As you decrease the length of the scale on your guitar, you increase how thick you can make your strings without suffering adverse effects in feel and bendability. Overcoming Dead and Muffled Guitar Strings, When and Why To Change Your Guitar Strings, Profile of the Six String Acoustic Guitar, The Different Types of Distortion Pedals for Guitar, the lighter the string gauge, the easier it is to bend the string, lighter gauge strings are more prone to breakage, heavier gauge strings are more difficult to press down, heavier gauge strings perform better in de-tuned situations (like "drop D tuning"), heavier gauge strings provide more sustain, volume and a bigger sound. 0.010 strings are usually referred to as “tens,” and they’re the strings that are one step up in thickness from nines (particularly 9-42 strings). For example, a 10-gauge string is 0.010 inches. Classical and flamenco guitar strings were originally made of animal gut, but with the advent of World War II, all available gut was being used to produce surgical thread. This thickness in thousandths of an inch. Nylon Strings – designed for Classical and “Flamenco” guitars. String gauges are usually referred to by the gauge of their lightest string: 0.009 strings (also called 9 strings or “nines”) have a top string that is 0.009 inches across in diameter, while 0.011 strings (usually referred to as 11 strings or “elevens”) incorporate a top string that’s 0.011 inches in diameter. Extra-light: For acoustic guitar strings, the term "extra-light" refers to.010 to.047 gauge strings (referring to the diameter in inches on the highest and lowest strings). It’s measured in 1/1000th of an inch. That extra difficulty also translates to bending strings. Having heavier strings at the bass end of the guitar gives your power chords and fast rhythm passages some extra punch and attack. The method used to wind the strings leads to differences tone and also impacts the playability of your guitar. Humbuckers and P-90 pickups, on the other hand, offer greater output through the midrange and bass frequencies and therefore can take advantage of the increase in volume and depth that heavier strings include. In these cases, it’s probably best to take your guitar to a professional technician in order to ensure the best outcome. One other thing to keep in mind is that lighter string sets decrease the tension on your guitar’s neck. Sets of 11-52 strings are also very popular on guitars with slightly shorter scales than the standard 25.5” used on many models by Fender and other manufacturers. If you’ve always used nines, you might want to take some time to try out 10s before you make the move all the way up to 11s. Even if you struggle to find a set with a name that indicates that it’s a hybrid set, you can always check out the packages to read the individual gauges for each string. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. After you switch to a new set of strings, you should also step up your scale practice routine. Some of these links are affiliate links meaning we may earn commissions on purchases. 9-42 sets of strings are also best suited for guitars with a 25.5 inch scale length, like Fenders and many superstrat and metal guitars. Light strings on an electric guitar will have smaller gauges than light strings on an acoustic guitar. I’ll stick to 6-string sets here and focus on electric guitar string sets as that covers most people. To get a good idea of which string gauge will work well for your guitar, you should try comparing the advantages and disadvantages of different sets of strings. If you’re looking for the best set of strings for your specific axe, you’ll also want to check the nut and bridge of your guitar: depending on how the string slots are cut, you might need to alter or replace your nut to accomodate a different string gauge. Any set of electric guitar strings thinner than this are light gauge and any set thicker are heavy gauge. The heavier the string gauge, the stronger the core metal needed. This makes it a bit easier on our hands to get used to the stiffness of the acoustic guitar. If you’re playing on an electric guitar, it might be a good idea for you to consider using these strings before you try out sets that are either lighter or heavier. Even the brands that do produce hybrid sets might not distribute them to all of the stores near you. So if you really want to switch gauges of strings, or even if you just want to change to an axe with a different scale length, make sure you take your time before you make a decision! 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