Electric guitar strings question

I have Ernie Ball Super Slinky RPS Nickel Wound Electric Guitar Strings - 9-42 Gauge (Amazon description!) on my electric guitar, but the luthier that I am taking it to is suggesting D’addarios strings, which I’ve not used before.

Has anyone used both? How do they compare? Comments welcome.

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My 2 cents - Ernie Ball have a very good reputation and are cheaper online, D’addario and Elixers are most popular with the guitar shops in Perth Western Australia, not better not worse in electric guitars. Most seem to use 9-42 for strats and 10-46 for les Paul/ES 355 style guitars which gives the same feel due to different neck lengths

I’ve used EBs, D’Adarrio, and Rotosound amongst others.

Personally, I prefer EBs and Rotosound to D’Adarrio with a slight preference to EBs, but I think a lot is personal preference.

The following might be worth a read:



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I agree with Keith that it is personal preference.
When I started playing, I bought several sizes, brands, and options. I listened to comparisons online where the experiment was done well (some people used different guitars, so you cannot compare). I keep notes on each string change, what I like and don’t, longevity, etc. I made some recordings of fresh and old strings.
I still have some to try, but have decided that I need more skill to do a good job of that and they still sit in my toolbox.
Today, I clearly prefer the EB Cobalts. I like the timbre of them, and they last a good deal longer than the regular nickel strings before they sound dead or look dirty. My fingers don’t smell like nickel after playing them.
I tried a flat-wound string, and it didn’t stay on more than 24 hours - it was really not to my liking. Don’t be bashful about just admitting you didn’t like a set and changed them early.
I recommend trying different brands and see what you like. it is one of the lowest cost things you can do. It takes a while to run through several options, but you will probably know what you like without any doubt when you are done.

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Thanks and welcome to the community.

Thanks to all for your comments. I think that I will have a chat with the luthier before deciding. He is doing a check of the guitar, incl. set up and re-stringing comes as part of this.

Thanks for the link.

Not heard of this type. Are these (as the description) more flat (oval?) than round?

He’s probably recommending D’Addarios strings because that’s what he keeps in stock. If you’ve never used them giving them a try would hurt. You may fing you like them. You may find your guitar stays in tume more when you play it. I use to use Super Slinky strings when I played in a band because they are very easy to bend. As a beginner you may find they are to easy to bend and throw your guitar out of tune when playing open chords. Don’t be surprised if he charges you an up charge to put Ernie Ball on.

They are called flatwound because they are not roundwound :slight_smile:

These are the 2 most common string types based on how the windings are applied and how they look and feel. Here’s an article that compares them:

I’ve bought a pack of half-wounds for my electric guitars to try sometime, but I haven’t heard flatwound strings being used on guitars. My bet is that tonally they are closer to nylon strings.

If you never tried something else, now is the time to do so.
I’m still buying different stuff from time to time and the more I play, the less I mind the differences actually.

try and explore!


Totally agree with @LievenDV, trying something new may uncover something you really like. I have tried several different string brands too, including Elixer, D’Addario and EB (both super slinkys & Skinny Top Heavy Bottoms). For me, the D’Addario’s & EB’s were both great but I love the Elixers (Optiweb 10-46), although they’re probably significantly pricier.

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The only thing I can add (because the consensus appears to be use the stings that feel right for you) is that I’ve tried a number of different brands over the years and keep coming back to EB’s. Price wise I just purchased 4 sets of EB’s (9 - 46 gauge Extra Slinky’s) for $13 AUD pers set yesterday 3/10/22. Not sure how this compares with the D’Adrrio’s price but if you change your strings regularly then saving a few bucks does make a difference.

For me, a string is a string is a string. I have never put on a certain brand and thought to myself “oh yes, I have found my true love”. I have zero brand loyalty or preferrence. I tune up and play.

A read on flat vs round …

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Hi there!
Anyone played these strings yet?

Ernie Ball Classic Rock’n’Roll super slinky 9 - 42

I changed the Strings about 1 week ago (means about 5 or 6 hours playing) and the B-string already starts getting dark like shortly before getting rusty spots.

Is this normal at these strings? :thinking:

Hi @Siehtscheh,

I have tarnishing with all brands of basic nickel strings in maybe 1-2 weeks. This happens fastest if my hands are not clean when I play. Wiping sweat with the fretting hand is a great way to tarnish strings!

For me, I think they go flat sounding (wound strings) after about 6 weeks. It is gradual, so goes unnoticed until I change to a new string set and the difference is heard then.

I have found I like the Ernie Ball Cobalts - they last a little longer, don’t tarnish so fast, and are a bit brighter and louder. I haven’t tried any of the coated strings yet.

Thx for your answer.
New word learned (tarnishing) :smiley:
Until now I had the Brite Wires from Gibson which I really like. Here the tarnishing didn’t show up at least 8 weeks or something like that :woman_shrugging:
But this time they were sold out, so i tried these ErnieBalls and I’am pretty surprised of this early tarnishing.
Before playing I always wash my hands and afterwards i wipe off the strings.

New words are good! :slight_smile:

I tried the Brite Wires once - thy came original equipment on a new Epiphone SG. They felt stiff to me, I called them ‘tree trunks’. I changed to my favorite Ernie Balls which felt, well, ‘slinky’! Maybe forming an opinion on strings that were factory installed is not ideal, but I think the surface texture is more likely to be different on an old (unused) string not the general stiffness.

I have a log of all string changes and notes about how the strings felt and what I felt and heard change when I retired them. I started with gauge changes, then material, now going through different brands. I could be at this for a few years! :rofl:

tree trunks :rofl:… hmm that’s really not like my impression of the brite wires

Wow, your recording of the different strings sounds almost like scientific work :smile: :+1: Hats off :womans_hat:

I have three guitars all with different strings on. EB 9-42, D’Addario 10-46 NYXL and the non-coated before them and Gibson stock strings 10-46 on the Epiphone.
I can’t compare the 9s with the 10s. They’re different.

However, for what is worth, the coated D’Addario strings are MUCH brighter than the same gauge non-coated D’Addario. And they last longer. Much longer.

Between the D’Addario NYXL (coated) and the Gibsons, I can’t pick one or the other. But I have to say, I loved the Gibsons versus the non coated D’Addarios. So much so that even though I have a lot of spare packs of strings (both D’Addario and coated Ernie Ball - which I haven’t tried yet), I’ll put Gibsons again on my Epiphone.

Confusing enough? :sweat_smile: