Can you even imagine a guitar without its strings? It will just be a piece of decoration. If you want to use your guitar for creating music, strings are the most important elements for it. You can try everything you want to with the fretboard, sound hole or any other part of the guitar but without strings, there will be no music. Here, our article will give you a complete acoustic guitar string guide as you need right now!
As strings are so important, it is essential to get the right strings for your guitar and style as well. The wrong choice of strings will degrade the quality and sound of your guitar. So, we have created this article to help you choose the right string for your guitar and also how to maintain it. Here are some things you need to consider while buying strings:
Choose the right string for your guitar
You need to know the types of strings available and their properties to choose the right string for your guitar. Steel strings cannot be used for nylon stringed guitars and vice versa. Here is an explanation of the types:
Nylon Strings: These strings are used for classical guitars. It may or may not be able to use ball end strings.
Steel Strings: These strings are used for Flamenco guitars. It is designed to use ball end strings.
Complete Acoustic Guitar String Guide:
You may have the misconception that all guitar strings are made with the same material but of course, that’s a misconception. Some of the construction materials with its benefits are:
Bronze: They have clear, bright, ringing tone. But, due to Bronze’s tendency to oxidize, they age quickly.
Phosphor Bronze: They Bronze strings modified with phosphor to be more durable, warmer and darker.
Brass: They are bright and jangling.
Polymer Coated: They are resistant to corrosion.
Silk and Steel: They produce soft sound and come with less tension and lighter gauges but are not durable.
Pick The Gauge
Gauge means the diameter of your string. It influences the sound of your guitar and also how you feel playing the guitar. They have five sizes- extra light, custom light, light, medium and heavy. I would recommend you buy the heavy one as they are hard to break, louder and have a fuller tone. The light ones are easy to break but comfortable to play. But, its need also varies according to the type of your guitar. Consider the following things while choosing a gauge:
Body Size: Guitars with small bodies is better with lighter gauge strings to create good music and comfortable feel. In contrast, the larger bodied guitars are better off with medium or heavy gauges as they make full use of the larger sound chamber.
Tone: If you focus more on the lower end of the tonal spectrum then choose the heavy gauges. Choose the lighter gauges otherwise.
Playing Style: Choose the lighter types if you are a finger picker as they are easier on your fingertips. For the same reason, choose the heavier ones if you are a strummer. But you can try the medium sized gauge if you are both.
Instrument Age: Use heavier strings for vintage guitars as they were originally built for it.
Consider the Tension
It is best if you try a few tension as choosing it depends on what makes you feel comfortable. They have a gradual collection of low to high tensions. Strings with lower tensions are easier to play but they produce buzzes. Strings with medium tension are very consistent while playing.Nowadays, with the blessings of technology calculating string size has seen the light, where you can actually calculate string tension-type, frequency, diameter etc.The choice is yours to make depending on what you feel comfortable with.
You can choose coated or treated strings
It does not really offer much of a change but coated strings will protect the interior of your strings and help it last longer. It will make your strings less bright and sustain less.
On the other hand, cryogenically treated strings help the strings last longer, keeps it bright and sustainable. So, it is better to choose the cryogenically treated ones.
Prices vary depending on the materials used. If you are rich and have no problem spending, choose the Bronze or coated ones as they are the most expensive. But, you should focus more on the strings you feel comfortable using regardless of how cheap it is.
It is important to know the packaging technique when it comes to guitar strings. String react with the various elements of the air and corrode over time. So, if you are a guitarist who buys a few strings and keeps it for future use, you better consider the quality of the packets. It will keep your strings new and intact before use. Plus, eco-friendly packages are better to use if you consider pollution. Which you should!
There are always instructions on what is best and what is not. But, perfection actually comes from a mixture of right and wrong. So, do not hesitate to try new types of strings as you never know which suits your style most! Give every available string a try f you can to find the most suitable one.
These were basically the things you should consider while buying the perfect strings for your guitar. Now, let me provide an answer to the most basic question:
When to change the strings?
The answer is, whenever you feel like you need to. Well, definitely not right after getting new strings. Ne reasonable. New strings always provide the best form of music when tuned. So, before a grand program, try changing your strings. But, it is very critical to change strings when you notice the following:
- Rust or discoloration of the strings.
- Tuning changed automatically too often.
- Unwinding string wraps.
- Disappointing sound.
- You have no idea when you changed your strings last.
Changing strings is a crucial part of Guitar maintenance.You should change your strings more frequently than other if you do the following- smoke while playing, play very aggressively or frequently and sweat a lot.
A few tips to make your strings last long:
- Clean the strings with a cloth after every practice.
- Wash your hands before playing.
- Buy a string winder to speed up string changing.
- Always keep extra strings to help in case of emergencies.
- Buy strings in bundles, as light strings break often.
Keep in mind, the type of strings you prefer while buying and use your strings carefully to get the best output. With the perfect set of strings, tuned to the point and endless practice, no one can stop you from becoming a great guitarist!