Other Equipment

Favorite strings


Anyone have an absolute favorite string? I know the popular opinion is to put pure nickel strings with Dyna equipped guitars, which I did for a long time, but I just put a set of D'Addario NYXL 10-46 on my T-Armond equipped jet and wow! These strings are amazing, very smooth to the touch and so soft and springy, and as advertised, they go in tune and stay in tune incredibly well, throughout lots of bending and bigsby abuse. So it just got me wondering what people's favorite strings are and why?


For flatwounds I’d say 12 Thomastik. Because they are round core so they aren’t stiff like most flats. Pyramids are good too but I think Thomastik sound better by a small lead. Also they are nickel and that material sounds best to me.

Rounds pure nickel Fender Bullets or D’Addario. Either 10 or 9. Not sure why but these brands sound and feel the best plus pure nickel sound chimey.


As I've mentioned around here previously, I use D'Addario Flattops on my acoustics - flat tops & archtop. On my electrics it's D'Addario Half Rounds (Round Wounds from years ago I believe some of you call them). Both are made with a technique to take the crown off the wound part of the string. It most certainly doesn't produce a flat or ribbon wound string favored by jazz players, but it removes the harshness or 'noise' of standard round wound strings, mitigating the buzz from your left hand work. They're available in all standard gauges and are phosphor bronze. And they last a very long time.

Two identical guitars strung with the same phosphor bronze gauge, one standard round wound and one with either of these choices, depending on electric or acoustic, and you can't tell the difference in resonance, brightness or action. The older version of these strings - prior to D'Addario's beginning the early '90's - may have been inferior but not these.


Regular GHS (not Boomers) .10’s on everything.


I've had good luck with GHS and D'Addario. I thought D'Addario was the oldest string maker in the world, going back to the 1600s.

Anything's better than the horrid Black Diamond baling wire strings we had around decades ago.


Anything's better than the horrid Black Diamond baling wire strings we had around decades ago.

Still - I’m glad we had’em. The closest music store was in the county seat, 10 miles, every other week, and paternal rants about highway robbery away. Could you even get strings mail-order in the 60s?

Black Diamonds were at the local drug store (where I also bought records), a block away. And, thankfully, they sold singles, which fit into my budget. School lunch was 35 cents at the time, and I could skip it to buy a string.

BD strings didn’t make learning guitar easy - but they made it possible. In retrospect, it was an honorable business model.


Ernie Ball Regular Slinky on the electrics, John Pearse on the acoustics. i found out recently that Pearse also makes electric strings and so want to try them.


I remember those... Black Diamonds- you could get 'em at Woolco in the guitar section (and don't ask about the guitars, although I did buy one of them.... once upon a time). If I recall, both the wire strings were the same gauge, about .024 or so...? Plus, on my unlucky inexpensive guitars, it was the G that broke most often, leading to excess amounts of partial sets in the case's cubby and endless jokes about G-strings among my "friends".

Nowadays, Fender 250R is what it says on the box that has been supplying my electrics (.010 - .046), while I use D'Addario EXPs on all the acoustics.

Don't ask what's on the Fender Bass- they've been there so long I've forgotten!


I only have two "must have" string sets-- D'Addario J74's for my mandolins, and D'Addarrio EJ19 Bluegrass set for my full-size flat-top acoustics (shorter parlor guitars excluded).

On electrics and basses, it varies depending on the instrument.


I have a favorite string size, brand not really.....
I have been using 10-52 on most of my guitars for decades. The brand I use now is Ernie Ball but that's because my local guitar store has that size in that brand. In the past I used other brands. I think I started this size with Dean Markley strings in the early 90s because the store in my area had that brand....
I sometimes put 11s on my 60 Tele and on my Jet Firebird. Now they are EB as well but I am planning on ordering some Pyramid nickels to try 11 for those guitars.


I've always wondered about trying flatwounds, but not sure how they'd sound with overdrive, has anyone ever tried this? I imagine they are best for totally clean playing, which I rarely do...


Flats are great with drive. Just different - more composed and drier, sorta. Really great texture.


Dyna Gretsches get D'Adarrio Pure NIckle 11s. Flats sound great with Dynas too but not enough twang for what I do. Filtertrons get regular 10.5s. Teles get regular 10s

I've always liked D'Addario and the price is right. But on flattop acoustics I have tried and liked DR Pure and Martin FX ( i think they changed the name "flex core"???) but I not settled on either of them.

  1. GHS Big Core Nickel Rockers, or GHS Nickel Rockers.
  2. Dunlop Pure Nickel
  3. Fender Original 150's

I've been trying Ernie Ball's lately (got some on sale), but I think I'll go back to D'addario 10's. I've tried everything from 8's to 11's and 10's just feel the best under my fingers.


I think I'm settled on 10s with my jet, I just feel like I play more precisely and with less fatigue. I've done 11s in the past but I don't feel quite as fleet fingered, if that makes sense, and they intonate just fine on the aluminum bigsby bridge


I don't like the sound of the Ernie Balls, or the regular D'addarios. There's better tone available...try the Nickel Rockers.


I don't like the sound of the Ernie Balls, or the regular D'addarios. There's better tone available...try the Nickel Rockers.

– Billy Zoom

I love the nickel rockers! Nobody sells them around me, I gotta order some online. Youve mentioned the big core version before, do they feel similar to the regular rockers? I see theyre only in half gauges; coming from 10s, do you prefer the 9.5 or 10.5 on a jet?


I use 9.5's on a 6122 with a 25 1/2" scale. The big core makes them feel heavier than they are, so don't worry about the lighter gauge on the wound strings. I still have regular Nickel Rockers on the Jets, but I haven't used them in a few years. My arthritus prefers the longer scale. Most good strings have to be ordered online, just like most good gear in general. The usual suspects never carry anything useful to pro-players.


Ernie Ball 10-52....used to be GHS 10-60 but needed more twang. Plus I try to play gentler so don't break strings so much. In fact I try real hard NOT to change strings ever. Just don't like the sound of new strings. And I know Brian setzer sez the same thing so there!

Proteus's bridges help no end with my bad habit as they help with string longevity

But will give those nickel rockers a try as they seem popular around here.

Flatwounds? Flub a dub dub, rotten for me apart from when I pretend to play jazz


I like the Pure Blues and the Daddarios (the regular ones, their model names confuse me, and seem to change year to year). 11 gauge.


The nickel rockers are the best feeling strings in my opinion, so soft and smooth. They'd probably sound a little more balanced with my T-Armonds


I like Thomastik-Infeld JS 110 and D'Addario EXL110W.


I like:

D'Addario EJ017 for Acoustics D'Addario EJ021 for Electrics

The EJ017s are a pretty heavy gage strings which I like because I can use a pretty heavy hand to make my acoustics loud, They are phosphor bronze which make them a bit bright when new, but break in quickly and last a long time after that.

The EJ021s are a bit lighter gage, My touch is adjusted to pretty heavy strings. Don't like to change the deal too much from guitar to guitar much. These strings also have a long life.

These strings make my guitars sound right to me. I built this idea in the late '50s when I first learned to play.

I have found D'Addario's to be consistent in sound and quality.


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