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The Parts of the Guitar

Elixer Strings JPEG

Fig.1. There are a lot of decisions to be made when selecting the correct strings for your guitar.

-It is important to note that if you do decide to change the thickness (Gauge) of your strings then the Truss Rod may have to be adjusted to compensate for the change of tension on the neck.

When selecting a string consider the following:

-Gauge of the string.  Do you want to custom select the gauge of each string or purchase a set of strings with the gauges preselected.  Lead Guitarists generally use lighter gauge strings as they are less fatiguing and easier to fret and bend.  Rhythm guitarists are less concerned with Lead Bending and prefer the sustain they get from a thicker gauge string.

-Material the string is made from.  You can choose from various materials which affect the Tone of your guitar.  Nickel, Bronze, Phosphor Bronze, Stainless and Silk & Steel are the most common materials.  Classical Guitar Strings are made of Nylon.

-Windings of the string.  There are 3 main types of string windings.

  1. Round Wound.  This most common type of string has a fine wire wound around a straight core wire.  They are the most economical however they do tend to be a little noisy when sliding.
  2. Ground Wound.  These polished Round Wound strings have a polished feel.
  3. Flat Wound.  A fine flat wire is wound around these strings giving them a very smooth feel.

-Coating of the string.  Coated strings last much longer.  Dirt and oil from fingertips can clog the windings of the string causing a dull sound.  Also, moisture in the air will oxidize the strings.  Old strings will make tuning difficult.

-Change your strings often to maintain optimal control and sound from your strings.

You will have to experiment with different strings until you find the right ones for your style of playing.  If you are a beginner, start with a light gauge Round Wound string with an anti oxidation coating.  My preference are the Elixir strings in Fig.1.

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