String Gauges: What is Right For You?

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With Ernie Ball sponsoring Scotland’s award winning rock and metal festival, Les-Fest (, I decided to take a selection of the strings they sent to Les-Fest HQ and talk about where I consider each set to be best used.
Thicker strings provide more tone and a louder response, but they are harder to play and bend.
Light strings are a breeze to shred about on, but don’t sound quite as good and can be prone to tuning issues or fret buzz if hit too hard.

Personal preference, and the style of music you play will dictate your string preference, but it is worthwhile to get out of your comfort zone and try different strings to hear and feel the difference they make.


Jacob Reichert says:

Aerenie bawll, lol.

Austin Beaty says:

I use the not even Slinky 12s at E flat for blues and bending is really easy and I can bend 3 steps but I need something thicker but all other strings above a 12 are usually a wound 3rd any suggestion

Nate Larson says:

I used power purples in drop d or C# for years, if I would standard it up I would Always do Eb. Now I use regulars but still in Eb.

Issac Moss says:

I play 12s in standard and half a step down lol

Morley Robertson says:

Hybrids are my go-to. I miss the stainless steel ones they used to make.

Liz Alfaro says:

I am a beginner on electric guitar and what brand do you guys prefer? I need answers. Well help

Chuck The Canuck says:

Loved my Rotosound 11s (i .e. Purples).. The local shop doesn't carry them anymore. Can't seem to find that same subdued tone from my guitar. Everything so far sounds too bright now.

Paul Potter says:

Excellent guide

Bertrand Majorik says:

Earnie Ball said to Leo Fender: guitar students have a hard time because of tough strings.
Leo:what do you do in life?
EB: I sell guitars.
LF: Go sell my guitars and get out.
Earnie Ball got people and made lighter gauge strings.

Fall3n Vandals says:

POWER SLINKY ALL THE WAYY. I go from standard to drop C and sometimes I drop the C to an A when playing Mastodon and it's great

Ozzy boy17 says:

Super Slinkys !

Lore4697 says:

I play 6, 7, and 8 string guitars and 11's in D standard are absolutely perfect.

Those as Ernie Ball doesn't make 11's for 8 strings, that guitar sees 10's or Hybrid 9's for double drop tunings like double drop D or B.

Hailey Luke says:

What about hybrids?

Alex Avila says:

I use the yellow heavy 11's for standard and 1/2 step down on my jazzmaster

Nick Broussard says:

Am I the only one who has been playing guitar for a while and still uses 9s even tho I play metal?

Big 'Ol Dingus says:

Shrek Guitar Tutorials


speak slower… pleassssee

Jm Cresencio says:

as a beginner i started with 10-46 with my floyd rose and slowly began shifting to 10-52 as an intermediate player(btw my acoustic had some 12-56 on em even when i was still a beginner(biggest regret in my playing journey) so 10-52 ain't that bad) but started experiencing more muscle tension on the hand since i got so used to fast alternate picking with 46s and not 52s, but 10-52s are the best for heavy riffing together with easy pinch harmonics and bending

Lynn Collett says:

Go big or go home!

Lynn Collett says:

I personally like the Dean markley blue steel strings but they just don't make them in heavy enough gauge from my playing these days!

Grzegorz Zawadzki says:

Ernie Ball has too less sizes.
There's no equivalent for D'Addario 11-56. 11-48, 11-52 and 11-54 sets are useless because of much oversized 0.22 G-string and thinner bottom.
Thicker strings = less transient harmonics. Strings should have balanced tension between each other and sufficient overall tension for particular tuning.

What's funny, there's no Drop tuning sets at all 😉 So called „Drop tuning optimized” always has every bass string thicker not just E-string.

Charlie Shaw says:

I use beefy slinky in e flat with high action for lead and my brother uses not even slinky in e standard with even higher action for lead. String guage myths aren't true just a month ago my brother's 12-56s hurt my fingers but I moved up to 11-54s and now I can use hus 12's just fine all it take is a little time

SteveaDonna says:

Didn’t expect this much information but thanks man

MadNut321 says:

I'm that guy that plays fast shit on Beefy Slinkies

Dorian Lang says:

more likely it is a guitar neck that suits well with 9s or 10s or..other gauges, simply geometry, material of neck and how is ballanced with guitar body. Wasted a Lot of time to learn these..:) Ernies rule! 10s are for the pros

adam bruce says:

ernie ball really is good and cheaper than others i'v tried

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