How To Choose Acoustic Guitar Strings
Changing a guitar string is necessary at some point in using the guitar, and this may be because of a broken or damaged string or if you have been using the former for a long time.
But in considering how to choose acoustic guitar strings, you have to be extra careful with the new string selection as a wrong string type can damage your guitar altogether.
There are several tips you should be aware of when choosing acoustic guitar strings if you are a newbie, and you might want to learn as a professional guitarist.
You need to identify the different types of strings quickly and the guitar they are fit for.
It is wrong to use a string meant for a classical guitar for an acoustic guitar, asides the fact that it won't work, it could ruin the guitar neck and make the guitar useless.
So, keep this in mind that putting a wrong string type on guitar damages the guitar.
The most common types of guitar strings are the nylon strings and steel strings.
These strings have different tensions and alignment on the guitar neck, which is why when you use the wrong type, you may not get the right pressure, which may end up snapping the string and then break the neck of the guitar.
Nylon strings are most commonly used for classical guitars, and even though some bass strings look like steel strings, but they are nylon strings.
There's also a combination of silk and steel string, the bronze string, and the phosphor string, which happens to be the most durable of all.
These three, though, are more commonly used among guitarists and sold in the market.
Your String Choice Affects The Guitar Sound
Have you ever heard of the phrase "garbage in, garbage out"?
It works to explain how your choice of string material will either give off a beautiful sound or an awful one.
The bronze string is most popular among the string types, and it's made of part bronze and part zinc (80/20 ratio).
This string works perfectly for all playing styles and gives off a bright sound while strumming but the sound quickly fades away after playing for a while
The silk and steel strings give off a soft, mellow sound in lighter gauges.
Some old guitars need unique strings, and the silk and steel fit perfectly for use on those vintage types because the strings give less tension and are quieter and very easy to play.
On the other hand, the phosphor bronze strings are bronze strings with a touch of phosphor on them.
Like the bronze strings, they can also work for all styles even though the sound lasts much longer than the bronze strings' before it fades and the sound is much warmer than bronze strings.
The bronze or phosphor bronze strings are best for beginners.
Coated or Not Coated
Depending on your preference, you could decide to choose coated strings, which are coated for durability, rust prevention, and gives a sort of smooth feel when playing on the strings.
If these appeal to you, then coated strings may be your best bet, but if you love the coarse feel of the strings on your fingers, you might want to consider the regular plain strings.
Coated strings come in a variety of colors like blue, gold, red or black and are usually more expensive than the regular guitar strings.
This is one major factor in your choice of guitar strings.
I don't recommend extremely costly strings (except you can afford it, and you think it's worth its price, why not).
But if you can't afford that, buy the strings you can afford, and you can still enjoy great sounds for a few bucks.
Just note that you don't need some costly strings to sound great.
Ensure you do your research well, explore reviews online, and weigh your options before buying new strings.
The gauge of guitar strings helps you identify how thick the strings are.
It is usually written in numbers (a thousand of an inch), i.e., 010. 009. 015, or in words like medium, light, extra light.
The gauge of guitar strings has a direct impact on the sound they give off, so you need to be aware of this as you choose the right measure for your guitar.
The high gauge has thicker strings and gives more volume, sustains for a longer time, and produces warmer tones, but the downside of playing on thicker strings is that it requires more effort or force to bend the strings and can be challenging to manage by beginners.
A lighter gauge, on the other hand, is easier to play and usually recommended for beginners because it can be easily manipulated by the fingers, although most may not like it because it gives off thinner sounds and sometimes buzzes.
But the more flexible you become at playing on light or extra light strings, the faster you can upgrade to high gauge.
The Distance of String To Guitar Frets
Be sure to check how far or high the strings are from the fretboard if the strings are higher off, it becomes harder to press them down, and this impairs the sound by giving off a buzzing sound instead of clear notes.
This can be caused if the setting is not done correctly or the guitar neck is warped.
Try Out Different Strings
One of the best ways to choose your strings is to try out different options before settling for one.
Trying out strings helps you to practically determine which one will work perfectly for you.
Testing at least two or three different brands give you a feel of the strings on your hands and helps you identify which one your fingers can flow with easily.
It also gives you a chance to compare until you find the one you like and maybe an option in case you can't get the one you like.
You really don't need to buy the "best guitar" but be on the lookout for the perfect fit for you.
Unlike fashion, the latest trendy guitar may look classy, but a vintage guitar may feel and sound better when you play it.
So, you have to understand what you want before you pay for the next strings.
In case you missed this, never use steel strings in classical guitars and never use nylon strings in steel-string acoustic guitar.
I hope these tips are enough to guide you on how to choose acoustic guitar strings when next you are shopping for one.
I’M Gerald Garriso i was born in San Salvador, El Salvador on December 20, 1975, grew up with his parents and since childhood I was instructed in the Christian faith, began playing guitar at the age of 16, is an empirical musician who has been concerned for learning more about his instrument by various means including some music academies throughout my learning.
I participated in several musical groups since my inception, currently belongs to the praise ministry (as a pianist) of the Conquistadores Christian Ministry church where I congregates and also forms part of the leadership working with evangelistic cells together with My wife Krissia with whom eternal love was promised In November 2007.
I am an Architect by profession, graduated from the José Simeón Cañas Central American University in the 2005 promotion of the Faculty of Architecture and Engineering.
Being his main work activity architecture, he currently Blogs at bestguitarunder.com