#1
Im not really clear on the variations of strings..Ive seen so many and dont know which ones i would get when id change them on the guitar..

Can someone elaborate on sizes, types, brands, what they are made out of..and so one..

Thanks
#2
Alright, here goes.
There are basically 3 categories of guitar strings out there. First, there are acoustic steel strings. Then there are classical nylon, or gut, strings. Lastly there are electric guitar strings.
I won't discuss the classical ones as I don't have as much knowlege of them as I do the others.
Within the acoustic steel string group, there are many sizes and makeups available as I'm sure you've noticed. Let's look at sizes first.
The typical acoustic guitar, the dreadnaught size, will come equipped with a specific gauge of string, namely .012's. This is in reference to the wire diameter of the high E string. It's 12 thousandths of an inch in diameter. They are also called lights. Very common gauge for acoustic steel string dreadnaughts. Mediums would be heavier gauge, .013's for instance. The heavier the gauge the string, the louder the string, but also the more tension is on it once tuned up to pitch. Heavier gauge strings are not at all user friendly when it comes to bends and lead work, but have the ability to fill an auditorium with sound if used for rythem work.
Next let's look at string composition. There are so many to choose from, but I'll only mention a few of the more common types. First is the standard 80/20 bronze makeup. This will give the best all around performance of the string. It's pretty balanced between the lows, mids and highs. There are different ratios within that group as well. I've seen 92/08 bronze. There is phosphor bronze too, another sub group of the bronze string that helps with mids and highs, producing a more bell like clarity.
There are also nickel and steel strings. These are probably the most basic of all, are very common, but not suited to acoustic guitar as much as to electric, which brings us to those.
Electrics can get away with using a much lighter gauge of string because you are not relying on the string getting that big sound top vibrating as you are on an acoustic. The electric pickups are doing the majority of sound transmission here. So a normal set of electric strings would be .009's, or 9 thousandths of an inch thick at the high E. Much easier to bend and fret overall, which leads to faster playing for lead work. Coincidentally, these are also called lights, but within the electric guitar group, not acoustic. There will be extra lights, mediums...and so forth within this group as well.
Compounds for electric guitar will primarily stick within a certain area allowing the string to work properly with the magnetic field of the pickups. There won't be any nylon here!
Stainless steel, nickel plated steel, and the like are most common. Dean Markley strings have some unique ones available. One is a cryogenically treated string. It's been subjected to liquid nitrogen, changing it's crystalline structure a bit. I have yet to try them, but just tossing it out there as a reference.
Lastly, brands. Here goes.
D'Addario, Dean Markley, Earnie Ball, Martin, Elixer, Gibson, Fender, GHS, Cleartone, Black Diamond, LaBella. These are the most common.
With all the above combinations available, it's easy to understand why someone new to guitaring would become confused. But if you start at square one, the guitar, and know which basic group to go to at that point, you'll narrow the field down pretty quickly.
I hope you all find this information useful.
#5
i dont know if this is true but from other posts ive read is that its recommended to change the strings on the SG special when you buy it...

if this is true which ones would be the best to replace them with?
#6
Brand new guitar first string changes depend on one thing only. Did you order it from the factory or did you buy it from the store? If ordered just for you, then you don't need or want to change them right away. They're already new. If it's been hanging around in the store being pawed at day in and day out, then change them. I use Gibson Brite Wires on mine, .009's.
#7
Quote by LeftyDave
Brand new guitar first string changes depend on one thing only. Did you order it from the factory or did you buy it from the store? If ordered just for you, then you don't need or want to change them right away. They're already new. If it's been hanging around in the store being pawed at day in and day out, then change them. I use Gibson Brite Wires on mine, .009's.


What about from an online store?
#8
Treat those same as buying a used guitar, because you just don't know where it's been, or for how long.
#9
Well I just ordered an Ibanez RG2570E VSL from guitar.co.uk last night, I know nothing about strings, would I need to change them straight away? would it make a lot of difference and are there any in particular you would reccommend for that guitar.
#10
the guitar is from a music store.so that would mean i would have to change them right?
#11
Personally, I would change them yes. You of course don't have to, it all depends on how they sound to you once you get it. There's nothing mysterious about changing strings, and the guitar will only sound better if you do. Plus this way, you'll be starting at square one with the guitar, and you can judge from then on as to how the strings sound once they go bad. If you start off with crap strings, how will you ever know when they're going dead?
#12
Quote by jdmarsh2005
Well I just ordered an Ibanez RG2570E VSL from guitar.co.uk last night, I know nothing about strings, would I need to change them straight away? would it make a lot of difference and are there any in particular you would reccommend for that guitar.


I'll research that specific guitar and get back to you.

*Edit*
After researching the Ibanez model above, I can't come to a satisfactory conclusion as to which string would be best suited to this particluar guitar. I'll let someone else with more experience with this model field this one.
Last edited by LeftyDave at Feb 24, 2008,
#13
Quote by LeftyDave
Personally, I would change them yes. You of course don't have to, it all depends on how they sound to you once you get it. There's nothing mysterious about changing strings, and the guitar will only sound better if you do. Plus this way, you'll be starting at square one with the guitar, and you can judge from then on as to how the strings sound once they go bad. If you start off with crap strings, how will you ever know when they're going dead?


Im going that route then..

So the strings i should go with would be...?..the brite wires?
#14
Quote by tapia-1908
Im going that route then..

So the strings i should go with would be...?..the brite wires?


Yep, go with the brite wires from Gibson. They seem to be a perfect match to the guitar. I've tried different brands with mine, but it seems my SG likes the Gibson strings the best so that's where I'll put my money. Your's may be different. It won't hurt to experiment with different brands, just keep to the same size and you'll be fine.
Now, restringing an SG can be a bit more challenging because of the Tune-O-Matic tail stop piece and bridge setup. If you remove all the strings at once, both of those pieces will fall off the guitar. How I do it is I leave both of the old E strings in place. Remove the rest in between. Clean up your fretboard and frets. Clean/dust the headstock and tuning posts. Shine up all the chrome pieces. Then install the new D and G strings and give them just enough tension to keep the bridge pieces in place. Now you can remove the E's and finish the job. It's a lot easier doing it this way than having to keep ahold of 3 parts all at once while trying to feed a string up through the tuners.
#16
Quote by tapia-1908
Correct me if im wrong these are the strings


Correct. And you said that you'll be putting them onto a Gibson SG right?
#18
I can bend my strings no problem except for the top E, which can only physically be bent up a half-step, would I need to get a lighter gauge of strings to bend easier?
Gear:
Washburn X50 PRO
Roland Cube 60
No pedals
#19
Quote by tapia-1908
epiphone


Basically same thing. Go for the Brite Wires then. They should suit you just fine. .009's (ultra lights).
#20
Quote by MFZBen
I can bend my strings no problem except for the top E, which can only physically be bent up a half-step, would I need to get a lighter gauge of strings to bend easier?


Depends on what the current gauge of strings are that you have on and the guitar type. By top E I assume your referring to the low E string? If so, yes, that one can be a bugger to get a full tone bend out of, luckily, there's not a lot of songs that require that extreme of a bend for that particular string.
#21
Quote by LeftyDave
Depends on what the current gauge of strings are that you have on and the guitar type. By top E I assume your referring to the low E string? If so, yes, that one can be a bugger to get a full tone bend out of, luckily, there's not a lot of songs that require that extreme of a bend for that particular string.


Oops, I meant the higher note E, sorry
Gear:
Washburn X50 PRO
Roland Cube 60
No pedals
#22
^ In that case, yes, try a lighter set of strings. I'd only go lighter by one size tho, otherwise you'll need to readjust action and intonation. It's always a good idea to check intonation at each string change, just for peace of mind. Tweak as necessary if an electric. If acoustic, you're best bet is to stay with the gauge of string recommended for that guitar. The intonation isn't as easy to adjust on this type of instrument.
#23
Thanks for the info Think i've got lights on there atm so i'll try super-light with my next string change
Gear:
Washburn X50 PRO
Roland Cube 60
No pedals