How to choose the right guitar strings

By | April 6, 2021

Which strings suit you?


Know the types of materials associated with different types of guitars. For classic players, nylon strings are the only choice. Never use steel bars, which exert a heavier pull than nylon, and stress the neck. For acoustic guitar, phosphor or ordinary bronze strings work best, while nickel is the preferred electric guitar alternative. As with classical guitars, do not cut corners by, for example, placing steel acoustic strings on an electric one.


Stick to lighter string gauges – or thicknesses – until your fingers have built up calluses. For acoustic guitar, hold with .011 or .012 gauges. For electric guitar, use .010 gauge for rhythm playing. Book a lighter gauge of .009 for lead work.


Understand the special properties of the strings that your guitar uses. Phosphor bronze strings are considered more desirable for acoustic guitar than regular bronze strings, which wear out faster and need more frequent replacement. Do not place them on electric guitars, which requires nickel strings. Round wound strings are most common, although jazz and dub reggae players lean towards flat wound strings.

4. After breaking your strings, select them for 30 hours of play. Dirt and oil from your fingers will accumulate on strings, causing them to lose brightness and vibrate unevenly along the length. It can also lead to reconciliation problems.


Change a whole set of strings, even if you only intend to replace one or have broken a string. This ensures a consistent sound throughout the set.

Tips and warnings

  • Coated strings have become favored among acoustic players, as they are would feel easier to play and keep their factory ready longer. However, there are no dramatic differences, other than price – which is twice as large as normal. Many top guitar players support a specific brand of strings, but that does not automatically mean that you automatically get better than another. Beginning players should experiment to determine which brand is best for them.
  • Avoid extra light or heavy string gauges until you are a more experienced player. Lighter strings require a little more finesse, while heavier strings – a touch favored by blues players, such as Stevie Ray Vaughan – force the hands to work harder to achieve the desired effects.
  • Like all aspects of playing the guitar, the type of strings that a musician chooses will go a long way in defining his sound. From the nylon-wrapped sounds associated with classical playing, to the bronze sheen of acoustic dreadnoughts and the nickel-wound overdrive of a screaming electric lead guitar, the material, type and thickness of strings play important roles in helping a player create style and tone.