winding

Affects both the tone and playability of the string. Mostly the first 3 strings set is wound consisting of a metal core wire around which is wrapped by another metal wire. 

3 common types of winding:

  • Roundwound: Most common. Made by wrapping a round outer wire around a round or hexagonal core wire. Brighter tone but could result in finger squeaks. 
  • Flatwound: Made by wrapping a flat ribbon-like wire around a round or hexagonal core wire. Smoother tone and make strings last longer. 
  • Halfwound: Between both above. Roundwound strings that are then ground and polished until the string is almost flat. The tone is between bright and smooth.

Quality & Value

Long-lasting strings could be a good investment as you wouldn’t have to keep changing the guitar strings as often. But most long-lasting strings can come with much heavier prices. Yet., it could be worth it.

It is also important to go for a reputed brand that will help you achieve the tone/sound quality that you expect.

Some long-lasting coated strings may come with a bit dull tones (compared to non-coated strings). So, it is important for you to first determine if you require either long-lasting quality or the brightest sound quality. Well, both may indeed come as a package if your budget is not limited.

Generally, electric guitar strings are not the most expensive gadget you may buy for your guitar but for sure the most important. It’s recommended for you to experiment with attempting various types of electric guitar strings before settling with one type.


Frequently Asked Questions

Not necessarily. A quality guitar neck can handle the string tension whether it’s kept hanging on a stand or resting inside a case.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.