String Shootout Review: Black Diamond Electric Nickel

The Black Diamond string company has been around since 1890. Chances are, if any of your grandparents, aunts, uncles, or parents played a stringed instrument, they have had a set of Black Diamond strings at some point.

We got our hands on a set of their Electric Nickel strings and put them on our testing guitar (a Gibson Les Paul studio loaded with custom MJS pickups). Let’s see if their long history held its own on in our lab. The criteria used to evaluate each set of strings can be found here.

Tone: Bright, punchy, even throughout the testing process.

Tuning Stability: 4 out of 5

The Electric Nickels stayed in tune quite well through our bends, chord bashing and riff playing.

Playability and Feel: 3 out of 5

Black Diamonds hold their tuning well, but they don’t feel that great under your fingers. They were not that easy to bend, and felt uncomfortable to play.

Response and Balance: 3 out of 5

The response to pick attack was fair and the notes played sounded reasonably balanced across all six strings. The one thing that brought this score down was the fact that the response was somewhat dull. It could have been a partial “dead” pack, but in this case the non-wound strings were less responsive than the wound strings by the end of the first week.

Depth of Tone and Sustain: 3 out of 5

The tone was bright but there was not much past the tone. When hoping that the notes played would sustain, I was disappointed. By the end of the trial, however, the sustain was consistent, so whatever you have when you get them out of the pack you can be guaranteed for the duration of the time you’ve got them on your guitar. The sound that I got for heavy metal music was a little too bright for my liking, and that may be something to note if that’s the kind of music you play. Classic rock, blues, and jazz seem to be more the genres that would be suited for this particular pack of strings I tested.

Durability: 4 out of 5

Black Diamond seems to have nailed the formula for durability. The strings felt like “new” the entire time and this no doubt will make them popular among those of us that have many guitars that require plenty of string changes.


Overall, the Black Diamond Electric Nickel strings were adequate for the price point and if you’re a player who has strong hands and play with a bit of a heavy hand or a lot of pressure on your left hand, they might be the strings for you.  Check out their wide range of strings on the Black Diamond website and find the perfect fit for you.