Metal, whether black, thrash or death, is an important element of the world music’s ecosystem. Within this single genre hundreds of tropes persist that allow people listening to it to open themselves up to the world. The emotional burden carried by the heavy tones and sustained sound is dissipated into the world through sonic force, instead of physical force. Metal allows relief of those harder to handle and rationalize emotions that so many of us feel day to day. Dozens of teens and grown men and women start listening to and playing metal every day. A way to escape the stress of the everyday life, helping us all survive day in day out. Which is why it is important to keep the music as high quality as possible. The best instruments, the best amps, the best distortion, accessories and just as importantly, the best guitar strings for metal are needed to support the healthy habit that is heavy metal music.
Table of Contents
- 1 Top 5 Best Guitar Strings for Metal
- 1.1 Ernie Ball Beefy Slinky Nickel Wound Set, .011 – .054
- 1.2 GHS Strings R+RM Nickel Rockers, Rollerwound Pure Nickel, Medium
- 1.3 DR Strings Tite Fit Electric Round Core 11-5
- 1.4 D’Addario NYXL1254 Nickel Wound Electric Guitar Strings, Heavy
- 1.5 Dunlop DHCN1060 Heavy Core Nickel Wound Guitar Strings, 7 Strings
- 2 So what makes good metal strings?
- 3 Conclusion
Top 5 Best Guitar Strings for Metal
So what makes you want to pick up strings dedicated specifically to metal? If you are a beginner in the genre and are simply looking to replace your current strings for no other reason than sounding metal then heed my advice – do not be in a hurry. The strings you have currently are perfectly adequate to perform the heavy, sustain induced sounds that you would like to hear more of. Going ahead and buying new strings simply because you want to sound more metal will only result in you spending more money, having two sets of strings and not really sounding much more metal than before.
The idea behind picking up strings specifically designed for metal is to use them right. This means you have to be able to play the strings that you already have well enough to invest in the strings dedicated to a single genre. Practice with what you have – probably a medium gauge set of strings. These will help you master all of the techniques required to play the guitar well, as well as techniques that are mostly exclusive to metal, with ease. You will be able to practice without putting too much strain on your fingers and eventually, once you are capable enough with the guitar, you will not have a problem moving on to heavier gauges (if you prefer them). When you finally get the metal exclusive strings, you will have a lot of an easier time playing them, and way more fun hearing and bringing out the different sounds of your new strings.
So what makes good metal strings?
A great question if I have ever heard anyone ask. Well done random person on the internet who I am assuming asked the same question I did when I was first buying guitar strings. To be honest, nobody really knows and a lot of people say that it is entirely up to the individual. I think that is not necessarily the case. While there are many types of guitar players, all of whom enjoy playing a certain way, most metalhead guitarists have one thing on their mind: heavy. At least initially, until their mastery of the instrument allows to see them beyond the basics. “Heavy” as such implies both sound and style of play – riffing, fast paced picking, and in general punishing strings by striking the chords a little more heavily. This means that both light and medium strings will have an issue lasting a long time, succumbing to wear and tearing after a short period. I believe strings, also known as the largest gauge strings available, are the ones best fitted for this type of player. The sound that these strings produce have an incredibly full feeling, and while it takes more effort to utilize them right and they might end up tiring your fretting hand easily, they will take the punishment of your heavy hand for a long time before finally succumbing.
This does not mean that only the largest gauge strings are good for metal. Just like any genre, everyone has their way of playing and if you are not a heavy handed guitar player who goes through strings faster than sonic can run then you have a world of options open to you.
Optimization is important when attempting to perform music of the highest quality. You need to tailor as many details of your instruments as possible to achieve the best possible sound you can within the limits of your genre, or your very own music. Pickups dedicated to metal that love to produce heavy, sustain filled sounds. Tonewoods that lend themselves easily to the heavy sounds. Amps that don’t just play, but declare your music unto the world. And just as importantly, the guitar strings for metal to share your soul with the world. Still, while optimization might sound as an important part of musical performance, especially for a sound as genre specific as metal, it really is not. Fortunately for the average mortals, metal is a very accepting genre, allowing people of all walks of life and sound to join in, without much worry and deliberation. While the best strings specifically for metal might enhance your musical performance in one way or another, the reality is that any strings can be used to play the sickest, darkest and scratchiest metal sounds. You don’t have to dump your favorite type of strings that you have been using to play jazz or rock and roll to get into the world of metal. The sounds you so much covet and desire to play are easy to achieve with simple tools. This is why metal is one of the most popular genres of the music in the world today – the ease of accessibility, both in how it sounds and how it is played, guarantees that all with an aptitude for the heavy music will find themselves easily joining in to the heavy metal party.