The Best Jazz Guitar Strings (Top 30) – Survey Results

When searching for a jazz guitar tone, many guitarists will focus on their guitars and amps as the main source of their sound. But, there is often one important sonic ingredient that players ignore when it comes to finding the perfect guitar tone, the strings. Just as there are many styles of jazz, there are many different brands, styles, and gauges of jazz guitar strings that can help you achieve the guitar tone you desire.

Which electric guitar strings are the best for jazz? While the variety of guitar strings out there today gives players a huge amount of choice, it can also cause confusion and frustration as you search for the right strings for your desired tonal quality. To help you buy the right jazz guitar strings for your sound, we recently surveyed our readers on what strings they use to get a jazz tone.

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Below are the results of our survey, with background information on the top-5 strings as chosen by our readers. There’s information on string gauge and the results of our question on the eternal debate of flat vs. round-wound strings for jazz. Check out these results, as they might help you narrow down your choice for jazz guitar strings, or they might influence you to branch out and try some new strings.

When you’ve looked through the survey, post your favorite strings in the comments section below, or any questions you have about strings for jazz guitar.

Top 30 Jazz Guitar Strings (Electric)

 

The best jazz guitar strings

 
 

1. D’addario ECG24 Chromes Flat Wound (Jazz Light)

D'addario ECG24 jazz guitar strings

The most popular string set for jazz guitar is the D’addario ECG24 set with string gauges (thickness) ranging from .011 to 0.50 (closely followed by D’addario ECG25, going from .012 to .052).

Average Price: $11.49
Type: flat wound
Gauges: .011 .015 .022 (wound) .030 .040 .050

 

We also asked our readers how happy they are with their choice of strings, here’s the result for the D’addario ECG24 set:
D'addario ECG24 happiness level

 
 

2. Thomastik JS112 Jazz Swing Flat Wound (Medium Light)

Thomastik JS112 jazz guitar strings

The second most popular jazz guitar string set is the Thomastik JS112 set, with gauges ranging from .012 to 0.50.

Guitarists playing on the JS112 set seem to be satisfied with their choice of strings, 0% reported being not satisfied at all. These strings are more than double the price of the D’addarios, but are not the most expensive set in our survey (these are the Thomastik George Benson Flat Wounds further below).

Average Price: $26.99
Type: flat wound
Gauges: .012 .016 .020 .027 .037 .050

 

Thomastik JS112 happiness level

 
 

3. D’addario EXL116 Nickel Wound (Medium Top/Heavy Bottom)

D'addario EXL116 jazz guitar strings

Third on the list is the D’addario EXL116 set, with gauges ranging from .011 to 0.52. They are the first round wound set in our survey (number #1 and #2 are flat wounds).

The EXL116s are the least expensive set in the survey, you can get more than 7 sets of these for 1 set of the most expensive strings (the Thomastik George Bensons). Price probably comes into the equation when choosing for EXL116s, because the percentage of users reporting not to be satisfied are the highest of our survey.

Average Price: $4.95
Type: round wound
Gauges: .011 .014 .018 .030 .042 .052

 

D'addario EXL116 happiness level

 
 

4. Elixir Nanoweb (Heavy)

Elixir Nanoweb jazz guitar strings

Elixir Nanoweb is a set of nickel-plated steel strings with a nanoweb coating (gauges range from .012 to 0.52). Nanoweb is an ultra-thin coating that keeps dirt out of the space between the windings.

Average Price: $8.24
Type: round wound
Gauges: .011 .014 .018 .030 .042 .052

 

Elixir Nanoweb happiness level

 
 

5. Thomastik GB112 George Benson Flat Wound (Medium-Light)

Thomastik GB112 jazz guitar strings

The Thomastik GB112 set is the most expensive string set on the list. They are designed by Thomastik-Infeld to the specs of George Benson. Gauges go from .012 to .053.

Average Price: $38.99
Type: flat wound
Gauges: .012 .016 .020 (wound) .028 .039 .053

 

Thomastik GB112 happiness level

String Gauges

As well as ask our readers about the brand of strings they use, we also asked about the string gauges they prefer when playing jazz guitar. The results speak for themselves; jazz guitarists prefer a thicker low and high-E string, as the thickest gauge string got the most votes from readers.

What gauge strings do you use? Post your answer in the comments section below to see how it compares to our survey results…

 

Jazz guitar strings - low E string gauge

 

Jazz guitar strings - high E string gauge

Flat Wound vs Round Wound vs Half Wound

A question as old as jazz guitar itself, or at least as old as these strings were made, players have struggled with which string is better for jazz, round or flat wound?

As you can see from the results below, our readers prefer to use flat-wound strings. There are also about 1 in 10 players that prefer half-wound strings, which have started to make inroads into the jazz guitar community in recent years.

What type of string do you use? Post your choice in the comments below to see how it compares to our reader’s choices.

 

Jazz guitar strings - flat wound, round wound or half wound

  • PETER CRIST says:

    I mainly do solo chord/melody gigs and used to get a pretty sore fretting grip after 2 hours. If I am playing with a bass player I could go all night – X% percent fewer notes and weird chord grips. Landed on buying Thomastik Jazz Swing 10-42 – and replace the 10 with a generic 11. The 11 sounds more solid and gives less inadvertent bending than the 10. A clear tone on that melody note is essential. The bottoms are a bit dark but I ain’t got Tal Farlows hands. At least I am not struggling for the last 1/2 hour.

  • Erroll says:

    I’m a gigging pure jazz solo player (“old school” standards chord melody style. No rock, fusion, blues or otherwise) and I’ve been wasting money on other brands of strings, then returning to the same set: Thomastik/Infeld flatwound George Benson GB114’s (gauges 14-55). In 2018 I was able to buy several sets of these on eBay at a great closeout price ($15 per set), and since they last nearly forever I now have a “lifetime” supply! I’ve decided to stick to these permanently and not bother with any other brands going forward. But they ARE worth the usual $35/set you usually see them retailing for. The feel and sound of these strings, IMO, are superior to any other string out there. I play a 17″ full scale hollowbody archtop with a floating pickup. My advice: If you (and your guitar) can handle the thickness, go right to GB114’s: You’ll actually SAVE money (and time) that you would waste trying everything else and getting disappointed/frustrated.

  • Bob Newell says:

    Not mentioned in the survey are the Philippe Bosset strings, which can be had in the US for around $15 a set. I like the round-wound 12/52. Perhaps these are a little on the obscure side but easily the best archtop strings I’ve ever used and at a medium price point.

  • Jim says:

    Love the feel and warmth of flats. Have tried 10,11&12 chromes.
    Want to try TI 13-53 on an ak85 ibanez. Has that been tried by anyone?

  • L5ces says:

    Thomastik jazz swing flat wound 0.13 – 0.53
    Gibson L5ces

  • Jaime says:

    Almost everyone seems to have forgotten about pickups, ’80s bill Lawrence l90 neck set 3/8″ plus flatwounds = unique

  • Thierry says:

    I use Thomastik Jazz BeBop 11-47 on my Telecaster. They give a great sound for the Jazz Classic and especially the Jazz Fusion. I tried before Flat wound D’addario ECG 24, the sound is much too dull. We must take into account that we each have a personal perception of sound. Several factors come into play: Type of guitar, strings, amp and dexterity of our fingers.

  • Midnight Blues says:

    Well, I’ve always used Dean Markley “Regulars (10-46), the equivalent now being their “Vintage” strings, on my Les Pauls (one I use the “Top Heavy” version, which goes to 52), my 355, my Strat and my acoustic guitars; a Martin D-35 and Washburn 10DS. On those I use 12-54 gauge.

    If I’m ever lucky enough to own a Wes Montgomery L5, I may try flatwounds, but certainly 12-52 gauge.

  • Thierry says:

    I have a Vintage Les Paul and I put round wound D’Addario EPN 10-46.

    I keep a warm sound with a lot of versatility.

    Flatwound would give a sound too dull on this type of guitar.

    My teacher is a professional and he puts Elixir Nanoweb 10-46 on his Gibson Les Paul.

  • Klaus Rossler says:

    Please don’t forget to consider the guitar – especially the bridge of the guitar – my ES175 has an Ebony/wooden bridge. Some Es 175’s have metal bridges. The outcome – with identical strings – will be very different. On a wooden bridge a string with a bit more edge is a good idea while on a metal bridge straight flatwounds are fine

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