Guitar Strings Guide

Guitar Strings Buyers Guide

I am often asked about guitar strings, what brand to choose, what style to use and how often to change them. The answer is – there is not just one answer.
strings 1The type of strings you use will be largely determined by what kind of guitar you are playing. Acoustic guitars typically use “bronze wound” strings, electric guitars use “nickel wound” strings and classical guitars normally use “nylon” strings.

Guitar strings come in various sizes or thicknesses and are referred to by the gauge of thickness. They are packaged in sets of 6 for the whole guitar, or, can be purchased individually. A set of guitar strings that has a 1st string (high "E") gauge of .009 (9 thousandths of an inch) is commonly referred to as a set of "nines". A set that has a 1st string of .012 is known as a set of "twelves".

strings 2Which strings are right for you is largely a matter of trial and error, over time. Various brands of strings will all have a different “feel” to you and after you have been playing a while you will find string brands that you prefer over others.

Because of the fact that strings are mostly made of metal they are subject to the acidity in our bodies, (which is different for everybody) and that has an impact on the longevity of strings. A set of strings that lasts a month for one person may only last a week for another.

strings 3As a general rule you may want to consider using thinner gauge strings in the beginning, as these will be easier on your finger tips and cut down on some of the natural soreness.

In terms of changing your strings, this is also different for everyone. I know pro players that put a new set on before every show. When I was touring I always had a fresh set of strings on every night. Now that I only play on weekends it’s about once every other week. As a general rule, if you are just starting guitar lessons and playing casually, a fresh set of strings would be a good idea once every 30 days or so.
strings 4Recommended string sizes for the beginning student:

Acoustic Guitars - .011 to .012 gauge
Electric Guitars - .009 gauge
Classical Guitars – Light to Medium gauge

Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions!

Keith Dean

keith01 lowKeith Dean is founder of and a 30 year veteran of stage and studio. He toured extensively as a road musician throughout the US and Europe, was a former lead guitarist for Jason Aldean, and has shared stages with Little Big Town, Wild Rose, Winger, Confederate Railroad and more. He is a published songwriter, owned and operated a successful music store, and has instructed numerous students in guitar.

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