To build your perfect guitar tone you might think of the guitar brand, amplifier, or pedal effects in the first place. But a good metal guitarist will think a bit into the strings. Changing the strings will make your guitar alive again. Picking the best guitar strings for metal is very crucial and hard. The materials provide the strings a completely different tone. Some are nickel wounds, some come with a heavy core and some are titanium coated and each has a difference in tone. You need to find the right strings that fit your music style.
For metal players, strings have a major impact on the sound and the playing style. But while choosing the best guitar strings for metal you need to consider some factors.
The thickness of the string
The light strings are quite easy to play and these are very good for hitting fast and light with intense rhythm. But for metal guitarists, heavy strings are recommended.
To find the best fitting string for your guitar, you have to experiment with different strings of different brands at different pitches. You will find out which one feels good to your fingers and creates more nice sounds.
For metal music, string gauges play a crucial role in terms of tunes. Light gauges are easier to play and bend feels soft on the hand, and good for beginners. Less pressure on the neck and no much tension.
The heavy gauges are hard to play with and require extra pressure. But they produce clean tones and heavy output. The medium gauges are in-between options for all players.
The heavy strings are comparatively hard to play, requiring more pressure. Bending and playing chords becomes more difficult compared to the light strings.
The hybrid strings with heavy gauge bass strings and light treble strings provide the best output for metal guitarists. Hybrid strings are the best choice for metal but they may not feel good to beginners.
The steel material made strings are bright but feels harsh on hand. They increase high-end output. The nickel strings are rich and soft on the fingers but provide a lower bass output. The nickel-plated is the in-between ground of nickel and steel. These are a versatile option.
Gauges with alternatives
Equipped with anti-sweat and moisture protection
Heavy core nickel wound strings
Comes both in nickel wound and steel strings
Specially designed for D tuning
Good build quality
Ernie Ball Skinny Bottom
Heavy bass strings
Steel-plated nickel wounding strings
DR Strings DDT-11
.011 to .054 gauges
Dots lock easily
High tuning stability
High carbon steel constructed
Range from .010 to .052
DR Strings HI-DEF Neon
Hexagonal core adds more durability
K3 neon coating increases sound clarity
Silver and nickel-plated wraps
Ernie Ball Coated Electric Titanium RPS
Titanium RPS and Titanium wrap wire
Hex core high carbon steel
Nickel-plated wrap wire
1. Dunlop DHCN1254
Dunlop DHCN1254 is a heavy core nickel wound string that is equipped in California with anti-sweat and moisture protection. Also, they were sealed in specially-designed vapor corrosion inhibitor bags.
The DHCN1254 comes with gauges of .012, .016, .020, .032, .042 and.054 that offer customizations to your tone. There are two different alternatives offered by the brand and the alternatives are .010 to .048 and .012 to .054.
You can be more aggressive with these Dunlop metals but you will have neat and clean sound because their core wire and proprietary wrap ratios are selected very carefully.
You can play at the low end, midrange, or smooth high end as well as clean or distorted tones by using these strings. You can play as you like to play. According to the brand, as they wrapped the strings, they will not fall out of tone even if you play aggressively.
This heavy core string is great for distortion as well as plays amazing cleans on a combo amp.
2. DÁddario EXL117
The DÁddario comes with a huge range of different strings suitable for jazz, rock and metal. The EXL117 gauges are amazing for drop tuning and specially designed for D tuning. These strings come in both nickel wound .032, .044, .056 and steel strings .011, .014, .019. The high strings are made of metal and low strings are made of nickel which gives comfort and versatility for all genres.
The higher nickel strings provide clean high-end sound, excellent for solo and riffs. This can cause a bit issue if you play extremely low tuning or lower than D. These taller and round nickel made strings provide clear, premium sound which is also great for solo. These versatile strings produce distorted noises or solo and riffs.
The EXL117 comes with high build quality, manufactured in the USA. These strings are highly rated and affordable.
3. Ernie Ball Skinny Bottom
This Ernie ball skinny bottom string is one of the best options for your metal guitar. This nickel wound comes with a variety of gauges.
The .030, .042, .052 are heavy bass strings, for easy playability it also has .010, .013 and .017 as lighter strings. These strings are recommended for heavy metal players.
These strings are considered one of the most popular electric guitar strings for creating such smooth play and medium to high output. These steel-plated nickel wounding strings can not produce loud sound. If you prefer a loud sound then you may have to think about alternatives.
These strings are optimized to create a heavy vibe and powerful rhythm and this hybrid set is great for lead players.
4. DR Strings DDT-11
This is another set of amazing strings that comes with ACT- Accurate Core Technology which means they are made of hexa core wire that works as a holder and locks the nickel-plated steel wrap wire that brings more stability to the strings.
In terms of dots, the DR strings are heavy 11-54 (Drop Down Tuning) electric guitar strings. These dots are able to directly go to the tune. It allows you to deliver more power from your guitar with very precise tones.
Dots acn lock easily whenever you change tuning without any constant adjustments. The DDT strings are offered in ‘Big Heavy’ of .010 to .052 and ‘Mega Heavy’ of .013 to .065, both of them are very good choices for aggressive playing.
These strings come with .011, .015, .019, .032, .042 and .054 gauges and these gauge options allow you to customize your music as your preferences.
These special materials built strings are capable of absorbing high shock or pressure which ensures durability and long life.
5. DÁddario NYXLs
Here comes another excellent set of strings from one of the most popular string bands in the world DÁddario. They have made some of the best strings for the metal guitarists. They have done some impressive development to this NYXL string series which improved stability, strings are now bent more, serve long and stay in tune.
The NYXL is high carbon steel fabricated and nickel plated by the ‘heat-twisting’ process. This hybrid set has heavy bass and light treble.
This set comes with a hybrid light top and heavy bottom range of string gauge and the range are .010 to .052. These are technology packed strings.
These strings have more tuning stability and more strength that can hold tune for long. These are very good choices for aggressive string bends and high rhythm performances.
6. DR Strings HI-DEF Neon
DR Hi-Def Neon Pink guitar strings are designed for good performance as well as to give a different look to your guitar. This is a perfect option for those who look for good quality strings with a cool look.
This set glows under UV Black-lightning.
This is not only popular for its look but also its features. These strings feature a hexa core that makes them durable and serves for a long time. The wound strings are silver covered and nickel-plated steel that will produce very clean and precise tones without having adjustment all the time.
These Hi-Def Neon strings come with K3 coating which improves sound clarity and less unwanted high-pitch tones.
This set comes with gauges of .011, .014, .018, .028, .038, .050 that will allow you to customize your music.
7. Ernie Ball Coated Electric Titanium RPS
Ernie Ball Coated Electric Titanium RPS is another top-notch product in the market made by string-making technology. They come with nanotechnology that will protect moisture and oil so that your instrument's performance doesn’t get any negative effects.
These are very durable and reliable in terms of playing any tone with two types of wrap wire and carbon steel hex core. The wrapped wire which is titanium made that increases the durability as well as stability of the tune.
Also, the nickel-plated wrap wire will produce a balanced sound and less frequent adjustment.
These strings have a range of gauges from .012 to .056. Though the strings are coated they do feel good like unprotected strings and that doesn’t affect the sound.
Ernie Ball Coated Electric Titanium RPS comes from a very well-known brand and they are very well-crafted. They are also popular for producing excellent sound with quality. With heavy use like metal, heavy metal, they could last a bit short.
Strings have a big impact on the sound of your playing style. So, it's very important to choose the best one for you. If you feel like your strings became old, they aren’t sounding good, and need replacement then this review may help you to find the best guitar strings for metal. Best of luck!
You can also read Best Acoustic Guitar Strings for Beginners.