Different types of strings

Depending on the type of guitar, they will require specifically designed strings. The spectrum of creative playing styles and approaches means there is a wide variety of materials used to make the strings and varying sizes or gauges.

Acoustic

Acoustic guitar strings (steel string guitar) deliver punch and clarity because in most cases, there is no pickup installed on the guitar. Acoustic strings are made by wrapping a thin wire, sometimes made of a phosphor-bronze combination around a metal core.

 

Electric

Electric guitar strings are typically thinner than their acoustic counterparts, largely because electric guitars have a number of pickups that amplify the string vibrations. Electric strings are generally wrapped or wound the same as acoustic strings but, instead, nickel is used to wind around the core.

 

Classical

Classical (nylon string) guitars provide a beautiful sonic alternative to steel string or electric guitars. Popularized in classical and flamenco music, these strings are made by strands of clear nylon. Nylon strings typically don't use the 'ball end' that acoustic/electric guitars need. Instead, nylon strings are tied around the bridge plate before travelling up the neck to the headstock.

Bass

Bass guitar strings are essentially made the same as electric guitar strings, except thicker to reach those lower notes. Some types of bass strings come with the addition of fabric called 'silk'. The silk is used to protect the tuning posts on the headstock and keep the string from unravelling at the ball-end where the wrap tapers at the core.

Different gauges

Depending on which type of guitar you play, there is also varying thicknesses or gauges of strings. The gauge of string is usually dictated by your playing style, genre, tone. A higher (or thicker) gauge string will give you longer sustain and louder volume but will be more difficult to play whereas; a lower (or thinner) gauge string will have greater playability for faster playing but decreased sustain and volume.

The chart below lists an average gauge of string used by each guitar.

Acoustic, Guitar

Acoustic

  1. E - 1st       .012"     0.30mm
  2. B - 2nd     .016"     0.41mm
  3. G - 3rd     .024"     0.61mm
  4. D - 4th     .032"     0.81mm
  5. A - 5th     .042"     1.07mm
  6. E - 6th     .053"     1.35mm
Electric, Guitar

Electric

  1. E - 1st       .010"     0.25mm
  2. B - 2nd     .013"     0.33mm
  3. G - 3rd     .017"     0.43mm
  4. D - 4th     .026"     0.66mm
  5. A - 5th     .036"     0.91mm
  6. E - 6th     .046"     1.16mm
Acoustic, Guitar

Classical

  1. E - 1st       .028"     0.71mm
  2. B - 2nd     .032"     0.82mm
  3. G - 3rd     .040"     1.02mm
  4. D - 4th     .029"     0.74mm
  5. A - 5th     .035"     0.89mm
  6. E - 6th     .043"     1.09mm
Electric, Guitar

Bass

  1. G - 1st       .050"     1.27mm
  2. D - 2nd     .070"     1.78mm
  3. A - 3rd      .085"     2.16mm
  4. E - 4th      .105"     2.67mm

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