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Tips for Choosing the right Electric Strings
Lighter gauge strings:
- Generally easier to play
- Break more easily
- Produce less volume
- Allow easier bending of notes and fretting
- Are prone to cause fret buzzing on guitars with low action
- Are safer for vintage guitars
Heavier gauge strings
- Generally harder to play
- Require more finger pressure to fret and bend notes
- Produce more volume and sustain
- Are preferred for low tunings such as drop D
- Exert more tension on guitar neck
Strings come in a variety of sizes and are usually identified by the gauge of the high E String in the set.
- extra super light
- super light
When choosing your strings, keep in mind your playing style, how often you play, and the sound and tone you want to achieve.
Different String Materials
Nickel Plated Steel: Balanced brightness & warmth with more attack
Pure Nickel: Less bright than nickel-plated but with added warmth
Stainless Steel: Bright, crisp, edgy tone with sustain & corrosion resistance
Chrome: Warmth with less resonance, often chosen by jazz and blues guitarists
Titanium: Fairly bright tone with excellent strength
Cobalt: Wide dynamic range with notable brightness and pickup response
Polymer-coated: Less sustain than equivalent uncoated strings; corrosion resistant
Colour-coated: Some coatings have added colourants for visual appeal; tonality varies.
Roundwound: The most popular, they have a noticeable ridged texture and produce more sustain, attack and bite. They tend to produce more finger noise and fretboard wear.
Halfwound: Smoother texture with darker tone and less attack than roundwound
Flatwound: Very smooth touch with flat, dark tone that’s less responsive to picking dynamics. Popular with jazz and blues guitarists.
When do strings need changed & how often?
- Strings need to be changed if keeping in tune, and staying there is difficult, also if tone sounds flat. You should also re-string if you can’t remember the last time the strings were changed.