Guitar strings guide: How to buy
You need to know a lot if you are interested in buying what you want to hear!
I’m writing this guide to help the Guitar players around who don’t know even a wee bit about acoustic guitar strings!
So whenever you’re planning to buy a new set, have a look at this article to know what you want. The strings on your acoustic steel string or classical guitar have a major impact on its sound and playability. If you’ve ever seen the collection of any pro musician friend then probably you know there’s a lot to consider in figuring out which strings are right for you and your instrument.
I’ve written this guide with the details you need to find the strings that best match your guitar and playing style. Keep reading to know what choice you should make.
First of all as there is no pickup or amplifiers that contribute to the sound of acoustic guitars, strings have a relatively bigger impact on their overall sound.
Strings are manufactured in a range of thicknesses or gauges. There are thousandths of thicknesses in which the strings are manufactured. The lightest strings are typically a .010 and the heaviest a .059. String gauge has a big influence on playability and sound.
Lighter Gauge strings
- Easier to play
- Break easily
- Easier bending of notes and fretting
- Exert less tension on the guitar neck
Heavier Gauge strings
- Harder to play
- Require more pressure to bend a note or for playing chords
- Exert more tension on the guitar neck
String Set Gauge Designations
Most acoustic guitar string manufacturers identify the string gauges in a set using terms such as “extra light” or “heavy” or “medium”. here are some common gauge ranges for acoustic guitar string sets:
- “extra light”: .010 .014 .023 .030 .039 .047
- “custom light”: .011 .015 .023 .032 .042 .052
- “light”: .012 .016 .025 .032 .042 .054
- “medium”: .013 .017 .026 .035 .045 .056
- “heavy”: .014 .018 .027 .039 .049 .059
These configurations may vary from one manufacturer to other.
Consider these factors to decide what string gauge to use
- Body: Smaller-bodied acoustic guitar sounds better with lighter gauge and larger-bodied guitars sound better wither heavier gauge strings.
- Style of Playing: Fingerpicking style is much easier to play with light gauge strings. But if you strum heavily then it would be good to buy the medium gauge strings. And if you play both the styles then you should have light-medium set. In this kind of string sets, 1st three strings generally have a heavier gauge and last three strings have a lighter gauge(If we count from higher E).
- Desired tone: Heavier gauge strings amplify the bass effect and lighter gauge strings amplify the treble effect. According to the sound you need you can choose now.
- Instrument age and condition: Heavy gauge strings have a high tension which can cause bend in the neck of guitar. It’s good to consider that factor if you’re buying heavy gauge strings.
Acoustic Guitar String Construction Materials
Guitar strings are made up of different kind of materials which change the sound and feel of the guitar. Here are most common ones and their sound types.
- Bronze: They have clear, ringing and bright tone, but age quickly due to bronze’s tendency to oxidize.
- Phosphor Bronze: Warmer and darker than bronze, their sound is still quite crisp. But phosphorus increases the life of strings.
- Aluminum Bronze: Pronounced bass and crisp highs. But they have greater clarity than Phosphor bronze strings.
- Brass: They have a bright, jangling, metallic character.
- Polymer-coated: Less sustain and brightness, corrosion-resistant.
- Silk and Steel: These steel core strings have silk, nylon, or copper wrap wire on the lower strings producing a softer touch and delicate tone.
I guess this much information is sufficient to buy a new set.
Now what are you waiting for? Go to your nearby store and grab your brand new string set.
If you enjoyed this..
I’m writing consistently my views on psychological behavior of us, humans and the music tech intersection and evolution. You’ll be reading a lot of random but interesting stuff too. Do share/recommend this article to the people who need it and press and hold the clap button below to share the love.
I would also love to listen to your views about the article.