You look at your guitar and see its rusty strings and you don’t really remember when was the last time you changed them. That means it’s probably the right time to get a new set of guitar strings… In this short guide I’ll recommend my personal favourites for each type of guitar and explain a bit about the different options.
For Classical Guitar – I really like the warm sound and feel of D’Addario EJ45-3D Pro Arte Classical Normal Tension. I also find them reliable and sustainable. There are 3 main types of tensions for classical guitars – Low, Normal and High. I would advise trying all 3 in order to experience the difference yourselves, since it is a matter of trial and error and personal taste. But to get the general idea; Low tension means a more mellow tone and less force you’d need to use in order to get a clear sound when you play. High Tension needs more force and the tone is usually brighter.
*Tip – Never change a single string, always a whole set. Unless it’s in the middle of a concert…
For Acoustic Guitar – When playing acoustic guitar we usually look for that rich and expressive tone and I found Elixir Nanoweb E16052 Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings 12-53 Light to answer that need. 12 Gauge should be enough, while 13 can be too difficult to play, especially for solos, and it’s also tiring after playing for a while. 13 has a great tone but 12 (or even 11) don’t fall short.
*Tip – Don’t change your strings just before a gig – allow at least a week in order to decrease the high-pitched sliding sound and to let the strings settle nicely in your guitar.
For Electric Guitar – From my experience, Ernie Ball 2223 Nickel Wound Electric Guitar Strings 09-42 Super Slinky have less tendency to break and no one likes playing something like the famous David Gilmour’s 2.5 tones bend and then to get stuck with a broken string (and heart) when you can’t complete the rest of Another Brick in the Wall’s solo (unless you’re lucky enough to have a quick guitar technician near you…). Thicker sets of strings change the tone a bit and they are harder to bend (that’s why many guitarists prefer to tune their guitars half-step down), but with an electric guitar the tone is more influenced by the pickups, effects and amp. So you basically want to get reliable strings that are easy to bend.
*Tip – Your electric guitar is set-up (assuming you did a set-up) to a specific Gauge, so changing the strings to a different type of Gauge (like 10 instead of 09) would require a new set-up for your guitar.
*Final tip – Like most things, guitar strings are cheaper online and out of the different online stores I would recommend Strings Direct – Click here. They also have free delivery on orders over £30 and you can use the code STRINGS50 to get 10% off when spending £50 or more. I have bought guitar strings and other accessories myself from them and now I am also part of their affiliate programme.