Skip to main content

Beginner's Guide

Short on time?  Here are some recommended string sets that won't break the bank...

Electric sets under $10
Acoustic sets under $10
Bass sets under $25 

Want to learn more?  Here's some more string talk...

Electric Guitar Strings

The material used for the outer wrap wire affects the sound of the strings.  
There are three common materials used for the wrap wire.

1. Stainless Steel wrap wire:  These will give an aggressive, super bright tone, with great crunch and sustain.  These are best for louder genres like hard rock or heavy metal.

2. Nickel Plated Steel (NPS) wrap wire: These strings will give a bright tone, and are better for more modern rock or when the electric guitar sound needs to "cut thru".  These are the most common type of electric guitar strings.

3. Pure Nickel wrap wire:  These strings will give a warmer tone, like the 50's or 60's vintage or classic rock electric guitar sound.

Acoustic Guitar Strings

Just like electric strings, the wrap wire will affect the sound.  There are two main types for acoustic strings.

1. 80/20 bronze wrap wire strings - These are the most popular acoustic strings and provide a bright, projecting tone that gives a crisp, ringing sound with pleasing overtones. These strings have an 80% copper, 20% zinc wrap wire.

2. Phosphor Bronze wrap wire strings - These strings will give a warmer, bright and balanced tone and deep, rich bass notes with clear bright trebles.  These strings have a 92% copper, 8% zinc wrap wire.

A standard guitar has six strings, which increase in gauge*, (or thickness). 
In general, the 3 heaviest (or thickest) gauge strings are wound strings, which means that they are made by wrapping an outer wrap wire around a core wire.

*The gauge of a string is a measurement of the string's diameter, usually given in thousandths of an inch. 
A set of strings that is labeled 10-46, for example, means that the smallest gauge string is .010 inches in diameter and the heaviest or thickest gauge string is .046 inches in diameter.  
The other strings in the set will fall between those two, so a 10-46 set might have the following gauges for all 6 strings: 10-13-17-26-36-46.
String gauge is usually just a preference of the musician, but electric sets generally range from 8-38 to 13-56, while acoustic sets range from 10-47 to 14-59.

Don't know what gauge to select?
For electric, 10-46 is standard.  Beginners may benefit from a lighter gauge, like 9-42, because it will be easier on the fingers.
For acoustic, 12-53 or 13-56 will be just fine, particularly for beginners.

We hope the information on this page has been helpful!!