Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Financing new guitar?

I've been thinking about a new guitar -- a Gibson Les Paul -- but am unsure if I want to spend the money on one. Sure, my Epiphone works and all but a new axe would be great.

I've been looking into buy now pay later sites and catalogs at Bought on Credit. I found that Bill Me Later is a option to finance at Guitar Center. It does not look like a bad deal. The only issue is that I need to pay everything off in six months so I don't get socked with interest.

The last thing I want is to pay high interest on a high ticket item.

Cash is an option, but I don't want to take money out of the savings -- or even out of the checking. I like the payment options and no interest.

I thought about using a credit card that offers cash back but I'm still on the fence.

I probably should save my money, keep playing the Epi, and worry about something else in life.


**** UPDATE 1/20 ****

I did decide to worry about something else, and figured it was best to keep practicing on the guitar I have. The latest and greatest equipment won't make me a super duper musician -- only practice will.

Time to save my money and buy things off that fast food dollar menu ... j/k.

I did go to the music store and buy some more strings. I always seem to wear out my Slinkys but I do like them.

Friday, January 3, 2014

5 Essential Guitar Accessories for Beginners

Guitar playing is a lot of fun. When I started playing my electric guitar, I was just happy turning the distortion up on my amp and strumming strings.
Sure, it sounded bad with all the feedback, but I was making noise! What was even worse was I never tuned the instrument! To help you, I want to list 5 essential guitar accessories for beginners.

'Am I in tune?'

It does not matter if you play an electric or acoustic guitar, you need a tuner.
When you guitar is out of tune, it sound horrible. You may not hear it because your ears have not developed as a musician yet.
But they will. And one way to make sure they develop correctly and you hear the right notes when you are playing them is to make sure your guitar is in tune.
Tuners come in a wide variety. You can purchase a pitch pipe, which is a small device that provides a reference for the open strings on your guitar. Tuning forks work, too.
I recommend spending $10 to $20 and buying a digital tuner. This work well because you can tune your guitar easily.
They have a LED that lights when you are in tune and you can see how out of tune you are when you look at the LCD screen.
Besides, if you play heavy metal or alternative music, you will want to play in drop tuning, which will be easy to do with an electronic unit.

Get pickin'

You will want picks. These come in different materials, sizes, shapes, thicknesses and about a million different other options.
Just pick a few that have different thickness and you'll be picking in no time.

Good guitar cables make a difference

Depending on your guitar, you may need a cable that goes to your amplifier. If you have an acoustic, you do not need one. Got an electric guitar? Definitely buy a guitar cable.
The only real advice about cables is that a cheap one will make crackle noises and break after a while.
More expensive cables -- ones that cost between $15-30 -- generally have a longer lifespan.

Guitar lessons are worth the money

I think a good instructor is essential. You can buy "how to play guitar" books all day, but unless you understand the material and can implement it correctly, you may struggle to learn efficiently.
A good teacher can teach basic technique, which forms the foundation. No, it does not stifle creativity. Without a foundation, you will never be able to express your creativity.
You will also progress at a faster rate than learning on your own. A good instructor will also motivate you.

Watch out for dings and dents!

I recommend getting a case. This makes transport easy and you do not have to worry about getting your new instrument scratched and dinged up.
Even if you set your guitar on a stand when not in use, it is still going to get dinged. I learned this the hard way.
My bass always sat on a stand and was never in a case. I was careful -- so I thought. I got a little careless while vacuuming one day, and bam -- my guitar toppled into my amp and got its first ding.
If you transport your guitar to band practice or lessons, you will want a case to make sure it doesn't get damaged.
I hope this list of 5 essential guitar accessories for beginners has been useful.

How Many Strings Does a Guitar Have?

Ever wonder how many strings does a guitar have? There are many different kinds of guitars in production. They all vary in sound and not all of them have six strings like the standard electric and acoustic guitars most people are familiar with.
There are bass guitars with four strings, 7-string guitars, 8-string guitars, basses with anywhere between 5 and 8 strings, 10-string guitars, and even 12-string guitars! Most string musicians play either a four-string bass guitar or a 6-string guitar normally.
The notes on each type of guitar are all different and the amount of strings you would need on a guitar depends on the kind of music that the guitar will be used to play.

6-string guitars

Sam Foles via Flickr:
Let’s start with six-string guitars, the standard for playing rock, blues, and even some jazz. These guitars’ strings are E-A-D-G-B-e, going from sixth string to first string. The sixth string is the thickest string and the first string is the thinnest string.
Most rock and metal bands have two six-string guitarists. One is a distortion guitarist playing the harmony of the song and then an overdriven or another distortion guitar playing the melody, and sometimes also a guitar solo.

Thumpin' the low end?

Four-string basses are found in every rock or metal band as well as many R&B and gospel groups. Sometimes though, a band has only one guitarist and a bassist (a notable example: Nirvana).
Basses have the strings: G-D-A-E in order from fourth string to first string (top to bottom).
Bass strings are thicker and bassists play low notes to fuse with the melodies and harmonies of songs. There are also 5- and 6-string basses.
Carters Collection | CC BY 2.0
The five-string bass guitar has an added high C string and was the first variation on the standard 4-string bass guitar. The five-string bass guitar has been used by John Paul Jones from Led Zeppelin, particularly during their 1973 tour on the songs “Black Dog” and “The Song Remains the Same” for example. It’s also been utilized in certain Motown releases.
The six-string bass guitar came out shortly after the first five-string bass guitar (called Fender V). It’s popularly known as the Fender VI, following the design of the six-string bass manufactured by Danelectro in 1956, and has the strings: E A D G B E, which is an octave lower than the standard tuning.
The Fender VI has been used heavily by Robert Smith of the Cure, and can be heard and seen in the music videos for the Beatles’ “Let it Be”, “Hey Jude”, and “Helter Skelter”.
Musician Anthony Jackson had what he called a “contrabass” made.
The contrabass has six strings as well and is based off the six-string bass. The strings are B-E-A-D-G-C. Jackson has played it with a variety of musicians as their touring bassist or a contributor to their albums.

Beyond 6-string guitars

Seven-string guitars have one extra guitar string, which is added to the thicker end after the sixth string (or on the top of the strings if you are looking at a guitar). Seven-string guitars are prevalent in traditional Russian and Brazilian music, so you find bands using these guitars who derive inspiration from cultural music.
The musicians I am mainly familiar with who play seven-string guitars are in heavy metal bands. Example bands and guitarists who have used these guitars are Polish death metal band Behemoth, Steve Vai, and Sepultura.
Sepultura specifically used seven-string guitars in their release, “Roots”, because it was heavily inspired conceptually by traditional Brazilian music and culture (Brazil is where Sepultura are from).
The tuning for a seven-string guitar is in B Standard tuning or: B-E-A-D-G-B-E.
Eight-string guitars have two extra strings, obviously, and are the standard for lap steel and pedal steel guitars.

Lap steel guitar
Lap steel guitars are played differently than 7- and 6-string guitars in that the player changes pitch by pressing a glass or metal bar against the strings instead of pressing their fingers down on the strings over the fretboard and the guitar lies flat on the player’s lap or on a table top.
These guitars are used in Hawaiian, country, and jazz music. The standard tuning is based either in the E9 chord, known as the “Nashville” style, or with jazz configurations, the C6 chord.
There are also solid-body eight-string guitars and semi-acoustic guitars (hollow body guitars). There are also a variety of extended range bass guitars that include either five strings, six strings, or seven strings. There are also 8-string bass guitar models, but they are not categorized under the “extended range bass guitars” label, rather they are known as “double basses”.

Double-digit strings on a guitars

There are also guitars with 10 strings. These guitars are used to play a wide range of music and come in a lot of different models. Many of these kinds of guitars are used for folk, classical, and popular music.
There are harp guitars, which are not fretted (so the frets are not used to change the pitch), they are simply either plucked or strummed. Harp guitars are mainly antique relics from the 19th century and are used to recreate music from that era.
There are also special 10-string guitar models designed to play jazz and Hawaiian music. The Viola guitar also has ten strings and is played in Brazilian folk music. There are numerous other types of ten-string guitars intended for various musical purposes, many of which are custom models created for a very specific style of playing.
12-string guitars were first heard by the American public in the intro chord of the 1963 hit song “Walk Right in” from The Rooftop Singers. They have what is called a “chorus effect” because the strings are aligned together in pairs that are usually played together.
In actuality, there are two different sounds being played at the same time, but they sound like they are coming from just one string, but with an echo.
12-string guitars have been used in a lot of popular music, but they are mostly a staple of 1960’s style folk music.
In conclusion, a guitar can have anywhere between four and twelve strings, depending on what kind of guitar it is. There are a variety of different models, all of which have different sounds because they all have different purposes.
Most people are familiar with the standard six-string guitar, but the prevalence of these other variations on guitar strings can be heard within popular music and traditional cultural and folk music genres. Many of us have heard a 12-string guitar or a 7-string bass and we just haven’t realized it.
I hope this has answered your question, "how many strings does a guitar have?"

How to Tune your Guitar

Don't know how to tune your guitar? I did not either at first, but I want to share a few ways with you. You can either tune your guitar by ear or use a digital tuner. I recommend the digital route if you are a beginner.
A digital tuner plugs into your guitar through cable. This is the easiest. It has a gauge with a pendulum that hovers between string notes after you pluck a string.
For example: If you are tuning to standard for a D string, you will know when the note is right when the pendulum is pointing to the corresponding D on the tuner screen.
If you are tuning an acoustic guitar with a tuner, you can use the microphone in the tuner to tune your guitar. It will work the same way.
There are also electronic tuners that play a sound when you push a button and you should turn your tuners or machine heads, as some call them, so that the resulting pitch of the string is similar to the sound that is played by the electric tuner.
Of course, make sure that you have it set on the correct string note, or there may be some confusion.

Tune by ear
Tuning by ear is a bit more challenging, but if you don’t have an electronic tuner you may have to do so. Also, it’s practical to try to figure out how to tune by ear eventually as you progress in your guitar playing skills. Sometimes, you just forget your guitar tuner and then you take out your guitar somewhere and realize it’s out of tune.
The way to get your guitar strings in tune is to experiment with the machine heads.
It’s easy to tell when a string is flat or sharp. It will just sound wrong. Then you know that you need to try turning maybe in the other direction, or if it’s almost right, just turn it a tiny bit more in the same direction.

In action ...
If a string is flat it makes a “wah-wah” or a “deh-duh” kind of sound. If the string is too flat, move the tuner up (turn the tuner to your left).
If you are too sharp, then that “deh-duh” or “wah-wah” sound is still present, but sped up. If the string is too sharp, you should move the tuner down (turn the tuner to your right).
A good way to check to see if you are in tune is to hold down the string you are tuning on the fifth fret and listen to the sound coming from that string when you do so. The sound on that fifth fret should be an octave higher than what the open string below it would normally sound like if it were tuned.
For example, if you are tuning your fifth string, you would play the sixth string with your finger on the fifth fret of that string and also play the open string of the fifth string. When you are tuning the G string though, you will need to use the fourth fret instead of the fifth. On the second and first strings, you go back to using the fifth fret.

Reference instruments helpful

It’s helpful to have a reference instrument nearby -- such as using a piano to tune, using another guitar, or a metronome that plays reference notes.
I think tuning by ear only really works if you have a reference instrument handy, especially if you play in alternative tuning. There’s also the harmonic method, which is a little bit more complicated, but perhaps it is a more accurate way of tuning.
Harmonic tuning involves playing harmonics on the guitar and getting them to match up. This method is good if you play an electric guitar.
When you are tuning, the guitar needs to be plugged in. This method starts on the fifth fret of your sixth string. You’re going to have your finger on that fifth fretboard and play the string so that it rings out pretty loudly and quickly let go of the fretboard.
Next, you go to the fifth string, seventh fret and do the same. These two should have about the same sound. You will use the fifth and seventh frets of every string pair except for when tuning the G and B strings. In this case, you will play the 9th fret of the G string while tuning the B string.
Additionally, the best way to get strings where you want them to be using this method is to turn the machine heads/tuners down first while you are tuning, and then turn them up gradually until they are where you want them to be. Your string will be in tune when the vibrations you hear while playing these two strings together disappear.
Personally, I use an electronic tuner that my guitar plugs into. I would highly recommend investing in one, especially if you are having problems differentiating between tones and are not quite sure about what a tuned guitar sounds like in the first place.
Electronic tuners are generally not very expensive, they’re portable and small, and they last a very long time. The harmonic method is tricky to get down for a beginner, but it is the most reliable way to tune a guitar if you don’t have a reference instrument or a tuner.
The other method using just the fifth frets requires a reference instrument as well, in case every string or most strings on your guitar are out of tune. If you aren’t playing in a musical group, that particular method may not be the best option for you.
But experimenting with each method and trying to tune your guitar without the help of an electronic tuner helps you to become more familiar with what a tuned guitar should sound like in the long run, so it’s beneficial to give the old-fashioned methods a few tries.
I hope this information about how to tune your guitar has been helpful.

Best Acoustic Guitar Strings for You

The best acoustic guitar strings depends on your experience, playing style, and sound you want to achieve. It is subjective.
But there are three brands that I suggest: Ernie Ball, Elixir, and D'Addarrio. I will review each and provide you with their pros and cons. First, though, let's understand the different types of strings for acoustics.
There are 80/20 bronze strings, which are 80% bronze and 20% zinc, or phosphor bronze strings — the same strings, but coated with phosphor so that they last longer.
There are also silk and steel strings, which produce less tension so they are good for vintage guitars.
If you are looking for a bright sound that fades away a little quicker, 80/20 bronze strings would be a good fit. But if you want a warmer sound, then go with the phosphor coated bronze strings.
The silk and steel strings tend to have a quieter sound and are easier to play. Unfortunately though, they also happen to be less durable and quieter.

Ernie Ball acoustic strings

Ernie Ball has their own line of acoustic guitar strings known as “Earthwood Acoustic Guitar Strings”. These are the typical 80/20 bronze strings and most stores carry them in light gauges or what Ernie Ball refers to as “Rock and Blues guitar” strings, which come in gauge sizes: 10-13-17-30-42-52.
The Earthwood Light pack comes in gauge sizes: 11-15-22w-30-42-52. Neither of these string packs are expensive, typically costing about $5 per pack. They are good starter strings for beginners, especially since the gauge sizes aren’t so wide in diameter as other types of strings.
But if you are a bit more experienced and don’t have any issues with bending, your priority is probably durability. More experienced acoustic guitar players typically go for Elixir acoustic guitar strings. This brand tends to focus more on acoustic strings than standard guitar strings.
But they carry strings for electric guitars, bass guitars, and mandolins as well. Still, their greatest variety of products is in acoustic guitar strings.

Elixir guitar strings

When deciding between Elixir guitar strings, you need to distinguish between “Nanoweb” and “Polyweb” strings, on top of whether they are regular 80/20 bronze strings or phosphor bronze strings. Both strings have a polymer tubing that touches only the winding.
However, the Nanoweb strings are coated more lightly and feel like “naked”, traditional strings. The Polyweb strings have a heavier coating in order to protect them from damage and to give them a more balanced tone and eliminate finger squeaking when playing. Choosing which kind of strings are right for you boils down to whether you are going for a more traditional tone, or if you find yourself having issues with unwanted squeaking or durability.
Elixir Light Nanoweb guitar strings are excellent for beginners because of the lighter gauges, but they aren’t too light either, so it helps the player to build up some bending strength.
They’re 80/20 bronze strings with light coating. These strings come in gauge sizes 12-16-24-32-42-53.
They have a bright and lively tone because of the light coating. They’re not exactly inexpensive strings however, being around the middle price range for strings (about $13 per pack). But they will last the player longer than cheaper guitar strings, as long as the player intends to play in standard tuning. That’s why they would be good for beginners though, because beginners don’t necessarily need to experiment with alternative tuning.
Elixir Light Nanoweb Phosphor bronze strings are just like Elixir Light Nanoweb strings, except for they have that coating of phosphor that helps with squeaking. They have the same gauge size, the same light Nanoweb coating, but they are made with phosphor.
These strings would be good for beginners who are being driven crazy with finger squeaking, because of the phosphor, but they also have that more traditional sound because they don’t have the Polyweb coating. These are also $13 per pack and extremely durable. These strings will also have that warmer tone that comes with the phosphor coating.
There are other gauge sizes of Nanoweb strings, such as extra light and light medium. There are also phosphor bronze nanoweb strings. The phosphor bronze nanoweb strings are great for players looking for a traditional sounding string that doesn’t have a lot of heavy coating, but that also has a warmer tone.
For more experienced players who strum and pick a little harder and want to play around with tuning, the extra lights and lights might be a little too thin in diameter to withstand a lot of that. They’d probably wear out pretty quickly. The light mediums though, should last a while and most players seem the happiest with them.
The Elixir Polyweb strings come in extra light, light, medium, and light top/medium bottom. The popular verdict among players on these strings is that they have a great, crisp tone. But the coating that creates such a tone doesn’t last very long, depending on how frequently or how roughly you play.
The Polyweb strings are around $15 and for that kind of money, you expect the tone you were wanting to last a bit longer than a month or two. The advice I get on forums and in reviews is not to blow your money on the special coating and just stick to the Nanoweb strings because the Polyweb doesn’t last long enough to justify the price.
If you’re looking for acoustic strings for a vintage guitar, experts seem to agree that for some more delicate models, silk and steel strings would be the best fit. 80/20 bronze strings create too much tension for some smaller body models, so silk and steel strings would be a good avenue to go.
But the major complaint with silk and steel strings is that they are too quiet and they don’t last very long. But if you have bending issues or just tender fingertips, these would be good strings for you because they are very light. On the other hand, if you play somewhat rough, these strings would probably break rather quickly.

D'Addario and Martin guitar strings

Silk and steel guitar strings are also very hard to find. D’Addario makes a model of silk and steel strings called EJ40’s and are sold through their website.
I also found a pack of Martin M130 silk and guitar strings on Amazon and on the Guitar Center website after searching specifically for “Silk and steel guitar strings”.
The Martin M130 silk and steel seem to be what musicians go for when they want to try out this type of string, or out of necessity because they play a vintage model.
I hope this information about the best acoustic guitar strings has been helpful.

Guitar String Notes for Beginners

By veni markovski  CC BY 2.0
Important chords to be aware of when playing guitar are G, C, D, and E minor. These chords make their way into a reasonably impressive number of guitar riffs and songs, so they are a great place for beginners to start when it comes to chords.

G Chord

The G chord is made using both E strings (first and sixth strings), and the A string (considered 5th string on fretboard diagrams).
G chord diagrams show numbered dots on these three strings, the dots numbered 1-3.
The numbers refer to which fingers to place on each fret/string combination.
Your first finger (pointer finger) goes on the fifth string (second thickest string on the top) in the second fret.
Your second finger (middle finger) goes on the sixth string (E string on the top with the thickest gauge) in the the third fret.
Finally, your third finger (ring finger) goes on the first string (the skinny E string on the bottom), also in the third fret.
You will strum all the strings at once, making sure that none of your fingers are bent in a way so that they would be muting the sound of any of the strings when you strum.

Chords: Strumming along

When playing chords, you're going to want your fingers to be as close to the frets (those raised ridges) as possible.
You don't exactly want them on top of the frets, but lying to the side of them, so that they are touching the raised ridge.
On some chords though, it is better to have the fingers angled instead of parallel to the frets, so that it is more comfortable to play.
Also, there are some occasions when one particular finger doesn't have to be directly next to the fret, in the name of playability. But I will bring up those exceptions when they apply.

C Chord

The next chord worth mentioning is the C chord. The C chord is made using the second string (B), the fourth string (D), and the fifth string (A).
We'll encounter the numbered dots again on the diagram for this chord.
You simply put your first finger (pointer) on the B string within the first fret. Next, you put your second finger (middle) on the D string within the second fret. Your third finger (ring) goes on the A string within the third fret.
Just like the G chord, you will strum all of the strings of your guitar except for the sixth string (you'll start on the A string). Again, make sure that your fingers are not bent or rested on any of the strings so that the sound will not be muted.
But you'll want your pointer finger to be slightly rested on the sixth string (heavy E) so that it won't ring out.
A pro-tip for making this chord easier to stretch to: let your fingers lay at an angle pointing in toward your body, instead of parallel to the frets. Make sure your thumb stays tucked in behind the neck though.

D Chord

The D chord uses the first string (high E), the second string (B), and the third string (G). Put your first finger (pointer) on the third string (G) within the second fret.
To best play this chord, your finger doesn't need to be as close as possible to the fret. The best place for your finger would probably about an inch from the fret.
Next, put your second finger (middle) directly below that finger on the first string (the thinnest string) also in the second fret. Finally, backtrack and put your third finger (ring) on the second string (B) in the third fret. The third finger will try to work its way closer to the second fret.
You'll want to practice stretching it so that it is as close to the end of the third fret as possible, so that you'll eventually be able to keep your third finger in its correct position for this chord. Just keep pushing it forward!
You won't play the top thickest strings on this chord. You'll start on the fourth string (D) and strum in a downward direction, and then back up again if you intend to repeat the chord.
This is a chord that is really difficult not to mute, and you will probably struggle for a while with muting when playing this chord. But practice makes perfect! It's all about stretching your fingers and forcing them to stay in their places.

3 chords to becoming a rock star?

With these three chords: G, C, and D, you'll now be able to play a lot of popular songs. Before moving straight to songs though,
I would recommend practicing just these chords (strumming down the chord and then back up again) until you get the hang of them.
Then, you can throw in trying to switch between these chords. Eventually, you'll be able to play songs like Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire", which alternates between G, C, and D; and "Zombie" by the Cranberries. Bob Dylan's "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" also would be playable with just these chords.
I hope this information about guitar string notes has been helpful.

Best Electric Guitar Strings: Slinkys in Your Future?

Face it: Buying strings sucks if you are a beginner. The music store has an overwhelming choice – some in pretty packages and others just bare wire. And it's confusing.
That's where I want to help. I want to provide you with a recommendation on how to choose the best electric guitar strings for your musical instrument.
As far as electric guitar strings go, I always choose something from the Ernie Ball line of guitar strings.
Not only are Ernie Ball guitar strings used and endorsed by master if musicians like Paul Gilbert, Slash, Buddy Guy, and Steve Vai to name a few big names, but Ernie Ball has lots of choices, depending on where you’re at in your career or if you play in standard or alternate tuning.

Get Slinky

Photo by yoppy via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
For beginners, Ball created a special model of guitar strings in the 1960’s. He noticed that beginner players had trouble playing the then standard line of guitar strings, Fender’s #100 medium gauge strings.
Beginners were having trouble holding down the 29 gauge third string, or the “G” string, it being too stiff for beginners’ fingers.
Ball’s solution was to have a special custom set with 24 gauge third strings manufactured so that he could sell them in his stores.
He also had the first string in the set replaced with a banjo string, due to the then trend of musicians “Slack stringing”, or replacing the high E string with a banjo string. Ball combined this with his lighter “G” strings.
This line came to be known as “Slinkys”.

Careful when changing strings

With “Slinkys”, players have to be careful when changing the strings. Because they are lighter, it is easier for them to snap, especially that sixth string.
They are very inexpensive though (around $4 per pack), so you might as well buy two packs just in case a string happens to break.
But they are great for beginners who are still working on their bending strength and will have difficulties holding down heavier standard models.
Nowadays, you can choose either the Regular Slinkys, which are based on the original idea of the 1960’s, or one of the brand’s several offshoots.
Right now, I have Ernie Ball Skinny Top/Bottom Heavy strings on my guitar. I picked these out a while back because they are good for playing heavier types of music, such as heavy metal.
They’re also good if you have difficulties bending top strings, but also want heavier bottom strings.
I like these strings because I always end up breaking my bottom strings if I get regular slinky bottom strings when I’m tremolo picking, or just during string changes. I also like the well-balanced tone these strings give my playing.
These last a bit longer at least. However, strings do wear out and you have to change them regularly anyway.

Drop tuning guitar strings

For guitar players looking to play in lower tuning (drop D tuning in particular), another good option would be the “Slinkys Not Evens”.
These strings are also on the less expensive side, but cost about a dollar more than the “Top Skinny/Bottom Heavy Slinkys”.
Because of the thicker diameter (larger gauges), they maintain proper tension. This helps to make tremolo picking more consistent so that you don’t end up with any unwanted buzzing sounds.
Ernie Ball manufactures a string set called “Beefies”, which are specified on the package to be made for drop tuning.
The “Slinkys Not Evens” are far better than “Beefies” for drop tuning though. The “Slinkys Not Evens” actually allow you to tune lower than the “Beefies” do.
Just don’t try to use “Slinkys Not Evens” in a higher tuning--they would make it harder and more uncomfortable to play.
If you’re looking for some strings that need to last a little longer (like if you’re touring or traveling and you know you won’t have time to stop at a music supply store if a string happens to break), I highly recommend looking into Ernie Ball’s selection of titanium coated strings.
Ernie Ball takes their regular nickel wound strings and coats them with a layer of enamel. The strings also have rust-resistant plating and titanium reinforcement winding. They still have the tone of uncoated strings, despite the coating.
You can choose from “Regular Slinkys” with titanium coating, or Ernie Ball coated “Super Slinkys”. The coated “Regular Slinkys” sound particularly good on Les Paul model guitars.
They’re also good for down-tuning because the tension caused by it tends to wear regular strings out more quickly. I would advise staying in standard tuning if you’re using the coated “Super Slinkies”. They’re still pretty thin and ill-suited for down-tuning.

Elixir guitar strings

The other popular brand of strings is Elixir. As crazy as this sounds, my first string at the moment is an Elixir Nanoweb medium. I'm also using five Slinkys on the other strings.
I broke the 1st string when changing them and what happened to be around was a pack of Elixirs.
Elixir strings are a lot more expensive than “Slinkys” (at Guitar Center they go for $10.99), but they do last longer.
I haven’t really noticed a major difference between the tone of “Slinkys” and “Elixirs” on my electric -- the acoustic is a different story, though.
The popular verdict among more refined guitarists is that Elixirs give a more “crisper” tone.
Personally though, I’m happy with my Skinny Top/Heavy Bottoms, as long as my first string doesn’t break during a string change.
My first string does feel a little bit more slippery compared to my other strings, because of the polymer tube. But if you can live with that and just don’t want to have to change your strings so much or you like the tone of the strings, then the slippery feeling is definitely no big deal.

My recommendation: Ernie Ball Slinkys

My go-to string brand is Ernie Ball because of the brand’s choices for musicians who play in drop tuning.
I also like their wide variety of gauges they have to choose from, which is what made the brand successful in the first place.
The Elixirs are nice strings and do last longer, but I've only noticed three choices when it comes to gauges and the price on Ernie Balls is just better.
If you play in alternate tuning, go with the Ernie Ball strings.
If you just play in standard tuning and don’t want the hassle of constantly having to change strings, then I would suggest Elixir strings.
I’ve had success with both brands either way, and I hope this helps you choose the best electric guitar strings.