• Richard The Guitar Teacher

What Gauge Strings Should I Use




This one can be a bit of a hot topic at times with guitar players. It comes down to people wanting to get the best tone out of their guitar.




String Gauge


So one of the best ways I have found to describe string gauge is from the Andertons website.


"String gauge is measured using a number system which refers to the diameter of the string by 1/1000th of an inch. The higher the number, the thicker it is. Companies sometimes refer to string packs by their thinnest string e.g 9s, 10s and 11s" https://www.andertons.co.uk/electric-guitar-string-guide


From this you can see that you can get many different size strings.



I would say the standard string gauge for most players will be 9s or 10s. You can't go wrong with these gauges, and all brands make them in this size.




Benefits From Different Gauge Strings


The benefits from different size guitar stings can vary from player to player.


But in a nut shell.


Thinner strings like gauges 8s and 9s tend to be easier to play. This really shows when you are string bending. Some will say that having a lighter set of strings gives a thinner tone to your guitar sound. This thinner tone theory I believe is not really true.


Thicker strings tend to be harder to play, but have a more rounder, thicker sound.


Obviously this is all up for debate.


I say to all my students that are thinking about changing there strings to a different set, is that you do get used to the new string gauge, and after a period

of time they feel as normal as any other string set.



It Was Stevie Ray Vaughans Fault


Ok so it may not be all down to Stevie ray Vaughans fault, but he differently had a big part in it. So the the theory is that most guitar players in the 60s,70s and 80s, all played thinner string sets, like 8s,9s and even 7s.


The story is that Stevie ray Vaughan played gauge 13s, and believed no one should play any lighter than that. Wether this is true or not, I'm not a hundred percent sure. I do however know that the minute people started hearing Stevie play, everyone wanted his guitar tone.


As a kid hearing this tail, one day I took myself down to the local music shop and brought myself a pack of gauge 13 strings. I went home thinking I'm going to get the best tone ever and magically become Stevie Ray Vaughan.


Well it did not turn out well. I re-strung my guitar with the new strings, pluged the guitar into my little amp, and tried to play something. I couldn't even move the strings up and down let alone try and bend a string. I quickly changed back to my normal gauge strings.



It Comes Down To You


Yes it really does come down to you. Find what feels and sounds best for you. Try one set of strings one week, and then try a different gauge set another week. Give a little time between changing strings, just to give your guitar a chance to adjust.


You will soon find what fits best for you, so have fun with it. This is all part of learning the guitar and getting to know your instrument. learning how it reacts to different size strings will help you get the best out of the instrument.


You might find the you like the feel on the higher strings on a set of 9s, but like the feel and sound of the lower strings from a set of 10s. Yes that's right you can mix and match your guitar strings sizes. The possibilities are great, so experiment.



If you would like more information, or looking for a great guitar teacher, please feel free to get in contact to set up your FREE 30min lesson to all new students. Contact


Till next time.








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