Blues guitar is some of the most iconic there is – there isn’t a person alive who hasn’t heard of the late and great B.B. King. This guide will help you decide the best guitar strings for blues so you can emulate the greats!
Now as I’ve said in the other best string guides, the right strings are very important for getting the right feel when your playing and getting the right sound.
Whether you love Stevie Ray Vaughan, Muddy Waters or even Eric Clapton you want to get yourself some heavy gauge strings to get a great blues sound. Comfortable playing is still hugely important for blues, so the best strings for blues let you play effortlessly with seamless bends and smooth groove so you don’t want to use strings so thick they are uncomfortable.
For guitar string material, Pure nickel guitar strings will give you best tone for blues. Pure nickel strings give you a warm vintage sounding tone making them great guitar strings for blues.
Pure nickel strings also have a natural longevity in the material giving consistently great tone. So what strings are the best for blues?
These Gibson Signature guitar strings were the only strings played by BB King for many years. He custom designed them to have a lighter top for comfortable bending and a heavy bottom for a thick sounding rhythm.
The gauge of these strings come in at 10-13-17-32-45-54.
There is nothing to argue with about these strings when it comes to blues playing. These heavy bottom pure nickel strings are ideal anyone looking for a great blues sound. B.B. King trusted them enough to put them on his Lucille so they are good enough for your guitar! Find them here on Amazon
If you’ve never played anything as thick on the low E as a 54 gauge then it will be a bit of a shock to the fingers the first time you do!
If you aren’t ready for it then don’t worry you can start a bit lighter and build up to it while still getting a great blues sound.
Curt Mangan are a smaller string manufacturer dedicated to great sounding guitar strings and their pure nickel strings are some of the best you can get! They come in a range of gauges but the 10-46s are ideal for the blues player who isn’t ready for a 54 gauge E.
The gauge of these pure nickel guitar strings come in at 10-13-17-26-36-46.
Still a medium/heavy gauge with a bit more bottom end the Curt Mangan Guitar Strings have great longevity, crisp clear sound. Perfect for the blues guitarist building up to something heavier! Find them here on Amazon!
The DR Strings designed to give you a great blues sound are also the cheapest available! These pure nickel string come in at a medium gauge same as the Curt Mangan strings 10-46s.
The Dr Strings 10-46s gauge is 10-13-17-26-36-46.
For such cheap strings you get phenomenal quality, the pure nickel gives you that great vintage sound. Dr. Strings boast their slogan as the “Handmade String” Leading to great sustain and low tones which are perfect for any blues player on a budget. Find it here on Amazon!
I think if you are wanting to play blues you definitely want to be emulating B.B King in every way possible so his signature strings are the only way to go. But if you are building up to thicker strings then you want Curt Mangan’s fantastic strings. Now, if you are on a budget then DR Strings pure Blues will still give a great blues tone.