Which String Variety?

That is the big question.  The answer for many beginners (and many other players) may be as simple as:

Those are the best selling guitar string varieties and gauges across the industry.  It is a great place to start and to get some frame of reference.

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Our best selling electric sets are Nickel (100% Nickel) Electric 10-46, those pure nickel sets are the primary reason that many players get their strings from usOur best selling acoustic sets are Phosphor Bronze Acoustic 12-53, another fine string choice that will help to bring out your guitar's true voice.

Many guitarists are happy to stay right there, others prefer to venture elsewhere.  If you decide to explore further, there are many string variety choices that guitarists enjoy to help dial-in their tone and feel, based upon their personal preferences, their hands, their varied guitars, and various other things in their signal chain (signal chain is everything that is affecting the sound that eventually is interpreted by the player's and listeners' brains).

Varieties, Gauges, and Other Choices

Consider the following string varieties or aspects or categories.  There are more varieties beyond what we will discuss here because were are going to address primarily where we focus.  (For example: we focus on steel guitar strings because our core competency is there and not in nylon strings for classical guitars.)

Type of guitar:  Acoustic or Electric

String Material Acoustic:  Phosphor Bronze , Lost '60s Acoustic, Bronze 85 (leaning more toward brass)

String Material Electric:

String Core:

On your typical guitar, you will have plain strings (your high e, B, and probably the G strings) and wound strings (which have wrap wire wrapped around something like those plain strings.)  You will have two different cores for wrap strings, Hex and Round.

  • Hex Core - The most common core in strings you find today is the hex core.  Hexagonally-shaped core provides multiple points for the wrap wire to grab onto the core with each wrap.  Hex core strings are relatively more stable and provide a firmer feel.
  • Round Core - Round core strings (take a look at your plain strings, that is essentially a round core) are not as common today and were all that was available years ago.  Also, that is how piano strings are made today.  Round core strings provide a "boomier" vintage tone and relatively more flexible feel.
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String Gauge:  There are many choices of string set gauges available on the market today, and maybe as many opinions in terms of what works best on which guitar as there are guitar players.  The following is our standard string gauge offering, and we can also do custom gauges for you:

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Horses for Courses

That is a truism about horse racing (and auto racing and many other things as well), that some horses/cars are better suited to perform well on some tracks than they are on others.  The same can be said of string varieties, gauges, etc. on guitars and in different players' hands.  We think you can consider recommendations from other players, manufacturers, urban legends etc. but you should experiment and use what you find plays, feels, and sounds best to you with your unique factors.

At the end of the day some of your guitars will probably work best for you with that original recommended starting point of Steel (8% Nickel Plated Steel) 10-46s Electric and Phosphor Bronze 12-53 Acoustic.  However you may find that your favorite Les Paul needs those Pure Nickel Perfect 10s, your Butterscotch Tele loves the Pure Nickel XL+ 9.5-44s, your SG best mimics the Heavy and Hell tone with Rock Formula 9s, and your Hamer Explorer can't get rightly High 'n' Dry without some Steel 9-46 (9/10 STMB Hybrids).  Perhaps,... but that is all up to you as you continue on your wonderful journey of tone.

Inquire Further

Ask any and all questions about the which strings (gauges, material, and anything else) might be the best for your setup and what and how you play.  We will get back to you on email or on the phone if you like.

 

Send us your questions about the best string selection for your setup.  You can also email us at beststrings@americanstring.com

(We do not manufacture, sell, or specialize in nylon guitar strings, so we will defer to the experts in that arena and will not be much help with nylon guitar string questions/selections.)

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