Which strings for acoustic electric guitar

10. Acoustic guitar steel strings

The manufacturing methods of acoustic and electric guitar strings are basically identical. Since electric guitar strings must first and foremost be able to influence the magnetic field of the pickups used sufficiently strongly, but acoustic guitar strings must have a brilliant and assertive acoustic sound, different metal alloys are used in both areas. Well, not quite:

Nickel-Steel Strings

Well, see you again! Especially for acoustic guitars (flat tops) with magnetic soundhole pickups and electric jazz / archtop guitars, guitar strings made of nickel steel are a very good choice. Acoustically, they are rarely played on flattops because their sound is relatively soft and not very brilliant. Nickel-steel strings do an excellent job on jazz guitars (archtops), which are generally equipped with magnetic pickups.

Bronze steel strings

One of the most popular acoustic strings. There are two variants available. In the so-called 80/20 bronze strings, the alloy of the winding wire consists of 80% copper and 20% tin. With 85/15 bronze strings, the alloy of the winding wire consists of 85% copper and 15% tin. 80/20 strings deliver a crisp, brilliant, overtone-rich sound with deep bass and high volume.

  • 80/20 are the reference class and therefore the factory standard of many guitar manufacturers
  • 85/15 bronze strings generally sound a bit warmer and offer a pronounced sustain

Phosphor bronze steel strings

Phosphor bronze strings are made of bronze to which a phosphorus content has been added. The alloy generally consists of 90-92% copper and 9.5% - 7.5% tin. The rest is phosphorus. Phosphorus makes the strings a little harder than normal bronze steel strings. They are also more resistant to corrosion. The sound of the strings is slightly warmer and softer than that of 80/20 bronze steel strings. Phosphor bronzes are the bestsellers in the field of acoustic strings.

String gauges and more

String gauges are generally given in inches. A 042 E-string has a diameter of 0.042 inches, which is equivalent to 1.0668 mm. A high 010 E-string has a millimeter-converted diameter of 0.254 mm.

E.B.GD.A.E.
Extra light.010.014.022.030.038.048
Light.011.015.024w.032.042.052
Medium light.012.016.025w.032.042.054
medium.013.017.026w.036.046.056
Heavy.014.018.027.039.049.059

In contrast to electric guitars, in which a minimal rattle of the strings is not necessarily transmitted by the pickup, an acoustic guitar with very thin strings (especially when played harder) quickly sounds quite rattling. In addition, very thin strings are quiet and have poor dynamics. That is why the acoustic starts with Extra-Light 010 sentences from the start. However, if the guitar you are using has a well-adjusted string position, you should avoid hard strokes (especially with the plectrum) even with the Extra-Lights - otherwise it will buzz quickly.

Finger pickers generally like to choose thinner strings. Light movements represent the optimal compromise between string tension, volume and dynamics. They are easy to play and grasp and also support virtuoso excursions into the higher registers. Because of their moderate tension, bluesers and soloists also get their money's worth here. The same applies to medium light sentences, which are particularly popular with jazz and bluegrass pickers. 013 medium sentences are then something for whole men (and women). On guitars with moderate string action, however, fingering can become a real task. Nevertheless: The loud, powerful performance of the strings cuts a particularly good figure when playing the batting guitar.

You can formulate a rule: larger instruments like dreaudnoughts or jumbos sound best with thicker strings. Smaller instruments like OMs, mini-jumbos or OOOs do a great job with thinner strings. But as I said: it's all a matter of taste!

Heavy string sets are now rather rare. Because of their massive string tension, they should only be used in conjunction with down-tuned open tunings. In standard tuning, modern acoustic guitars with light tops and braces can have problems that can even damage the instrument.