If you’re looking for a La Bella strings review, this post is for you!
La Bella Strings Background
La Bella takes us back to 17th century Italy. The Mari family was one of the best manufacturers of violin strings at the time.
In the 20th century, Olinto and Emilio, direct descendants of the family, moved to New York. They eventually started making steel and gut strings. With the invention of nylon, they were one of the first collaborators in the process of manufacturing nylon classical guitar strings.
The company was called E. & O. Mari. Eventually, they started a string brand called La Bella. And the brand remains to this day. Additionally, E. & O. Mari, Inc. still remains in the family.
What Kind of Strings Do They Have?
When it comes to strings, La Bella has 9 main categories of products. These are:
- Acoustic Folk (ukulele, banjo, mandolin, and Irish bouzouki)
- World (various traditional instruments)
- Early Instruments (lute and old versions of classical guitars)
La Bella Guitar Strings
Of course, the main focus is still on guitars. And they cover acoustic, electric, and even nylon classical strings. But, above all, there’s such a great abundance of different string sets.
For instance, there are about a dozen of different electric guitar string sets. One of the options also includes ordering a custom set. You may like a specific lighter gauge for the top 2 or 3 strings. And you may want to have much thicker ones at the bottom. You may also want a wound 3rd string or even a super-thick bottom string that’s over .1 inches in diameter.
They even have specialized sets for drop tunings and baritone guitars. And, what’s more, they have flatwound strings, traditionally known for their use in jazz.
They also have some innovative features. For instance, they have double-ball strings for Steinberger and similar headless guitars. Then there are also Folksinger strings that are nylons with ball ends.
As I mentioned, the choice is pretty wide with them. And they aren’t afraid to experiment with different concepts.
What Are La Bella Guitar Strings Like?
As far as steel strings go, most of the sets are nickel-plated. This gives them a slightly brighter twist to their tone. One of their sets called The Bender has a specific nickel-plated formula. It comes with a specific vintage-oriented tone and feel.
But no matter the material, players who use La Bella strings praise them for their smooth feel. This is especially the case with their flatwound jazz strings.
However, the most important thing that La Bella strings are praised for is diversity. There are so many different sets. In fact, those who play less conventional guitars consider them a go-to brand.
For instance, they’re one of the rare companies that have substantial production of 8- and 9-string sets.
(Check out this 9-string guitar post to learn more about this unique instrument.)
And, for instance, they also have their Silk & Steel set for acoustics. It’s a hybrid that brings the attack of steel strings and the warmth of nylon strings.
In almost all cases, their build quality is superb. They’re fairly reliable and not many online users have complained about them. From my experience, they’re pretty decent.
I remember that they had string sets with protective coatings. However, it seems that they don’t make them these days anymore. It would be good if they had something in that style. But their line of strings is still pretty awesome.
Notable Electric and Acoustic Guitar String Sets
I would like to feature a few notable sets by La Bella. These are, in my experience, the best and most popular ones.
- Jazz Flats
- Low Tension Flexible Flats Bass
- The Benders
Jazz flats may be a bit more expensive. However, they’re superb stainless steel flat-wound strings. While they’re for hollow-body guitars, I love how they sound on solid-body instruments as well. They feel and sound smooth. However, due to the stainless steel, you can still notice some brightness and attack.
As far as bass strings go, I really loved their Low Tension Flexible set. These are, once again, flat-wound strings. It’s a far less common sight among bass strings, but it’s still not the most widespread type of string. They offer them for different scale lengths. And, most importantly, they all have reduced tension. It gives them an incredible feel in combination with the flat surface. And they still manage to sound pretty balanced.
As far as The Benders go, the approach here is pretty interesting. These are a recreation of their old strings. As the company explains, they feature a specific nickel-plated formula from the 1960s. This comes with a slightly thicker tone. But, at the same time, they still retain that really cool twangy sound. I’d suggest that you try these with a Fender Stratocaster or a Telecaster.
Are La Bella Strings Worth It?
In my honest opinion, La Bella strings are worth it. Sure, they’re not my primary choice because I have a more specific taste in strings. Nonetheless, most of their stuff is pretty great.
The biggest advantage is the abundance of choices. There are so many different sets that can fit almost anyone’s taste. There’s the regular nickel-plated stuff, and then you have something like Silk & Steel or The Benders.
But no matter the set that you choose, they’re all pretty great. Apart from a few occasional naysayers, most who have tried La Bella strings seem to be satisfied with them.
I hope this article has helped you get a sense of these strings and what they are like!
And if you have other questions about these strings, or another guitar-related question, feel free to comment below!