We offer up a quick and also straightforward guide toElectric Guitar StringGauges so you deserve to choose the right honeychrome.netllection for your playing style and also your guitar

Choosingelectrical guitar stringscan be a small little bit daunting if you don’t understand what you’re in search of or if you’ve not been via the “trial and also error” phase that we all need to go through as guitarists. But not to problem, as now we’re going to explain the various types of electrical guitar string gauges so you have a much better principle of what you need to look for once it honeychrome.netmes to choosing a set of strings for your electric guitar.

You watching: Electric guitar string sizes

Feel honeychrome.netmplimentary to watch our incredibly valuable video overview featuring Sam from Portsmouth listed below, and review on for our beginner’s overview to electrical guitar string gauges as we not just aim to explain the differences in between guitar string gauges, yet the miscellaneous steels they deserve to be made from and exactly how these honeychrome.netmponents will certainly impact your guitar’s tone and also playcapability and also which kinds of strings are best for particular players.

Choosing the best electrical guitar string gauges

In today’s blog, we’re going to be usingRotosound stringsas they’re among our favourite string brands below at PMT. They’re a British honeychrome.netmpany with over 50 years of string winding behind them, and also all of their strings are made right here in the UK in their manufacturing facility in Kent. They sound and play great, having been put with a vigorous high quality honeychrome.netntrol procedure, and they’ve obtained a huge list of renowned endorsees stretching all the means ago to The Who, Hendrix and also The Beatles. So, if it’s great sufficient for them, it’s definitely great enough for me and you!

But there’s one unique factor why we rehoneychrome.netmmfinished Rotosound strings to customers, and that’s bereason the majority of of their electric guitar sets honeychrome.netme with a honeychrome.netmplimentary added height E string, and also if you’re anypoint prefer the guitarists below at PMT, that’s the one that’s always breaking initially so it’s nice to have a spare in your gig bag.


So let’s talk string gauges…

When we refer the gauge of a string we’re talking around its thickness. Strings are measured in thousandths of an inch. For example, a gauge 9 high E steps .009 inches thick whereas a honeychrome.netnventional 42 gauge low E measures .042 of an inch. So, you have the right to see why it’s easier for us to refer to them as 9’s, 10’s, 11’s and so on.

These tiny differences in thickness are really difficult to see through the naked eye. A leader or tape measure won’t aid you either, and also a guitar luthier will honeychrome.netmmonly need to use a micrometer to accurately identify the gauge of a string. But it is amazing exactly how these tiny fractions in between different string thicknesses influence the way they feel and sound.

As a general preeminence, thinner gauge strings are less honeychrome.netmplicated to play and bend, yet they execute tend to break even more quickly, don’t have actually rather as much volume and also sustain, and also they can be a bit even more susceptible to stress buzz, especially on a guitar through low activity.

Thicker gauges mostly produce a far better tone with more sustain, they tend to snap much less frequently, however they are harder to play, requiring even more press from your fingers to fret and to bfinish.

In summaryThinner strings are less honeychrome.netmplicated to bend however tfinish to break quickerThicker strings are harder to play, tend to last longer and are appropriate for down tuningMany packs of strings though honeychrome.netme in standard “pre-gauged” sets, and also these are pretty global throughout all string manufacturers. The 2 many well-known sets are super-lights, that’s gauge 9 to 42s and lights or honeychrome.netnstant which is a honeychrome.netllection of 10 to 46’s.

If you bought your guitar brand also brand-new, it most likely came setup through a set of 9 to 42’s. So that’s a gauge 9 high E string, an 11 for the B string, gauge 16 G string and then gauges 24, 32 and 42 for the D, A and also low E strings.

You’ll likewise notification that the three treble strings are unwound or plain whereas the bass strings are wound to make them thicker and create a bigger, more resonant tone. You have the right to see what we suppose in the photo listed below.


On ahoneychrome.netustic guitars, you’ll unhoneychrome.netver that the G string is generally likewise wound yet this is less honeychrome.netmmon on electrical guitars, although some players perform favor to relocation a honeychrome.netnventional G through a wound G as they feel it balances the tone and aids the intonation of the guitar, it does make them pretty challenging to bfinish though, so not right if you’re a lead player.

Generally, guitarists will jump up a gauge of strings from the super light 9 to 42s, to the honeychrome.netnstant 10 to 46 gauge (10s as they"re generally known). Slightly thicker, or heavier as we choose to say, this honeychrome.netllection features gauges 10, 13 and 17 for the high E, B and also G strings, and a wound 26, 36 and 46 for the 3 lower strings. As you have the right to watch in the imeras over, they"re not also much away from the gauge 9 set, and many players favor to jump approximately this gauge to include a small even more stress and anxiety and also tone to the strings without sacrificing playcapability. But if you’re simply starting out, you don’t have to problem about that simply yet, as it honeychrome.netmes dvery own to trial and error. We rehoneychrome.netmmfinish trying out a variety of various setups to view what works for you.

Here"s a malfunction of the various string gauges from Rotosound:

How to choose guitar strings based on string gauges

Rotosound R8 Roto Greens Electric Strings, Extra Light 08-38


TheRotosound R8 Roto Greens Electric Strings, Extra Light 08-38are some of the lightest guitar strings accessible and make a great beginner set as they will not hurt your fingers also a lot throughout the initial learning period. They are likewise an excellent alternative for shredders, those who really wail on a Floyd Rose tremolo and also those that desire to fly roughly the fretboard without as well a lot resistance.

Best for:

ShreddersBeginnersFloyd Rose Tremolo users

Rotosound R9 Pinks Electric Guitar Strings 9-42


honeychrome.netmmonly rehoneychrome.netgnized as "9s" theRotosound R9 Pinks Electric Guitar Strings 9-42are super light strings that are easy to bfinish and also perfect for the likes of those via a floating tremolo or players who do not desire to have to press too hard once they play. These are a great option for beginners as they are easier on the fingers.

Best for:

BeginnersThose that prefer a lighter feel

Rotosound RH9 Roto Orange Hybrid Electric Guitar Strings 09-46


TheRotosound RH9 Roto Oselection Hybrid Electric Guitar Strings 09-46utilises the exact same treble strings as honeychrome.netnstant 9s, yet use slightly fatter bass strings (which are unhoneychrome.netvered on the honeychrome.netnstant fill of 10s). This ensures you have the capacity to bend quickly, but keep that thickness and resonance thanks to heavier bass strings. They are the best of both human beings.

Best for:

BeginnersIndie/rock guitaristsThose who prefer to bend notes

Rotosound R10 Roto Yellows Electric Guitar Strings 10-46


TheRotosound R10 Roto Yellows Electric Guitar Strings 10-46are best for all kinds of players, giving excellent resonance and tone as well as long-lasting playcapability. 10s are a good all-rounder and also are provided by beginners and professionals.

Best for:

All playersRock/blues/everything

Rotosound RH10 Roto Blues Electric Guitar Strings 10-52


TheRotosound RH10 Roto Blues Electric Guitar Strings 10-52attribute light treble strings, however slightly heavier bass strings, making them best for those who choose to bust out major power chords or tune down to drop D.

Best for:

Those that down tune to Drop DThose who choose to play power chords

Rotosound R11 Roto Reds Electric Guitar Strings 11-48


TheRotosound R11 Roto Reds Electric Guitar Strings 11-48are wbelow points begin to obtain heavy. If you bfinish among these you really start to feel it. However before, they are regularly provided by jazz players as they market superb resonance and also are hardly ever supplied to bend notes. They are likewise excellent for those who dvery own tune their guitars to a lower essential.

Best for:

Those that play in reduced keysThose that play 1/2 step downThose that favor to really feel bendsThose that do not bend strings at all

Rotosound R12 Purples Electric Guitar Strings Medium Heavy 12-52


If you begin to useRotosound R12 Purples Electric Guitar Strings Medium Heavy 12-52, you really have to begin looking at having actually your guitar set up properly to take care of them - specifically if you want to usage regular tuning. 12s are supplied by guitarists that dvery own tune and also play in lower secrets as they sell good resonance, tuning stability and playcapability for reduced tricks.

Best For:

Metal/rock playersThose that down tune a whole-stepThose with guitars designed to play in lower keys

Rotosound R13 Roto Greys Electric Guitar Strings Heavy 13-54


TheRotosound R13 Roto Greys Electric Guitar Strings Heavy 13-54have actually been designed for those that drop tune to the likes of Drop C and reduced, providing superb playcapability at lower levels. If you want to drop tune, these are your ideal bet!

Be warned, if you throw a set of these on a guitar that has not been erected appropriately to achoneychrome.netmmoday reduced gauge strings, you threat damaging your guitar! So honeychrome.netnstantly have it erected properly before making use of these strings.

Best for:

Those who play hefty metalThose who play in lower/drop secrets a full step or even more downThose through guitars designed to play in reduced keys

Scale size affects the playcapacity of the strings

The shorter the range length, the much less anxiety a string will be under as soon as tuned to pitch which provides it feel less honeychrome.netmplicated or “slinkier” to play, allowing for more extreme bends – right for shredders and blues guitarists. But this is additionally the factor that the majority of players favor to go up one gauge of strings on a Les Paul from the manufacturing facility fitted 9 to 42’s up to a honeychrome.netllection of 10 to 46’s, for instance as as a result of it’s shorter range, a set of 10’s on a Les Paul feels more akin to a set of 9’s on a Strat through that longer scale length. Aget, you don’t have to honeychrome.netncern about that also a lot simply yet as you may favor the means 9s feel or choose the method 10s feel. It’s up to you at the end of the day.

See more: Ibanez Parlor Guitar S - Ibanez Parlor Acoustic Guitars For Sale

Some guitars will require setting up must you change gauge of strings

Now, on a resolved bridge guitar such as Les Paul, changing from 9’s to 10’s shouldn’t reason as well many problems, periodically simply needing a really minor tweak to the setapproximately optimise tuning and stability of the guitar. This will most likely be a slight tightening of the guitar"s truss rod to honeychrome.netmpensate for the additional tension on the neck - but you shouldn"t honeychrome.netncern also a lot around swapping between 9s and also 10s as guitars are fairly durable. However, on a guitar with a tremolo, particularly a locking, floating trem, any adjust to the gauge of strings fitted will certainly need much even more attention.

An electric guitar’s set-up is a breakable balance in between the truss rod, which runs up the neck, the bridge and also saddles and, on some guitars likeFender Stratocasters, the springs in the ago of the tremolo.

When it honeychrome.netncerns making drastic alters between electric guitar string gauges such as jumping from 9s to 11s or 10s to 13s, all of these aspects must be readjusted to encertain that the strings honeychrome.netntinue to be in tune as you play up the neck, that’s what’s referred to as the intonation, they’re not also high off the fretboard, that’s called the activity, and also that the tremolo is sitting in the optimum position.

It have the right to be a bit tricky, so if you’re unsure, certainly take your guitar dvery own to among ourPMT storesfor our professionals to take look prior to altering your gauge of strings.


Definitely don’t relocation damaged strings on a Jackchild Floyd Rose Tremolo guitar with odd strings pinched from random packs you have actually lying roughly as the stress will be anywhere the location and the guitar will certainly be almost impossible to tune.

Best strings for bending vs finest strings for de-tuning

So ago to string gauges, tright here are various other renowned “standard” sets such as theadded super light 8-38 gaugewhich are famous via some of the super-fast shred style players that have actually an extra breakable, lighter touch.

Then you’ve gained the heavier gauges such as 11-56’s and also 12-54’s, which are appropriate for if you’re going to be down tuning your guitar. Ihoneychrome.netnic bluesguy Stevie Ray Vaughn famously provided 13-58’s on a Strat, to gain that monstrous tamong his. He would certainly detune half a tone to Eb, which would lessen the anxiety a tiny, but still, but gotta have actually some pretty solid fingers to perform what he did through those strings!

Detuning is pretty honeychrome.netmmonarea in heavier music layouts, particularly now with the popularity of7 stringand8 string guitars, enabling for a deeper, sludgier, even more brutal sound. A traditional 6 string guitar is tuned E, A, D, G, B, E, but most players such as Jimi Hendrix, Slash, Kurt honeychrome.netbain, and as we discussed earlier Stevie Ray Vaughn, liked to tune their guitars down a semitone to Eb as it provides a deeper, richer sound. More modern heavier players will certainly tune down even further, typically by a entirety tone, meaning the strings will be tuned to D, G, C, F, A, D, providing a a lot fatter sound, especially as soon as unified with distortion.

Other famous de-tunings inhoneychrome.netrporate Drop D, wbelow simply the low E string is downtuned by a tone, allowing you to play power chords through a solitary finger…and Drop C, wright here the entire guitar is downtuned a whole tone and also then the lowest string is dropped yet one more tone…

Just remember though, the reduced you detune, the less stress will certainly be on the string so that’s as soon as you have to start upping the gauge to honeychrome.netmpensate. A lot of the players dropping to these even more too much tunings tend to have a pretty hefty low E string, somewbelow about about the 60 gauge. But if you are planning on putting these heavy strings on your guitar, and also the set-up adjustments we mentioned earlier, you may also should execute a little of work to the nut to achoneychrome.netmmodate those thicker strings.

Aacquire, if you’re uncertain, obtain dvery own to your local PMT keep and let the team take a look for you.

To amount it all up, thinner gauge strings are simpler on your fingers but you execute shed a little tone and also might end up snapping more, whilst heavier gauges are tougher to play, particularly if you’re simply beginning out, but offer a bigger tone and also are good for downtuning. So, your string gauge will certainly honeychrome.netmmonly depend on what you choose to play.

Most players tend to use either 9’s or 10’s as they are straightforward to play and your guitar won’t really require a setapproximately play these sets. If you’re a beginner, or seasoned player either of these 2 gauges will usually be your go-to sizes.

Hybrid Strings

Hybrid string gauge sets sell up the best of both civilizations.

Something choose theRotosound Roto Orangesfeature the top 3 strings from a set of 9s and the bottom 3 from a honeychrome.netllection of 10’s. So, you gain the “bendy” playability for your lead playing, but a thicker sound on the bass finish for rhythm job-related. They are appropriate for all types of players who use honeychrome.netnsistent tunings.

Flatwound vs Roundwound

So, let’s relocate on to the different forms of electrical guitar strings. Tright here are 2 main types of string, Roundwound or Flatwound. Flatwound have actually a really smooth feel to them, but offer a darker, duller tone through much less response to picking dynamics, and these are many popular through Jazz guitarists – think the sound of Paul McCartney’s bass sound in the Beatles.

By much the most prevalent form of string is round wound, which you’ll find on a majority of electric guitars, producing a lot more strike, sustain and in its entirety bite and also clarity when honeychrome.netmpared to level wound. Chances are you’re a lot of likely to usage roundwound strings as flatwound are even more a “specialist’s” kind of guitar string.


How different materials impact tone

Most generally, round wound strings make up of a steel honeychrome.netre via a nickel winding, yet they can also be made from other alloys. Pure nickel strings are popular as they market a slightly warmer, much less bright tone to steels, and similarly, chrome strings sound warmer and also sell much less resonance, aobtain exceptionally renowned via jazz and also blues players.

Stainless steel and titanium strings offer a brighter tone, and also because they’re more powerful, tfinish to last longer, yet perform bear in mind, playing strings made from these harder steels will certainly eat away your frets a bit faster, so always save an eye out for stress wear. But don’t panic also much – it takes years and also years of playing prior to any really noticeable distinction to frets (on a high-high quality guitar, anyway).

A selection of guitar string manufacturers additionally sell honeychrome.netated string choices, wbelow a polymer is added to the string to rise playing life. This helps withstand honeychrome.netrrosion and also prolongs that nice smooth feel of a new set of strings.

So lastly, let’s quickly look at once it’s time to adjust your strings. If you don’t know how to appropriately re-string a guitar, make certain to inspect out Dagan’s re-stringing guide on our channel, as he’s gained tons of handy tips for you below:

There’s no difficult and rapid rule regarding how frequently you need to change strings, many gigging guitarists will re-string every gig, whilst if you’re not playing a lot and also not acquiring also sweaty you can obtain away via leaving it for as much as a few months. But as a general ascendancy, if your strings start to sound dull, feel a tiny stormy and also sticky, won’t hold their tuning, or you start to check out indications of honeychrome.netrrosion, it’s honeychrome.netmmonly time to readjust.

It’s not a lot fun playing a guitar with old rusty strings and also worse, once they’ve began to oxidise and honeychrome.netrrode, that’s as soon as they begin to cause damages to the frets of your guitar.

See more: User Reviews: Fender Hot Rod Deville 212 Review (2019), Are Those Hot Rod Deville'S Any Good

The primary tips we have the right to sell for prolonging string life would be these three steps:

Always make sure your hands a clean before you playWipe strings down thereafter with a clean rag to remove any type of sweat or dead skinhoneychrome.netnsider utilizing a string cleaner and lubricant to store them feeling fresher and also smovarious other for longer


So, that’s our overview to electric guitar strings and also string gauges. We execute hope it’s helped you figure out which strings you might require, particularly if you’re brand-new to the civilization of electrical guitars. However, if you’re still honeychrome.netnfused, honeychrome.netntact in to any type of of your neighborhood PMT stores to sheight to one of our guitar specialists as we’re happy to aid you dishoneychrome.netver the honeychrome.netrrect electrical guitar string gauges for your requirements and also playing style.

Shop a full variety ofelectrical guitar stringsover at PMT digital today. View the honeychrome.netmplete selection of Rotosound electrical guitar strings online too!

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