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If you’re looking for a new set of guitar strings and you primarily play blues, this guide should help you. Guitar strings are a very personal preference, so I can’t tell you to buy a specific string. You are going to need to try out a few sets to see which you personally prefer.
In this guide, I have some recommendations for electric and acoustic guitar strings which are very popular among blues guitarists. It’s a good idea to try out a few sets to find the ones which best suit you’re playing. I will also talk about the different gauges and the advantages and disadvantages of heavier/lighter strings.
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Best Guitar Strings for Blues
When it comes to choosing the specific brand of string, there’s no right answer to which is best. It all comes down to personal preference and the only way to know which strings you like is by trying them out with your own rig.
Having said that, there are some strings which are particularly popular with blues guitarists. You can find them in the table below. I would recommend choosing a set, trying them out, and if you like them, keep them. If not, try a different brand the next time you restring.
Popular Electric Guitar Strings for Blues
Below you can find some of the most popular electric guitar strings for blues. The links will take you to strings with a gauge of 9/46. This gauge is a good choice for blues (especially for beginners) because they are light in the top strings which makes bending easier, but heavier in the bottom strings which gives a thicker sound. You might want to try a different gauge but these are a good starting point. I talk more about gauges further down the page.
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Popular Acoustic Guitar Strings for Blues
If you’re looking for acoustic guitar strings for blues, the strings below are a good place to start. When choosing a gauge, you really need to think about what type of blues you will be playing. If you will be using a lot of bending, lighter strings will definitely help you with that.
Choosing the Right Gauge
The gauge of a guitar string refers to how thick the strings are. Lighter strings are generally easier to play, particularly when bending, but they don’t have as thick and full of a sound. Heavier strings are the opposite. They are harder to bend but have a fuller, thicker sound and will resonate more.
Guitar string packets will display the gauge of each individual string and usually whether they are extra-light, light, medium, heavy, etc. A smaller number means a lighter string.
For beginners, lighter strings are a better option. They are easier to bend which is something you will probably be doing a lot if you’re playing blues. You don’t want to go too light though because you will have to be very precise with your fretting of super light strings or they will sound out of tune as they will bend so easily.
If you want the fuller sound of thicker strings but your technique isn’t the best, I would recommend starting with some lighter strings, work on your technique, and then every time you restring, try the next gauge up. Below is a great video to help improve your bending technique.
Hybrid Gauge Strings
Hybrid gauge strings are sets of strings where the bottom strings are heavier and the top strings are lighter. This gives you the best of both worlds because the bottom strings will give you that thick bluesy sound, but the lighter top strings will make bending and soloing a little easier.
The electric guitar strings in the table further up the page are hybrid strings and are a great place to start if you’re not sure which gauge is the best for you.
When it comes to buying guitar strings for blues, there is no “best” string. It all comes down to personal preference. Try out a few of the different strings on this page and see if you can find a set you like. If you struggle with bending, try a lighter gauge or a hybrid set of strings. If you don’t have any problems with bending and want a thicker sound, try a heavier set of strings.