All You Need to Know about Guitar Strings

Guitar strings can be generally split into two categories: steel strings, traditionally used on electric and acoustic guitars, and nylon strings which are more common on classical and flamenco guitars.

Usually, guitar strings are wound with nickel, brass or copper alloys – with most standard string sets for an electric guitar, the first 3 strings are typically unwound, while the 4-6th strings are wound. Each string has an individual thickness, and is tuned to a particular note. A variation to this is found in the 12-string guitar, which has six couples of strings, having 2 pair playing the same note and 4 pairs in octaves. (High pitch string and a low pitch string.)

Wound electric guitar strings are created by rolling a string made out of metal around a central string – the different material types used for wrapping around the central string are chosen based on the durability and tone required by you. Normally, you’ll find that an electric guitar would be using a nickel or nickel alloy material.

The string’s thickness is commonly known as the “gauge” of the string – it’s measured in fractions of an inch, and is separated into some common sets, as such:

Light gauge string sets: (.008 – .038) (.009 – .042) (.009 – .046) (.010 – .046)

  • Easier to push and pull
  • Accommodate faster playing
  • Easy note bending
  • Don’t hold their tune quite well
  • Have little sustain
  • Not optimized for lower tuning

Heavy gauge string sets: (.011 – .050) (.010 – .052) (.012 – .052) (.013 – .056)

  • Preferred by modern guitarists due to their tone/feel
  • Good for players who prefer to have their guitars tuned lower than standard.

(Drop D Tuning, Drop C Tuning, Drop B Tuning,)

  • Long sustain holding

Reasons for string breaking

Guitar strings break all the time and this can happen for a variety of reasons. In general, the cause can boil down to several major factors:

Playing too aggressively

This is the most common reason for strings to break.

String age

Strings aren’t permanent, and their material degrades as you keep playing them – after all, they see quite a bit of stress in their lifetime! In addition, strings are prone to rust if they’re left unused for prolonged periods of time, and can easily break.

Over tuning

This means, in simple terms, that when you’re tuning the guitar, you can occasionally wind the tuning pegs too highly, getting you a broken string. This happens quite often, actually – experienced guitar players will tell you to always tune your guitar facing away from you to minimize the risk of a string snapping right in your face.

Your guitar’s strings are the soul of its sound. In order to get the best out of the instrument, you should keep your strings fresh and in good condition. Also, try out something different every now and then, just to see how it affects your sound.

If you want to know more about guitar strings, great accessories and other equipment call Glenn Sutton 619-306-3664 right now to get started.

Guitar Strings

Guitar Strings
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