22 Jul Which electric guitar strings are right for me?
With so many different types of electric guitar link strings out there, how are you ever supposed to know which ones are right for you?
Earnie ball are probably the biggest string manufacturer in the world and because they’re the biggest string manufacturer they make lots different types so they’ve got something for everyone.
But how are you supposed to know what gauge is right for you and your style of playing?
Well, let’s start by taking you through the standard range and then explaining some of the weird alternatives that Ernie Ball also offer.
Ernie Balls standard gauge of strings are known as “Slinkys” and they go from eighths right up to twelve the eights are known as extra slinky. and eight is quite an unusual gauge because so slinky!
By “slinky”, what this means to us guitarist is that the strings are very thin which equals to such a low tension, that you can bend to even more extremes than a gauge 9, 10, 11 or 12 and the gauge 9s or 10s are pretty bendable too!
There aren’t many guitars that come with eighths as standard. It’s a very niche choice particularly if you like to bend a lot during solos.
The only player I can think of who uses them is in Vane Malmsteen on his Fender Stratocaster, which of course comes with scalloped frets; where the whole idea is that you’re going to be bending strings, a lot.
Next up is Earnie Balls gauge 9 strings, also known as Super Slinkys.
These are probably the most popular gauge of guitar strings in the world. They’re packaged in pink, so it’s easy for you to recognise. I personally like to use gauge 10s , it’s just what I’m comfortable with. The thicker the string the easier it is to restring too. Skinny strings could be a bit of a pain.
Gauge 9s or 10s strings are an excellent choice for standard tuning which still allow plenty of room for bends without going to extremes in gauge choice such as hybrids.
Earnie Balls 10s
Next up in a bright yellow pack is the regular slinkys these are Earnie Ball’s gauge 10s. These come as the standard gauge of strings for Gibson’s for example, because the length of their guitars are shorter scale.
It also means that the strings roughly have the same amount of tension as gauge nine would on a Fender, due to the shorter scale Gibsons.
Earnie Balls, hybrid strings
We have two sets the orange hybrid Slinkys and the red skinny top-heavy bottom. These are an unusual type of strings because they’re mixes of two gauges. The hybrid Slinky’s are a mix of the nines and the tens or ten and 12s and so on.
The super Slinkys and the standard the regular Slinkys, provides you with the low end of the tens and the high end of the nine. So, if you really want to get your bends in and have a slinky higher end for strings 1, 2 and 3, whilst you’ve just got a little bit more tension on your low end, then these will work for you. Grade for a mixture of soloing and heavy rhythm work.
There are two types of gauge 11 strings as well as one set of 12s The thicker the gauge of strings the more tension there’s going be and therefore not so easy to bend. These strings are going to be much more of a fight and they’re also of course excellent for down tuning because the lower your tuning the less tension there is, which means you need thicker strings.
The ultimate of all string gauges are gauge 12s. I would not recommend this string type if you’re in standard tuning; not unless you want to snap the neck off of your guitar. Guage 12 strings are perfect for D standard drop C.
Earnie balls have recently introduced a string called Paradigms, they’re completely unbreakable and they come in the usual gauges that their counterparts do of the slinky ranges.
The slinky range break especially because they’re just normal strings and normal strings do break from time to time.