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Author Topic: Need education on Strings please!  (Read 2994 times)

Offline willop

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Need education on Strings please!
« on: November 22, 2012, 06:18:25 PM »
I'm a newbie guitar student and I"m told my guitar needs new strings.

Did just enough reading to be thourohly confused...

Besides brands, there are different types, thicknesses, etc. And how often should they be changed? I'm not playing hard enough to break any at this point.

And how long should my guitar stay in tune?

Offline t.y.

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Re: Need education on Strings please!
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2012, 08:40:36 PM »
Welcome friend.  You sure ask a loaded question, when your on a guitar forum, and ask what are the best strings.  LOL.   :)   That is Something that could go on for pages. Your guitar will likely stay in tune for days or more, you will learn when to tweak those tuners just a drop. As for new strings, you will learn when they sound dull or don't ring like a bell any more. Now on the X guitar you speak of on your other post, it will take different strings than the acoustic.  For ease or comfort, I would say 11's on your acoustic. I have bad joints and there easier on my fingers when they hurt. 12 will have a bigger sound, but tougher on new fingers. Your electric 9 - 10's.  You will no when to change them , when they sound lifeless. Some electric tuners have a mic in them, some you can plug into. What ever is easy for you, is rite. Also on the acoustic they make a string called Elixir Polyweb or Nanoweb.  There coated in like a plastic or something, and there easier on the fingers, and last quite a while,as there protected from your sweat., Some think the coating affects sound. I really like Ernie Ball Earth Wood strings in the lite gauges. And I like Marten strings. Peavey makes a really good electric string, so does Fender.  As for your paper work you ask of in your other post, I just bought a brand new Oscar Schmidt OE30, and got no paper work, he said copy my paypal and ebay invoices, they would work for my warranty. so I copied them and his and mine email. I stick with known brand strings and buy them from my local guitar stores.  Now here is my .02 on something you did not ask.  When I first started playing with a guitar 3 year or so ago now. I remembered three chords from a teen ager C G D,  There are times when I just don't seem to want to practice, like playing with my bike. But after a break it seems fun again.If I get bored I buy or trade for a new or used guitar.  it puts life back in again. the past month I got three new guitars and a PA.  Wow just like new again. You are lucky as you have a son to learn with. I am the only one around here.  I go to town, and no a couple of drunk guys that like to play, Witch is fine, till they get drunk, than they cant keep time. LOL.   So if you get bored , take a short break, then find a way to make it fun again.  If you just quit, you will never no the happiness that just playing will bring you.  There thats my short story.  Tom.   :)

Offline vheissu

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Re: Need education on Strings please!
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2012, 05:43:14 AM »
Ah the good ol' string debate. This is always a fun one.

As Tom said, asking that here opens up an entire debate almost every time. Like you said, there are tons of different brands, thicknesses etc. The reason for that? There are tons of different players, and each one of us has our own style.

Personally, I swear by D'Addario strings. Have used them for years, and will most likely continue. I have also used Martin Phosphor Bronze on my acoustics but they were just too expensive to keep using. I have tried a large variety of brands before finding that I personally prefer the sound of D'Addario. So to find the best brand for you, I would suggest picking up some D'add's, pick up some ernie balls and some fenders and maybe a couple of other brands (you don't need to buy these all at once, just when strings need changing.) Hell, ernie balls were always good for me as a beginner, because they come with an extra high e, which I always used to snap just while tuning.

That's types covered. Now, lets get onto thickness. Again, you're gonna have to play around here to find what suits you best. All my acoustics are strung with 11's. I prefer them to 12's but they do lose a little tone. I know some people who only string acoustics with 13's. Most of my electrics are strung with 10's and my B.C Rich, because it's for faster and heavier playing, is strung with 9's. However, without a doubt the best guitarist I know in person uses 11's on his electrics. Like brand, it's all personal choice. Nothing is right, nothing is wrong. So I would suggest trying a few different thickness and just seeing what feels best on your fingers. Then, once you've calloused up a bit, try going a little heavier. Thin strings are easier on fingers at first because they are lighter, but they do lose some sound quality. I string with lights almost exclusivly, and even I admit there is definitely a sound quality loss, but the sound suits my playstyle.

As for staying in tune. It depends how often you play, how much you use your tremelo (only on an electric of course) etc. I have mentioned in previous posts that I haven't really played much for a couple of years now. I picked up my trusty ol' tanglewood last night, that hasn't even been dabbled with for over 9 months. And it was tuned Eb,ADGBe as soon as I picked it up. I didn't tune it to that, that's how it stuck after 9 months of not playing. I just had to sharpen up low E. I didn't even believe it at first, but it was right. But typically, I would suggest strings would last about 2 or 3 days, maybe up to 4 depending on how often they're used.

Knowing when to change strings: This comes with time.  When I first started I used the indicator of "a string has snapped, time for a change" but later came to be able to tell the sound difference between new and old strings. Once you've strung her up and hear what she sounds like with new, you'll be able to tell when to change. It just starts to sound a little off, even when perfectly in tune. And then they start to sound a bit dead, not ringing out as fully any more. I have known some crazy guitarists that obviously hate money that restring every week. My old rule of thumb was every 6 weeks. But I know people that will use a set of strings for 3-5 months before changing. So again, it's all personal preference, once you know what you're listening for of course.

Offline copperhead

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Re: Need education on Strings please!
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2012, 07:11:11 AM »
t.y.: " I just bought a brand new Oscar Schmidt OE30,"

That is an interesting looking guitar. Did it come with a case?

*********************
As for strings, being relatively new to guitars, also, I have found Martin Extra Lights to sound good and play easier for the beginner. I think it's important that the guitar sounds good to encourage the beginner.

As for longevity, I have started a log book to record practice times and things like string changes in order to get a frame-of-reference on when to change strings.
2001 Washburn D42SCE
2002 Oscar Schmidt OG2 TK (on-board tuner)
2007 Samick D2-12 (12-String) (The "Truss-Me" Guitar)
1982 Ovation Balladeer, Mod. 1111
2001 Crate CA-60 Acoustic Amp

Offline t.y.

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Re: Need education on Strings please!
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2012, 11:45:44 AM »
Copperhead-  I paid 249.00 delivered.  !75.00 - guitar  -50.00- case  -  25.00 shipping.  It got here really fast.   I think I linked his site on here.  Real nice guy,  He inspected mine before he shipped it, there is not a single flaw on it, and the case is perfect. As you already no, it is amazing the quality of Washburn's  products or the O.S.  for the price range. Some think the pups are to hot, I like them, dial it back and nice warm tone.  might be because it is a Jazz guitar, but the bass can be really full and deep without muddying up the rest of the sound. If you turn the volume way up it will get scrambled, but I think this is so on most guitars.  I don't know, have not owned enough electrics to be able to say yet.  Now for the case,  It is a dread case, he cut a piece of foam for it to fit.   I new this ahead of time, as he told me twice. But that is cool I went to hobby lobby and bought foam and black fleece, and trimmed it to shape, then covered it, now you cant tell, looks normal. I am not in a hurry, but will buy a proper case in time, then have a new, first run case for 50.00,  these are 80.00 ,I know as I have bought quite a few.  He will sell the case 99.00 shipped, he told me 75.00 shipped, if you ask he would probably do the same.   If you are looking for a 335 style case Musicians Friend has them 59.99 delivered     Tom.   :)  P.S.  I like these Washburn branded cases as they are all plywood and very sturdy. Screw together and strong latches, nice plush insides.   :)
« Last Edit: November 23, 2012, 11:55:32 AM by t.y. »

Offline Tio Kimo

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Re: Need education on Strings please!
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2012, 12:45:04 PM »
I'm confused - willop - this is posted in the acoustic forum. are you looking for advice on acoustic or electric or both?

my $.02

ultimately, it's about sound. What you like regarding sound is completely subjective. You've gotten great advice, but maybe still a bit confusing, so I would encourage you get the most common string type for the guitar, then after you've played them a while ask yourself some questions. the answers to those questions will direct to the best string type for you.

A couple of examples of where this can take you. Acoustics: Jeff Tweedy, front man for the mega band Wilco, will not play an acoustic with strings anywhere near new, they have to be very old, and well past what most guitarists would consider completely dead. Why? he likes the sound and the feel.

electric: Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top: he of the ultra heavy crunchy blues riffs we've all heard ad nauseum - he plays .007's on his guitars. 7's!!! I didn't even know you could get them like that. He says BB King told him to. BB says anything thicker, you're working too hard. And with electrics of course, you can do a lot to impact the sound after it leaves your guitar (pedal's, amps)

All this to say, you never know where YOU will end up.

I think for a steel string acoustic, a phos bronze set of 11's is a great place to start.

I think for Electric, a nickel wound set of 9's is a great place to start.

i wouldn't worry about Brand at this point. Go to the most convenient store, buy an affordable brand, that you know you can find in a flash anytime you need them. Stick with those for a long while.

With those starting points, play the snot out of your guitars for a year. At that point, you'll have an idea of what your guitars sound like, the type of music youre playing, the type of other gear you're using. and you'll have a baseline. Then you talk with a guitarist (not the guitar center clerk, some are great, many are clueless!!) and you say stuff like, well i want a "heavier" sound , or a brighter sound or a boomier sound or a .............

A guitarist will ask what strings are you using (not brand, but material and thickness) and tell you what to try. After years of this you'll learn for yourself what thickness and material changes do to your sound, and what YOU like. THEN you can start checking out different brands in the materials and thickness you settled on, and see what subtle (OH so subtle) changes it makes to your sound.


As far as staying in tune...another can of worms. My acoustics will stay in tune for days and days, when the weather is stable. Changes in humidity greatly affect it, acoustics more than electrics. Electrics with good tuners and no tremolo will stay in tune, but bending strings while playing changes it.

Get a cheap headstock tuner, (in my opinion the best one on the market is only $13.00 on amazon) and use it on every guitar every time you play. Now if you have a string going badly out of tune during a song, and you're not bending the strings, then you probably have poor quality tuners or a poorly cut nut. These can be replaced. If you're retuning each "session", I wouldn't worry. Given where you live(environment), that can be pretty normal.

KISS (keep it simple, stupid) You need a decent guitar, strung, and PLAY it. That's all. Just play the damn thing. every chance you get. Everything else works itself out.
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Offline willop

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Re: Need education on Strings please!
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2012, 08:47:42 PM »
Great info - thanks!

Played with my son's accoustic a bit and watches several vids on youtube and decided bass is for me...this is where I was a bad boy...went to visit a shop and looked at used bass's...played a bit and well, chose one for $99 with new bag, strap and cord. The store I got my son's new giuitar and amp in charged about $80 for the strap/bag/cord. Makes me feel like a got a steal on this one (and it's got new strings on it too). No, don't ask me what brand/model it is...been a long long day...prolly an ibanez gsr190 but not really sure. Do they mark them somehow?

Got a black friday deal on a Peavey MAX 158 II 1x8 15W Bass Combo Amp, $85 new. While i was at the guitar center I got a 3 pack of .12 strings for the accoustic and 2 sets of d'addario .10 for the washburn elec, $16 for all 5.

Now to learn/practice! At least my finger fit better on a bass than a 6 and no pain (so far...)

Offline t.y.

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Re: Need education on Strings please!
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2012, 01:14:07 AM »
Cool, being happy is what it's all about.  Tom.   :)

Offline willop

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Re: Need education on Strings please!
« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2012, 06:02:52 PM »
Got to play a bit this morning with it...supposed to be a b'day present to myself so I should wait about 10 days...but had to verify it worked and all, right?

It's an Ibanez GSR200 but not the current one with Phat on it (only has 3 knobs).

Offline AshleyTaylor54

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Re: Need education on Strings please!
« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2019, 04:44:58 AM »
Thanks for helpful tips.

Offline irynadreamer

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Re: Need education on Strings please!
« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2019, 04:41:21 PM »
Check out https://studentshare.org/ to get the qualified help.
There are professionals who love their job and are always ready to help.

Offline Alansanders

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Re: Need education on Strings please!
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Offline bigcity2

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Re: Need education on Strings please!
« Reply #12 on: July 18, 2019, 03:55:30 PM »
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Offline Dylan Schaw

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Re: Need education on Strings please!
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Offline bigcity2

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Re: Need education on Strings please!
« Reply #14 on: August 15, 2019, 04:38:13 PM »
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