The Ultimate Guitar String Shootout

As guitarists we spend countless hours pursuing "tone". We change our pickups, buy new guitars, look to our pedalboards and amps for answers, but we often neglect the first thing our fingers come into contact with on our instrument: strings.

Here at Playing With Chaos we are set to dispel the myths that are often associated with guitar strings. Many people become disciples to a specific brand, refusing to switch no matter what develops over time. Others will play whatever brand their guitar heroes play, in the hopes that their tone will come straight out of the package of strings they bought at their local music store. Guitar magazines are loaded with ads for guitar strings; some promise longevity, others guarantee that their strings stay in tune better than everyone else's, while some manufacturers will attest to the quality of their hand-made, hand wound, home grown, all organic and environmentally friendly strings. 
 
We are not going to listen to ads, endorsed artists or what your aunt Sue or uncle Bob tell you. We're going to test the strings and give you the results, right here.
 
Our tests will begin tomorrow, and it will be a long, thorough process. Each package of strings will be put onto a 1997 Gibson Les Paul Studio with custom mad MJS pickups. We will play the strings every day for 30 minutes, and play the same set list of songs, along with some scale studies and finger exercises. The strings will stay on the guitar for 2 weeks. No matter how dead the strings are or how bright and new they sound, they will be changed after 2 weeks. 
 
Once we are done, we will report our results right here for you to judge for yourself. Our goal is to reveal how each brand performs. We will listen with our ears, not our eyes. And we won't lie, because no one paid us to say anything nice. Some manufacturers have provided us with strings to review, but most were simply purchased by me for the purposes of this test.
 
Each pack of strings will be put through the same criteria: Brightness of tone, Ability to stay in tune, Playability and Feel, Response to picking/pick attack, and Depth of sound/tonal quality. We will explain each criteria for our readers when we report the results. Stay tuned!

Here is what we've reviewed so far:

Black Diamond Electric NickelBlack Diamond Electric Nickel

D'Addario Balanced Tension Guitar Strings

D'Addario NYXL Guitar Strings

Dean Markley Helix Guitar Strings

Dunlop Electric Nickel Steel Guitar Strings

Fender Special Bullets Guitar Strings

GHS Boomers Guitar Strings