The 4 Best Bass Strings for Metal — Reviews 2024

best bass strings for metal

Photo by Christophe Losberger / CC BY

If you’re looking to play heavy metal bass, there’s a whole lotta things to keep in mind if you want to attain that perfect sound. Sure, an average sound isn’t too difficult to attain, but just being average won’t get you anywhere these days, so you better take things to the next level ASAP.

So, if you are in pursuit of that signature metal cling and crush, you will need a few things, and one of them is a nice set of strings. First and foremost, metal music will require you to change your strings frequently, but you will also need to get the right type to squeeze out the strongest tone.

To sum things up, the main factors we are after here are durability and longevity, power and punch, and, of course, value for money. With all that in mind, we ventured deep into today’s market to single out what we see as the best 4 bass strings for metal on the market.  Check out the goods below!

Ernie Ball Regular Slinky Nickel Wound Bass Set, .050 – .105

We’ll kick things off with one of the most iconic brands of guitar strings – the mighty Ernie Ball. For this particular occasion, we’ll take an extra thick version of their legendary Slinky series, the 50 – 105 set.

The sound of Slinkys in general is very rock oriented, well-rounded and punch-driven. When that extra thickness is added to the mix, you get more strength and low-end groove, which works very well for any style of metal from the staple brand of heavy metal all the way to modern deathcore.

These strings are crafted from nickel-plated steel that was wrapped around a tin plated high carbon steel core. This secures a balanced tone that’s easy to control and manipulate towards any desired audio direction.

Made in the good ol’ US of A, this is one of the string packs that work like a charm for almost any musical style you can think of.

Ernie Ball Regular Slinky String Review & Demo

D’Addario EXL160 Nickel Wound Bass Guitar Strings, Medium, 50 – 105, Long Scale

Up next is the renowned kick and brightness of D’Addario. In general, D’Addario stuff is pretty good for metal, but the specific package we’d like to draw your attention to is the EXL160 set.

These are medium, long scale 50 -105 strings, combining the mentioned brightness and clarity with a kick of well-defined bottom end. Made in the USA, these strings can fit any long scale bass guitar with a total scale length of up to 36 1/4 inches.

The strings are Round wound with nickel plated steel to secure a distinguishable bright tone with clear fundamentals, along with a booming and tight bass section. We recommend this set for players who want their bass kicking and screaming in the mix.

Apart from that, the price of this set is quite reasonable and affordable, making it obvious why D’Addario owns such a solid chunk of the market.  Hands down, it’s one of the best bass strings for metal.

"New D'Addario Nickel Wound Bass Strings"

Cleartone Medium Bass .045 – .105 Strings

Cleartone is one of the newer names in the industry, a name that managed to conquer its market share through top quality and affordable pricing. One of the strongest points of Cleartones is longevity; the company advertises these puppies as three or four times more lasting than the majority of other similarly-priced items on the market, and they are quite correct.

A part of their secret lies in the super thin coating they utilize. This protects the strings (see full specs) from corrosion and increases the ability to withstand heavy strumming, which is awesome.

As for the tone, well, it’s clear.  Clear, bright and accurate to be precise, bringing the company somewhat close to D’Addario.

The specific set we have in mind for metal is the Medium Bass 045 – 105 pack. It’s punchy and warm, perfect from players who like to utilize occasional lead lines and fills in their playing.

We also recommend these to budget-conscious players. Although they are a tad pricier than some of the other packs, these strings do last the longest, hence your yearly string spending will be significantly lower than if you were to purchase those other brands for 12 months.

DR Strings Black Beauties

You know what’s really metal? Black strings! But seriously, these strings were made from metal in every single way, from the pitch-black design all the way to aggressive tone.

The babies come from DR Strings, and the word of the day in terms of tone is crispy. These are handmade strings (see full specs) and you can really feel the difference in terms of character.

They feature a super-thin coating both on the plain strings and on the wrap wire, securing extended durability. With medium gauges of 45 -105, these strings are the high-end option here and possibly the strongest contestant to fetch the title. They do come with the highest price tag too, and that black finish can be a turn-off for some people, so it all comes down to your preferences and spending budget.  If you got the dough, well, these are easily among the best bass strings for metal period.

DR Strings Hi-Beam Bass Strings Demo

What to Look for When Buying Bass Strings for Metal?

As a conclusion, we’ll address this frequently asked question – what makes the best bass strings for metal. Essentially, there are two critical factors. One is the ability of the strings to deliver a well-rounded tone rich with low ends and full of attack, power, and that iconic clang.

Secondly, you will need strings that can last long and deliver that strong sonic attack for longer periods of time. Sure, you will need to replace those strings on every month or two to maintain the perfect tone, but you will want to avoid items that become sloppy after a week or two. Finally, a good bang for the buck is always something to take into consideration.

With all that in mind, we firmly believe that these four fellas all qualify for the best bass strings for metal.  You simply can’t go wrong with them. There are differences between them, though, so make sure to know exactly what you are after and then pick the one that suits you the best. Get your groove on now!

Written and Reviewed By

  • Micah Johnson started playing music in high school, when he taught himself the bass to join his friend’s band. He added guitar and drums during his twenties playing in local clubs, and along the way, he picked up unique, hands-on experience from hand drums to studio mixers. On Song Simian, he aims to share this knowledge from 20+ years playing and recording music. When not in gearhead mode, he enjoys photography and travel.

  • Marko is the senior editor and writer on Ultimate Guitar, the No. 1 guitar spot on the web, since early 2013. His work was also featured on a variety of other notable gear spots such as Guitar Fella, Consordini, and, of course, Song Simian. His musical journey began at a very young age, and he finally opted to pick up an instrument in his early teenage years. A fan of King Crimson. A travel enthusiast.

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One response

  1. Great post. I’m a guitarist but I’m bass on a project now so I’m glad to find recommendations for strings. For the most part, on my guitars, I use the Ernie Ball 10’s, either the regulars or the Classic Rocks. I’ve found the Classic Rocks to work quite well on guitars I was having intonation issues with.

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