Ten sets optimized to keep the tension up and the floppy down.

If you play (or want to play) heavy-handed, hard, and low, your strings need to be able to handle the task. Here are 10 of the myriad sets available for getting your drop tuning on.

D’ADDARIO

EXL148 [.012.060]
These hybrid gauges are optimized for C tuning or players who prefer a heavier string, and are roundwound with nickel-plated steel for bright tone.
$5 street
daddario.com  

DR STRINGS

DDT-11 [.011.054]
Designed over a two-year build-and-test period, these strings use the company’s Accurate Core Technology to be able to drop with confidence and accuracy.
$8 street
drstrings.com  

ERNIE BALL

Mammoth Slinky [.012.062]
On this set, the wound strings are made from nickel-plated steel wire wrapped around tin-plated hex-shaped steel-core wire, while the plain strings are tin-plated, high-carbon steel.
$7 street
ernieball.com  

STRINGJOY

Drop Tune Medium [.011.058]
Recommended for drop C, but applicable for lower tunings as well, these strings feature nickel-alloy wrap wire around high-carbon steel hex-core wire.
$12 street
stringjoy.com  

DEAN MARKLEY

2500 Signature Series [.013.056]
Featuring nickel-plated steel that’s slowly handwound over a hex core, the outer string wrap maintains 100-percent contact with the core for maximum sustain and full sound.
$6 street
deanmarkley.com

CLEARTONE

Heavy Series Drop 60 [.012.060]
These strings feature EMP (enhanced molecular protection), a unique micro-thin coating that protects this specially made drop-tune set against corrosion for longer life.
$14 street
cleartonestrings.com  

DUNLOP

Heavy Core [.010.060]
These drop-tuning optimized strings use carefully selected core wire and proprietary wrap ratios to allow aggressive pick attack when playing below standard.
$7 street
jimdunlop.com  

GHS

Thick Core Boomers [.011.056]
The thicker core of these strings works well for both standard and drop tuning, and the beefier core is said to provide greater sustain, a more focused low end, and fatter tone.
$5 street
ghsstrings.com  

CURT MANGAN

11-56 Drop Tuning [.011.056]
These nickel-plated strings were designed for drop tuning, but also a well-balanced tonal response with sparkling highs, clear mids, and defined bass.
$7 street
curtmangan.com

ROTOSOUND

Dark Zone DZ10 [.010.060]
Designed to deliver a bright and heavy tone, and provide a long lifespan, the wide gauge range of this set is intended to provide excellent frequency response for drop tuning.
$10 street
rotosound.com

This rare English Tonemaster was made circa 1957.

The Valco-produced English Tonemaster is a rare, lap-steel-inspired gem from the 1950s—when genres and guitar design were fluid.

The 1950s were a peculiar time for the electric guitar. Innovators, designers, and tinkerers were pushing the boundaries of the instrument, while musicians were experimenting with various playing techniques and sounds. There was an evolution of sorts (or de-evolution, depending on your slant) from solidbody “sit-down” guitars, like pedal and lap steels, to “stand-up” or “upright” solidbody electrics. If you look at an early Fender catalog—let’s say from 1953—you’ll see the Telecaster (and Esquire), the Precision Bass, and then a whole bunch of steel guitars. There was a shift underway, and many manufacturers began to blur the lines of what a guitar should look, sound, and play like.

Read More Show less

PRS Guitars and John Mayer officially announce the PRS SE Silver Sky, an affordable version of the original with PRS trademark bird inlays and three single-coil pickups.

Read More Show less
x