Follow the simple to help you decide what the best electric guitar strings are for your needs.
Guitar String’s Gauge
A guitar string’s gauge refers to the string’s physical size, given in inches. The most popular string gauge set for 6-string electric guitar is .010–.046. The .010-gauge string is the smallest, referring to the first string, and the .046 is the largest, or sixth string. The other strings are gauged accordingly for the most even tension, feel, and sound. In standard tuning-E, B, G, D, A, E on an electric guitar that has a normal scale length (24.5”-25.5”), these gauges offer a balance between playability and tone.
Comparatively, a lighter-gauge string will not sound as full as a heavier gauge, which is sometimes preferable. If you have a light touch, want super-low action, or seek the ability to do crazy string bending, then this is your gauge.
The decreased tension does come with a few drawbacks, however. Tuning and intonation are a bit less stable and something to keep a closer watch on. Fret buzz or “fretting out” will be more likely as well, especially since you’ll be tempted to set your action lower. Control in both hands is the key with lighter-gauge strings.
Staying with pre-packaged string gauges is best for experimenting. These will offer the most balanced feel, tone, and neck tension. If you find, however, that you prefer a heavier 4th string, for example, move up incrementally; small changes have a large impact. The same is true for changing gauges, up or down, in string sets.
You may also notice that changing string gauge will require a neck or bridge adjustment. If you don’t feel capable of doing this yourself, please get a qualified repair tech to do it for you. Frankly, changing your bridge or truss rod can cause a big mess if you’re not sure what you’re doing.