Picking the correct type of guitar string is crucial to the sound of the guitar. There are many types of guitar strings, and they are all specific to a certain guitar. Acoustic guitars require acoustic guitar strings made of steel. Steel strings generally give off a louder sound than nylon strings used in classical guitars. There are many things to consider when choosing your guitar strings.
Here are a few things to consider in choosing the right guitar string:
- The Type of Guitar. The type of guitar you have will play an important role in choosing your guitar strings. Acoustic guitars need steel strings, and classical guitars need nylon strings. Meanwhile, electric guitar strings are made of either nickel-plated steel, stainless steel, or pure nickel. Electric guitars require strings with magnetic alloys, as the pickups rely on them to produce sound.
- The Gauge of the String. The gauge determines the tone of the string. The gauges of the strings vary from extra super light to extra heavy. Heavier gauges will produce a deeper, lower sound, while lighter gauges will produce a higher, more delicate sound. Lighter strings also lessen the sustain and volume of the guitar. Choosing the gauge will depend on the size of the nut, and the position of the action.
- The Age of the Guitar. Newer guitars can generally take a variety of string gauges. Vintage guitars, on the other hand, may sometimes require a specific string gauge. Usually, they are designed for gut strings or strings with very light gauges. It is important to have vintage guitars checked and inspected before experimenting with a new set of string gauges. Common problems for vintage guitars are dead flat necks, back bowed necks, and loose truss rods. In these cases, strings with a higher gauge are usually used to place more tension on the neck to make it bow forward.
- Your Experience in Playing. Strings with bigger gauges are generally harder to play, as they have more tension. They will require more pressure from your fingers when you play. It is best for beginners to use strings with lighter gauges, as they require less pressure from the fingers.
- Your Musical Style. The genre of music you will play will also play a part in picking your guitar strings. For soft music, lighter string gauges can be used. Heavier gauges are used in loud music like metal and rock and roll. Jazz guitars sometimes use a combination of guitar string gauges.
Choosing the right guitar strings will depend greatly on the experience and personality of the guitarist. Because the guitar depends on the strings for the sound, it is important to decide the feel of the tone your guitar will have. Do not be intimidated by the variety of strings available. Keep in mind the basic considerations - type, gauge, age, experience and style - and you will find that choosing the perfect guitar string isn’t such a daunting task after all.