Generally speaking there are two types of guitar strings that are made.
Steel – used on electric and acoustic guitars
Nylon – primarily used on classical and flamenco guitars
Guitar strings are normally wound with either type of nickel, brass, or copper alloy. On most standard set of strings for an electric guitar, the 1st – 3rd string is usually unwound, but the 4th – 6th string is wound. Each individual string is of a different thickness, and they each have a specific note to be tuned to. The 12 string guitar is the alternative to this, because they have 12 strings to tune instead of six.
Electric guitar strings that are wound are created by rolling a string made of white metal around a centrally located string. The different types of material used for wrapping around the central string depend on the durability and tone wanted by the musician. Typically you will find that an electric guitar uses a nickel or nickel alloy material.
The thickness of the string is referred to as the gauge of the string. The guitar string is measured by fractions of an inch.
Light Gauge String
(.008 – .038) (.009 – .042) (.009 – .046) (.010 – .046)
Easier to push down, and you will be able to bend them without any problem.
Allow you to be able to play much faster
Do not hold their tune very well
Have very little sustain
Produce very little volume
Not good for lower tunings
Heavy Gauge Strings
(.011 – .050) (.010 – .052) (.012 – .052) (.013 – .056)
Heavier gauged strings are preferred by many of todays guitarists because of the tone and the feel of them.
Good for guitar players that prefer to have their guitars tuned down lower than standard (drop D, drop C, drop B etc.).
Will hold their sustain much longer in the drop tunings
Why Your Strings Break
As annoying as it is, you will have guitar strings break on you, and there are many reasons for this to happen. Here are the four main reasons that you may experience this problem:
– This happens to be the most common reason for breaking strings
– No doubt, you will get so deep into your jam session, that you will tend to strum a little to hard with your pick and snap a string. Unfortunately there is no way to fix this problem other than change your playing style, but I don’t recommend that at all.
– Over time your guitar strings will loose their elasticity simply from the constant stress that is put on your strings.
– If you have not played or changed your strings in a long time, they will rust over, and become very susceptible to breaking.
– This simply means that when you are tuning your guitar, you may wind the tuning pegs to high, resulting in a broken string.
– Because this could very easily happen, it is wise to tune your guitar with the strings facing away from you.
– You may find sharp areas on the guitar that are capable of breaking a guitar string. These areas include but are not limited to: The bridge, the nut, tuning peg.
Guitar strings are the heart and soul of any guitar. Without them, there would be no possible way to create sound. To get the best sound out of your guitar, you should change your strings on a regular basis. This is an easy way to experiment and try out different gauges to see what tone fits your style.