As with any skill, guitar playing is a journey. And with some skills the journey never ends, which is why it is important to know how to buy strings for your acoustic guitar. There are various types of string sets available on the market today that include light, medium and heavy gauge sets.
Differences Between Light and Medium Acoustic Guitar Strings
The light guitar strings are made out of nylon material and a sequence of silk and core material. The medium-sized acoustic string is made of stainless steel.
2. Durability & Cost
Light strings are cost-effective and louder compared to medium- and heavy-gauge guitar strings. Also, light strings, are not as durable as medium and heavy-gauge acoustic guitar strings.
The strings with a higher density, such as the medium acoustic string, have a bright tone, produce more vibrant sounds and resonate when played together. The lighter strings have a warm tone and produce softer sounds, and when played together, they provide resonance.
The medium-sized string allows for finer tuning, so it is easy to tune. The light strings have a higher resistance because of their larger diameter, resulting in easier tuning.
The light acoustic guitar strings also referred to as “elite” strings are more comfortable to use compared to medium and heavy-gauge guitar strings. Also, they are thinner compared to other types of string sets.
There are guitarists who prefer light strings because they produce a clear sound. There are also guitarists who prefer medium-sized strings because they offer more flexibility and have a higher comfort level.
Benefits of Light Guitar Strings
1. Sharpness & Durability
The light acoustic guitar strings are resistant to wear. Also, they do not tarnish the sound hole, unlike heavy guitar strings that can cause scratching of the sound hole of your acoustic guitar.
Light-gauge strings have a mellow and lyrical sound. They also have a bright sound that is excellent for fingerpicking techniques.
Light acoustic guitar strings produce a wonderful resonance and give mellowness to the sound of an acoustic guitar. It also allows the players to produce quick, clear notes with ease since they are thinner compared to other types of string sets available on the market today.
Drawbacks of Light Guitar Strings
1. Lack of Comfort
The light strings are not as soft as the medium-sized strings and have a higher tension, making them hard to use for many players. Using light strings requires finger strength and effort compared to medium-sized strings.
Light strings are more prone to damage and are not as durable compared to medium-sized guitar strings. Also, they are more likely to loosen up and attract dirt when being used over a long period.
3. Unable to hold tuning
The light strings have a larger diameter compared to other string sets available on the market today, making them hard to tune. Hence, musicians need extra effort to get them back in tune.
Benefits of Medium Guitar Strings
As mentioned, the medium-sized acoustic guitar strings are made of stainless steel material, which is a good conductor of sound and it produces consistent tones. This is one of the reasons why many musicians prefer medium-gauge types of string sets for their guitars.
Since medium guitar strings are made of stainless steel, they are preferred as compared to light ones. The stainless steel material allows stringers to tune the guitar strings with higher precision compared to brass or aluminum. Also, it is more resilient and it maintains its shape while playing. This is an example of why musicians prefer strings that are made of stainless steel to other types of strings available today.
The medium-gauge acoustic strings can be tuned with precision and it allows guitarists to find their tone. The stainless steel material of medium-sized strings is a good conductor of sound, so it produces a clear and vibrant tone.
Drawbacks of Medium Guitar Strings
The stainless steel material is also a bit expensive compared to other materials used in strings today such as brass or aluminum. Also, the strings that are made of this type of material are prone to rust or corrosion, which can be an issue for some guitarists.
2. Heavy And Bulky
Since medium guitar strings are made of stainless steel, they are a bit heavy and bulky. Also, they are not as flexible and easy to play with compared to light strings.
3. Harder to Play
Compared to light strings, medium-gauge types of string sets are harder to play. The stainless steel material is not flexible as the nylon material which causes issues to guitarists.
The medium and heavy-gauge guitar strings are more durable compared to light-gauge strings. Though the price of medium-sized strings is higher than light-gauge strings, it is a good investment for guitarists who want a clearer tone from their acoustic guitars. On the other hand, light guitar strings provide a different feel than medium ones, as well as an additional resonance in addition to a clear tone. This is the reason why they are called “elite” string sets.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why do some strings sound better than others?
A: The main factor that affects any guitar string is its gauge. Strings that are thinner, or lighter, have a lower tension than thick or heavy strings. This causes them to vibrate more easily resulting in better sound quality.
Q: How often should I change my strings?
A: This depends on how often you play your guitar. When the strings become dirty, which is after one or two weeks, then it is time to change them.
Q: How do I keep my guitar string clean?
A: There are several methods you can use to clean your strings. You can use the water cleaning method, or you can buy a wax and oil cleaning kit. The water cleaning method is the easiest of all. You just have to pour a small amount of water at the top of your guitar neck, and then rub the strings back and forth with a paper towel until it is clean.