When you're first thinking about changing the strings on your electric guitar, all the options can be a little overwhelming. There are many different gauges, materials, and brands. So which ones should you choose for your guitar? In this lesson, we're joined by local guitar tech Steve Brand to answer this question and shine a light on some other common electric guitar string questions.
The first thing to address is string gauge. String gauges are broken down into thousandths (1/1000) of an inch. Standard sets are usually referred to by the gauge of the highest (thinnest) string. The most common string gauges for electric guitar are 9s (.009) and 10s (.010). There are sets both thinner and thicker, as well as ones that contain specific mixes of strings known as "hybrid" sets. In the end, it comes down to choosing a gauge that you're most comfortable with.
The most common electric guitar string material is nickel-plated steel. They tend to be the most balanced-sounding. You can get pure nickel-wound strings that tend to be more on the warm side. There are also materials like cobalt and stainless steel, both of which are on the brighter side. If you're new to choosing guitar strings, you're best off going with nickel-plated steel.
Lastly, we'll briefly talk about choosing the best brand of strings. It's pretty simple... Almost every guitar string brand is equal. There isn't really one that's better than another. A few brands do offer different materials, but for the most part, it just comes down to your own personal preference. Try out some different brands and decide which one you like most.