REVIEW: Dean Markley Helix Pure Nickel Strings

Guitar strings are a tricky thing. They can be very personal. What’s deliciously bendable for one player is too slick for another. And that’s kinda what makes string shopping so much fun. If all strings were the same, what would be the point? Dean Markley offer many kinds of string at all sorts of price points and for all sorts of applications. And their Helix Pure Nickel electric guitar strings feature an added twist every bit as cool as their revolutionary Blue Steels cryogenically treated strings. The trick to the Helix strings is that they feature a patent-pending Elliptical Winding process: the nickel core is bound up by wire that’s elliptical in shape rather than round, which means the strings feel smoother, there’s less space for gunk to intrude, and they’re easier on your frets and fingertips.

There are six gauges available: 2511PN (.009-.042), 2512PN (.009-.046), 2513PN (.010-.046), 2514PN (.011-.049), 2515PN (.010-.052) and 2516PN (.012-.052). There are plenty of other strings available in the range too, including acoustic, electric and bass variants, which you can check out here.

I put a set on my Fender American Vintage 1962 Stratocaster Reissue (as you’ve probably seen in the video above). Aside from feeling particularly smooth and gentle on my fingertips, the most apparent difference compared to my previous strings was a perceptible ‘crack’ to the note attack. It really helps to bring out the percussiveness in bluesy riffs, the detail in complex chords and the articulation in speedy licks – and it makes for especially beautiful clean and semi-dirty tones. Dean Markley claims that these strings will last up to five times longer than regular strings too

But beyond longevity (which is always good), these strings bring plenty of their own juice to your tone, to the point where they become a tonal choice (do you need the extra punch they impart?) as well as a practical one (would you like to not have to change strings so often?).

dean markley helix