Ernie Ball Electric Guitars Strings - which slinky?

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The Ernie Ball 'Slinky' range of electric guitars strings is the most popular choice for many guitarists worldwide. This brief guide by marsguitars-uk gives as easy-reference to the gauges available, their names, codes and the guitar styles they best suit.

Let's start with the Ernie Ball sales blurb...

Nickel-plated steel wire wrapped around tin-plated hex-shaped steel core wire provides vibrant, bright, lasting tone and reduces fret wear. This weight balances maximum response from your pickups with playability and bendability. Ernie Ball strings are precision manufactured to the highest standards and most exacting specs to assure consistency, optimum performance, and long life.

A note about gauges...

If you're new to the guitar scene you may be confused by people saying things like 'I always use nines'.
Guitar string gauges are usually described by their thichness in thou' (thousands of an inch). When guitarists talk about 'nines' or 'eights' etc they are refering to a standard set of strings, with the first string being nine thou' or eight thou' thick. It's not that simple, however, as there are many variables in strings not just the thickness of the first string.
The great thing about Ernie Ball Slinky range is that they allow you to match the top and bottom strings to suit your style... so if you like to easily bend your high strings when playing lead but pound the bottom strings when playing rhythmn then you can chose a suitable combination. As a rule, heavier strings give a fuller sound, but are harder on the fingers for beginners and are more difficult to bend when playing lead. Lighter strings are easier to fret, better for expressive bends, slides and vibrato effects.. but give a slightly thinner sound and break more easily! In my experience, beginners who use 'eights' are always breaking their E string!

It's generally assumed that the first and second string will be 'plain' (just a straight bit of wire!), whereas the third to sixth strings will be 'wound' (a thin bit of wire in the middle tightly wound with a wrapping of even thinner wire to make upo the total thickness). Where this generallity is broken, it is indicated by p for plain or w for wound, added to the gauge. Again, you will hear guitarists say things like 'I prefer a plain G' - an example of this is in the Beefy Slinkys, where the 3rd string is '22p'.

Here's the gauges available...

2215 - Skinny Top Heavy Bottom      10, 13, 17, 30, 42, 52

2220 - Power Slinky                            11, 14, 18p, 28, 38, 48

2221 - Regular Slinky                         10, 13, 17, 26, 36, 46

2222 - Hybrid Slinky                           09, 11, 16, 26, 36, 46

2223 - Super Slinky                             09, 11, 16, 24w, 32, 42

2225 - Extra Slinky                             08, 11, 14, 22w, 30, 38

2626 - Not Even Slinky                      12, 16, 24p, 32, 44, 56

2627 - Beefy Slinky                            11, 15, 22p, 30, 42, 54

That's all I've got time for now, I hope it is useful

For more guitar guides, news and training aids for guitarists, check out some of my websites...
powerchordtrainer.com
guitar-gizmo.com
guitarstringguide.com
guitartunerguide.com
guitar-collector.org

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