The Bluest Strings for the Bluesiest Musicians

Have you been feeling a little blue, out of the blue, because you can’t play the blues that your soul feels and craves to play? Have you tried anything and everything in your power to sound better, from changing guitars, going from acoustic to electric and back again, all kinds of tonewoods and all kinds of sliders? Has nothing worked and are you down to your last resort? Changing the strings might be a solution for you.

You see, sometimes the reason why you can’t get your music to sound as moody, dirty, or just plain as moving as the blues you hear on the radio is that you might have a set of strings that needs changing. Whether this be because they are old and strung out (ha, ha) or because they were made by a subpar manufacturer, the solution is easy. Go look for the best blues guitar strings on the internet, ask your trusty friend, and maybe you will find something to solve your problem. Since you’re here, let me offer you some suggestions.

What Are The Best Guitar Strings for Blues

Check Price
DR Strings Pure Blues Pure Nickel Wrap Round Core 10-464.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)Check on Amazon
D'Addario EXP115 Coated Electric Guitar Strings, Medium/Blues/Jazz4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)Check on Amazon
Ernie Ball 3451 Acoustic Guitar String, Rock/Blues 3-pack4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)Check on Amazon
GHS Strings DYM Guitar Boomers, Medium (.013-.056)4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)Check on Amazon
Dean Markley Blue Steel Electric Guitar Strings, 10-464.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)Check on Amazon

DR Strings Pure Blues Pure Nickel Wrap Round Core 10-46

DR Strings Pure Blues Pure Nickel Wrap Round Core 10-46There is no school cooler than the old school, is what my older cousin used to say. He wasn’t necessarily wrong, in the sense that the old school instruments and the sound induce the nostalgia effect which makes us like the instrument so much more. I am also a firm believer in progress – everything gets better with time and improvement. Sometimes the two worlds collide, where the best of the old school is taken and mixed up with the best modern technology has to offer. What we get is something exceptional. Something like DR Strings Pure Blues Pure Nickel Wrap Round Core 10-46. These slightly thinner medium gauge electric guitar strings are a treat to play. They are very sturdy for medium gauge strings, but they are also extremely flexible, allowing for all kinds of techniques to be used endlessly and without worry on them. Sure they will end up breaking some time, but this time won’t be coming any day soon. These vintage-style strings do have an update: a pure nickel wounding around the core. The nickel lends the strings a nice punch that you will feel from the moment you start playing the strings, until the very moment they break. These are one of the best electric guitar strings for blues.

D’Addario EXP115 Coated Electric Guitar Strings, Medium/Blues/Jazz

D_Addario EXP115 Coated Electric Guitar Strings, Medium-Blues-JazzWhen you have been making strings for hundreds of years you end up eventually instinctively making great strings, eventually. I have pointed this out many times, as many as I have mentioned this manufacturer, and I will keep pointing it out: D’Addario make strings that are in a league of their own in terms of quality. This shows a lot of their strings are in regular use among a large number of musicians around the world. All of them appreciate the quality and love the manufacturer puts into their strings. Just look at the D’Addario EXP115 Coated Electric Guitar String, Medium size, made for the sake of Blues and Jazz. These medium gauge strings are perfect for your shocking, energetic, electric blues guitar songs. They are just flexible enough to allow you to play with them the way you want, but their durability and relative thickness as compared to the above spoken of strings allows you to enjoy the fullness of tone and the slight bit of resistance you have come to appreciate in your playing. Nobody likes things that come too easily, right? The price of these strings shares this sentiment, being set a little higher than the rest of the products on the page. It is to be expected of a high quality product.

Ernie Ball 3451 Acoustic Guitar String, Rock/Blues 3-pack

Ernie Ball 3451 Acoustic Guitar String, Rock-Blues 3-packNot all blues musicians are electric guitar players. A large number of them have an acoustic guitar strapped across their chest or pressed down on their knee and honestly, that is the way I like my musicians. Well not mine, but you know, that is the way I like musicians who perform blues, holding an acoustic guitar. I appreciate their music and how they play it, which is why to all of you acoustic guitar players, I would like present the Ernie Ball 3451 Acoustic Guitar String for Rock and Blues. Not only that, but it is a three-pack of strings, so you get a whole lot of goods of outstanding quality. Ernie Ball is a popular string maker because the strings they produce are out-of-this-world good. They are made so that the acoustic instrument musicians feel just as appreciated as they need to be. These medium gauge strings have struck a beautiful balance between the fullness of sound, flexibility and playability. The value you get out of this package is incredible: you get three sets of high-quality strings for the price of two, meaning that you won’t have to worry about picking up a new set for a long time. Knowing the durability of these strings I might as well boldly say: for a few years.

GHS Strings DYM Guitar Boomers, Medium (.013-.056)

GHS Strings DYM Guitar Boomers, Medium (.013-.056)If you feel like the medium gauge guitar strings for electric guitars get a little on the side of thing that you don’t like, I have a nice surprise for you. I myself appreciate a nice thick string that can take a good beating while producing a swell, full sound. These strings do not necessarily have to be the thickest gauge, but they do have to be sturdy. This is why I really do appreciate the work of GHS. Their work is top-notch most of the time and when it is not top-notch, it is definitely good quality. The GHS Strings DYM Guitar Boomers, medium gauge .0013-.056 strings are some of the thickest medium strings you can get your hands on. These sturdy fellers will serve through as much trouble as you take them through, being as resistant to corrosion as they are resistant to the force of your playing. Being thick as they are it gets a little harder to bend them right, but that means nothing if you have a trained hand. You will be able to get the sound you want out of them, because the full tones sound incredible. As long as your try, you will get these strings to do anything you want them to do. They were made for electric guitars, but they’re gauge allows them to be used for acoustic guitars as well, but don’t expect the same quality of sound as with strings made specifically for acoustic guitars.

Dean Markley Blue Steel Electric Guitar Strings, 10-46

I’m sure most of you have at least some understanding of the process that strings undergo before they get to the market. It’s partly because that knowledge is essential for us, as players, as we have to choose our strings with attention to detail. But since we aren’t experts in the field, we can’t know all the techniques that are used to create the best sounding strings. That’s probably why I was so amazed when I found out about the methodology employed by Dean Markley. Their Blue Steel electric guitar strings are cryogenically frozen with a blast of liquid nitrogen. Why the hell would they do that? – you might ask. I’ll try to answer that question with simple words: by freezing, they minimize the space between molecules. This method is supposed to create a more consistent sound with well-defined highs and lows. When it comes to the material itself, the Mandolin wire hex-core is covered with nickel-plated steel outer wrap. We’ve chosen the Regular style, with the string gauge of 10-46, because it’s an optimal size for any electric blues guitar. Dean Markley Blue Steel strings are affordable and durable, and will stay in perfect condition for a really long time. And the sound? That’s where you have to listen to find out! 

Before we get into this I’d like to make a few disclaimers and throw a few commentaries your way that, while you might not find them pleasant, might be constructive towards your music and your future attitude towards playing an instrument.

The problem a lot of people have with “sounding right” when attempting to play in the confines of a genre is not that they do not have the right tools for it, but that they do not actually know how to play the instrument well enough. While you might have a solid grasp of the basics of the guitar and might know what some of the more popular blues guitar chords are, this does not mean that you actually understand how to play blues music. It takes months of practice to actually get good at playing the guitar and then to be able to conform to a certain genre. So my suggestion is, before changing the strings on your guitar, ask yourself – how much of a beginner of the instrument are you?

The same goes for professionals. While you might be amazing at playing different genres of music, you might have difficulty getting to play a new genre without having an understanding of how it works. Do a little bit of research of the techniques of the blues guitar musician and then you will start sounding like one, without having to dip into your savings account for new gear.

Ignore the previous comments if you are already a blues musician and are simply looking for a new set of good strings. Let’s get into that discussion right now.

What makes good blues guitar strings?

A question that has bothered me since I for the very first time decided to play blues. The reality is, just like with any other sets of strings, the best blues guitar string sets are a very individual things. There are several things to consider when picking up a new set, and most of these things are a result of experimentation and understanding what you want out of your strings. Still, there are a few things you know right away, without experimentation, that you can use to help you pick out a set of strings.

First and foremost you need to look at your instrument. Take a good long look at it and answer this: is it an electric guitar or an acoustic one? For those of you who did not know – yes it does make a difference. There are musicians who prefer acoustic and there are those who prefer electric. For them the gauges of the string sets are different. For you too, they will be different, so make sure you are looking at the right type of strings, dedicated to your instrument.

Now that we know the basics, here comes stuff that is a little more detail-oriented.

The gauge of your strings determines the fullness of sound they produce and the ease of play. The thing is that blues loves itself some thick, saucy sound that feels tangible. At the same time, blues guitar players enjoy bending and in general playing with their notes. This means that a certain level of malleability is appreciated. This means that most blues guitar players will find the medium gauge the most comfortable for them. That is 0.011-0.050 for electric guitars and 0.013-0.056 for acoustic guitars.

Now there are still those who like to make life harder for themselves. These people will sway between light and heavy gauges. Whichever you choose there will be a tradeoff – the easy bendability and high malleability of the light gauge strings comes with a flatter sound and much less durability. The opposite is true for heavy gauges – they will be much harder to bend and play with but they will produce a much thicker tone as well as be much more resistant to your picking.

The material you should definitely consider making your strings of is definitely Chrome. The tones produced by this material are very warm and less resonant, giving you the chance for much more speed in your playing. This does not mean that other materials are much worse – in actuality, you can use any material you like for playing blues music, it is just chrome is more prevalent in the genre thanks to its characteristics.


After going through the list of the best blues guitar strings and the general discussion about them, you might find yourself picking up a set or two. You might find yourself sitting in a room, full of light, smoke, and silence. You will stare down at your guitar as you string it up, reflecting on what you have been doing wrong up to the very point in time you are in. Guitar techniques, musical riffs, chords, and tones you found to be not good enough to compare to the greats that once were. You might find yourself wondering, why you keep playing, day in and day out, when you cannot achieve anything those before you have already achieved.

When you strike the first chord you might feel disappointed because the guitar doesn’t sound anything like John Lee Hooker’s guitar did. You will keep playing something, but you will not feel like it can compete. If that does happen to you I want you to remember something that John Lee Hooker himself said: “I don’t play a lot of fancy guitars. I don’t want to play it. The kind of guitar I want to play is mean, mean licks”. Now that might not make a lot of sense right now, but think of it this way: the man was not trying to measure up to anyone. He was not competing with anyone.

He did not try to play fancy guitar because his guitar playing was not intended to impress anyone who came before or after him. His music existed only because he wanted to play it. It was his own child that was created for the sake of himself, enjoyment, and fun. It was pure musical genius because it was a musical reflection of who he is. Take a pointer or two from him then. Don’t try to compete or compare yourself to anyone. Admiration does not mean you have to compare yourself, it means you can learn from them and build upon them. It means that you have the chance to use their influence to build something unique. Play your own music, is what I’m saying.

Good Luck!


  1. Some players, like the late great SRV who used very heavy strings would tune down a half step to make it easier to bend the strings. This does not work however, if you are playing to jam track as they generally play at concert pitch.


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