Biyernes, Setyembre 16, 2011

What String Thickness Should I Choose?

When it comes to dealing with anything related to guitars, it is critical to be as specific as possible. This certainly is true, when you are deciding on the appropriate strings for your guitar, since it will affect your style of playing and personal perception of the process. You may spend just $5 for a string set and in the same time you can go up to $35 per set. There are numbers of different string materials and with different thicknesses. Do you actually know which strings are the right ones for you? Read on to see what can help you define the best guitar strings’ type for you.

Type of the Guitar

The finest way to start off with restricting your string options will be looking at the kind of the guitar you possess. Your choice will ultimately depend on whether you’re an electric guitar player, a classical nylon string guitar user, or a twelve-string guitar player, because all of these demand individual approach. Fortunately, these options still leave tons of choices for you to decide on the proper kind of strings for your instrument.

String Thickness and Gauge

There are many different thickness sizes for guitar strings, both standard and custom. Normally, there are extra light strings, light strings, medium strings, heavy strings, and even extra heavy (mostly used with baritone guitars) available for purchase. In dependence upon the gauge you select, you will need to take several things into account. First of all, you must know the strength of your fingers and if you are actually able to press the strings down properly.If your fingers aren’t strong enough and you can’t press the strings good enough, you will have to forget about the heavy gauge strings, because they will be harder to fret, or you should be prepared to spend some time on learning to play them and training your finger strength.

If you are a regular player, quickly wearing out your fingers, you may consider getting a lighter gauge strings in order to not get callosities or hurt your fingers. Another string thickness difference is the sound produced by the strings. Thicker strings will produce a sharper bright tune, whereas lighter strings will produce a softer tune. In the end, the thickness of strings you choose will primarily depend upon your musical favor, despite other factors, such as your finger strength.

Set Your Guitar Up Properly

When a guitar is released from the factory it’s initially made and meant for the use of the stock strings. In dependence upon the brand of your guitar, the included strings will usually be medium thickness – not too heavy, not too light. In case you decide to use lighter or thicker strings, you’ll eventually have to do a good set-up for your guitar in order to use the new strings. This is necessary in order to ensure that the neck’s tension doesn’t change during its regulation.

It would be good to find the strings you actually like and then continue playing them on your guitar for several months. After you do this, take your guitar to a music store in your neighborhood to correctly set the bridge height and intonation. This will help you to get the best you can in terms of playing your instrument and its sound. The sole exclusion from this rule is if you’re aiming some major changes, for instance moving from light to heavy gauge strings, where you first would need to take your guitar for the adjustment, put the strings on, and then bring the guitar back again for final set-up. This all is meant to protect the guitar’s neck. The last thing you want is to misalign or damage it.


Various guitar types, such as acoustic, classical, and electric guitars, all use distinct kinds of materials for their stock, or should we say standard, strings. During the play, these materials provide different tones, tensions, and the feel during. Remember this one, while selecting a proper set of strings for your guitar.

Strings for Acoustic Guitars

Acoustic guitar strings are commonly made out of bronze wound steel. They look very bright, when they’re brand new, but they will lose color very quickly over time as you play them. These strings are the most usual in acoustic guitars, but there are still lots of alternatives you can consider. For instance, you may consider using phosphor bronze strings, which produce a warmer sound that may last longer, comparing to usual bronze strings. Another variant is silk and steel strings – they frequently have a lighter sound, but are much more durable, than most other string types.

Strings for Classical Guitars

Most frequently, classical guitars are supplied with nylon strings and are actually not meant to be used with metal strings on them.The nylon refers to the core material of the string itself, rather than the outside string coil. For instance, the three last strings on classical guitars are copper-wounded or are coiled with another metal, but have nylon in their cores. Same as steel strings should not be used on classical guitars, nylon strings shouldn’t ever be used on acoustic guitars designed for steel strings.

Strings for Electric Guitars

One of the most common electric guitar string types is nickel-plated strings. There are other options available as well, such as pure nickel strings with the wire wrapping around each string; these are made of pure nickel in place of being simply nickel-plated. They produce a softer tone, which provides worse output in electric guitars.

Final Thoughts

For the overall good condition and endurance of your guitar, remember to not switch between different string thicknesses on it regularly. However, if you do so, you will get an unpredictable, varying tension in the neck and with the lapse of time it will cause serious damage to your guitar. If you decide to use a particular set of strings, you should do all you can to steadily stick to it. There’s one exception, however – in case you find a set of strings with the same gauge, produced by another manufacturer, and you really prefer them over the strings you have, you may put them instead of your old ones without damaging your guitar.

In case you still have any particular questions regarding string thickness, you may ask a guitar tech at your neighbor music store – they are normally glad to help fellow guitarists out with their issues. Don’t forget the following points, when choosing the appropriate strings for your guitar:

-          Define whether your guitar needs classical nylon, electric nickel, or acoustic bronze strings;
-          Select the thickness or gauge that you personally favor for playability and sound;
-          Decide on the cost you are willing to spend, define your budget;
-          The entire cost of setting your guitar up, if you’re planning to switch to another gauge.

Certain strings are better than others, in dependence on the materials they’re made of. Some manufacturers and brands will provide long-lasting products, while others will offer you superb-sound products. In the end, it is all up to what you want your guitar to sound like.

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