Learning to play a guitar is as important as choosing the right string for your acoustic guitar. There are things to consider before picking the type of string, first you need to know the type of acoustic guitar you already have. First, let us talk about the type of acoustic guitars:
Dreadnought. Usually medium gauge strings best fit this acoustic style guitar. The shape of this acoustic guitar is much boarder so it can bring out more of the bass sound from the medium string.
Grand auditorium. On this style of acoustic guitar, the light gauge strings will suit it.
One should remember when getting a string, the higher the string gauge the more tension it will be on the neck of the guitar. This means that the medium gauge has a higher tension compared to the lighter gauge string. Think about the playing-style you want to engage into. Ask yourself if you are more of a strummer or a fingerpicker. If you are a fingerpicker, it is best for you to have the light strings. They are easy to play compared to the medium strings.
Most beginners use lighter strings. If you are more of a strumming type, the medium is good for you. Although, the medium strings can give your fingers a hard time, so it’s alright to still choose the light strings if you want to. There are people who combine the light and medium in their acoustic guitar. You can put the light strings on the bottom three while the medium gauge strings on the top three strings. Make sure when you combine this type of gauge strings, you are able to play with finger picking and strumming as well.
The sound you want to employ is another thing you need to ask to yourself. You will notice that the medium stings will produce a bolder and deeper sound compare to the light strings. The medium string is inclined to produce the bass sound, while the light strings can sound more on the brighter and high sound.
Construction Materials for Acoustic Guitar Strings and their Sound Characteristics:
Brass. It produces the jangling, bright and metallic character sound. Bronze. This can give you a ringing, clear and bright tone, but it can wear-off quickly since it’s the effect of bronze’s oxidation.
Silk and Steel. This is famous to the fingerstyle and folk guitarist players. It has a steel core covered by copper, silk, nylon wire wrap on the lower strings. This is softer to touch and has a delicate tone.
Phosphor Bronze. This can produce a darker and warmer tone than the bronze. The quality sound is a bit crisp, and due to the phosphor in the alloy prolongs its life.
Polymer-coated. Its corrosion-resistant and some are with color for visual appeal. Less maintenance and have no bright reflection due to the coated strings that can give a warm look.
Below are the common acoustic strings designation and characteristics:
Moderate or Light Tension
• Less projection and volume.
• Easy on fretting (particularly on guitars with a higher activity).
• Good for legato techniques.
• Buzzing on frets are common
• Minimal marked-approach on Note Body
Medium or Normal Tension
• This is the balance characteristics between the low and high tension strings commonly produced when stricken.
Hard/Strong or High Tension
• Difficult fretting (particularly on guitars with high action).
• Good for strong-rhythmic playing.
• Good Projection and volume.
• Possible concern will be bridges, necks and top bracing with delicate instrument.