Last Updated Jul-31-2018.

You watching: Metal guitar strings

We made a couple of small tweaks to this article to make it much easier to navigate, although none of our chart referrals readjusted – we still love these strings! We also included a couple of new answers to some of your many demanded concerns.

If you live for heavy rock and also metal, and also love riffing together with the likes of Metallica, Megadeth, Mastodon, and also Avenged Sevenfold, this is the strings web page for you!

However before, prior to you dive in to this excessive genre, tbelow are a couple of points you have to consider – especially if you are a beginner. Firstly it’s crucial you discover a great metal guitar – one that will enable you to perform to your potential. Somepoint with mindset, something via warm pickups, and also somepoint that have the right to take a beating.

But finding the right steel guitar is just fifty percent the battle – equally essential to nailing that expensive metal tone is finding the best strings. And that is where this write-up will certainly aid you. We have ready a quick list of some of the top strings for steel obtainable on the market today, and a guide to buying the best strings for you, prior to looking at four of the a lot of famous string brands for metal playing.

6 Recommended Guitar Strings for Metal:

ImageGuitar Strings / RatingSummaryCheck Price
Dunlop DHCN1254 Heavy Core

Total of 4.80/5

Super hefty (.012-.054) nickel-wound steel strings, crafted especially for dropped tunings.

DR Strings DDT-11 Heavy

Total of 4.80/5

Built for dropped-down tunings, these .011-.054 strings boast awesome tuning stcapability.

D"Addario EXL116 Strings

Total of 4.70/5

Very popular nickel-wound hybrid strings, via a tool top/heavy bottom gauge (.011-.052).

Ernie Ball Not Even Slinky

Total of 4.80/5

Strong and also chunky .012-.056 gauged strings with a protective RPS coating.

Ernie Ball Skinny Top Heavy Bottom

Total of 4.60/5

A hybrid set of Ernie Ball’s Slinky array, via a gauge of .010-.052.

DR Strings NPE-11

Total of 4.50/5

Heavy gauge (.011-.050) luminescent neon pink strings for a visual impact!



Scottish engineer Jim Dunlop started his company in The golden state in 1965, and it has actually considering that gone on to come to be one of the leading accessories brands – supplying everything from impacts pedals to plectrums. Their strings are likewise hugely renowned with heavy rockers and also metalheads, many thanks to their innovation and affordable prices. So it’s no surprise to learn that thousands of top-selling professional artists usage Dunlop strings, including some of metal’s best known guitarists: Bill Kelliher (Mastodon), Jeff Loomis (Nevermore), Zacky Vengeance (Avenged Sevenfold), and also Slayer’s Jeff Hanneman to name a couple of. Dunlop have a good option of strings for metal, consisting of their timeless Heavy Core array, which are crafted specifically for dropped tunings, using nickel-wound steel. These come in ‘Heavy’, ‘Heavier’, and ‘Heaviest’ gauges, with the latter coming in at .012-.054, which is perfect for super aggressive playing. Dunlop also offer signature strings for a number of metal artists, including the Kerry King Icon Series – a collection through a gauge of .010-.046, that likewise provides a secondary extra-thick E string (.052) to provide guitarists a platcreate on which to tune dvery own low.

DR Strings

DR Strings are a renowned New Jersey-based brand that have remained in company because 1989. They have actually a large range of string sets; many kind of particularly tailored to the heaviest rock and also metal players. An superior roster of big-name steel guitarists and also bands use DR Strings, consisting of Meshuggah, Reaping Asmodeia, Fozzy, and Ozzy Osbourne’s guitarist Gus G. One of their the majority of popular and also reliable string sets for the heavier player is the Drop-Dvery own Tuning series – boasting awesome tuning stability at a selection of super hefty gauges, ranging from the relatively conventional ‘Big Heavy’ (.010-.052) to their ‘Mega Heavy’ (.013-.065). For fans of the late, excellent Dimebag Darrell – that used DR Strings until his untimely death in 2004 – it’s worth checking out DR’s Dimebag Darrell Signature series, which come in a range of steel gauges, and also are treated through DR’s StringLife polymer coating for included durability. Earlier we mentioned DR’s commitment to developing visually memorable strings; whether that’s insane neon colors, or their black coated strings, Black Beauties, that can absolutely assist give your guitar a sinister visual edge.


While they aren’t an all-out metal brand also, D’Addario are among the oldest and also best-known string manufacturers in the civilization, and have actually many type of string series that are outstanding for heavy rock and also metal playing. With such a good track-record, D’Addario unsurprisingly have a long list of professional metal guitarists and bands making use of their strings – a lot of notably Mark Tremoni of Alter Bridge and also Creed, and also Brent Hinds of Mastodon, who both usage EXL116 Nickel Wound hybrid strings, featuring a medium top/heavy bottom (gauged .011-.052) for a bideal, effective tone that’s optimized for down tuning. Another metal-friendly D’Addario collection well worth looking at is their nickel-wound NYXL1052 strings, with a hybrid (light top/heavy bottom) gauge of .010-.052. The NYXL series features technology-packed strings offering numerous benefits, such as enhanced tuning stability and more strength, which is vital for expensive strings bends and aggressive rhythmic playing. If you are searching for somepoint heavier in the exact same series, their NYXL1356W strings come in an ultra heavy .013-.056 gauge, with a wound third string.

Ernie Ball

Founded in 1962 by Ernie Ball, the Californian brand have actually many type of excellent steel performance strings in their brochure, at extremely affordable prices. An impressive list of iconic heavy rock artists and bands – both classical and contemporary – are keen endorsers of Ernie Ball strings: Iron Maiden, Metallica, Judas Priest, System of a Down, and John Petrucci to name a few! In Ernie Ball’s well known Slinky series, their nickel-wound Power Slinkys, through a heavy gauge of .011-.048, are favored by guitarists (including James Hetfield) trying to find that chunky rhythmic sound and also feel, with an effective tone that’s crucial for heavy rock. For the lead player, the classical Slinky variety additionally has an extremely well-known Skinny Top Heavy Bottom hybrid string series, which offers you the tone and defense of heavy bass strings (.030, .042, .052), with the lightness and playcapacity of .010, .013, and .017 on the trebles. If long-life strings are the question, Ernie Ball’s ‘Not Even Slinky’ strings, with a huge .012-.056 gauge, can be the answer, as they feature both titanium-reinforced modern technology and progressed RPS micro-coating.

While the four in this section are all extremely recommended, they are by no indicates the only brands that develop metal-worthy strings. Be sure to check out the offerings from manufacturers such as GHS, Rotosound, Elixir, Cleartone, Dean Markley, and Stringjoy, among others.

Guide to Buying The Right Metal Strings For You

In our mega short article, concentrating on finding the ideal guitar strings for you, we talk around how you don’t just want ‘the ideal strings’, but ‘the finest strings for the style of music you play’. And as soon as it concerns metal, there are some crucial differences once compared to constant electrical guitar strings.

See more: List Of Guitar Manufacturers & Brands Of Acoustic Guitars, Manufacturers & Brands Of Acoustic Guitars

Before we acquire began, it’s worth stating that if you are making use of a bass guitar you will want to examine out our web page on the best bass strings, which contains recommendations for bass strings made specifically for hefty rock and also steel.


Back to guitar strings, and the gauge is perhaps the most necessary thing as soon as it pertains to strings for metal. The factor is simple – Drop C, Drop D, and also primarily low-tuned tools tfinish to be conventional in this genre, and in the majority of instances you will desire to tune your guitar low to accomplish those deep, bass-affluent, ominous tones associated through metal. If this is the instance, traditional regular or light gauge electrical guitar strings just won’t reduced it. A detuned light string will certainly end up also loose and also flimsy, affecting your tone and the playcapability. No, for metal you need a heavier gauge if you desire to make an affect.

This is why many type of metal guitarists will certainly go for dedicated metal strings, or general sets through a tool or hefty gauge. While not all brands are the same, you’ll generally find the gauge .011-.050 in a medium collection and roughly .012-.054 in a hefty collection. These heavy strings exert more push on the neck of a guitar, so aren’t suitable for vintage models, but their thickness will certainly create great volume and sustain, and are more steadrapid and also long lasting – managing aggressive playing with ease.

The downside of hefty strings is that they are mainly harder to play via – it takes even more pressure to stress the note, while string bending and fast lead playing is also even more difficult. So deciding exactly how thick to go deserve to be a headache. This is wbelow some string brands really shine, emerging innovative hybrid sets that pair heavier gauge bass strings via lighter trebles, offering metal guitarists the best of both civilizations. Again, these gauges vary, yet you may find something prefer a .010-.052 that will make for straightforward soloing and rock-stable low riffs.


The material used to construct the string also plays an essential component in the tone and also feel. Metalheads commonly choose playing through pure nickel, nickel-plated steel, or stainless-steel strings as they market the right mix of warmth and brightness, via the response necessary for a high output.


Coatings are additionally a vital element of string construction to think about, for both durcapability, playcapability, and also aesthetics. Some brands – such as Elixir, or D’Addario’s EXP series – market a micro-fine coating that protects the strings from dirt, rust and also moisture, to give the string a life that can last approximately five times as lengthy. While not a specialized hefty steel collection, Elixir’s NANOWEB Coated Heavy strings market a considerable .012-.052 gauge that’s perfect for steel.

As for the aesthetic side, you have the right to find brands offer a myriad of colored strings that deserve to provide you a visual edge on stage. DR Strings (as we look at additionally below) offer every little thing from extroverted Neon Pink strings to super patriotic Neon American Flag strings (2 red, two white, and two blue) all in metal-friendly heavy gauges. Well worth considering for metal guitarists taking to the phase.

Finally, if you play metal, you may have actually – or hope to move on to – a 7-string guitar. While it’s not the simplest instrument for a complete beginner to get to grips through, 7-string guitars are awesome for steel playing. If this is the case, it goes without saying that you require a details string collection catering for all salso strings – somepoint prefer Dunlop’s DHCN1060 Heavy Core, with a gauge of .010-.060 must carry out the trick.

What are the Best Metal Strings for Beginners?

As we have mentioned somewhere else in this post, metal-particular strings tend to be heavy-gauged in nature, to provide chunky rhythms and cope via dropped tunings. However before, thicker strings deserve to be a small tough for beginners to acquire to grips via, as they take more initiative to worry and bend.

A set of typical medium or light strings – as uncovered on our web page of the finest electrical guitar strings – might not give the same beefy tone, however they have the right to be more suited to beginners discovering the basics. You have the right to always upgrade to a collection of metal-certain strings once you are even more comfortable through the fundamentals. However before, if you feel you deserve to cope through the included heft of metal strings, there is no reason a finish beginner can’t learn with the strings on this web page.

Are Hybrid Strings Good for Metal?

Yes – hybrid strings are GREAT for metal! As we have actually detailed, hybrid strings incorporate heavier-gauged bass strings with lighter trebles to provide a thick low-finish tone (frequently in dropped tunings), while still permitting for ease of play as soon as it pertains to shredding. As chunky rhythm and also searing solos are a staple of metal, hybrid strings are normally awesome for this genre.

When is it Time to Change Guitar Strings?

You have the right to normally tell when your guitar strings should be readjusted. Aside from looking discolored or corroded, the strings might feel dry and also unpleasant to play with, while your guitar might endure tonally. You might want to readjust the strings monthly if you are playing the guitar consistently, but otherwise the recommended string-adjust period is either eincredibly 100 hours or three months (whichever comes first).

What is the Best Tone for Metal (Bbest or Warm)?

First let’s conveniently try to specify what we intend by ‘warm’ and ‘bright’, which isn’t a simple task as these tones are subjective. Still, when guitarists talk about warmth, they are regularly referring to a smooth, thick easy-going tone, while brightness is more colorful, sparkly, clean and also metallic.

Brightness is forced for mix-cutting solos, while warmth stops your tone from sounding overly clinical (particularly via energetic pickups). Normally, steel guitarists go for a string that strikes an excellent balance between the two – either pure nickel, nickel-plated steel, or stainless-steel strings.

The Final Word

We’ve spanned what provides a good steel guitar string and some of the string brands that deserve to resolve you up through something exceptional. However before it’s currently up to you to experiment with some various sets, gauges, products and also coatings, to view what fits your playing style. Keep trying, and also ultimately you’ll uncover the perfect string for you and also your steel guitar.

See more: The 10 Best Guitar Companies, The Top 11 Best Acoustic Guitar Brands

Finally, buying brand-new guitar strings normally leads to changing your strings – they won’t carry out any kind of excellent sitting in the packet! If you’re a beginner, you might want a little help through changing your strings for the initially time. Check out this valuable comprehensive video on just how to adjust your electrical guitar strings, which will certainly guide you through the procedure step-by-step – you’ll be up and also playing in no time.

Categories: Review