June 2

Best Strings for Telecaster: Bring Out the Right Sound

Our Top 3 Picks & Summarized Links for Telecaster Strings

D’Addario NYXL Strings

D’Addario NYXL Strings

"D’Addario’s NYXL Nickel Plated Electric Guitar Strings feature a newly engineered, break-resistant, high-carbon steel core and plain steel alloy that gives you a whole new level of freedom, confidence and power in your playing. These strings can keep up with your whammy bar dives and bends."

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  • Most durable guitar strings on the market.
  • Available with a wound or unwound third (G) string.
  • Stay in tune better than the competition.
elixir optiweb strings

Elixir Optiweb Strings

"Deliver the performance of a natural string — that crisp tone, natural feel and playable grip you know and love — without sacrificing longest lasting tone life... Engineered to stand up against corrosion and provide the longest-lasting tone compared to any other guitar string."

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  • Polymer coating over the metal that keeps grime and oil out.
  • Coated strings that can be easier on the fingertips for new players.
  • Debate over the impact that coatings have, causing 'dampened sound' potentially.
ernie ball super slinky

Ernie Ball Super Slinkys

"Ernie Ball Slinky electric guitar strings have been the favorite of legendary artists like Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, Jimmy Page, Slash, Green Day and more. Slinky gauge combinations were pioneered by our founder Ernie Ball over 50 years ago, helping shape the sound of rock n roll."

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  • Cheaper than most and possibly the most iconic brand with long history of loyal guitarists.
  • Nickel-wound strings with tin-plated high-carbon steel cores.
  • Not coated - may not last as long as alternative options. 

How Important Is It to Get the Right Strings?

Not all electric guitars are the same, and neither are the strings. Getting the right sound out of your Telecaster requires the right string choice, one that fits well with your genre and playing style. There are plenty of strings that will do your Telecaster justice, but some stand above the rest. Check out our best picks for strings to make your Fender Telecaster sound incredible.

Replacing your strings often enough — and getting the right strings when you do — are both essential if you want to get the best sound and best playing experience out of your guitar.

Telecasters are pretty versatile, so it’s not like you’ll ruin your experience or your instrument if you try some strings you don’t end up loving. But your string choice directly affects the experience of playing your Tele, not to mention the tone you’ll get from your instrument.

If you’re new to guitar, you may quickly get overwhelmed by the sheer number of options, plus all the distinctive elements. There are gauges, materials, wind styles, coatings and more to worry about.

We don’t have the space to cover all of these components in detail in this guide. But the good news is we already did so in our other guide, Best Guitar Strings for the Beginner Guitar Player 2024. If any of the terminology below is unclear or confusing, make sure to check out that guide before continuing through this one.

What Attributes of the Fender Telecaster Can Influence String Choice?

Ultimately, your choice of string will come down to stylistic and personal preferences. That said, there are some attributes of the Telecaster design itself that can have an impact on string choice.

Pickup Type

Fender Telecasters typically have a dual single-coil pickup arrangement. One of the pickups is built into the metal bridge, which gives it a stronger or beefier presence. Single coil pickups can tend to produce a bright tone and can even seem overly bright if paired with a subpar amplifier. Pure steel strings are extra bright, too, so take care before picking up a set of steel strings for your Telecaster.

The placement of the second pickup does alleviate this concern slightly compared to most Stratocasters, but it’s still something to consider.

If you’re rocking a Telecaster with humbucker pickups, you can disregard this concern entirely.

Bridge

Nearly all stock Telecasters use a solid bridge, which is to say they don’t include a tremolo system. As a result, you don’t have to worry quite as much about tuning. We say “quite as much” because of course you still want your guitar to stay in tune. It’s just that you aren’t going to have as hard a time with that as you would with a tremolo system.

You can still enjoy the benefits of strings that are engineered to stay in tune longer, but you can enjoy a decent experience on other strings, too.

Instrument Scale

Just like the Strat, all Telecasters are long scale instruments, meaning they have a scale length of 25.5 inches. This extra length makes using heavy-gauge strings a bit easier than with smaller guitars. You might not necessarily want to go with heavies, but doing so is more feasible thanks to the instrument scale. Depending on your genre and playing style, you might get more body and presence by going with a heavier gauge.

Best Strings for Telecaster: Our Top 7 Picks

Now that we’ve got the instrument attributes out of the way, it’s time to dive in and explore our top picks for the best strings for Telecaster. While the absolute best electric guitar strings often transcend models, there are some strings that rise to the top specifically for the Telecaster.

Whatever style you’re playing in, one of the selections below should perform extremely well for you.

D’Addario NYXL Strings

D’Addario NYXL Strings

D’Addario has been making high-quality strings for centuries, literally. To this day, the brand remains a top pick for strings of all sorts, from violins to double basses to guitars. Their electric guitar strings are exceptional, including their NYXL line of strings.
These are nickel-plated steel strings, with a high-carbon steel core that’s exceptionally durable. In fact, D’Addario claims these are some of the most durable guitar strings on the market today, thanks to some snazzy break-resistant engineering. They also stay in tune better than the average string.

If you’re playing country or other genres where you want a bright or light sound, a light gauge is a good choice in this brand. And since the strings are so durable, you don’t have to be as concerned with breakage as you might otherwise be with light strings.

Depending on the set you get, D’Addario NYXL strings are available with a wound or unwound third (G) string. Most have an unwound third, which is our recommendation for most genres. If you’re big on bending notes, getting a plain third will make your job easier.

With a dizzying array of gauges and configurations, there’s something for everyone in the NYXL family. A set of 10-46 strings (which D’Addario calls Regular Light) is a great all-around choice.

Check current pricing on Amazon for the D’Addario NYXL Strings

D’Addario EXL110-3D Nickel Wound Strings

D’Addario EXL110-3D Nickel Wound Strings

The new anti-break and stay-in-tune tech in the NYXL series is impressive, but it’s also surprisingly expensive. And since you’re playing a guitar sans tremolo, you might not totally need that added tech. If you’d rather get three sets of strings for the price of one NYXL set, D’Addario has another much-loved offering for you: the EXL110-3D.

These, too, are nickel-wound strings and are somewhat the predecessor to the NYXL. They share the same roots with a high-carbon hexagonal steel core, just minus the fancy new engineering.

These are great strings, trusted by all sorts of pro players across a range of genres. D’Addario goes so far as to call them “the standard in electric strings.”

These are round-wound strings that are particularly at home in rock and blues, with a bright (but not too bright) sound that’s quite versatile. Here, too, Regular Light 10-46 strings are a good all-around choice. Go lighter (or heavier) if your music or playstyle calls for it.

Check current pricing on Amazon for the D’Addario EXL110-3D Nickel Wound Strings

D’Addario EPN110 Pure Nickel Strings

Our last D’Addario recommendation is the EPN110. These pure nickel strings produce a warmer sound still than the previous options that has plenty of vintage vibes. If you’re doing soul, jazz, or anything else that calls for something thicker and warmer, these nickel strings are a great place to be.

If you’ve got the finger strength, consider experimenting with a heavier gauge in pure nickel for a sound that will really round out your Telecaster’s warmth and presence. The Blues/Jazz Rock 11-48s will do the trick, or go crazy with the Jazz Medium 13-56.

Check current pricing on Amazon for the D’Addario EPN110 Pure Nickel Strings (Blues/Jazz Rock 11-48)

Check current pricing on Amazon for the D’Addario EPN110 Pure Nickel Strings (Jazz Medium 13-56)

Fender 250L Nickel Plated Steel Strings

Fender 250L Nickel Plated Steel Strings

Look, if you’re rocking a Fender, it stands to reason you should at least try Fender strings once, right?

If you’re new enough to playing the guitar that you remember what it felt like the day you brought home your Tele, chances are you’re remembering Fender strings. These are the strings that usually ship on new Fenders.

These strings aren’t going to win any prizes for innovative new features, but they’re quality, nonetheless. They produce a great sustain and tend to be balanced well. You also won’t have to think twice about picking up a new set because they’re dirt cheap.

If you want a simple, uncomplicated string that works well and doesn’t cost much, this is it. Try the 250Ls in light 9-42, and get a sense for the added brightness that a light gauge can bring.

Check current pricing on Amazon for the Fender 250L Nickel Plated Steel Strings

DR Pure Blues

DR Pure Blues

If you’re looking for a vintage American rock and blues tone, there’s a string that’s synonymous with the sound: DR Pure Blues. These are handmade vintage pure nickel round core strings, decidedly old-school in every way. They boast rich sweetness when playing chords and great sustain as a lead player.

Hand-wound strings with round cores are certainly going to be susceptible to damage and detuning, but that’s a downside worth taking if you can get this kind of beautiful vintage sound out of your Tele.

If you’re going for blues, nothing quite competes with these strings, making them one of the best strings for Telecaster in this genre.

Go for a medium set here, 10-46. You’ll enjoy the warmth and tradition in every note and chord.

Check current pricing on Amazon for the DR Pure Blues

Elixir Optiweb Strings

Elixir Optiweb Strings

Elixir is another respected guitar string brand, and it’s most famous for its pioneering work in the realm of coated strings. Coated strings have a polymer coating over the metal that keeps grime and oil out, preserving the life of the strings. Some coated strings can also be easier on the fingertips, especially helpful for new players.

There’s some debate over the impact that coatings have on sound. They do tend to dampen sound a little, though that’s more of a concern for acoustic players. That said, Elixir continues to innovate, and their latest effort is impressive. Optiweb strings have the protection of a coating with little to no downside. You might not even be able to tell a difference when you play them.

The Elixir Optiweb is a great choice if you play often or sweat a lot and are frustrated at how quickly your strings degrade. Put simply, these will last longer, no matter what you’re doing.

Like some other high-tech options, these are pricey — over three times the price of some strings. But if you like the tone, the extra expense may be worth it when you consider the durability.

Check current pricing on Amazon for the Elixir Optiweb Strings

Ernie Ball Super Slinkys

Ernie Ball Super Slinkys

Another iconic brand and string type, Ernie Ball Super Slinkys hardly need an introduction. Players have been slapping Super Slinkys on their Teles for years, and for good reason. These are nickel-wound strings with tin-plated high-carbon steel cores that are easy on your fingers and sound great on your Tele.

Plenty of well-known artists swear by their Super Slinkys, including the Rolling Stones and Metallica themselves.

Super Slinkys are a custom light gauge, landing at 9-42. They’ll sound great for all-around use on your Tele and certainly deserve consideration for best strings for Telecaster.

Check current pricing on Amazon for the Ernie Ball Super Slinkys


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