Today we will discuss 8 Best Strings for Slap Bass & Funk Guitar 2023.
Guitar strings are the most important part of the guitarist’s relationship with the instrument. They have two roles: to give the instrument the optimal vibration the instrument needs to sound good and to give the musician the comfort and convenience they need.
The advantages of the modern-day show us that they can mold much more easily to our needs; they come in all sorts of experimental thicknesses to suit any style but also use manufacturing technologies that aim to make the tone sound as much as it did on the first day, to have the correct tension without damaging the neck of the guitar, to withstand the most challenging temperatures, and not break easily.
They can be bought in many forms; either you want a complete set, or you can buy the strings separately to create your own custom set, but companies are increasingly understanding users’ needs and are bringing out hybrid sets every year.
So, in this article 8 Best Strings for Slap Bass & Funk Guitar 2023, we’ll talk about bass strings suitable for higher energy techniques like slap, with gauges that keep the snap and pop optimal in the high strings and keep the low end present and clear. Yet we won’t stop there; we’ll also talk about electric guitar strings that contribute greatly to funk music’s overall timbre, feel, and responsiveness.
8 Best Strings for Slap Bass & Funk Guitar 2023
1. Elixir Nanoweb Super Light BassGuitar (.040-.095)
Elixir Nanoweb offers that punch you can find in uncoated strings but gives the feel and lifespan of coated ones.
Elixir stands out from other string manufacturers because they use different approaches regarding coating, namely Nanoweb coating. This micro-thin technique gives you a natural feel, good sound, and a long lifespan.
In this version, you get a set of .040-.095 string gauges that integrate super easily into any technique, especially slap, because they are designed to excel in the mid-high frequency range, and the thickness is well-balanced for standard tuning (E standard).
The packaging is standard and easy to follow; it gives you information about string gauges and the strings are packaged separately. A pretty important part is that they don’t pack the strings in a plastic material that would protect them from moisture; they are laid out on paper instead. But you shouldn’t be discouraged by this; the strings are hardly resistant to temperature changes and rust.
The best part of the Elixir Nanoweb strings is the fact that they have a very long lifespan, and the tone you get when you put them on your guitar lasts for a long time:
- Nanoweb Coating is not a surface feature, it protects the entire string, which means that dirt and sweat have a hard time getting into the underlying metal, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t wash your hands before you play.
- This gauge (.040-.095) is appealing and offers cool playability; it’s optimal for complicated playing styles like slap, slides, and legato; pressing them is very easy, allows for less action, and you won’t compromise their resonance.
- The strings offer a bright and balanced tone, and this Elixir design promises to deliver a consistent and clear tone across all strings. They offer a punchy and bright tone, great for slap techniques that come easily out of the mix.
- All of Elixir’s strings have an Anti-rust plating that promises not to let rust get to the plain steel strings, which means you’ll be able to play in wet environments several times before the strings rust. It’s good when you’re on tour, and temperature and humidity changes are at opposite poles constantly.
Overall, the Elixir Nanoweb (.040-.095) is a great choice; this set offers a balanced tone, good tension, and optimal playability for different styles and genres that require more developed accuracy. Still, this comes with a pretty hefty price tag; these strings are the most expensive on the market, which can be a slight drawback for some.
However, if you’re looking for strings that do the job well for a week in the studio (or change them once a month if you want to use them at home or rehearsal), behave naturally with the instrument, offer a useful bright tone in slap, then they might be for you.
We recommend to be careful from which store you buy the strings because they are not wrapped in a moisture-proof package, and if you buy them from stores that don’t know how to store them properly and have them for more than 6 months, they may come with rust. We recommend buying from Thomann, Sweetwater, and Amazon.
Do not use special solutions to clean the strings. The strings are well made, and their tone will last longer. If you plan to use such a solution, it will likely increase the collection of dirt and dead skin. After each session, you can (and should) wipe the instrument and strings instead.
2. Daddario EXL110 (.010-.046)
The D’Addario EXL110 is recognized for its adaptability to many musical genres, especially funk.
This D’Addario range is well known for the way they were created; they contain a nickel-plated steel wrap that is wired with a hexagonal steel core, representing almost three centuries of string-making experience. They are made to offer superior stability, durability, and much better intonation.
This set contains thicknesses of (.010-.046), which may be too thick for some funk players, but this set is stable in standard tuning (E standard) but also below that (maybe a semitone, one and a half). We chose this set because this genre needs a fairly powerful pick attack, and a set with gauges like this could handle that amount of energy without taking the guitar out of tune or intonation.
The set is wrapped greatly, takes up a little space in the guitar case, and gives all the necessary information. The strings are packed in pairs, all in the same plastic bag (which faces humidity), and each string has a color specific to the note you want to tune it to, which is better efficiency when you want to change them.
The best part of this set of strings is their feel and the fact that they offer good quality (for a short time) at a reasonable price:
- This set offers a vibrant and transparent tone thanks to Nickel-Plated Steel which has a very pronounced presence. In the context of funk music, this transparency allows the guitar to stand out. They respond great when playing an energetic staccato, making those funk rhythm patterns stand out.
- Regarding durability, these strings will cope with corrosion quite well, so they will maintain their qualities for longer. Also, the core of these strings will allow you to stay in tune for a longer period, which is important because, in the funk genre, a large amount of energy will be applied to them.
- These strings are well-known thanks to their smooth feel, allowing you to play anything very easily across the fretboard. For funk, they are good because you can bend the notes easily, and the rhythmic and complex patterns are effortless and smooth.
- Thanks to this string guage (.010-.046), the strings will give you a good blend between the thick and thin strings; this means the low frequencies are robust and warm, and the high frequencies are articulate, creating that necessary snap in a funk. They allow you to play various techniques, such as finger slapping, slides, tapping, etc.
D’Addario EXL110 is a great set for those who want a balanced set in thickness, a bright and snappy tone, and good intonation. If you are looking for an inexpensive, stable solution for a short time, such as a gig, or a two-day recording session, this might be for you.
But if you’re looking for a stable solution for playing at home and not changing strings so often, you might not like it, especially if your room has high humidity.
Normally, these strings will have a 2-3 weeks life span, depending on how picky you are with them. We also recommend this, but if you want to use them longer, you can use string reconditioning solutions.
Be careful to store the strings well; very often, due to certain things that can happen during delivery, the bag in which the strings are packed can break, and in a damp environment, the strings can rust even before you put them on. We recommend that you check each set you buy as soon as it arrives home, and a plastic case would be useful for storage.
3. GHS 3045 ML Boomers (.045-.100)
GHS 3045 ML Boomers offer a great tone at an affordable price.
GHS is a company that has been in business since 1964, and since then, they have been offering musicians a wide range of solutions when it comes to strings (they offer a lot of sets with hybrid gauges from normal to unusual).
The thickness of the set (.045-.100) offers a cool balance for bassists who want to incorporate more aggressive techniques, such as slapping; these strings offer a bright tone, and the harmonics nicely highlight the slap’s impact. Also, this gauge offers a cool blend between tension and flexibility; it’s relatively easy to play because the tension isn’t that high, and if you wanted to play D drop, it wouldn’t be a problem.
The strings come in a well-packed bag, it’s not the kind of set that will give you too much trouble when it comes to storage, and you can find most of the information you need. The strings are not separate, they are all blended, and the packaging is moisture-resistant.
The best part of this set is the combination of the clean tone it gives you, but also the convenience of changing the strings often as they aren’t very expensive, but they sound good:
- One of the cool features of this set is that the strings are of great quality; it is nickel plated, coating a round steel core. This technique gives a bright, powerful tone suitable for slap techniques that requires an articulated attack.
- Thanks to the roundwound construction (also their signature), these strings can deliver a clear, full-bodied tone with an accentuated mid-range that provides that right slap snap. Also, this construction allows users to put less effort into the fretting or right hand.
- This set has a medium-light gauge, which offers a good balance between tension and flexibility in tuning. It’s strong enough to handle slap, meaning the string won’t get out of tune even if you play aggressively, but it’s also flexible enough, offering a wide range of dynamics and great action across the fingerboard.
- The folks at GHS are renowned for durability and longevity; the 3045 ML Boomers have proven over time to be a set of strings that can withstand any string attack, and over time they don’t gather as much dirt, nor do they rust quickly.
The GHS 3045 ML Boomers (.045-.100) is the string set that will give you what you need; the tone is good, the strings offer stability in tuning, and it’s easy to set up the bass with them, and they can last quite a long time.
If you’re looking for a set that you change quite frequently (whether you’re on tour and would like to change strings once every couple of gigs or have a studio session), these strings deliver what they set out to do. But, if you want a set that you can keep on your bass for more than a month, these strings might not be for you because if you don’t give them thorough maintenance, they lose their tonal qualities over time.
The strings have an atypical coating on the top of the strings (the part you insert into the pads); they have a coating that provides a better anchor for the strings but can scratch or destroy them. We recommend cutting that part off if you have the possibility.
When doing the bass setup, the strings need to be stretched more than any strings, so if you normally stretch 4-5 times on a string, it is advisable to stretch at least 6-7 times to get it stretched properly.
This hybrid set from Ernie Ball gives you good stability in the lows and the right snap for slap technique.
Ernie Ball is one of those companies that it’s impossible not to have tried at least once, whether we’re talking strings, instrument cables, or other guitar accessories. They are the most popular on the market, and many great artists have collaborated with them for years.
When it comes to strings, they have a wide range of gauges and sets, from the most normal to the most unusual. The Ernie Ball 2833 Hybrid Slinky (.045-.105) is a hybrid set that many artists widely use due to the thicknesses the set has. The thick E string has a .105 thickness, which means you can abuse it however you like, although it holds up to the most aggressive slaps preserving the intonation and tonal qualities.
The company understands the importance of keeping the strings fresh and invested quite a bit in packaging. The strings come in a hermetically sealed package, which keeps the strings very well and protects them from any environmental elements that can affect the integrity of the strings.
The best part of this set is the gauge of the strings, but also their quality:
- Ernie Ball is known for its nickel-plated steel wrap. This material has a very special tone; it is crips but also bright, which enhances that pop when talking about slaps and other techniques. This nickel also keeps exhibiting the reduced amount of noise you can make with your fingers, a quality many musicians look for.
- In the middle of these strings is a hexagonal steel core, proven over the years to keep the tone consistent and improve durability. This shape ensures a tighter fit for wrap wire, which helps maintain string life and a more stable intonation.
- This hybrid gauge (.045-.105) offers a delicate balance. The thinner strings (.045-.065) help have that snappy and clear slap tone, while the heavier bottom strings (.085-.105) offer depth and resonance to round off the sound. It’s like having the best of both worlds, which is why these hybrid sets are becoming increasingly popular.
- One of the coolest parts of these strings is that Ernie Ball has created an environmentally friendly product. They use sustainable production methods, making these strings an eco-friendly choice.
No wonder Ernie Ball strings are widely used; the way the string reacts with the instrument, the stability in tuning and intonation of the strings, and their comfort and durability are very hard to match, especially at this price.
If you’re looking for a set of strings that will be useful in any context, be it live, studio, or just for rehearsals at home, these will be useful. Their hybrid gauge allows you to enjoy various musical genres, and the comfort is great.
Because of the hybrid approach of these strings, you can try more musical styles that require more energy to play. If you are passionate, we recommend trying rock, maybe metal; and why not, you can combine slap techniques in this genre and form new music.
These strings are meant to be fresh between 3-4 weeks; that depends on how you take care of them. If you feel they need to be fresh, apply a string-cleaning solution; this could be a short-term solution.
Some stores accept used Ernie Ball strings for recycling. Ask your local store if they have this option; doing so will make the earth thank you.
5. Elixir Optiweb 19002 Super Light (.009-.042)
The Optiweb coating technology delivers a great natural sound and feel of guitar strings.
They are designed to give the feel and sound of uncoated strings, being specially designed to allow the string to vibrate freely. They can also provide a cool grip on the strings, making bending and using wide vibrato techniques easier.
This gauge (.009-.042) is the thinnest you can use but one of the best for funk. Besides these strings being extremely soft and natural, you will get great snap and articulation when playing funk using a set like this. These are ideal for those who want to play fast, rhythmic playing while bending the string is like a breeze.
The string set is packaged in a premium package, but that takes up a lot of space in a guitar case (it doesn’t find its way into Ibanez cases, for example), but that may be an isolated case. The strings don’t come in a moisture-resistant package, but that’s not a problem because they resist temperature changes and rust hard.
The best part of these strings is the sound they offer, and the way they reinvent the interaction you have with the instrument because of the natural feel the strings give you:
- Optiweb coating is a very advanced feature of this set and is responsible for providing a natural feel and response to the strings. What’s nice about it is that unlike other coated strings, which can be slippery or foreign, Optiweb coating feels very similar to uncoated strings, offering a consistent grip and thorough control for energetic funk beats.
- It’s more than necessary to have a set of strings with that sparkling top-end tone after a long playing period. Well, the Elixir strings, especially the Optiweb strings, are defying that with anti-corrosion technology that gives that clarity and brightness for longer.
- Funk is a genre that can have aggressive strumming and picking. Even though this set of strings has small thicknesses, they have high durability; they can handle any type of picking and offer equal performance on any duration.
- This gauge offers a pretty good range to those who want a snap in strings 1-3, while in the low end, the thicknesses keep the intonation well. Together, they are suitable for those who like fast parts, legato or sweep picking, or rhythmic parts, as in funk.
We can say that this Elixir category excels in every chapter you can think of; the sound quality is good, the strings don’t dampen the high frequencies (they offer a bright and clear tone), and playability is increased, especially by this super-light gauge which coupled with the natural feel of this type of coating, fingers float on the fingerboard.
If you’re looking for a set of strings that will ease the time you spend setting up, optimizing everything from intonation, tuning stability, sound, durability, and even consistency, this set might be for you. But if you have an aggressive pick attack, don’t want to spend too much money, and tend to over-bend the strings, you might not like it.
We recommend stretching the strings well, especially if you mount them on a guitar with a tremolo system like Floyd-Rose (about 5-6 times per string should be enough).
It’s not advisable to use string cleaning solutions on this set; they come with protection from the factory, and if you use them, you might age the strings prematurely. Instead, you could wipe the strings with microfiber after each session.
The Ernie Ball Paradigm Hybrid Slinky helps you play up to the most aggressive funk parts without breaking the string too often.
Ernie Ball Paradigm category is among their most popular set of string and the best ones; they boast they can handle rust and breakage in any situation, whether live or studio. They are plasma-treated, which means they can deliver the classic slinky tone that can stand up to even the most aggressive musicians. Also, they cope with any environment, whether a salty-aired coastal region or a very dry one.
This .009-.046 hybrid gauge combines the snap you want in the thin strings but also the right tension in the low end. These are meant for the most aggressive playing techniques, so they’ll stand up to more aggressive funk players, and on top of that, these strings are great for those with a term-arm on their guitar, like Floyd Rose, Bigsby, or Ibanez.
The strings come wrapped in a package that can handle any environment; Ernie Ball says they use a proprietary technology called water-tight packaging that is meant to keep the strings looking like the day they were created. The set is very easy to store-read, fits easily into any guitar case, and the necessary information is easy to follow (each string is packaged separately).
The best part of these strings is their durability, which consists of break resistance but also the fact that they resist rust well:
- The construction of these strings is among the most revolutionary on the market; they have an ultra-high-strength steel core that, coupled with Ernie Ball’s patented reinforcement technology, not only strengthens the string core but also helps uphold a more consistent tonal quality.
- These strings use an Everlast nanotreatment that is highly resistant to dirt, sweat, grime, and the elements many musicians encounter when they go out on gigs or during long practice sessions. For the funk folks, that means they can play fast-fire muted strumming that won’t degrade the integrity of the strings quickly.
- This combination of thicknesses bridges the gap between regular and heavy thicknesses, offering the right mix of playability and weight. Funk requires a careful balance between swift rhythmic action and overall depth, so these gauges provide that precise balance.
- As a result of its advanced construction, Paradigm strings advertise that they are the most break-resistant in the industry. Ernie Ball says they suit those with a tremolo arm system and urges musicians to do the most aggressive testing to convince themselves.
That means funk musicians who want to engage in aggressive, rhythmic chops will get more quality time with the instrument, and it helps them avoid getting stuck with strings that break often.
Time has had its say, and the combination of high-strength steel, reinforcement technology, and nanotreatment makes these strings long-lasting. Even though they seem to have a technology that relies on durability more than the tone they offer, these strings don’t sacrifice tone; they have a clear, vibrant, articulate tone, just right for funk guitarists.
If you’re looking for a set of strings to suit funk style, this hybrid set is very adaptable; whether you need to play heavy rhythm patterns or some firing off lead runs, these strings respond with ease.
We recommend using an eco-friendly string cleaner to remove dirt and grime from your strings efficiently.
Ernie Ball guarantees that the strings will last at least 90 days without breaking or rusting, and they say that if they do, they will replace them. So we suggest keeping the receipt, and if the inevitable happens, you’re covered.
If you are mounting the strings on a Floyd Rose system when you cut the ball to insert into the cavity, we recommend keeping the wrap thicker than the actual thickness of the strings; that way, the contact the blocker has with the string is much firmer.
7. Daddario EXL190 (.040 – .100)
This set from D’Addario is among their most chosen bass string sets.
D’Addario is a company that is considered a titan in the string manufacturing industry because they are constantly dedicated to the needs of musicians, offering them many options and being dedicated to innovation. They offer several series of strings such as XL, XT, NYXL, Chromes, etc, each offering certain benefits for every taste.
The XL Nickel category is a standard in the electric bass string industry. They have clear fundamentals, tight lows, and a good snap for many genres like funk, blues, rock, and more. This set (.040 – .100) is a hybrid and offers an ideal combination of comfort due to balanced tension but also booming and brightness in the low end. They can be put on a bass with a string scale length of up to 34 inches.
The strings are packaged in a set optimized for practicality and protection. It can be easily integrated into any guitar case and offers plenty of string details. Still, above all, it contains a D’Addario innovation that aims to reduce waste while protecting it from corrosion.
The best part of this set is the custom gauge, which over a nice tension and a bright and clear tone, while the low-end is tight and well-intoned:
- D’Addario XL strings are crafted from nickel-plated steel, which offers a bright tone with a well-defined edge. This gives a sharpness but good clarity, especially regarding slap, which needs a defined articulation and pop.
- Thanks to the round wound construction, the strings can offer a very natural feel, as they minimize fingertip wear; this is important for bass players, as many string sets on the market cause them pain, especially if they play slap or slide styles.
- This particular gauge (.040 – .100) is dedicated to a wide range of bassists because it allows them to produce crisp top-end pops and deep tones in the low end.
This D’Addario XL set is one of the most convenient on the market, especially for touring musicians. The strings are of good quality, and this hybrid gauge set offers a good balance in tension, especially if you want to tackle techniques like slapping, and their packaging is ready for any environment.
If you’re looking for an inexpensive, good quality set of strings that you can change often before each gig and have a good experience, these may be for you. However, if you’re looking for a set that you change once a month or more, you should look at other, more expensive solutions from these guys.
Assuming you don’t have time before a gig to change the strings, we recommend using a string cleaning solution; they respond very well, and if you do this once/twice, it’s ok.
Whenever you don’t have much space in your guitar case, you can remove the cardboard packaging; this way, the strings will take up much less space.
If you want to tune in Eb or below, these strings might be too thin and not provide the right tension in the neck; you can choose a set with thicker sizes, such as .105 on low E.
8. Rotosound R9 (.009-.042)
The Rotosound R9 is the perfect combination of playability and reliability.
Rotosound is a company that has remained one of the most chosen solutions throughout its string-making history. They have produced increasingly interesting sets for decades, from the usual to the more unusual gauges.
Rotosound R9 (.009-.042) stands out as a distinct choice, especially when it comes to funk music; these strings have that distinctive crisp and clean tone that improvises those rhythmic chops specific to the genre, thanks to the small thicknesses that offer a complete balance in tension, with great comfort to those who apply either low or high energy in their technique.
The strings come packaged in a set that copes well with any environment; they are very easy to integrate into a guitar case, but on top of that, most sets come with an extra high E string, which is more than welcome, especially when you’re on the road with the band and don’t have a shop nearby.
The most important feature of this set is the fact that it offers an even tension thanks to the string gauge, and the playability these strings give you is great:
- The strings come with a nickel-plated design that gives you a bright tone with a fairly high output, and these qualities hold up for quite a long time because the strings age quite hard.
- The .009-.042 gauge selection offers a good combination of flexibility and tension, allowing players to execute quick runs or intricate chord voicings effortlessly.
- The round wound design makes the strings deliver a responsive touch, meaning those staccato rhythms trademarked in funk music are well articulated, in tune, and have the right snap.
- Rotosound R9 strings produce a wide range of harmonics that complement the melodic and percussive aspects well, which adds a cool touch, especially in funk music.
This R9 set offers the perfect combination of playability and reliability; the string tension is good, the set is moderately priced, and if you want to enjoy them for a month or two without changing them, they’ll do the job quite well. If you want a set of strings that have a bright and crisp tone, are easy to play, and change them fairly infrequently, this is a very good solution.
Don’t worry if you break the thin E string; the set includes an extra string which is more than welcome in these situations.
If you find this set too thin for your playing style, it is good to know that they have plenty of sets with many combinations of string gauges.
They were the 8 Best Strings for Slap Bass & Funk Guitar 2023. This article discussed most of the string gauges that can be comfortable for Standard E tuning. From the most comfortable to some a bit harder, to cope with even the most rigorous approaches regarding the energy you apply to the strings.
In general, when it comes to bass, a good idea would be to go no higher than .45-.55 because by the time you want to play slap, they might be quite tense. More importantly, if you don’t plan to lower the tuning, such as half step down or whole step, you may find that the neck has to bear too much tension. This can cause quite a bit of damage in terms of degrading the integrity of the bass, but also comfort when playing.
The same applies to the guitar; although there are guitarists who go up in gauge in rather atypical sets such as .11-52 or above, this only gives too much wear to the guitar in standard E. Normally, a .10-46 would be ideal, even for those playing more aggressive funk.
When choosing strings for your instrument, you should consider what context you want to use them in and how you want them to play. The answer to these would be contexts such as live, studio, or home practice, and of course, a higher or lower tension (comfort depends on it).
A general rule for guitar and bass would be that if you want strings that are as resistant as possible, both to wet environments and an aggressive playing style, the best on the market would be Ernie Ball and Elixir.
Elixir is very enjoyable strings to play; they can teach you how to play, bring out whatever note you are playing, and help you perceive the sound you create in totally new ways to what you knew before. They’re resistant to any environment, you can play them with peace of mind for over a month, and they’ll ease you when setting up your instrument.
The same goes for Ernie Ball’s strings, but they have an added plus you’ll want if you’re a more aggressive guitarist (the strings are extremely durable in every way). Whether you’re in a wet and salty environment or have a Floyd Rose and abuse it more like Pantera in their heyday, these strings are extremely responsive. They have rich, bright, full tones and move with most instruments.
Of course, it’s not pleasant for some musicians on the road to change Ernie Ball and Elixir strings every couple of days because they are expensive; for a set of basses, you can pay up to $30-40. That’s why we strongly recommend strings from D’Addario, GHS, and Rotosound. They are a good option, offer many options, and do their job well.
We hope this article has helped you find the right solution for your needs and understand these brands’ differences. Keep in mind that all sets are good; it depends on how you know how to use them and which one best suits your playing style.
Death metal enthusiast here. I am a Romanian musician and producer with over 13 years of experience in the music industry. I’ve experienced all types of Metal up until now, playing Melodic Death Metal, Brutal Death Metal, and Black Metal with different bands. Learning by doing is my base principle, which is why I’ve been drawn to sound design from an early age. Read more…