Buying guitar strings can be a daunting and overwhelming task even to a well-seasoned player. Manufacturers are constantly looking to evolve their products to meet and exceed the needs of consumers. There are several factors that will remain constant when looking to purchase a new set. Have you ever wondered about the numbers on guitar string packages? Sometimes, the pack will say something like .010-.047 for example, and other brands might have a full list (9, 11, 16, 24, 32, 45). These are different ways that manufacturers list the string gauges. Confused? Here is a basic breakdown!
Manufacturers will summarize the set of strings in a pack as light, medium, or heavy to name a few. Guitarists will commonly refer to string sets by the gauge of the 1st E string, which is also the first number that would be listed on the set of strings. Light strings for an electric guitar are considered 9’s whereas an acoustic guitar player will consider 11’s to be light (.010-.047 would be considered “10’s”, so they are “extra-light”). Lighter strings are easier to fret but can also be easier to break. It is best for a beginner to start with a lighter gauge set and move up when ready. Gauge is more a reflection of player preference rather than the genre of music being played.
It is always good to experiment your string gauge selection on different guitar models and pickup configurations. I hope you found this helpful when determining the string gauge you would like to purchase. If you still have questions, come into the store and ask for me! We always have great string promos in the store – currently, all our Martin strings are buy 2 get 1 free through July 2016!