If there’s one piece of advice we’d give to any beginner who wants to take their playing seriously, it would be to take care of their guitar. That means getting a proper set up, keeping it dust free, cleaning the fretboard, and regularly changing the strings. If you’re new to playing, though, figuring out which are the best electric guitar strings for beginners can present some challenges.
What you really need to be looking for is a blend of good tone and comfort, as well as durability and tuning stability. Making the right choice on electric guitar strings can set you up to succeed from the beginning, as learning a new instrument will likely present some challenges along the way.
In this KillerGuitarRigs Review, we’ve prepared a roundup of the 7 best electric guitar string sets for new players. Throughout the reviews, we focused on tone, playability and comfort, consistency, and reliability.
So, if you’re new to the electric guitar, and you’re looking for some tips on which string set to buy next, you won’t want to miss this! Keep on reading to learn more.
- Best Electric Guitar Strings for Beginners: Our Top Picks
- Best Guitar Strings for Beginners: Individual Reviews
- How to Choose the Best Beginner Electric Guitar Strings for You
- Final Thoughts on the Best Electric Guitar Strings for Beginners
Best Electric Guitar Strings for Beginners: Our Top Picks
The D’Addario NYXL1046 NYXL Nickel Wound was our Top Pick. This set of strings was engineered to deliver enhanced durability and better performance. They provide tons of warmth and an easy feel on the fingers, making them a great choice for beginners.
Beginner guitarists looking for a good set of electric guitar strings at an incredibly affordable price should check out our Best Budget winner, the Fender 250L Super 250’s Nickel-Plated. This is a set of comfortable, light gauge strings that offer a great balance between playability and tone while remaining budget friendly.
If you’re not worried about price, and quality is your main consideration, take a look at our Editor’s Choice, the Ernie Ball 2023 Super Slinky Paradigm. This is a fantastic set for beginners who want the very best in quality, as they are borderline unbreakable! They offer exceptional tone and playability, and even come with a rust free guarantee.
Best Guitar Strings for Beginners: Individual Reviews
Offering an excellent balance of playability and tone.
As one of the biggest names in guitar strings, it comes as no surprise that our top pick is from D'Addario. The NYXL1046 offers the perfect blend between comfort and tone, while also adding superior tuning consistency. Made of premium hard carbon steel, these strings are fantastically engineered and come at a fair price.
The D’Addario NYXL1046 NYXL Nickel Wound strings were designed to provide enhanced durability and better performance when using alternate tunings. Something we really loved about these strings was the color coded ball ends – they made string changes super easy, something beginners will definitely appreciate.
We began by strumming a few open chords to get a sense of how these strings sounded. We got a warm, yet mid-forward tone, with great resonance and sustain. This was mostly thanks to the nickel-plated wrap wire that helped bring out our chords a bit more.
Another aspect that we loved about the D’Addario NYXL1046 NYXL Nickel Wound strings was that they gave us more volume and projection than most beginner friendly sets. This was true not only for strummed parts played clean, but also while we played with varying levels of distortion.
These strings are a good choice for guitarists that plan on doing a lot of bending, or just about any beginner, as the light gauge made them super easy to play. We felt that these D’Addario were comfy on the fingers, and gave us a rounded feel that was very comfortable.
Tuning stability on these strings was rock solid throughout. We didn’t need much of any stretch in time, and even as we tried several alternate tunings, these D’Addario stayed in tune throughout. Additionally, these NYXL strings come in corrosion-resistant packaging, so if you want to buy them in bulk to save money, you can do so without having to worry about their freshness once you open up the package.
Verdict: The D’Addario NYXL1046 NYXL Nickel Would is a fantastic set of strings with a great blend of tone, projection, stability, and durability. These strings not only sounded good while in standard tuning, but also remained stable for several alternate tuning tests that we performed, making them a great choice for all types of acoustic guitarists.
A comfortable and truly affordable set of strings.
Fender gives us a comfortable set of strings for beginners that want quality at a low budget. As one of the most legendary instrument manufacturing companies in history, Fender delivers great value with the 250L, offering beginners a good set of strings with fantastic tone and feel at a low price.
The Fender 250L Super 250’s Nickel-Plated strings are a light set of strings gauged .009, .011, .016, .024, .032, .042. This is an ideal size for beginners as it offers a nice mid-point between playability and tone.
We tried these strings by playing some open chords and also some easy pentatonic scales. We really liked how they felt, especially because they were comfortable to finger, and easy to bend. Everything from power chords, to open chords, runs and scales felt good with these Fender strings.
In terms of tone, these strings gave us a crisp sound with a nice balanced quality. They lent our open chords a nice open feel, which was also present for single lines and scales while in clean amp settings. For distorted tones, the Fender Super 250’s provided a nice punch well pronounced mid frequencies, which was great for clarity.
Single note runs with distortion and overdrive also sounded good on these strings, and we really liked how they responded to everything from double stops to pinch harmonics.
The Fender 250L Super 250’s Nickel-Plated come with ball ends and are round wound with nickel-plated steel wraps – nickel plated steel is a pretty common alloy for electric strings, and this is primarily because of the balanced tone they provide.
Verdict: The Fender 250L Super 250’s Nickel-Plated offer a good feel and a crisp tone, at a very affordable price. This is a light set of strings that is very easy to play and sounds good for clean and distorted settings. These strings are a great choice for beginners that are budget conscious but still want a good product to start with.
Good tone and a no break guarantee.
Ernie Ball has been at the forefront of string manufacturers for decades and offers a vast variety of guitar string sets. The Super Slinky Paradigm is one of their top products, and is highly resistant to rust and breakage, making it a great choice for beginners and professionals alike.
The Ernie Ball 2023 Super Slinky Paradigm strings deliver the classic Slinky tone that has made Ernie Ball so popular among guitarists for decades, but with a high tech twist. Paradigm strings will stay rust-free for a very long time, even if you play often, and live close to a beach or more humid areas thanks to their plasma treated wraps.
This set of nickel-plated steel strings was gauged 009, .011, .016p, .024w, .032, .042, and we loved how they felt during our tests. They have a nice bitey sound with clean amp settings and sounded fantastic on everything from open chords to scales and solos.
We also loved how they responded to our distorted tone, with a mid-forward and penetrating tone that was ideal for rock and blues. They had no problem in cutting through a mix, power chords were well defined, and solos had a nice sustain to them.
Besides sounding great, these strings were incredibly stable. The Ernie Ball 2023 Super Slinky Paradigms held their tuning remarkably well, even with heavy and extensive Stratocaster trem use. We also tried them in Drop D, and not only did they sound great but, they retained their tuning very well once again.
Ernie Ball also made sure these strings were extremely corrosion resistant. This makes them ideal for guitarists that travel and especially for those that live in coastal areas where the salty air may generate premature oxidizing. In fact Ernie Ball are so confident, that they actually offer a no rust guarantee.
Verdict: The Ernie Ball 2023 Super Slinky Paradigm is a great set of strings for beginners who might be looking for superior quality. Besides offering great tone, feel, and exceptional tuning stability, these strings are nearly unbreakable as well as corrosion resistant, making them last for a lot longer while preserving their tone, so you won’t need to change your strings quite as often.
The Ernie Ball 2223 Super Slinky Nickel Wound gave us a ton of upper mid presence from the moment we played the first lick. From high E to low E, these strings provided good resonance and sustain, and felt really good to play. This is precisely what Ernie Ball is known for, and the 2223 Super Slinky is no exception.
With clean amp settings, this Ernie Ball set sounded bright, but never shrill. While playing chords, they gave us a good representation of the entire frequency spectrum, allowing all the harmonics to come through clearly, especially at the top end. On the other hand, when we applied some distortion, these strings gave us punch and power, and reacted well to all the different levels of saturation we tried.
During our tests, we felt that these strings would be easy to learn on, as they gave us a really comfortable playing experience. We tried a few pentatonic scales, on both clean and distorted settings, and they responded very well, and were easy on the fingers.
These Ernie Balls were made with hex cores, which resulted in a more durable string, with better overall intonation. If you want a vintage tone, round cores have a slight advantage, but beginners should keep their focus on durability and consistency before worrying about vintage sounds.
Although we liked the durability, tuning stability, response, and overall feel of these Ernie Balls, we feel that their sound may be a touch too bright for some guitarists. However, this is a personal preference, as some do prefer a brighter tone.
Verdict: The Ernie Ball 2223 Super Slinky Nickel Wound provides good durability and stay in tune very well. These strings come with a brighter sound and provide a comfortable playing experience, making them a good choice for beginners.
Handmade quality for the beginner.
DR Strings has developed a great reputation among guitarists as a more boutique type of brand. Their strings are handmade and provide great tone and feel for many types of guitarists, including beginners.
The DR Strings PHR-9 Pure Blues Pure Nickel featured a round core, and came wrapped with pure-nickel wrap wire. We put them to the test and found a warm vintage tone as well as fantastic sustain.
Our clean open chords had great open quality, with a touch of vintage flavor on the timbre of each string. Although the process for making these strings is slower than you’d find with mass-produced strings, we felt that it did give the overall tone a more natural sound with a nice low-end.
We found the DR Strings PHR-9 Pure Blues Pure Nickel to be remarkably responsive to our dynamics, which is a great aspect for every possible guitarist, from beginners to professionals.
Everything we played from highly distorted riffs all the way to open chord fingerpicking patterns sounded good on these strings. That said, they do have a distinct vintage tone that may not be suitable for everyone, especially guitarists interested in playing more modern genres.
Another aspect that we liked about these DR Strings is that they remained firmly in tune during the entirety of our tests. Even with full bends and aggressive playing, our tuning remained consistent.
The playability on this set of strings is also good and will suit beginners well. They are relatively easy on the fingers. Gauged .009, .011, .016, .024, .032, .042, the PHR-9 Pure Blues Pure Nickel offers a good balance between tone and comfort. Unfortunately, being pure nickel, we did notice that they dulled a little more quickly than some of the others in the roundup.
Verdict: The DR Strings PHR-9 Pure Blues Pure Nickel strings provide guitar players with a warm vintage tone thanks to their pure-nickel wrap wire construction. Additionally, these strings offer excellent sustain and durability, and comfort, making them a good choice for players of different levels, including beginners.
Durability with a fatter tone.
This set of electric guitar strings provides fantastic durability thanks to its unique Nanoweb coating process, which ensures they stay fresh for longer periods. These strings come from a company that is renowned for offering not only a good tone and feel but also for being very resistant to rust and corrosion.
The Elixir Strings Nanoweb strings are made with a micro-thin coating for ensuring a fresh sound for longer than your average strings. We’ve long been fans of these strings, mainly thanks to their fat tone and well-balanced frequency response, paired with excellent lifespan and smooth feel.
Gauged .010, .013, .017, .026, .036, .046, our tone was punchier and fuller. Our distorted and overdriven riffs had a nice bottom end to them, with strong mids and a full top end. Single note runs also had a bigger overall quality to them, although sustain wasn’t the strongest point, as we often see with coated strings.
That depth of tone was also present when we played open chords. We particularly like how our sixth and fifth strings seemed to come alive and provide powerful yet articulate bass to each of our chords. Naturally, this is a product of having thicker strings, which typically give you a fatter sound.
However, the other side is that thicker strings are harder to play. Even though we felt that these Elixir strings were great at avoiding unnecessary friction, they were a bit harder to play and bend than models gauged at 0.9. This will not be a problem for more experienced players, but beginners may want to opt for a string that is a bit easier on the finger.
Verdict: The Elixir Strings 12052 Nanoweb strings are a good choice for beginner players that have stronger hands and want a fat sound. They responded well to our touch and come with the great benefit of lasting longer than your regular string.
Fantastic feel and tone straight out of Nashville.
These strings are produced in Nashville, Tennessee. With a round wound design (nickel plated over steel) these strings are as strong as they are comfortable, providing beginners with a nice choice for light-gauge electric guitar strings.
The Stringjoy Signatures Nickel-wound Balanced set of strings gave us a forward and full tone as soon as we hit the first power chord. They had a balanced frequency response that let all of our harmonic content clearly come through, and provided fantastic clarity and note separation, even with high gain settings.
We liked how these strings sounded as well as how they responded to different playing techniques for different genres. For instance, we got a nice open tone while playing simple open-chord songs on clean, and a snappy sound while running some blues solos all over the fretboard.
We also loved the consistency of tone that this Stringjoy set gave us, as well as their tuning stability. Although these strings are light-gauged, they come with strengthened string tension on the 2nd and 6th strings. We liked how this gave us a balanced playing feel, but more inexperienced beginners may not adjust well to the feel.
Verdict: The Stringjoy Signatures Nickel-wound Balanced strings provide a nice snappy tone with good projection and consistency of tone. With a nice feel on the fingers that will be comfortable for beginners, as well as good tuning stability, these strings are a fantastic choice for anyone starting out on electric guitar.
How to Choose the Best Beginner Electric Guitar Strings for You
Choosing the best electric guitar strings for beginners can greatly impact your playing experience and the sound of your instrument. Below we share a few considerations to take into account when selecting electric guitar strings.
The gauge of a string determines how thick it is. Lighter gauge strings are generally easier to play, making them ideal for beginners. You can play them with less finger strength as they tend to be more forgiving on your fingertips. A common gauge for beginners is 9-42, which means the high E string is 0.009 inches thick, and the low E string is 0.042 inches thick.
On the other hand, thicker gauges usually provide a fatter tone. Experiment with different gauges to find what feels most comfortable for you.
Electric guitar strings are available in various materials, each with its unique characteristics. The most common options are nickel-plated steel, pure nickel, and stainless steel. Nickel-plated steel strings are popular due to their balanced tone and durability. Pure nickel strings have a warmer and more vintage sound, while stainless steel strings offer a brighter tone and increased longevity.
For beginners, nickel-plated steel strings are a good starting point – not only do they have a good balance of tone and lifespan, but they are also extremely popular, which means you should be able to find replacement strings just about anywhere.
Take into account the style of music you are interested in playing. Different genres may sound best with different types of strings. Blues players typically look for more bottom end, and overall warmth, so pure nickel would be a good choice here. Country players tend to look for brightness, and “twang”, so a nickel plated, or even stainless steel string set would be a better choice.
Budget is a major consideration for just about anything in life, and strings are no exception. As a beginner, it’s understandable that you may not want to invest a lot in strings initially. Fortunately, there are affordable options available that still offer decent quality.
Find a balance between your budget and the quality of the strings. Take into account that you usually get what you pay for, and spending a bit more for better-quality strings can improve your playing experience and sound.
Final Thoughts on the Best Electric Guitar Strings for Beginners
Throughout this roundup we’ve given you a great selection of strings for beginners that span pretty much every genre, and price point. Hopefully we’ve been able to demonstrate that finding the perfect set for you isn’t so hard after all.
To recap our favorites, the D’Addario NYXL1046 NYXL Nickel Wound is our Top Pick as they offer enhanced durability and better performance. These strings provide extra warmth and an easy feel on the fingers and are a wonderful choice for beginners.
Musicians looking for a good set of electric guitar strings at an affordable price should look into our Best Budget option, the Fender 250L Super 250’s Nickel-Plated. With a comfortable light feel, good playability and a nice tone, these strings deliver great value for beginners.
If quality is your priority, then check out our Editor’s Choice, the Ernie Ball 2023 Super Slinky Paradigm. This is a fantastic set for beginners that value quality, with good tone and playability, and with the ability to stay rust-free for a very long time.