Using good strings on the acoustic guitar is one of the major factors that have an impact on the sound produced. There are two types of strings to choose from viz. steel and nylon, about which we are going to discuss in this article.
Every instrument needs to be maintained the right way to get the best sound out of it. This is mainly applicable to those from the stringed instruments family. The guitar is probably the most sought after instrument, especially among youngsters. If you want to learn to play this instrument, experts recommend to get familiar with the playing techniques on an acoustic instrument first, before moving on to an electric. To get the exact tone from an acoustic guitar, you need to take care of the instrument and what goes in it. This particularly includes guitar strings. Let us know why you need to change the strings on a regular basis and which are the best.
The Need to Change Guitar Strings Periodically
The chief reason why you need to change guitar strings is to avoid a blunt tone. After playing the guitar on a regular basis, sweat from hands gets accumulated in microscopic gaps in the strings. This has a negative impact on the original guitar tone, and the tone sounds a kind of blunt. Another factor that can affect the sound badly is rust accumulation on the strings. If you try to tune the instrument with old rusted strings, you are bound to struggle with exact tuning. Putting on a new set of strings would certainly help you tune the guitar perfectly. Let us now move on to choosing the right acoustic guitar strings.
How to Choose the Best Acoustic Guitar Strings
Nylon or Steel Strings
When it comes to acoustics, there are two types of strings that you can choose from, depending on the type of guitar you own. There are nylon strings and steel strings which are largely used. Nylon strings are used on classical Spanish guitars with long fingerboards, whereas steel ones are used on commonly found acoustic models. Nylon strings produce a mellow sound, whereas steel ones give out a sharp attacking tone.
Be it electric or acoustic, nylon or steel strings; the gauge size needs to be given due importance. Technically speaking, gauge relates to how thick the string is. Acoustic guitar strings are measured in the diameter which is classified in thousandths of an inch. The available gauges for acoustic strings are extra light, custom light, light, light/medium, and medium.
The extra light set is available in .010-.047, where .010 is for the first string and .047 for the last. Normally, this is denoted as 10-47 on the string package. Custom light strings come in .011-.052 gauge, whereas light strings have .012-.054 gauges. Light/Medium strings, which are a combination of gauges from light and medium strings, have a thickness level of .012-.055. The thickest medium strings come in .013-.056 gauges. Remember that electric guitar strings have totally different gauge levels from acoustic ones.
Strings with light gauges are appropriate for a beginner, since they are softer to play on the fretboard. However, a hard playing style will break these strings very frequently. Medium strings are most appropriate for those into acoustic hard playing. You can choose gauges according to your style of strumming or plucking.
The string brands are also to be considered if you want to choose the best strings for your acoustic guitar. There are many famous brands like D’Addario, Dunlop, Ernie Ball, Martin, Rotosound, Elixir, Dean Markley, and Fender, just to name the most popular ones. There are several local brands to go for, but choose carefully from these to ensure the best sound clarity. The D’Addario EJ45 Pro-Arte series is believed to be the best-selling model for nylon strings. Likewise, the Martin M550 Acoustic Guitar Strings are one of the best in the steel-string category.
The gauge levels mentioned above have been taken from D’Addario, and may slightly differ from brand to brand. Nylon strings are to be used only on classical guitars, whereas metal ones only in steel-string acoustic guitars. Choosing the right set of strings certainly adds up to the tone quality and your skill.