5 Best Electric Guitar Strings for Heavy Metal

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Are you a guitarist who has a taste for the heavier stuff? Do you enjoy jamming out to Megadeth, Metallica, or Mastodon?

If you want to learn heavy metal techniques on the guitar, you should also have the right gear. Picking a great metal guitar is half of the battle, but you’ll be surprised at what some awesome strings that are optimized for the genre can do for your sound. To maximize your guitar’s sound for heavy metal, you may be in the market for some great strings.

This list will help you figure out how to choose great guitar strings for the genre and below you’ll also see our list of top picks. This article will give you the scoop on the 5 best electric guitar strings for heavy metal.

Best Heavy Metal Guitar Strings – Quick View

Ernie Ball Skinny Top Heavy Bottom Nickel Wound Set, .010 - .052Ernie Ball Skinny Top Heavy Bottom

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Dunlop DHCN1254 Heavy Core Nickel Wound Guitar Strings, Heaviest, .012–.054, 6 Strings/SetDunlop DHCN1254 Heavy Core

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Rotosound PN9 Pure Nickel Electric Guitar Strings (9-42)Rotosound Pure Nickels

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D'Addario NYXL1046 Nickel Plated Electric Guitar Strings, LightD’Addario NYXLs

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DR Strings DDT-11 Nickel Plated Electric Guitar Strings, HeavyDR Strings DDT-11 Heavy

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Are Heavy Metal Guitar Strings Really Different?

Believe it or not, all guitar strings are not made equally. Guitar strings come in plenty of varieties and can be made out of different metals and coatings. They can also come in different gauges, and with metal, this is often crucially important.

Since metal guitarists utilize so many dropped tunings such as drop G in their playing to attain that heavy feeling, you’ll want strings that can mesh with these tunings well.

Typical standard tunings will use a certain gauge of strings and will start from the low E string and go down in size to the high E string. Good metal strings may mix this up a bit and have different rates of variation between the gauges.

Some strings are optimized for dropped tunings. Some are hybrid sets and will have a heavier set of bass strings, but a lighter set of treble strings.

5 Best Electric Guitar Strings for Heavy Metal… REVIEWED

Ready to see our top choices for heavy metal strings? Below we’ll tell you everything that you need to know.

1. Ernie Ball Skinny Top Heavy Bottom

Best Heavy Metal Guitar Strings


  • Incredibly popular strings
  • Hybrid set of with heavy bass strings and light trebles
  • Very affordable


  • Not as heavy overall as other sets

An incredibly popular brand, Ernie Ball string sets have been endorsed by Metallica, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, System of a Down, and John Petrucci.

These Ernie Ball Skinny Top Heavy Bottom strings are some of the best electric guitar strings for heavy metal players. This set is part of the brand’s “Slinky” series and gives guitarists that perfect heavy metal tone.

The set is optimized for creating a heavy feel and that chunky and powerful rhythm. This is a hybrid set that is also great for lead players.

This set has heavy bass strings (.030, .042, .052) but also has lighter strings in the treble section (.010, .013, and .017) for easy playability. Overall, these strings are ideal for the serious heavy metal player.

2. Dunlop DHCN1254 Heavy Core

best electric guitar strings for heavy metal


  • Super heavy
  • Crafted for dropped tunings
  • Nickel-wound steel strings


  • Probably not ideal for standard tunings

While Dunlop has many great string choices, these super heavy nickel-wound steel strings are excellent for playing heavy metal. These strings have been crafted specifically for dropped tunings, and the string gauges range from .012-.054.

The Heavy Core series of Dunlop strings come in several varieties and range from ‘Heavy’, ‘Heavier’, and ‘Heaviest”. These Dunlop DHCN1254 Heavy Core strings are the heaviest of the bunch and are perfect for a low, nasty sound and intense and aggressive playing.

3. Rotosound’s Pure Nickels

Good Guitar Strings For Metal


  • High quality, well-made strings
  • Great for any tuning


  • More expensive than other options

Rotosound strings are often misunderstood and have not gained the popularity of some of the other brands of strings on this list.

Rotosound is a British company and their strings are a bit more expensive than other options, but plenty of big names use the strings including Michael Paget from Bullet For My Valentine and Cliff Burton of Metallica fame.

These Pure Nickels are incredibly well made and are perfect for achieving rich and heavy sound and work well with any tuning.

4. D’Addario NYXLs

Heavy Metal Strings For Guitar


  • Hybrid set containing heavy bass and light trebles
  • Great tuning stability and strength


  • Not as heavy overall as other sets

One of the most popular guitar string brands in the world, it’s no surprise that D’Addario makes some of the best electric guitar strings for heavy metal guitarists that are on the market today.

This particular set offers a hybrid light top and heavy bottom range of string gauges and ranges from 010-.052. The NYXL series are technology-packed strings that offer several advantages over other sets.

The set has increased tuning stability and extra strength, making these perfect for aggressive string bends and intensive rhythm performances.

5. DR Strings DDT-11 Heavy

Best Electric Guitar Strings For Drop Down Tuning


  • Great for dropped tunings
  • Heavy strings great for aggressive performance


  • Probably not ideal for standard tunings

Another popular set of strings that were made with dropped tunings in mind, these .011-.054 strings maintain an impressive guitar tuning stability and allow for some heavy playing and amazing tones.

The DDT in these strings stands for “Drop-Down Tuning” and this series of strings offers both ‘Big Heavy’ (.010-.052) and ‘Mega Heavy’ (.013-.065), each of which will be a great choice to match the aggressiveness of any metal band.

Plenty of amazing guitarists and bands use DR strings, including Fozzy, Meshuggah, Reaping Asmodeia, and Ozzy Osbourne’s guitarist, Gus G.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for a set of strings that will allow you to achieve some great, heavy tones and fit well with any alternate tunings that you try, any of the strings above will be a great choice for you.

These are some of the best electric guitar strings for heavy metal guitarists. Each of the string sets above will be perfect for creating that heavy metal sound and will make your guitar sound better than you thought it could.

Experimenting is important when it comes to music, so always try new sets of strings and determine what fits your band, your sound, your playing, and your personality best. The possibilities are endless.

Looking for more tools for your arsenal? Click here to see our list of the best distortion pedals for metal guitarists.