Recently I was sent a selection of Ernie Ball strings from the lovely folks at Strings Direct. I have always used Ernie Ball strings since I started learning the guitar and apart from experimenting with a few other brands, I have always returned to them. These are the strings I always recommend to any of my students as they are sensibly priced, feel great and are most importantly reliable.
My standard set and gauge that I fit to all of my guitars is gauge 10-46 Ernie Ball regular slinky’s. They are the ones in the gold/yellow packet. When asked if I would like to try other Ernie Ball strings to give my feedback I jumped at the chance. I’ve always loved Ernie Ball products so it wasn’t really a hard decision to make. The plan for this test was to fit the different varieties of strings to my guitars and gig with them to give feedback on each set.
As you can imagine this has been a little difficult to achieve due to the current pandemic and limited gigs situation but I have done it with the gigs I’ve managed to complete and here are my thoughts on each.
First up I fitted a set of Ernie Ball Titanium Reinforced slinky’s to my Fender Jeff Beck Signature and got the guitar in tune. Once the strings had been stretched and tuning settled I could immediately tell a difference with the output of these strings. Compared to the regular slinky’s I use these seemed louder.
The coating wasn’t really noticeable either which is a good thing. I was a little concerned the coating would make the strings seem slippy. It really didn’t and after a good few weeks the strings still retained their new string twang and didn’t show any signs of degrading. This is a good point to add that I normally change my strings every gig as I love the sound of a fresh set of strings. These however kept tone consistency for much longer than my standard set and definitely felt like they would last a long time. They are still on that guitar at the moment.
Price ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Tone ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Longevity ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Feel ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Overall ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Next up we have the Ernie Ball Rock N’ Roll Slinky’s. I’d not really seen or heard much about these before giving them a try and wasn’t expecting great things if I’m honest.
I was however pleasantly surprised with these strings. After stringing them up on my Musicman Axis Supersport Semi Hollow guitar I could tell they seemed darker sounding than my standard set. Not really in a bad way either just a darker sound, a bit like once your strings have settled in after a few gigs. I can understand to some guitarists why this might be preferable, however for me I love the new strings sound and decided pretty quickly these weren’t the strings for me. I would still prefer my regular slinky’s over these.
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Longevity ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Feel ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Overall ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
I had to include them as these are the strings I have used for many years on all of my electric guitars. To me these strings give you a great tone, feel and are reasonably priced. This is crucial to me due to changing strings very regularly. These strings don’t last as long as the coated Ernie Balls but I have got used to changing strings regularly so I don’t mind this so much. Also I have found how long strings last seems to vary from player to player due to their biological makeup. Some people just sweat more than others.
Price ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Tone ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️⭐️
Longevity ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Feel ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️⭐️
Overall ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Unsurprisingly the most expensive set in the collection won overall. The cost of these strings buying from Strings Direct is £12.99. Don’t forget you can receive a discount using code MGTB75 at checkout. Will I be changing across to these going forwards I hear you ask?
The answer to that question would be no. If it’s not broken don’t fix it springs to mind and I have always been happy with the regular slinky’s. These would be the set I recommend to anyone wanting to try out some new strings. They have been around for years and are still one of the most popular choices. Most importantly a set will set you back around £5.99. This to me is the right price point for a set of strings and I couldn’t justify moving across to the more expensive Ernie Balls.
I’d highly recommend giving this experiment a try. Stick with your current gauge and just try the different varieties available. You never know, you might find yourself a new set of favourites. For me though I’m going to be sticking with my regular slinky’s and remember “Balls Are Best.” 😉