How to Choose the right Guitar Strings?

How to Choose The Right Guitar Strings

Whether you're choosing guitar strings for Acoustic, Electric or Bass Guitar Strings, or wondering how to choose the best guitar strings for beginners, here's what you need to know in order to choose the right strings for you. 

First & Foremost; Why are the type of guitar strings you use so important?

Different types of strings can;

  • Change the sound of your instrument,
  • Improve playability,
  • Suit different musical styles,
  • Suit your specific playing style
  • Suit your particular instrument

Why is it essential to change your strings regularly?

Worn Strings will;

  • Sound dead or scratchy,
  • flatten the tone of your instrument

Lets take a look at the various Guitar String Acoustic, Electric, Beginner, Bass Types;

1. Guitar Strings Gauge / Tension

One of the first things to consider when choosing the right guitar strings is Tension. The heavier the gauge of string, the more tension it will exert on your instrument and your fingers. Whether it's for Acoustic, Classical Acoustic, Electric or Bass tension will have a significant impact on the sound & playability of your instrument. The exact tension will vary slightly across different brands but generally strings come in;

  • Extra Soft / Extra Light
  • Soft / Light
  • Normal / Moderate
  • Hard / High
  • Extra Hard / Extra High

The softer/lighter the tension, the less resistance & the easier the strings will be on your fingers. Lighter tension strings are often used on beginner instruments & are great for practicing on, or for occasional players who haven't got the calloused fingers of a regular player. They're also ideal for those who have reduced dexterity in their hands & for recreation / playing / practicing at home, where you don't necessarily need the heavier sound & clarity of tone of a harder tension string.

The gauge of strings you use also comes down to personal preference & the instrument you intend to use them on. Some players have a preference for lighter/harder strings because they suit their individual playing style, their preferred genre of music or because they simply sound better on their particular instrument. 

2. Acoustic & Classical Guitar Strings Synthetic & Nylon

Synthetic/Nylon strings replaced the natural gut strings which were traditionally used on classic guitars. Most sets feature 3 plain nylon treble strings & 3 silver-wrapped bass strings. Synthetic strings are typically the easiest strings to play and are therefore the recommended acoustic guitar strings for beginners, as well as being the favoured strings for classical players due to the different sound they produce vs steel strings.

Check out our full range here

3. Guitar String Cores

Most modern strings are made with a steel core wrapped in an alloy/coating. There are 2 common core shapes;

Cores

Round

Hex

  • Greater Flexibility
  • Durable
  • Vintage Tone
  • Consistent Intonation

 Hex V Round Core

4. Guitar String Winding

Around the core of most modern strings is a wrap. these come in 2 common &  distinct shapes each with their own unique sound & feel;

Winding

Roundwound

Flatwound

  • Most Common
  • Popular with bassists & Jass artists
  • Bright
  • Warmer sound
  • Harmonic
  • Less Finger noise
  • Rounded sound
  • More mid-low end sound

5. Guitar String Alloys & Coatings

The purpose of most coatings is to improve the lifespan of the strings by keeping them sounding brighter for longer. 

Most aim to mimic the feel of uncoated strings & feature very thin coatings to achieve this. However, some are known for their particularly thick coatings which are favored by some players for their slick & fast feel. 

Here's our quick reference guides to the various alloys & coatings available.

Acoustic Guitar Strings

80/20 Bronze

Phosphor Bronze

  • Classic String
  • Newer Innovation
  • Bright Sound
  • More Natural balanced sound
  • Shorter Lifespan
  • sounds better for longer

 

D'addario XS Strings
D'addario XS Coated Strings

Check out our Range of 80/20 Strings here

Check out our Range of Phosphor Bronze Strings here

 

Electric & Bass Guitar Strings

Nickel-plated steel

Stainless Steel

Pure Nickel

  • Balanced Tone
  • Resists corrosion
  • Warmer Tone
  • Plays well
  • Brightest Sounding
  • Favored by Blues Artists

 

Check out our Range of Nickel-Plated Strings here

 

Our Advice? Experiment!

There are so many options available to guitarists today, our advice to you is to experiment. Whether you're a jazz musician looking for a set of strings that will reduce finger noise in the recording studio or an occasional player looking for a set that won't be hard on your fingers, there's a set out there to suit your playing style, your instrument, your musical genre & your tastes. 

Choose from:

D'addario | Ernie Ball | Elixir | Martin | Thomasik 
Acoustic stringsD'addarioElixirErnie ballGuitar strings

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