Written by Bobby
EPIPHONE OR GIBSON
Best Guitar Strings For Les Paul Electrics
WHY TAKE OUR WORD FOR IT? Guitar Chalk makes electric guitar string recommendations based on the opinion and experience of actual guitar players who have spent time using each set.
BEST VALUE & BEST OVERALL
Custom Gauge Electric Guitar Strings
In a Guitar World interview, Tool's Adam Jones - an avid Gibson Les Paul user - mentioned he uses these strings with a medium strength pick for more percussive playing. They give you that bendable upper register while also providing the thicker, low-end power chords. Les Paul electrics are known for handling both lead and rhythm pretty well and the custom gauge of this Ernie Ball set accommodates nicely.
Pros of the Ernie Ball Set
Cons of the Ernie Ball Set
Roundwound Electric Guitar Strings
GHS Boomers have been a popular choice of Les Paul players in the rock spaces, including Tommy Shaw (the Styx) and Tom Morello (Audioslave and Rage Against the Machine). Since the Boomers' gauge is a little lighter, we like them for those playing a more lead-focused style.
Pros of the GHS Boomers
Cons of the GHS Boomers
With OPTIWEB Coating
The OPTIWEB coating is the snoother of the two types Elixir uses (the other is the NANOWEB coating) which pairs nicely with the Les Paul lead tones. Elixir's strings are known for lasting a long time, up to eight months, even with heavy playing. I use these for both acoustic and electric playing and change them maybe twice a year.
Pros of the Elixir Sets
Cons of the Elixir Sets
The Process Used for Choosing the Best Guitar Strings for Les Paul Electrics
When pairing a string set with a Les Paul electric, my primary consideration was the tone profile of the strings and how they'd fit with the conventional sound of a Les Paul Electric guitar.
As such, I was looking for a brighter sound that leaned towards a lead-friendly EQ.
Since the Les Paul design is often associated with artists known for great lead, we want a brighter, more chime-friendly string that bends easily and allows you to emphasize soloing, especially at higher frets.
Think Slash and Jimmy Page.
I also wanted these strings to meet other more basic quality standards like winding type, core material, community reputation, length of life (before losing tone), and coating where applicable.
Best Guitar Strings for Les Paul: Additional Tone Factors
Keep in mind:
There are a number of other factors that can contribute to the tone of a Les Paul electric guitar:
- Whether it's an Epiphone or Gibson
- Pickups (humbuckers), pedals and amplifier EQ profile
- Model of the Les Paul being used
In my experience, these strings give you the best shot at a bright, Les Paul tone, but aren't the only factors. Keep that in mind while string shopping.
Total Electric Guitar String Sets Considered
Actual Musicians & Guitarists Consulted
Customer Reviews Considered
Your Questions and Comments
Obviously, you can use any set of guitar strings on a Les Paul, Gibson or Epiphone. But if we're talking about optimizing our tone and helping our Les Paul sound the way it was intended to sound, you need a set of strings with a lighter tone profile that's going to accentuate the brightness a Les Paul body naturally has.
In our experience, that's going to be one of the three above sets.
But if you don't go with one of those, we recommended looking for a lighter gauge, coated if possible, and something that's known for giving off a distinctly bright tone with a decent amount of sustain.
That's a great way to set your Les Paul up to sound the best it can possibly sound.
If you have questions about other string sets, or the ones we've mentioned here, feel free to drop those in the comments section below.