If you’re like most guitarists, you probably don’t give much thought to your strings.
You restring them once in a while when they break or lose their sound; but beyond that, you’re content with simply knowing that they’re there.
I recommend using Elixir strings for your acoustic guitar; they’re not too expensive compared to other brands, and you’ll notice the difference in sound.
In this article, I’m going to show you the different kinds of acoustic guitar strings you can choose from, as well as talk about what each one is best for.
So without further ado, here are your acoustic string options…
Nickel-Plated Steel Acoustic Guitar Strings
Nickel-plated steel strings have a warm, rich tone that’s perfect for playing country and blues.
They’re also good for folk music if you want a “folky” sound with a little more “zing,” and they’re great for down-tuning, if you like playing in drop D or C.
On the other hand, these strings are known to be really tough on your frets.
Therefore, it’s important that you keep them lubricated with rosin every once in a while so that your frets don’t get damaged.
Pure Nickel Acoustic Guitar Strings
If you’re a fan of bright, crisp sounds with plenty of “zing,” then pure nickel acoustic guitar strings are the ones for you.
That said, there’s a reason why some people say that they sound a little too bright and prefer to slightly roll off the highs.
As far as tension goes, pure nickel strings are actually relatively light, which is why they’re commonly used by fingerstyle players.
Pure Nickel-Plated Steel Acoustic Guitar Strings
These strings have a sound that’s similar to pure nickel acoustic guitar strings, but with a little more roundness and warmth added in.
They’re more forgiving on your frets than nickel-plated steel strings, which is why they’re the perfect choice for players who want to use their guitar for fast picking.
If you have a “Pete Townshend” sound in mind, then pure nickel-plated strings are definitely for you.
As far as tension goes, they’re on the lighter end of the spectrum.
Brass Acoustic Guitar Strings
Even though pure nickel-plated steel acoustic guitar strings deliver a great sound, some players prefer brass strings because they provide more volume and sustain than other string options.
If you like to strum all night long, these strings will serve you well.
On the downside, brass acoustic guitar strings can be a bit harsh on your frets if you play too hard.
Steel Acoustic Guitar Strings
Steel strings are generally recommended for beginning players who may not have developed enough calluses yet to handle other types of acoustic guitar strings.
As a beginner, it’s not so much about the tone you’re going for, but more about staying in tune and learning to play smoothly.
Steel strings are also good if you have a guitar with a high action because they don’t require as much pressure on your frets.
If you play primarily by yourself or just want a basic sound, then steel acoustic guitar strings are the way to go.
They also last longer than other types of strings because they’re pretty much unaffected by temperature and humidity changes.
Nylon Acoustic Guitar Strings
Nylon strings have a mellow tone that’s great for playing soft or raspy melodies.
If you like to strum lightly and have a more delicate touch, then you’ll love the sound of nylon strings.
However, these strings can be a bit loose on your guitar’s bridge unless you add some extra padding to help hold them in place.
Because they require less pressure from your fretting hand, they’re also great for beginning players who are just starting to learn how to play the guitar.
And last but not least, nylon strings are easy on your fingers if you’re playing for long periods of time.
Acoustic Guitar Strings – Wrapping It Up!
Now that you’ve got all the facts about different types of acoustic guitar strings, it’s time to decide which ones you’re going to put on your guitar.
Just remember, there’s no wrong or right answer when it comes to tone and feel.
The most important thing is that you experiment until you find the strings that sound and play best for your style.
Of course, if you’ve been in a rut for a long time and want to inject some freshness into your playing, then it’s definitely worth making the switch to a different type of strings.
Be prepared for an adjustment period if you decide to make such a big change in your setup, especially when you’re dealing with acoustic guitar strings that are significantly different from what you’ve been using.
The important thing is that you really listen to the sound of your strings and ask yourself if that’s what you want.
If not, then it might be time for an upgrade.