How Do I Choose the Best Acoustic Guitar Strings?

In order for you to choose the best acoustic guitar strings, you must first take consideration of the type of guitar you are playing, the method in which you are playing the guitar and the type of music you wish to play on the guitar. Acoustic guitar strings are available in several sizes and material compositions, with each providing a very unique character and sound. Other factors that will aid in your selection of the best acoustic guitar strings are your playing ability, your body type and your price point. While the sound made by any guitar is individual and typically independent from all other guitars, some similarities will exist in string choices and can be replicated from set to set, with each producing the requested performance. The ultimate deciding factor, however, is your personal preference in tonal quality, feel and voice.

The best acoustic guitar strings for your guitar can only be found by trial and error and testing several different strings before settling on the one that best fits your needs. It is not unusual for one set of acoustic guitar strings to sound great on one guitar and produce less-than-desirable sounds on another. The woods used in the production of a guitar are as individual as the person playing them. The first step, however, in finding the best strings is to have the guitar properly set up by an experienced guitar technician.

While experienced players typically prefer a light gauge string, heavier-gauge, acoustic guitar strings will often last longer and are commonly preferred for breaking in a new guitar. Once the wood of your guitar's soundboard has been played in or broken in, you may choose to place a lighter string on the instrument. The drawback with a heavy string is that the sound is commonly more dull and the strings are harder to press, resulting in sore fingers. The sound quality of your guitar, like others, is typically the final defining factor in choosing the best acoustic guitar strings for most musicians.

You may wish to choose a string high in phosphorous and bronze, as this is typically a brighter-sounding string. Most acoustic guitar strings are sold in compositions of the two materials, with the higher phosphorous content string producing the brightest sound. As such, an 85/15 string will sound much brighter than a 75/25 string, and so on. If you perspire a great deal, a coated string may better prevent premature rusting and deterioration of your guitar strings than a non-coated set. It is also possible to purchase titanium strings to prevent rust, however, they are more costly than most other types of strings.


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Post 1

A lot of it really revolves around what feels the most comfortable. The best way to choose an acoustic string, then, is to try several sizes and brands and eventually settle on the one that works best.

Choosing a guitar string is a very subjective process that must be determined by the individual. On my 12-string acoustic, I get the lightest strings I can find, but that's just me -- other people like 'em a bit heavier. It all depends on how the instruments feels to the individual.

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