The 5 Best Bass Strings for Metal Reviews

As a bass player for a metal band, your job isn’t exactly to hog the spotlight. That’s mostly for the vocalists and the lead guitar heroes. Even drummers get better press. But you’re the one whose bass notes give the music their underlying oomph, and for that you can’t just settle for the best bass guitar. You also need the best bass strings for metal.

What you have to understand is that not all bass guitar strings are the same. They may be made of different metals which cause the strings to produce different sounds that will suit particular types of music. Some are meant for many different musical styles, while others are especially suited for heavy metal.

Even among these specialized bass guitar strings, some are simply better than others. To help you identify them, we’ve made a list of bass guitar strings to consider. Our choices for the top bass strings for metal should enable you to get the ones that best suit your playing style and your budget.

Top 5 Bass Strings for Metal: Comparison Chart

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Nickel plated steel wrapped around a tin plated high carbon steel core
6.5 x 0.1 x 4.5 inches
3.2 ounces
Nickel-plated steel wrap wire
6.5 x 6 x 0.7 inches
4.2 ounces
Super-thin coating on the plain strings and on the wrap wire
6 x 6 x 0.5 inches
4 ounces
Nickel plated steel wrapped around a tin plated high carbon steel core
6.5 x 0.1 x 4.5 inches
3.2 ounces
Roundwound Nickel Plated Steel on Strengthened Core
0.5 x 7 x 7 inches
4 ounces

Best Picks of Bass Strings

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

Ernie Bell is one of the standard go-to brands for electric lead and bass guitars. That’s not just because they’re among the best budget bass strings around. It’s just that for the last 50 years, their strings have been consistently excellent.

That’s especially true of their Slinky series, which have been the favorite of many noted bass guitarist for many years now. This set ranges from .050 – .105 gauge and it’s an extra thick version that’s great for metal.

Ernie Ball Regular Slinky Nickel Wound Bass Set, .050 - .105
  • Most popular bass string alloy
  • Well balanced
  • Good all around sound

Last update on 2020-05-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The iconic Slinky sound is quite punch, and it seems tailor-made for rock. At the same time, it offers a rather well-rounded sound so it can be used for other musical styles aside from metal.

However, this version is a bit thicker. So you get more of a low-end groove, and it sounds stronger too. That’s the kind of sound that works for every subgenre of heavy metal, including truly fanatical types of deathcore metal.

These strings are made with tin-plated high carbon steel core, around which you have nickel-plated steel. It’s the use of the high carbon steel that makes it strong and easier to control, so you can push the strings into any type of musical style you want.

Highlighted Features
  • It’s punchy and rock-oriented. You get that chunky bass tone that really sets your music apart.
  • The extra thickness offers more strength and a more prominent bass groove.
  • It works for many types of metal music.
  • It’s still thin enough for slap.

#2: D’Addario EXL160 Nickel Wound Bass Guitar Strings

Among bass players all over the world, the D’Addario brand is quite well-known and highly regarded. Their XL Nickel Electric Bass strings are especially esteemed, and the EXL160 is their topselling heavy bass string set. Just about all D’Addario will work for metal, but you really can’t go wrong with the EXL160.

These are medium long scale .050 -.105 strings. They’re designed to fit any long scale guitar, up to a scale length of 36.25 inches.

D'Addario EXL160 Nickel Wound Bass Guitar Strings, Medium, 50-105, Long Scale
  • D'Addario's top-selling heavy gauge bass set
  • Round wound with nickelplated steel for a distinctive bright tone with clear fundamentals and booming, tight low end
  • Fits long scale basses with a string scale length of up to 36 1/4 inches
  • String Gauges: Wound .050, .070, .085, .105
  • Made in the U.S.A. for the highest quality and performance

Last update on 2020-05-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

These strings will give you amazing clarity to your tones, with a brightness that sounds delightful for metal. At the same time, they’re also reinforced by the well-defined bottom end.

The round wound strings are wrapped in nickel-plated steel. This gives you a very distinct sharp and bright tone with clear basics. The bass section is quite tight and booming too. If you’re a bassist whose bass guitar is a kicking and screaming monster, this is your set of bass strings.

It’s affordable too, and it’s also made in the US. It’s easy to understand why this is the brand’s bestseller.

Highlighted Features
  • It’s affordable, yet made in the US.
  • It’s a set of 4 strings with gauges of .050, .070, .085, and .105.
  • The tone is quite bright with a tight low end.
  • It’ll fit scale lengths of up to 36.25 inches.

#3: DR Strings Bass Strings, Black Beauties – Extra-Life, Black-Coated

DR strings are a bit more expensive, but then there are good reasons why that’s so. This is especially true of these “Black Beauties”. When you’re playing heavy metal, it does seem right to have black strings, doesn’t it?

What’s more, the higher cost of these strings can be explained by how they’re made. These are actually handmade, and so they’re not just produced in factories. They’re crafted, and the craftsmanship explains its distinct character.

DR Strings Bass Strings, Black Beauties - Extra-Life, Black-Coated
  • Gauge: Medium
  • Hand-made with black polymer coat
  • Signature crisp tone, clarity, and volume of dr's traditional handmade strings
  • Super-thin coating on the plain strings and on the wrap wire
  • Extended string life

Last update on 2020-05-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The tone is crispy, and especially aggressive. For metal, that’s entirely suitable. The sound is affected by the super-thin coating applied on the plain strings and on the wrap wire. This coating also adds extra life to the strings, which you will need when you’re playing metal music with savage abandon.

Highlighted Features
  • It’s handmade, and this gives it its distinct character.
  • Its black color looks cool for metal.
  • The coating makes it last longer than ordinary bass guitar strings for metal.
  • You get the DR volume, clarity, and crisp tone. It’s bright but not too bright, with terrific sustain and thump.

#4: Ernie Ball Super Slinky Nickel Round Wound Bass Set, .045 – .100

This may be used by Mickey Madden of Maroon 5 and Mark Hoppus of Blink 182, but it’s also perfectly suited for metal music.

It offers a classic balanced tone with strong responses for the treble, midrange, and bass. It may be the best bass strings for rock.

The wrap wire is nickel-plated steel, which is responsible for its terrific intonation and consistency. With tin plated high carbon steel hex wire for the core, you enjoy great durability that you’ll certainly need for playing metal music.

Ernie Ball Super Slinky Nickel Round Wound Bass Set, .045 - .100
  • Most popular bass string alloy
  • Well balanced
  • Good all around sound

Last update on 2020-05-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The sound isn’t really the fat tone you may expect. Instead, the tone is crisp, very clear, and quite sharp. These strings are made for expressing your individual notes, so you can really express yourself as a musician.

Highlighted Features
  • The tone is crisp and sharp.
  • It’s a high quality set of strings.
  • It offers good consistency.
  • The durability is undeniable.

#5: GHS Strings Electric Bass Boomer Set

You know who uses GHS bass strings? Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers, that’s who. You can get these in light, medium light, or medium. The medium light gauge offers .045-.065-.080-.100.

These are basically the classic power strings that hard rock bassists have been using for years. They’re popular over the years because they just sound so rock-driven, and they’re great for metal music.

GHS Strings Electric Bass Boomer Set (Medium Light Nickel Steel, 4-String, Long Scale)
  • Model: ML3045
  • Featuring the air-tight Fresh Pack, guaranteed fresh from the factory!
  • Roundwound Nickel Plated Steel on Strengthened Core
  • The classic POWER string for increased brilliance, volume, sustain and strength.
  • Medium Light Gauge: 045-065-080-100

Last update on 2020-05-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The nickel-plated wrap gives the sound the brilliance you want so you get the crisp tone and the oomph vibe. The volume and sustain are remarkable. It even offers a high end that in some cases sound like a bell.

Its strength is also good enough for even the roughest-playing metal bassist. These can last far longer than most bass strings.


Why Do You Need Bass Strings?

If you’re serious about your heavy metal music, then it’s not enough that you get ordinary bass strings that are good for various types of musical styles. You need your bass to sound perfect, and for that you need the best bass strings for heavy metal.

As a bass guitarist for a heavy metal band, you do know how there are times when you will pound on the strings savagely. It can’t be helped—it’s the nature of heavy metal music that it can turn people wild. So an ordinary set of bass guitar strings just won’t do since they’re not built for such abuse.

Also, ordinary bass guitar strings may not have the right sound. You need the strongest tone for metal. A weak tone just won’t do, as it can make your music sound limp.

How to Choose Bass Strings for Metal

There are several ways you can choose strings for your bass guitar. One especially common way is to just go to a music store and ask a helpful seller to make some recommendations. Of course, that can go awry especially when the seller is just out to make money.

A more effective way to pick bass strings is to ask around. You may have friends in your local music scene who also play bass. Ask the better ones about the strings they use.

You can also do some research on what strings are used by your favorite bass guitar metal heroes. A judicious use of Google and your research should offer some juicy details.

Once you’ve made a list of the strings used by your favorite bassists, you can then do research online on their features and price. You should read customer reviews to see how well they fare in performances and how good they sound.

Things to consider before buying Bass Strings for Metal

You may have noticed that bass guitar strings are generally a bit more expensive than the strings for electric guitars. The obvious reason for this is that the strings for the bass guitar are thicker, so they need more materials to produce. The prices may also depend on what materials are used.

Different materials result in different sounds. For metal, the most common material is nickel plated steel, which can sound bright and deep.

Bass strings also come in different scale lengths. Some are short at 32 inches or less, others are medium ranging from 32 to 34 inches, while you can also have long lengths at 34 to 36 inches.

You should also consider the thickness of the strings, which is measured by their gauges. A thicker gauge is generally preferable for heavy metal, since you’re more forceful when you play and you’re more into low tunings.

Round wound strings are the most common winding for bass strings. The flatwound bass strings, on the other hand, may be the best bass strings for jazz.

Final Verdict

We can’t really recommend which bass strings you should get from among this list. Each set of strings on this list is excellent, and they’ve been used by professionals and rock legends all over the world. You can’t really go wrong with any of them.

What you need to do is to pick the right set of strings that sounds the best for you. Since that’s an entirely subjective standard, your best bet is to try each one of these. The nice thing about the abusive nature of metal music is that it shouldn’t really take too long for you to wear out your strings, so you can buy a different brand and model next time.

However, if you’re forcing us to name our recommendation, you should really try the DR Black Beauties. They’re unique, and something about how they’ve been handcrafted makes them sound just distinctly special. The black color seems tailor made for metal, but its sound is really what makes it so great.

It’s true that they’re a bit more expensive, but it’s not as if were talking about an extra hundred dollars here. We’re only adding $10 or so to the price. That’s a small price to pay for this kind of handmade quality.

Besides, it does have this special coating that extends its durability, so it’s a great investment. It may be pricier, but then it lasts longer. The Black Beauties aren’t really meant for jazz—their clarity and bite make them just about the best bass strings for metal.

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