There are a lot of factors to consider when we look at which guitar strings last longest. Most guitarists have a string brand that they prefer, but we might just change your mind today!
Which Guitar Strings Last Longest: It’s Complicated…
Almost every guitar player I know has a brand that they prefer to play. Some people find a brand that suits them, and they stick with that company until they die. There are some different reasons why people choose the strings they do. Sometimes, it is because a guitar hero of theirs plays a certain brand. Sometimes, it’s because the brand you play was recommended to you by someone else. But are they the right ones? Which guitar strings last longest?
So many different things go into which guitar strings last longest. The factors are so numerous, because no guitar player is exactly the same as another guitar player. We are all very different, and require different tools for the job. Lots of people base their choice on the tuning they are going to use. This is smart, because string tension matters.
Brands definitely matter also, because not all guitar strings are created equal. Some of the cheaper brands are not really up to snuff when it comes to quality. The same can be said for the really expensive brands as well. But when it comes down to which guitar strings last longest, you might be surprised at which factors are at play.
Today we will break down some of the reasons that some brands are better than others when it comes to longevity. We will also look at the different factors that may degrade the life of your strings. So strap in, and let’s take a look at which guitar strings last the longest, and why they may last longer than others.
Which Guitar Strings Last Longest: String Types And Brands
Not all strings are created equal, and this is because of several different factors. We can easily break down the different classes of strings, though. Each type of string has it’s advantages, and disadvantages. Which guitar strings last longest depends on more than just the type. But somewhere in all of the choices is the balance that you will prefer. There are several string types to talk about:
- Regular Branded Strings: Ernie Ball, D’Adarrio, etc..
- Premium Strings: Paradigm, NYXL, Stringjoy
- Coated Strings: Elixir Strings. Nanoweb, Optiweb
Let’s start by taking a look at regular basic strings. These are usually $5-$7 a pack, and they come in all type of gauges for tunings and tension. These are your basic strings that often come installed on your guitar when you first buy it. These are usually pretty good quality, and they will suit most guitar players. The downside, is they often are prone to corrosion if you sweat a bit. They also tend to break a little easier.
Premium strings are a totally different animal. These started popping up a few years ago, and they are kind of a game changer when it comes to longevity. The best thing about these strings, like Ernie Ball Paradigm, are that they are reinforced and they hold tune better, for longer. This is very important if you use a Floyd Rose trem, or you like to bend a lot. These are sometimes lightly coated also to resist corrosion. The downside, is the price of these string sets.
Coated strings are yet another step up for some guitarists when it comes to which guitar strings last longest. These are strings that have some sort of polymer coating on them, making them highly resistant to corrosion and rust. They also tend to stay in tune for quite a while. The downside is you can feel the coating on these strings, and that can interfere with your playing.
But which guitars strings last longest out of the three subsets? One has to be better than the other right? Well, not exactly. It depends on the player and their environment.
Which Guitar Strings Last Longest: Factors
There are tons of factors that go into the life of your guitar strings, and which guitar strings last longest. Some of them you may be aware of, while others might come as a huge surprise for you. But to show a good example, we are going to talk about my particular problem with certain strings, and we will move on from there.
When I play a show, I sweat a lot. This is pretty common considering stage lights are really hot, and you are probably moving around a bunch on stage. Sweat by itself can affect the life of your guitar strings drastically. This is why I always say you should change strings after every show. But there is another factor inside your sweat that can cause issue.
People all sweat differently, and have varying degrees of enzymes that they produce when they sweat. For me, I have very acidic sweat. This means that I wreak havoc on my guitar strings when I sweat on them. I also destroy cheap hardware on guitars. I always replace my bridge with stainless steel parts to avoid this. Which guitar strings last longest for me? Premium ones.
But sweat is not the only factor when it comes to which guitar strings last longest. How you play also has a huge effect on the longevity. Some of us play with a very light touch, and bend the notes gently. But other players are more aggressive, and hit the strings with a ton of force. If you play hard, it can be hard on your strings.
Strings are usually based in Nickel when it comes to metals used. So if you have an allergy to this metal, which strings last the longest is not going to be a factor for you. Luckily, a few brands make strings that are nickel-free for people that can have adverse reactions. Options are limited, unfortunately.
The last thing is environment. This also relates to sweat… in a way. If you live in a humid climate, then your strings are going to be more prone to corrosion. This is because of the humidity in the air, and it is unavoidable. Some people that live in subtropical climates store their guitars in the case when not in use because of this factor.
So with all of that knowledge in mind, which guitar strings last longest? Well we have a few suggestions for you, depending on your situation. Let’s take a look.
Standard Strings: Bedroom Players/ Studio Musicians
Ernie Ball Regular Slinky is my pick for the casual player, or someone that only plays at home. These are great strings that have been used for over 40 years by every artist that you can think of. Ernie Ball are not only inexpensive, but they last a long time under normal circumstances.
These are perfect for beginners, and bedroom guitarists that don’t plan on sweating too much. They stay in tune really well, and can hold up to normal every day abuse. If you are not playing gigs all of the time, there is no reason to have fancy strings on your guitar. Ernie Ball is going to work just fine for you!
Ernie Ball goes through rigorous testing with it’s strings and they are usually very consistent when it comes to density, size, and construction. These may seem pretty cheap, but don’t let the price fool you. When it comes to which guitar string last longest for everyday players, Ernie Ball is a great choice.
Premium String Sets: For Pro Players
Ernie Ball takes the lead again when it comes to the best premium strings. The paradigm series has been tested by artists all around the globe for tuning stability and overall strength. I have been using these for two years now, and I have no problems with them at all. It is nice to take the stage, and not have to worry about my strings breaking or going out of tune.
Ernie Ball Paradigm also have a light coating on them. This slows down the process of corrosion drastically. So if you are like me, and you have acidic sweat, then it’s a no brainer to use these premium strings. Yes, they definitely cost more than a plain set of strings. But they also last twice as long during studio sessions When it comes to which strings last longest for me, it’s been Paradigm. Check out this video of Kirk Hammet trying to break them:
But there is another contender, for totally different reasons in the premium string category…
The NYXL series is great for people that need their guitar to stay in tune, and have perfect intonation without any coating on them. I tried these for a while before switching to Ernie Ball, and these strings definitely last a long time, without ever going out of tune. NYXL is made with different materials than your usual guitar strings, and the tone and longevity are proof of this concept.
So if you don’t have crazy sweat like I do, and you play shows regularly, then NYXL might be the perfect choice for you. When it comes down to which guitar strings last longest, NYXL is second only to Ernie Ball for me.
Coated Guitar Strings: Another Pro Choice
Who wouldn’t love more quality playing time between the hassle and cost of string changes? Amp up your guitar’s tone life with the same premium electric guitar strings that experienced players worldwide trust to keep their incredible tone longer than any other string available!
Elixir is the number one brand for coated guitar strings. These strings are coated with a special polymer that stops the string from any corrosion, no matter what the source may be. The coating however, can be noticeable to some players. Some guitarists that I know swear by the Elixir name, others can’t stand them. Which guitar strings last the longest though? Elixir lasts the longest, if you like them.
I am unfortunately in the latter category. I have tried these numerous times on several different guitars, and I have never liked the feel the strings had. Now that is just my personal experience. Which guitar strings last longest for you, may be different for me. Just like I stated at the beginning of this article, we are all different as players. You may love Elixirs, and that is completely fine! Play what feels good to you!
Which Guitar Strings Last Longest: Wrapping Up
When it comes to which guitar strings last longest, the answer is going to be different for every player. The strings you use are just another piece of the equation when it comes to your overall rig. Just like some people prefer digital over analog when it comes to effects, you may prefer certain strings over another brand. I feel like I end these articles all the same way…
Always use what works for you, as an individual. What works for one guitarist, may not work for another! The important part, is finding the right tools for the job. Which guitar strings last longest is going to depend on you, the player.
Which Guitar Strings Last Longest?
The strings with the longest longevity are Elixir, Ernie Ball Paradigm, and D’Addario NYXL. These are all great choices for different reasons, but they outlast most normal guitar strings.