Understanding about Best Acoustic Guitar Strings

 

If you play acoustic guitar, like I do, you will have to buy new acoustic guitar strings at some point. Going to a musical instrument store is one way to find the right strings you need, but between using the time for spent traveling and the higher prices, it’s no longer your best choice.

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Using the internet, you can find the best acoustic guitar strings at prices way better what the musical instrument stores will charge you!

In the market today, there are a lot of choices when it comes to choosing strings for your acoustic guitar, but the hard part is choosing the BEST acoustic guitar strings. The last option you have in finding the best kinds of acoustic guitar strings would be to test them all out yourself, but that would be time-consuming and very costly.

[color-box]After searching many brands, many other types of strings, buying and play it in a long period of time, now I have great experiences for choosing right strings for your best acoustic guitar, which I’ll share in this guide.[/color-box]

When Do You Change Your Strings?

Depending on your preferred playing style and sound quality you may want to change your strings more or less frequently. Someone who prefers the bright sound of new strings will change their strings more regularly than someone who prefers the mellower tone of a set of well used and slightly old strings.

1. These are some factors that cause of the short life of your strings:
  • Your hands get all sweaty when playing
  • Playing very frequently
  • Playing hard for bending and picking
  • Tuning frequently
2. These are some warning signs that you need to change your strings:
  • Difficulty getting stay-in-tune than before
  • The sound more flat and dull than usual
  • Getting more rust or discolorment on your strings.
  • The last time you changed strings was long time ago.
3. Some tips keeps your acoustic guitar string long life:
  • Keep your hands clean & dry when start to play that prevent string oxidation.
  • After playing, using a clean-cloth wipe strings and guitar body.
  • Puting your guitar into a case for avoid dust.
  • Always has a backup acoustic guitar string set

Remember:

For those of you who don’t know brighter strings have a much sound when you strike them because they are still tense and react and move faster than a mellow set of strings which are quite loose and are easy to bend up and down because they offer little resistance compared to a new set of strings.

No matter what sound you prefer, there is a tip that can help them retain their new sound longer and increase the amount of time before you will need to change strings again.

Top Popular Acoustic Guitar Strings Brands – Best for Beginners!

We all have are favorite brands, but you’ll never know which is better until you try them yourself…or read a review about it online. Below are the most popular guitar string brands that I tested and feel sound great!

Important:

  • 80/20 Bronze give off bright and articulate tone.
  • Phosphor Bronze give off rich and mellow tone like original strings

1. D’Addario

D’Addario is my flavour. They have two main types of models for your taste are un-coated (EJ xx) and coating (EXP xx). The difference sounds bettween them are not much, just a bit!

The EXP series has a bit brighter than EJ series (just my own feeling) and increase strings lifespan too. Generally, with EXPxx you’ll be more smooth-feeling with less finger squeak. Again, it depend on your taste, may be you need to test for both and then getting result for yourself.

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The figure above will show you the difference tone from difference series products of D’Addario

2. Martin

Martin Guitar is awesome. I’m sure you know about that. So what about Martin strings? I restring my Jasmine S35 with Martin MSP4200 SP strings and I’m very pleasure it my choice. It improve sound clearly. I feel the sound more “rounded” 😉 and rich than before.

Martin has many type acoustic guitar strings which suits for many purpose such as SP Lifespan, SP Flexible core, SP Acoustic, Artist Choice, etc. As a beginner, however you should choice SP Lifespan that will save money as well as reduce the number of time to change strings.

3. Elixir

Elixir is one of the best seller brand today. Their products are oustanding because they covered by a thin polyme layer, which will protect their string out of dust, corrosion, oxidation, oils and acids of your fingertips. Two type of polyme layer are NANOWEB and POLYWEB which offer extended stay-in-tune and lifespan of strings

  • Nanoweb coating give off bright tone like traditional strings.
  • Polyweb coating give off warm tone.
  • Both are smooth-feeling with less finger squeak

However, this is my own opinion about them. You should try for both and find out which is best suit to you.

The Main Factors Need to Consider before Buy the Best Acoustic Guitar Strings

This article will help you choose the kind of string best suited for you and your music style, which will hopefully save you the trouble, time and money. The material of the string can affect your music greatly.

Here are the main factors you have to consider in choosing the right set of strings:

1. String Gauge (Size)

In the simplest sense, string gauge is the thickness of the string. The thicker the string, the lower or heavier the gauge is. These often give out the fullest, loudest and most vibrant tone with outstanding tuning stability. This may sound like a deal-breaker, and it would be understandable if you would want to immediately buy the thickest kinds of string, but this of course comes with a downside.

  • The downside of having a heavier gauge or a thicker strings is that it will be more difficult to play and hurt your fingertips. Unless you already have calluses on your fingers like a rock star, you would have to compromise amid playability and tone. This will be painful initially but callus and frequent practice will lessen the pain gradually.
  • The thinner strings have higher gauges. A string with a higher gauge allows you to have more control but the downside is that lighter gauges are easier to bend which makes your notes sound sharp.

String gauge can affect the tone of your music so you have to make sure that your guitar has been used strings properly. Your guitar can affect your strings as well as your strings can affect your guitar. It is possible to damage your guitar if there is too much tension on the strings.

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For optimum performance, you must set everything up faultlessly, this can have an impact on the sound of your music as well.

  • If you choose strings that are too heavy, you can have loud sound but painful fingertips.
  • In contrast, if you choose strings that are too light, then the sound may not be as vibrant, but it’s a lot easier to play.

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Below is some popular string gauge (strings size) table and its benefits for acoustic guitar players

acoustic guitar strings gause table
* the numbers in the table is dimensions (inch) of each strings
  • Extra light gauge 10-47: These strings are ideal for beginners since they are easiest to play because they have the least tension. However, it can be a bit too loose for most acoustic guitar players.
  • Custom Light gauge 11-52: Many players like this size because of the balance between playability and tone.
  • Light gauge 12-53: Compared to the gauges discussed previously, tuning stability on this gauge is superior. This is the most popular choice of beginners.
  • Medium gauge 13-56: It gives the good tone and tuning stability. Moreover, it has a deeper and bolder sound with more bass.
  • Heavy gauge 14-59: This is actually the thickest string gauge. I do not recommend it for you if you’re a beginner!

Note:

The thicker strings, your guitar can be hard to play and your hands will probably cramp up after first some chorus. All you need to practice frequently.

In some smaller acoustic guitar size such as 3/4 guitar, grand auditorium body, etc. You should use light gauge because the thickness gauge may cause more tension on the guitar neck and maybe broken your guitar.

2. Wound strings/Wrapped strings (string type):

Wound Strings is a core with a winding-wire wrapped tightly around it. The methods used to wind the core of strings will make differences tone and also impacts the playability of your acoustic guitar skills.

Round Wound Strings are very common in best acoustic guitar strings brands and is often not mentioned on the packaging. It give the brightest sound. They have round or hexagonal core inside and round wrapping. There are very easy wrapping styles and thus makes them less expensive.

Round Wound Strings

Flat Wound Strings are perfect to be used from Blues to Jazz. These make the warmest and less brightness tone. It helps to reduce wear on the frets, fretboards and are much easier on the fingers style.

Flat Wound Strings

Half Round Wound Strings are made exactly like round wound strings and feel smoother to the touch on flat outer surface. It is popular on electric guitar.

Half Round Wound Strings

3. Best material for Acoustic Guitar Strings

Acoustic Guitars Strings can be made from Nickel, Bronze, Phosphor-Bronze, Stainless, Steel and more. However, there are two type of popular material strings for acoustic guitar is:

  • 80/20 Bronze (80% Copper, 20% Zinc): offer a bright tone and sounds mellower. I like 80/20 Bronze strings due to its brilliant “true brass” tone out of the box.
  • Phosphor-Bronze (92% Copper, 8% Zinc): offer a rich, and warm tone. I like PB strings due to its consistent, slightly warmer tone (when compare with 80/20 Bronze) out of the box.

The Last Factors Need to Familiarized before Getting The Last Decision

1. Your Guitar Body Shape:

If your guitar body is small such as 3/4 size, grand auditorium, parlor guitar, etc. The light gauge strings is best choice without damage your best guitar because of tension. And with the dreadnought and jumbo shape that will produce sound better with medium-gauge strings although these are suitable all of type.

2. Your Playing Style:

The light gauge strings are most easy to play with fingerstyle and strumming for beginners. Personally, I like to use light-medium gauge rather than because it produce strong and more balance tones.

3. Your Tone “Taste”:

With the light gauge, the tone will be more treble and easy to play with fingerstyle and strumming. And vice versa, the heavy gauge will give more bass and strong rich-deep tones

That’s all

The high quality string will effected to playability and quality tone. So, choosing the best acoustic guitar strings for your guitar will give amazing sounds and improve your guitar skills. If you’re beginners, I recommend you choose light gauge or medium gauge for your guitar because it is easy to practice!

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