Whether you are a complete beginner or a rock legend, you probably have had to replace your strings multiple times. Here, we will delve into the ins and outs of guitar strings to get more out of them when jamming to your favorite song or practicing the notes your instructor assigned you last week.
Let’s face it, many guitarists know that virtually every guitarist will one day ponder on the idea of keeping their strings for a more extended period than what is advised for the sake of saving money. You want to get that extra life out of your strings without spending on gas to run to the store to pay an extra six bucks. However, you are “pennywise and dollar foolish.” This is because six months of picking will damage your guitar tunability. Not only will you not get the crispness you get from robust sounding electric guitar, but you also do not get to see the full capability that you and your instrument can play out.
I share this story because it is an example of how guitar novices will think one way when the correct way is contradictory when it comes to taking care of electric guitar strings.
Understand How Your Strings Are Setup
Any person who is seriously interested in mastering the guitar would need to know how musical notes correlate with string as alluded earlier. Exactly what rhyme or reason, no pun intended, is that a guitar neck is laid out with strings where their thicknesses narrow down, starting from the side facing up, as we go from one side to the other side of the neck. Moreover, tonality varies in the same manner when strummed.
That’s a great question. Their order boils down to how the guitar developed from its fifteenth-century beginnings to what we know of it today.
Here is a new hack you probably have never heard of before but would gladly implement to alleviate a pain felt on the hand and wrist. Did you know that you can decrease that strain while playing your guitar at a faster rate? Yes, you can by shortening the guitar’s neck, adding a couple of strings, and arranging them in a musical interval that involves a musical interval known as the “Perfect Fourth.”
Anyways, to standardize the string order for guitarists to pick up on quickly, a musical note letter was matched to each string’s standard tuning sound. When placed together from lowest to highest, the strings were ordered to read out EADGBE. It is not very intuitive. Thankfully, acronyms of all sorts were made up to facilitate the learning curve. Here are a few:
Eddie Ate Dynamite, Good Bye Eddie (One I learned)
Every Amateur Does Get Better Eventually
Eat All Day Go to Bed Early
Of course, you do not have to have standard tuning jam out sessions. There are other types of tuning such as the open A, double drop D, DGC-GCD (Led Zeppelin fans anywhere?), and countless others. It would be best if you mastered standard tuning beforehand.
String Gauges common
Whenever someone asks for a guitar string size, they most likely mean the string’s diameter. This is otherwise known as the gauge. As prevalent of a question it is, especially amongst novices, there is no straightforward answer. There is more depth to the solution as a musician would need to choose amongst a plethora of standard sizes per standard gauge. Each will experience a different tension on the neck; so, if you go from one gauge size to another, there would be different tensions—furthermore, the truss rod or the component keeps the guitar’s neck relief from buckling.
Deciding on the right guitar strings can be an involved process. In addition to the truss rod, another component would be affected by the string you choose. The nut slot would also need to raised or lowered, depending on the string size and gauge.
Besides size, string coating is also an important characteristic that musicians should be familiar with. To make strings more durable, they are wrapped with antioxidating agents such as polymer webbing. Although not all strings come with this feature, the ones that do are more expensive. Make sure you do your research by finding out which brand and strings coated as you may end up saving money in the long run.
One last thing to keep in mind is the makeup of each string. The last thing you would want is for a guitar string to break early. That’s why one needs to know the material it is made out of. Most come in nickel, stainless steel, or copper. However, there is a myriad of strings out there that come in titanium, chrome, or multi-layered metals.
Each of these comes with perks. Nickel ones are perfect for electric guitars as they keep a bright tone that gets amplified on every “attack” (when the guitarist first strikes the string). As for acoustic guitars, strings need to produce sound in a much clearer manner as there is nothing to excite the noise. Thus, two significant categories of guitar strings are crafted. One, the classic string core, allows players to contrast the mellow sound that is attributed to acoustics while the others enhance the brightness of each tone.
Lastly, How Much Do They Normally Cost?
You should be relieved to know that strings are cheap. You will find them to be around five bucks. On the other hand, if you are looking to not run to the store every fortnight for replacements, we would highly encourage you to purchase the coated strings. They are on the pricier end of the spectrum: around twenty bucks. Here is a list on Electric Guitar Master’s strings review.
If you are a beginner, go for the cheaper strings. However, if you are intermediate or advanced in playing, purchase the higher-quality set. Just keep in mind that great guitars won’t sound amazing unless they have compatible strings.