Acoustic Guitar Strings Guide: How to Pick the Right Acoustic Strings

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  • Writer:Alice
  • Time:2022-12-31

Players of Slide and dobro prefer heavy guitar strings. Acoustic and blues players tend to have light or super light guitar strings. Classical and flamenco players choose different string tensions and wrapping materials for a specific tone.


The sound depends on the material, gauge, and tension used in the strings. Choosing the right guitar strings will greatly impact the sound you produce and affect playability. Because acoustic guitars don't use pickups or amplifiers to enhance the guitar's sound, the acoustic strings you choose can make a huge difference in sound.


But how to choose the right acoustic string for the desired sound? This article can help you select the right strings. Let's start it!



Gauges of acoustic strings

String gauges are greatly important when choosing the right acoustic strings for the guitar. The guitar string gauge refers to the diameter, with the lighter gauges starting at .010 of an inch and the heavier gauges at .014. In addition to comfort and playability factors, the incorrect string set can damage the guitar. Below are the five main string gauge sets:

1.Extra Light(10’s): .010 .014 .023 .030 .039 .047
2.Custom Light(11’s): .011 .015 .023 .032 .042 .052
3.Light(12’s): .012 .016 .025 .032 .042 .054
4.Medium(13’s): .013 .017 .026 .035 .045 .056
5.Heavy(14’s): .014 .018 .027 .039 .049 .059

l  What kind of string gauge should you choose?

1.  1.Sound
In general, the light gauge is quieter with less sustain, and produces more buzzing. On the other hand, heavy gauges are louder with more sustain. 

2.Style of play
Typically, the heavier gauge is a better choice if you prefer to play rock, blues, and country music. Lighter gauges are more popular for folk music. If you play both strumming and finger-picking, the medium gauge is an option worth considering.

Lighter gauges are easier to play with and bend, while heavy gauges require more pressure. 

The strings of a guitar will be corrosion and friction because of playing. Lighter gauge strings have a shorter lifespan than heavier gauge strings, and medium gauge strings are between them. 


Acoustic string materials

Each string material has a specific timbre. In addition, the longevity of the strings and the quality of the sound depending on the type of material. Following are the most common types of acoustic string materials:

1.80/20 Bronze
80/20 bronze strings produce bright tones. Due to oxidation, this type of guitar string needs to be replaced about once a month.

2.Nickel bronze
This material has a natural-sounding that doesn't affect the guitar's tone. This type of acoustic string can bring out the tone of the guitar rather than the string itself.

3.Phosphor bronze
This type of string has a warmer and deeper tone and lasts longer than the regular bronze strings. Phosphor bronze strings don't require frequent replacement because of the phosphorus alloy.

4.Aluminum bronze
Aluminum bronze provides a crisper sound than bronze.

5.Coated phosphor bronze
Coated strings last four times longer than regular strings. Coated phosphor bronze is a natural-sounding string with a longer pitch than regular bronze strings.

6.Polymer coating
Corrosion-resistant strings won't rust and last longer than uncoated strings.

A bright, piercing string that sounds metallic.

8.Silk and steel
This type of string is perfect for folks music players who want a softer sound and easier to play.

l  Which acoustic string material is the suitable one?

1.  1.Desired tone:
For a brighter tone, phosphor bronze is a good choice. On the other hand, silk and steel are options with a mellow sound.

2.Play style
80/20 bronze and phosphor bronze are the most common acoustic strings. Both materials are great for rock, blues, pop, and country music. Generally, folk music and jazz prefer silk and steel.

Silk and steel are suitable for smaller-bodied flat-top acoustic guitars. This material cannot power larger soundboards or vaulted guitars. In general, larger body shapes and vaulted guitars are better suited for bronze or phosphor bronze.

Silk and steel will be easier for your fingers to play the guitar. This type of material is more suitable for a beginner. 

Construction techniques

The way the strings are wound also affects playability and tone. Acoustic guitar material is typically wound with the following three main winding techniques:


The string material is wrapped tightly around the core. Roundwound is the most common and easiest method of string winding, and most strings are made up with this construction method.


Flatwound strings are made using winding wire with a square construction, which means the grooves in the winding wire are shallower. 


This method starts with a round wire and then polishes, grinds, or presses the string's surface until it is flat. The cost is higher than roundwound and lower than flatwound.

Which construction method should be chosen?
For a brighter sound with more sustain, roundwound is the best choice. On the other hand, semi-flatwound is suitable for producing a mellower sound with less sustain.

2.Style of play

In general, flatwounds are common with jazz, and roundwound is a typical choice for rock music.

Why choose Alice Strings

We make, you play.


After 20 years of development, Alice Strings has become one of the most influential musical instrument strings and accessories manufacturers around the globe.


We are a technology-oriented enterprise integrated with research, development, manufacturing, and sales, with over 50 invention patents. In addition, with the full implementation of the ISO9001:2015 standard, the entire process from raw materials to finished products and packaging products is strictly monitored.


We have nine types of Acoustic Guitar Strings, including Phosphor Bronze Wound, Nickel Plated Phosphor Bronze Wound, 85/15 Bronze Wound, etc.


If you are looking for the reliable manufacturer, contact us.