Guitar strings are the most important component of any instrument. Without them, you would not have the sound that makes music. There are many different types of guitar strings, each with their own unique characteristics. Choosing the right type of string for your guitar can make a huge difference in how well it sounds.
In this guide, you’ll learn how to choose the best guitar strings for you. We also offer our product recommendations for the best electric guitar strings, bass guitar strings, and acoustic guitar strings.
Table of Contents
Do You Need New Guitar Strings?
If your guitar is starting to sound dull or scratchy, it’s time for new strings. Another sign is that your guitar is not staying in tune. Strings wear out over time and a fresh pair will help your guitar sound its best.
What Kind Should I Get?
There are two basic types of string – nylon and steel. Nylon strings are generally softer and have less tension than steel strings. Steel strings are stronger, but tend to be harder to play. You may want to try both kinds to find what works best for you.
If you play electric guitar, then you should use steel-wound strings. Steel-wound strings are stronger than nylon-wound strings and they produce a brighter tone. Electric guitars require thicker strings. Nylon-wound strings are less expensive than steel-wound strings, but they do not hold up as well over time. You may need to replace your strings more often if you play electric guitar.
If you play acoustic guitar, then you should go with nylon-wound strings. Acoustic guitars require thinner strings to allow the strings to vibrate freely. Nylon-wounds strings are easier to tune and maintain than steel-wound. However, they are slightly weaker than steel-wound and tend to break sooner.
How much should I spend?
You don’t necessarily need to spend a lot of money on guitar strings. A good set of cheap strings will last you years, while a high-end set might only last you a few months. But if you’re buying a new set anyway, make sure you choose quality over quantity.
Do I need to change my strings regularly?
It’s true that changing your strings often will help prevent them from wearing out. How often you need new strings will depend on how often and how long you play. Changing them once or twice a year is enough for many casual players.
What about gauge?
There are 5 main types of string gauges: eights, nines, tens, elevens and twelves in the order from thinnest to thickest. The most common gauges are nines, tens, and elevens. In a nutshell, those numbers refer to the decimal fraction measurement of the smallest string, the high E.
For typical styles of play, meaning for 6-string regular tunings (EADGBE), it’s as simple as choosing what fits you best among those three gauges. Factors to consider are how hard you play, what kind of feel you like, and your finger size. If you feel more comfortable with thicker strings, go with those. And likewise, if you’re at home with nines, go with those. But in general, tens are the most common.
Reviews for Best Guitar Strings
See our reviews and recommendations for the best guitar strings. Whether you play an electric, acoustic, or bass we have great recommendations for you.
How to Change Your Guitar Strings
Once you have your new set, it’s time to put them on. You can do it yourself or bring it to your local guitar shop.
Replacing your own strings is easier than you may think, even for beginning guitarists. Check out our helpful guide to changing your guitar strings made easy for step-by-step directions.