A guitar needs not only the right hands to handle it, but also the right strings. Although the strings of a guitar seem to be generic and all strings are the same, except for the material they are made from, there are actually some small details that you have to mind when choosing the right strings for your guitar. Here I will show you some tips to choose the correct guitar stringsdepending on your preferences. Certain guitar string types are more comfortable to use but are not great enough to produce clean sound whereas the other types may produce superb sound by sacrificing comfort. You need to define your preferences to pick the right strings for your guitar. So, here are factors to mind if you want to choose the correct strings for your electric and acoustic guitar.
String Gauge refers to the thickness of the string. String gauge is represented by the diameter of the string (measured in thousandths of inch but described without decimals). On electric guitars, string gauges range from extra super light (0.008 (eight) to 0.038 (thirty-eight)) to heavy (0.012 (twelve) to 0.054 (fifty-four)). On accoustic guitars, string gauges range from extra light (0.010 (ten) to 0.047 (forty-seven)) to heavy (0.014 (fourteen) to 0.059 (fifty-nine)). The general rule of choosing the correct guitar strings gauge is that lighter gauge is easier to bend, easier to play, more prone to breakage, and more susceptible to fret buzzing or rattling. Heavier gauge also has its pros and cons. It creates bigger and louder sound, provides more sustain, and does better job in de-tuned situations; however, heavier gauges are also harder and less comfortable to press down.
Guitar strings can be either wound or unwound. Strings with higher pitch are unwound whereas strings with lower pitch have wound wire around the string’s core. To choose thecorrect guitar strings, you should be familiar with string winding methods. There are three winding methods depending on the shape of the wound wire: round wound, flat wound, and half round wound.
Round wound is the standard method in which the cutout shape of the wound wire is completely round. This winding method offers the most sustain and squeaky sound, which can be either desirable or undesirable, created by the friction between the guitarist’s fingers and the string.
Flat wound uses wound wire that is rounded rectangle in shape. Its flat surface effectively eliminates the squeaky sound, offers smoother feel, and creates dark tones that Jazz guitarists love.
Half round wound uses semicircular wire that is somewhat flat at the outside and round at the inside. Half round wound strings create less squeaky sound due to their flat surface and darker tones than those of round wound strings.
The core of guitar string is mostly steel, but the windings can be made from a variety of materials, and different materials significantly affect the sound produced by the guitar. For an electric guitar, the brightest sound is produced by nickel-plated steel followed by pure nickel and steel. Chrome is the right choice for warm and flat sound. For an acoustic guitar, bronze string is the brightest, though it is also the least durable due to its susceptibility to rust. Phosphor bronze and brass are also bright. For both guitar types, polymer coated steel strings are the correct guitar strings for durability.