There are certain key characteristics that may help you in finding the right strings for the job. Knowing the type of music you play is one major deciding factor when purchasing new guitar strings. If you are a heavy metal player, then knowing what gauge is good for your type of music is important.
In this article, I’ll go over the basics of what guitar strings to buy. I’ll cover the different types and gauges of each, along with giving you my personal favorite set.
So without further ado, let’s just get straight into it, shall we?
The material used in making your strings is one of the most important (if not THE most important) considerations when purchasing new strings for any guitar.
There are several materials that can be used to make guitar strings; however, it’s more common to find nylon, steel, nickel/steel alloy, or stainless steel.
Each type of material has its own unique sound that may work best for you depending on what genre(s) of music you play.
When looking at new string options, many people first consider the gauge (thickness) of the string.
The gauge is measured in thousandths of an inch, and it’s important to get the right gauge for your playing style.
If you use a light gauge string and try to play heavy metal music, you’re going to have a lot of trouble.
Conversely, if you use a heavy gauge string and try to play classical guitar, you’re going to find it very difficult to make the strings resonate properly.
That being said, there are certain gauges that are best suited for different types of music.
Heavier gauges (10-12-13-14-15-16) are typically used for heavier styles of music such as metal, while lighter gauges (7-8-9-10-11-12) are better for styles like country and blues.
That being said, you don’t necessarily have to stick to these gauges; it’s ultimately up to the player to find what gauge works best for them.
Types of Strings
Let’s take a look at the different types of strings available on the market today.
The most common type of string found on acoustics guitars is nylon.
This type of string is made from a material called polyester, and it has a mellower sound than other types of strings.
Nylon strings are typically used by classical and flamenco guitarists because of their mellow tone and feel.
Steel strings are the most common type of string found on electric guitars.
They’re made from a metal alloy that gives them a brighter and more cutting tone compared to nylon strings.
The third most popular material used in making guitar strings is nickel-plated steel.
This material provides for a very bright sound, although they have less longevity than other types of string materials.
Nickel/Steel Alloy Strings
Nickel/steel alloys are different versions of the standard nickel/steel alloy commonly found on electric guitars.
The main difference between these alloys and the standard one is that they’re plated with either chrome or titanium rather than nickel, which improves the string’s overall tonal characteristics.
Stainless Steel Strings
Stainless steel is a newer material available on the market today.
Steel strings have been the most popular electric guitar string type for decades, so it wasn’t until fairly recently that stainless steel guitar strings were made available to the public.
This material is very unique in that they’re nearly indestructible compared with other types of materials used in making guitar strings.
There’s a misconception about this material that says they have a thin or weak tone when compared to other types of strings, but this isn’t true at all.
In fact, these are some of the brightest and loudest types of string on the market, which makes them perfect for the metal guitarist.
FAQ – Guitar Strings
Q: What are the different types of guitar strings?
A: There are four main types of guitar strings – nylon, steel, nickel/steel alloy, and stainless steel. Each type has its own unique sound and feel that may work best for you depending on what style of music you play.
Q: What is the gauge of a guitar string?
A: The gauge is measured in thousandths of an inch, and it’s important to get the right gauge for your playing style. Heavier gauges (10-12-13-14-15-16) are typically used for heavier styles of music such as metal, while lighter gauges (7-8-9-10-11-12) are better for styles like country and blues.
Q: What is the difference between nickel/steel alloy and stainless steel strings?
A: The main difference between these alloys and the standard one is that they’re plated with either chrome or titanium rather than nickel, which improves the string’s overall tonal characteristics. Stainless steel strings are also made from a unique material that makes them nearly indestructible compared with other types of materials used in making guitar strings.
Q: What is the lifespan of a set of guitar strings?
A: This varies depending on the type of material used in making the string. Nylon strings typically have a lifespan of about 3-4 months, while steel strings can last up to 2-3 years. Nickel/steel alloy and stainless steel strings can last anywhere from 4-8 months.
Q: Are some brands better than others?
A: There aren’t any brands that are significantly better or worse than others. High-quality assurance is important for all guitar strings, regardless of the brand name on them. The main difference between strings comes down to personal preference and what type of sound you’re going for.
Q: What’s the best way to store guitar strings?
A: The best way to store guitar strings is by keeping them in their original packaging and in a cool, dry place. Do not expose them to excessive heat or moisture, as this can damage the material and affect the sound of the string.
Q: What’s the difference between electric and acoustic guitar strings?
A: Acoustic guitar strings are typically made from nylon, while electric guitar strings are made from metal alloys. This gives each type of string a unique sound and feel that may work best for you depending on what style of music you play. Acoustic guitar strings also tend to be heavier gauges than electric guitar strings.