In doubt of what strings you should pick for your guitar? Here are our tips and recommendations on what to look for.
If playing an acoustic guitar we definitely would advise you to go with the Elixir Nanowebs. These coated strings have an extremely smooth feeling to them and last longer than regular uncoated guitar strings. We prefer the nanoweb (thin coating) over the polyweb (thick coating) as they still maintain the steel feeling through the coating.
Most commonly acoustic strings are made with what is called 80/20 Bronze or Phosphor Bronze. The 80/20 bronze has a clear, bright tone to them where as the phosphor bronze has a warmer tone. The material is just a matter of your taste in sound.
When picking out strings you have to look for the right gauge. Acoustic strings usually run .010-.013 on the high e-string. Usually a heavier gauge will give a better tone. However heavy strings will feel harder on the fingers so if you are a beginner start with a 0.010 or .011 and work your way up to a 0.012 which is the most common gauge for intermediate and advanced players.
Electric guitar strings run at a lower gauge than acoustic strings. Usually they go from 0.009-0.011. It is possible to get them even lighter and heavier but if you are a beginner stick with a 0.009 or 0.010.
Your typical electric string is nickel-Plated Steel. The nickel-plated strings give a balanced brightness and warmth with more attack. Another popular string type is the Pure Nickels. These strings are less bright than nickel-plated steel with added warmth.
When picking electric strings you should also consider the wounding (winding) of the strings; Flat wound or round wound? The most common one is the round wound strings. They have a noticeable ridged texture and produce more sustain, attack, and “bite.” They tend to produce more finger noise and fret-board wear.
The flat wound strings have a very smooth touch with flat, dark tone that’s less responsive to picking dynamics. These are popular with jazz and blues guitarists.
A couple of the most popular electric string sets are the Ernie Ball Regular Slinky or Super Slinky as well as the DR Pure Blues.
If playing a classical guitar make sure to always use nylon strings as steel strings can rip the bridge of the body and tear the tuning pegs. Also decide whether you want tie end or ball end. Ball ends are easier to apply as you don’t have to deal with tying the stings to the bridge.