Eventually, your guitar strings will lose their vitality. You’ll need to change them. Here are some things to consider when buying new guitar strings.
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Buying Nylon Strings for a Classical Guitar
There are three factors associated with classical guitar strings: tension, material and quality.
String tension. Classical guitar strings come in different tensions: low, medium and hard. You can think of low tension as light gauge and hard as heavy gauge. Light tension strings are easier on the fingers but are more likely to buzz.
String material. There are two types of materials for the classical guitar’s three treble strings (G, B, and high E): nylon and carbon fiber. Clear nylon strings are extruded and calibrated for tonal accuracy. Rectified nylon strings are extruded and then ground to produce an accurate string. Rectified strings have a slightly rough texture. Treble strings are also available in carbon fiber and composite materials.
Bass strings (low E, A, D) are usually made of bronze or silver-plated copper wire wound around a core of fine threads.
String quality A high quality string will play in tune, stay in tune and hold its tone. To ensure you buy a quality set of classical guitar strings, choose a reputable brand such as: Augustine, D’Addario, GHS, Chorus, Martin, Savarez, Hannabach, Savarez, La Bella.
Buying Steel Guitar Strings
Here are some guidelines for buying strings for your steel-string acoustic guitar or electric guitar.
- Acoustic or Electric. Be sure you buy acoustic strings for your acoustic guitar and electric strings for your electric guitar. Strings are made differently for acoustic guitars than for electric guitars.
- Determine the string gauge. Strings come in a wide range of gauges. The lighter the gauge, the easier they will be to play. However, the lighter the string, the thinner the sound. Many guitar pro’s suggest never putting anything heavier than a medium gauge on your instrument as they can warp the neck and pull up the bridge. Beginning guitar players should choose a lighter gauge string to start.
- Coated guitar strings or uncoated. Guitar strings are available with a chemical coating that protects the string from the oil and perspiration from hands. Are coated strings worth the extra cost? The answer depends on your individual body chemistry. Coated strings supposedly last longer. Try both and keep track of how long the coated and uncoated strings last. Do the math to determine if coated strings warrant the higher cost.
Guitar String Tips
- Keep a spare set of strings in your guitar case. Strings can break, especially light-gauge strings combined with an aggressive playing style.
- Buy guitar strings in bulk and save. Once you’ve settled on a specific brand and gauge of string, save money by buying your guitar strings in bulk.
- Look for online bargains. Shop for strings online, you can often find significantly lower prices from online string dealers.