Top 4 Guitar Strings for Bending

MUST-HAVE STRINGS THAT LAST THROUGH ANY BEND


For guitarists, technique and versatility are two of the most important aspects of their playing.

Technique refers to things like legatos, vibratos, and, most importantly for this article, bending notes. This means some strings have a better feel for musicians than others. One characteristic that stands out from the rest in determining the best bending strings are ones that are lighter. Here are four strings sets that, in our opinion, were best at making bends.

What are the Best Guitar Strings for Electric?

Choosing the best electric guitar strings can sometimes be time consuming, especially if you are a beginner. Therefore, many rely on recommendations as opposed to experience. Unsurprisingly, experience is where it matters most because one brand of strings may suite one person’s circumstances and skills while being inconvenient for others.

You have to develop your own taste in guitar strings. Sometimes that may not even be on brand basis. Instead, it might be by feature such as string material or price. The number one goal out of this selection process is to have guitar strings that allow you to enjoy your guitar.

For that reason, we’re going to highlight trusted brands and why each is worth purchasing. Also, check out review sites like Amazon as they give a plethora of ratings for you to consider in your decision making process.

Ernie Ball

Classic Extra Slinky

Ernie Ball Classic Extra Slinky
Ernie Ball Classic Extra Slinky

You probably have seen this before. Ernie Ball is a well-known string manufacturer that is known for its Slinkies like its Super Slinky series. Guitar legends like Eric Clapton, Steve Vai, & Slash, to name a few, have also been Slinky users. However, their Classic Extra Slinky is nothing short of riveting tones.

As non-customized strings, it is rare to see that strings like these are light while being priced. 

These strings are perfect for guitarists on a budget to use them on riffs that have half bends, quarter-bends, or, really any bend.

If you are all about fast-playing, these are also a perfect match for you.

Unlike the Super Slinky series, the Classic Extra Slinky has an extra warmer tone to it. They also have an 8 – 38 string gauge. This is all thanks to the string having a tin-plated steel core with nothing but nickel wrapped around it.

Since Classic Extra Slinkies are much more highly melodic in their pitch, this brand is more catered to beginners. With that material balancing out its small size, this gives guitarists a chance to ring out their riffs with a clear & bright tone.

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Light in weight & thickness
  • Balanced tone profile
Cons
  • Moisture can damage them

Rotosound

Ultramag

Rotosound Ultramag

As the top British manufacturer, Rotosound has proven itself in making innovative strings with its debut in 1959. Ultramag is no exception. As corrosion-resistant strings, these will definitely last you, especially if you happen to break your high E string while playing Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd.

In regards to the sound the Ultramags produce when strumming, you will never be disappointed since they have very low friction which provides high tuning stability.

For those of you who are wanting to be heard when strumming those extra Led Zeppelin solos, Ultramags also offer high volume and sustain in each note you play. If internationally made strings intrigue you, then Rotosound, particularly Ultramags are for you.

Pros
  • Long string life
  • High tuning stability
  • Bright tone
  • Good for sustaining a note

D’Addario

NYXL

D’Addario NYXL
D’Addario NYXL
D’Addario NYXL

Based in New York, D’Addarios are huge when it comes to strings. The D’Addario NYXL range is all about their strings having carbon steel in their cores that are wrapped with Nickel. This approach allows their strings to be durable. Hit those never-ending double-tapping techniques as your NYXLs will last you for a long time.

Pros
  • Durable
  • Great for harmonics
  • Clear tonality
  • Smooth texture
Cons
  • Not the cheapest

GHS

Boomers

GHS Boomers
GHS Boomers
GHS Boomers

Although popular with SGs and Les Pauls, these electric guitar strings, these are more for those of you want to be heard above the rest in a band.

Boomers are very affordable and popular, especially with Pink Floyd vocalist and guitarist, Dave Gilmour.

As for their design, they can create high-end tones that are great for quick movement and attacks

Out of all the strings mentioned, in our experience, GHS Boomers are the best for making bends. They are so much better than the DR strings we used to have on our Warlocks.

As for GHS, the most nuanced thing about all their strings is that they individually wrap each string in an airtight package. They really take care of everything for you.

Pros
  • Popular among many professional musicians
  • Great for pull-offs, attacks, and bends
  • Most popular strings for solid body electric guitars like the Les Paul
Cons
  • Do not last as long as previous string brands

Why are My Guitar Strings so Hard to Bend?

Depending on the strings you purchase, you may find it difficult to bend them. That is because heavier strings (ones that tend to be thicker) are tighter than their lighter counterparts.

An alternative that could be taken is down tuning your guitar. Keep in mind that you may get a different tone. Just experiment with and see if you like it. Standard tuning, EADGBe, can be played on most songs, particularly chords.

However, if you have tauter strings, tuning them to a point where bending is much less stressful on your finger and wrist (e.g. DGCFAD) wouldn’t hurt to try. In the end, if you have tense strings, you may break your strings prematurely which would cost you time and money.

How Do I Make My Guitar Strings Bend Easier?

Rather than using your finger to bend each string, as we all have been guilty of doing that some time, try using the wrist by placing your thumb over the neck.

However, do not use the thumb to the actual bending. It takes a lot of strain off and adds more strength in locking those bends out that you probably struggled with sustaining with your pointing finger.

Bending will become steadily easier for you. Your fingers will develop calluses that will make it less strenuous to do bends. Once you get the hang of it, you can then work on holding your guitar’s neck without having thumb hug it. From there on, just work on rotating your wrist.

Do Heavier Strings Sound Better?

It is tough to find out which strings sound better as that is all subjective. However, if you mean strings that produce a fuller sound to each note that is played, then you’d be looking for thicker strings that tend to be heavier. Unfortunately, these strings tend to be the hardest to play as it really requires guitarists to press down on the string for each note to ring out.

Factors & Questions to Consider When Judging a String Set’s Quality

  • Durability which is mostly indicated on whether a set of strings are coated or not. If they are, what do they use does it protect them from grime or sweat when utilizing them?
  • How long the strings keep their tone? Unlike the last bullet point, sometimes a coating isn’t enough to prevent them to wane in tonality. Next thing you know, the resonance they might have had a few months ago is nonexistent yet they appear undamaged. That is a common scenario many guitarists face when relying on visible ware to appear.
  • Speaking of tone, strings should sound amazing when playing a high or low note. Double check that the string set you purchase has the capacity to ring out distorted chords you strum out or the fine tuned harmonics you pick. Keep in mind that many strings do not have that kind of flexibility.
  • What is your string made out of? Steel, nickel, and phosphor are three of the countless materials that are used to design an array of strings. String sets come with a core material that often includes another material in its winding. Out of everything, this factor directly affects tone quality and string life the most.