If you’re just starting out on guitar, becoming familiar with all of the different aspects of the instrument can be daunting. There’s likely a lot more to it than you may have realized. Not only is simply learning to play an entire massive undertaking unto itself, there are also a lot of basic things about simply setting up and maintaining the instrument as well. One of the most important aspects, of course, comes in the form of the strings. There are a lot of different choices out there, and you’re likely going to need specific types depending on what guitar you have. In order to help ease these woes and set you on the right path, here are the 5 best guitar string for beginners! Also check out the best guitar strings and best guitar for beginners.
Certain guitars are also strung in completely different ways, especially once you start getting into the world of electrics. The way you play or the sort of sound you’re hoping to achieve will also play in part in helping determine which strings you need. Everything from the gauges (meaning the size of the strings) to the material they’re made of can actually make a big difference. If you just grab a random set off of the rack at your local music store, you might get home and find they don’t work for you at all.
Best Guitar String For Beginners
1 – D’Addario Phosphor Bronze EJ16-3D Set Of 3
D’Addario is one of the most popular brands among acoustic players. There are countless guitarists that likely had D’Addario strings as their very first brand. The EJ16-3D Phosphor Bronze set is perhaps their best balance of sound quality and affordable price.
The best thing about these strings besides the great price is that they sound amazing. They’ll give your playing a rich yet bright tone that will sound good for both strummings and be playing melodies. The gauges run from .053 up to .012, meaning your notes and chords are going to resonate for a long time. The slight thickness will also help you build up your finger dexterity!
2 – Martin Phosphor Bronze MSP4150 Strings
Martin & Co is another amazing brand that makes great guitars and guitar accessories alike. Their MSP4150 guitar strings are graded for studio and stage performances. Above all else, these strings are meant to give you amazing sound. The .055 to .0125 gauges will leave everything you play sounding as resonate as possible while still being just light enough not to hurt your fingers too much when you’re starting out. The shimmering tone has a lot of depth to it, mostly derived from the steel core construction. Though usually a bit expensive.
3 – DR Zebra Acoustic-Electric Strings
Although a lesser talked about name in the world of guitar products, DR Strings makes wonderful sets for players that are venturing away from the strictly acoustic world. For instance, this Zebra set is meant for acoustic electric hybrids equipped with piezo bridge pickups. They also work great for any guitars that have magnetic pickups inside of the body. You can use these with arch top jazz guitars as well.
The DR Zebra set runs from .050 to .011, giving you a slightly more “medium to light” feeling than the D’Addario strings above. The sound quality you’ll get is snappy and rich at the same time. The fact that every other coil switches between bronze and nickel plated give a unique tone overall. These strings a little off the beaten path, but they stand up well, especially given their price range.
4 – Gibson Brite Wires
Once you’re in fully electric territory, you may as well try out the strings from none other than Gibson themselves. You can equip your instrument with nick plated, steel wound Brite Wires. These strings are incredibly light, running just .046 to .010. If you’re into general hard rock, punk, blues, or jazz, these will suit you perfectly. The light gauge will really only work for standard or half step down tuning, however.
5 – Ernie Ball Skinny Top, Heavy Bottom
Ernie Ball is perhaps the premiere name in electric guitar strings these days. They’re played by big shots such as Metallica, Slash, Jimmy Page, and tons of others. Their skinny top, the heavy bottom set is of particular note since it gives you light strings on top for easy lead playing, but thicker strings on the bottom to make sure your rhythms sound as full as possible. This will also support lower tuning, especially drop D and even drop C. So give them a shot!
Guitar Buying Guide: What To Know Before You Buy an Acoustic or Electric Guitar
Understanding how to select the right guitar type that’s best for your learning style and playing needs can help make the guitar buying process much easier. So, before we can officially salute those who are about to rock, we (along with our friends at Beginner Guitar HQ) have a few tips and recommendations to help you get started:
- Know the term “tonewood.”
- Know which guitar style is best for beginners.
- Know the types of electric guitars.
- Know budget-friendly accessories for your guitar.
1. Yes, “Tonewood” Is A Thing!
Wood is favored for guitar crafting. A guitar needs to hold itself together as well as produce a great tone (aka, “tonewood”). Tonewood has the capacity to effectively produce brighter, sharper sounds as well as warmer, deeper overtones.
However, not all types of wood are suitable for crafting guitar parts, which is why choosing the right type of tonewood is important! Below are three common wood types used in crafting:
- Primarily used for the neck and fretboard
- Produces an extremely clear sound
- Maple resonates well and produces defined tones
- Strong, but malleable
- Produces a full, yet twangy sound
- Many favor the red hue of the wood
- Sustains chords and notes
- Strongest and most economical wood type
Each wood is used for its particular characteristics, so research the different woods suitable for the specific style of guitar you are interested in playing.
2. Beginner? Learn On The Acoustic First.
For a beginner guitarist, we recommend test-driving an acoustic. Acoustic guitars are one of the most beginner-friendly musical instruments and can be learned quickly. Starting on the acoustic is more meant for learning chords and finger placement, as well as understanding how to amplify your sounds or quiet your sounds. Plus, many are low in cost, so they won’t break your budget!
Advantages Of An Acoustic
- Doesn’t need electricity to play
- Doesn’t need a lot of equipment other than a guitar pick
- Usually, strings won’t hurt the fingers as much compared to the electric guitar strings
Never underestimate the wisdom of veteran guitarists when it comes to brand and style advice! Although many musicians will have their preferences, we recommend Washburn’s Apprentice Series as being a great starter for beginner musicians:
- Best to use when learning finger placement and sound desired
- Most affordable
- Premium spruce top
- Mahogany back and sides for a full rich tone
Washburn guitars have plenty of series and styles to choose from. Do some research to find the best acoustic for your learning style!
3. Know Your Electric Guitars.
When choosing an electric guitar, decisions will rely more on the components and the quality of the craftsmanship rather than the type of wood used.
An electric guitar relies on the wood simply as a strong base capable of sustaining the tension of the strings, as opposed to an acoustic guitar using the wood to amplify the sound. The three most-common body styles are featured below:
- Most common for rock, pop, and country genres
- Lacks a hollow resonating chamber, which means the sound can be amplified louderCredit: Guitar Center
- Most common for jazz or blues genres, plus rock n’ roll
- Tone is silky smooth and electrified
- Has a large resonating chamberCredit: Guitar Center
- Versatile and can adapt to any genre
- Has a hollow resonating chamber paired with a solid center blockCredit: Guitar Center
A few components often overlooked are the switches, tone knobs and volume knobs just below the strings. Are they easy to reach and control with the hand not picking or strumming?
4. Budget For The Accessories, Too!
Enthusiastic shoppers may forget about the extras needed once the actual guitar is purchased. Our friends at Beginner Guitar HQ list several great products, including amp suggestions and guitar cases, but we’ve chosen a few common accessories below that are budget-friendly for beginners.
They are the tiniest accessory that can often cause the biggest headache for musicians. That’s because you need to find the right material and thickness that can help you strum or pluck without having to use your fingers all the time. If a pick is too flimsy, they can break easily or won’t provide the right sound you are looking for.
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Stands can be made out of different materials, but they should all be durable. The materials can dictate how much they will stand with your instrument and how much they will be able to shield it from danger and the like.
Top Stage Pro
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Storing your instrument in the right temperature is important. If you are not using your instrument, make sure you store it in the right place to avoid such hassle and damage to your instrument in the long run.
When you choose the best guitar strap, the length can vary depending on the desired length or type of guitar that you have, as well as how tall or short you are.
Protec Leather Ends
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You don’t want your guitar to be too far from your body, making it uncomfortable to play. The thickness can also have an impact, as a thickness that is wider can mean more support for your shoulders.
It is always unpleasant to hear an off tune guitar, so you should make it a habit to tune your instrument before every performance or even practice. Tuning your guitar as quickly as possible is important because it will help save up on setup time; too long a setup time will get the audience bored eventually!
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The standard tuning of a guitar is E A D G B E.
Different guitars have different purposes. Consider your choice in strings to meet the criteria that you expect so as not to waste money in the long run. Electric strings run on amplifier power and can produce loud sounds while acoustic strings are more for the quiet practice purposes, small venues and subtle music.
The gauge or thickness can play a role in a string set. Thickness is how much volume or bass you want or how much treble you want for your strings.
D’Addario EXL 110-3D *for electric guitars
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Acoustic guitars normally use nylon or steel strings. Electric guitars use stainless steel or nickel.