Light acoustic guitar strings are a great choice for beginners who have yet to develop the calluses necessary to comfortably play heavier strings with a higher tension. These strings have a thinner, lighter tone than heavier gauges, but are considerably easier to play, and make an excellent choice if you plan on playing long sets. Whether you want to mimic the classic, mellow tones of Adrian Flegg or the emotive, playful, and exciting sounds of Dave Stewart, adding light acoustic guitar strings to your acoustic guitar is a great place to start.
Light Acoustic Guitar String Gauge
There are three common ranges of light guitar string gauges. Extra light gauge strings, 10 to 46, are the lightest option for acoustic steel strings and are the easiest to play. Extra light strings offer less resistance than other string types, so are less painful for inexperienced fingers. However, they offer thin sound and cause fret rattle on some guitars. Custom light gauge strings, or 11 to 42 strings, offer reasonably low resistance with a fuller sound projection. With a slightly higher tension than extra light gauges, there is less risk of over-pulling the string, and less chance of fret rattle. Light gauge, 12 to 54, offers enough tension and resistance to produce full, vibrant sounds, while being loose enough to allow inexperienced players to play with minimal discomfort, and more experienced guitarists to play long sets comfortably.
Light Acoustic Guitar String Material
Regardless of the light weight gauge you choose, the guitar string construction material has a distinct impact on the feel of the strings, how they play, and the sound they produce. Bronze strings are among the most popular for light gauge acoustic guitars and produce a bright tone. However, they have very little corrosion resistance, so they require frequent changes. Phosphor bronze strings have a slightly dampened but bright tone and offer more corrosion resistance, so last longer than standard bronze strings. Silk and steel strings have a silk and steel core wrapped with copper. They produce a soft, mellow tone and have a moderately long lifespan. If you play a classical acoustic guitar or a flamenco acoustic guitar, opt for nylon strings. Their warm, soft sound is very popular and the strings are not prone to corrosion.
Light Acoustic Guitar String Brands
While there is a huge range of light acoustic guitar strings on the market, several very popular brands offer high quality strings and value for money. D'Addario strings are renowned for their high quality, durability, and long life span. Martin light acoustic guitar strings provide a warm, soft tone and pleasing harmonics. Their sound, coupled with their long lifespan and durable build make them a popular choice with guitarists of all styles and abilities.