How to Choose the Best Acoustic Guitar Strings

When you learn to play the guitar, you’ll discover how important it is to know how to select the best acoustic guitar strings for your instrument. It can be pretty confusing, and there are a large number of guitar strings that come in several gauges and alloys. When you change the strings on your acoustic guitar, you’re ensuring that the guitar will sound its best.

New strings also provide a wonderful rich and bright quality that you may not realize has gradually disappeared as the old strings have worn. Consequently, some acoustic guitarists will replace their strings quite frequently. When faced with the task of buying new strings, here are some things to consider.

The Gauge – Basically, the gauge defines how heavy the string is. Whether you want a heavy or light string will depend on the sound quality you wish to achieve. In other words, a heavy gauge provides a stronger sound and will often sustain the note more effectively.

On the other hand, a lighter gauge offers more flexibility; allowing you to bend a note. Moreover, lighter strings place less stress on the neck of the instrument. Therefore, if you have an old or fragile guitar, a light gauge is probably the best option for you.

Type of Alloy – There are three principal types of alloy: bronze (the most popular), nickel and steel. However, these are divided into subcategories. In other words, there are two types of bronze alloy known as phosphor and 80/20. Obviously, this indicates the chemical mix, which affects the sound of the guitar.

A phosphor bronze alloy is made from copper and has a small percentage of tin. These strings are considered to be longer lasting and some guitarists believe them to have a richer sound.

The 80/20, however, is made from 80% copper and 20% zinc (hence the name). These strings have an incredibly bright sound when they are new, but they tend to lose their luster faster than phosphor strings. Therefore, they are popular among those who like to change strings frequently.

Specialist Strings – As well as the traditional acoustic strings, there is a multitude of specialist strings, which are all designed to improve the durability, sound or playability of the string. Usually, specialist strings are coated in a chemical bond, which improves sound quality and protects the string from wear and tear.

Of course, these strings will come with a higher price tag. Whether they are worth it or not is open to debate. Some guitarists believe that they are indeed worth the extra money, whereas others are happy to continue using the more traditional strings. If you are intrigued by specialist strings and can afford to experiment with them, then it is certainly worth seeing what is on offer.

Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to the question “which are the best acoustic guitar strings?” because it will largely depend on personal preference. It is advisable to experiment with different gauges, alloys and manufacturers until you find the strings that produce a sound that you love and that suit your needs.

Now that you’ve learned about how to choose the best acoustic guitar strings, why not get started today and learn the guitar today through six FREE, step-by-step, easy-to-follow online guitar lessons.

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