Choosing the best guitar strings for your guitar can be one of the most important decisions you make. In fact, choosing the wrong strings will actually make your guitar harder to play, and sound worse! Here are a few tips for beginners to help them choose the best guitar strings.
First off, make sure you distinguish between acoustic guitar strings, and electric guitar strings. Acoustic guitars are large, wooden, hollow guitars, and use very different strings than electric guitars. Electric guitars are usually a solid chunk of painted wood. Acoustic-electric guitars are simply acoustic guitars with options to transmit your signal electronically, and they use standard acoustic guitar strings as well.
Best Guitar Strings for Acoustics
Steel-stringed acoustic guitars typically come shipped with a set of twelve gauge strings (The industry standard). The best guitar strings for beginners though are usually lighter sets of strings that are much easier to play and learn on. Heavier gauge guitar strings hold more tension and are more difficult to hold down correctly, and more painful to hold. Often, new students have a hard time with keeping an interest or being motivated to practice when the guitar they’re playing is actually making it more difficult for them to learn. Although some might disagree with this, many beginners find they do much better with a set of acoustic 11′s on their guitar as opposed to 12′s. If you’re not familiar with the system of string gauges, don’t worry, just know that smaller numbers represent lighter, easier to play strings. Don’t let the numbers fool you though, just a single number drop in string size can reduce string tension considerably and make your guitar much more fun to play.
Some of the best guitar strings for acoustic guitar are D’addario, Ernie Ball, DR, and Martin. Although there are a ton of brands out there, keep in mind that most beginners won’t hear much of a difference in tone from brand to brand.
Best Guitar Strings for Electrics
For owners of electric guitars, you actually get the easy job. Most electric guitar are shipped with a set of 9 gauge guitar strings, which are on the light end of the spectrum. This means that from the start, your strings should play well. However, changing strings to a name brand means you can trust your strings to last longer and take more abuse. Since beginners often aren’t sure how hard to strum or attack a string, they tend to break more than experienced players. For beginners, it’s best to have an extra set of electric guitar strings around just in case you break one. If you do have a tendency to break strings, you might switch from electric 9′s to electric 10′s which are slightly heavier, and harder to break. Some of the best guitar strings for electric guitar are Ernie Ball, D’Dadarrio, and DR.
If you’re not sure which gauge of strings you have, but want to change strings to get a lighter or heavier gauge, your best bet isn’t to break out the calipers, it’s to take it to your local music teacher or guitar friend and have them tell you what you already have on it. Usually experienced guitar players can tell how heavy your strings are simply by feel.
Hope this helps you choose the best guitar strings for your acoustic guitar or electric guitar.