Electric guitarists the world over are always on the search for the very best strings and I can tell you right now the best strings — forget value and pricing even though these strings are cheap — are the D’Addario EXL110.


When I first started playing the electric guitar, I used D’Addario strings, but I didn’t like them much, so I switched over to Ernie Ball Regular Slinkys.

The Ernie Ball strings sounded great the first few days but then quickly lost their brilliance.

I tried GHS Boomers, Gibson Vintage and Gibson Brites and was similarly disappointed.

The best, longest-lasting strings that can take dramatic Blues bends and still bounce back and sing for more are the D’Addario EXL110.

I was directed back to D’Addario from Ernie Ball when I purchased my David Gilmour Black Strat and asked that it be re-strung before delivery. 

When I was later told by Wildwood that D’Addario strings were used to re-string my Gilmour Strat, I wasn’t pleased based on my previous experience, but when I played that guitar, it sang like no other and I could easily bend big Blues notes without cutting into my fingers.

When I also found out that Eric Clapton switched from Ernie Ball Regular Slinkys to D’Addario Regulars for his Fender Custom Stratocaster, I was shocked. SHOCKED!  Here’s the evidence of Clapton’s strings spec switch directly from the Fender website:

If D’Addario are good enough for Wildwood and Eric Clapton, I decided to get rid of my Ernie Ball Slinkys and install D’Addario strings on all my guitars — including my Fender Custom Shop Clapton Strat — and I could not be happier. 

Strings are the soul of every guitar and if they are not in great, resilient, shape — then nothing you can do will ever make them better again — unless you swap out old strings for new.

Using D’Addario strings, I don’t have to change them as often because they sound and play better longer.  The XL110 strings are also tough.  I haven’t broken a string yet and I use a very tough Dunlop Ultex 1.0 pick

In fact, the only strings I’ve ever broken were Ernie Ball — and that was during setup and tuning and not playing!

Stop hunting for the right strings and pick up a pack or three or ten of the D’Addario EXL110 and find the real soul of your sound that you’re missing.

14 Comments

  1. Changing strings depends on your playing style and the acidity of your fingers — so string longevity is really individualistic. That said, I always wash my hands before I pick up a guitar and the D’Addario strings are the longest lasting beauties in my arsenal.

  2. Funny, I’ve been using D’Addario strings for more than 20 years now and Dunlop Ultex 1.0 in the right hand for about two years with my Les Paul Standard. We are at least two guitar players with the same receipe…
    Jam on !!!

  3. I know it’s an old thread, but I thought I’d clear a simple mistake up. Eric Clapton never switched to D’Addario. He’s been a faithful Ernie Ball user and endorsee for decades. I’m sure there’s a huge comfort factor in that, and he doesn’t have to think about string life as they get changed every day on each of his guitars.
    Fender simply chose to ship the guitar with D’Addario as most likely the companies have a deal. I don’t believe any Fender guitar ships with Ernie Ball strings.
    Glad you found your favorite string – takes some people years!

    1. Thanks for your comment. How do you know the inside deal for Clapton? I’m glad to learn he’s been faithful to Ernie Ball. It would be so great to be able to change strings every day. I can’t imagine Ernie Ball are happy with the D’Addario strings showing up on Clapton starts! SMILE!