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Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesOther - Arts & Humanities · 1 decade ago

What's the difference between acoustic guitar strings and electric guitar strings?

I need to change the E-String (1st) on my electric guitar, but I'm worried about what will happen if I put acoustic strings on it. Do they perform differently? Will it make my electric sound weird? Will the pickups not, well, pick up the vibrations from it?

3 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    If you change just one string you need to keep it the same gage as the others. The gage is usually measured by the E string. .009s are the most common gage for electric.

    What will happen if you mix gages is that the string you replace will sound funny compared to the others. It will be harder to tune as well as the steps between strings will be out because of the mismatched gages.

    Electric and accoutic guitar strings are designed differently and made from different materials typically. While you can put accoustic guitar strings on an electric guitar is usually a bad idea. Accoustic guitar strings are typically a much heavier gage and most electric necks are not designed to take the stress of heavy gage strings for prolonged periods. Many music shops will sell single strings. If you don't know what gage you have on the guitar go with .009s, they are the most common gage for electrics. Though a good set of strings is often $5 or less today and you can get even less expensive strings.

    I suggest changing all the strings. When one breaks usually that means the others are going too in the near future as well. Strings get "tired" after so much playing or even just sitting on a guitar. They will also corrode if they are not made of anti-corrosive materials. Both of these sap sound quality from your guitar. The guitar will hold it's tune less well and will sound tired. So you want to change strings on a frequent basis anyway. If your playing every day and not gigging or recording every couple months is probably all your going to get out of a set before the sound quality is decreased enough that you want to change them. If you rarely play you might get six months out of a set assuming it lives in it's case all the time.

    To lengthen string life wipe your strings down with a clean dry cloth every time you play. Store your guitar in it's case. Wipe your hands off before playing. Some brands of string last longer than others. The extra buck for a better quality brand over the course of a year can mean one less set of strings you need to buy that year.

    The biggest factor in choosing what strings is playing style. Electrics come in flat wound and round wound. Jazz players generally like the flat wounds and not many other genres. The gage depends on what you like to do and what style. Stevie Ray Vaugn was know to use some outragiously heavy gage strings for example. Me I personally favor .010 myself. .011s are good as are .009s but .010s give me a good middle ground. Heavier crunch but still easier to bend. The heavier the gage the deeper it will sound generally.

    What genre you play also means a good bit. Ernie Ball strings are great for Bluesy players. Fenders tend to be favored by CW musicians. I personally like D'addario. The combination of sound, price and durablility work very well for me. Ernie Ball strings are too rubbery for me, especially in drop tunings. Fender's too brittle and flat sounding for my tastes. Gibson strings are decent. On the Accoustic I love the sound and feel of Elixirs but had a serious breakage problem with them and couldn't keep them on my guitar. Even broke on I put on hours before a gig in the 2nd song of the gig. That was the last Elixir set I ever bought for the guitar. Did use some Elixir bass strings and found them to be excellent strings.

    So I suggest trying out different strings. Find ones that fit well with your playing style and your gear. Some strings respond differently to different pickups. On a Gibson they might be bright clear and sharp but on a Fender they might not sound anywhere near as good.

    On the web you can also find bulk packages of strings which reduces the cost per pack noticably.

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  • Carla
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Electric strings are metal and for an electric guitar, but they can be used on an acoustic. Acoustic guitar strings are either plastic or nylon which add for a more classical sound with easier pull-on and pull-off tactics. Any string is good for an acoustic, but only electric (metal) can be used on the electric guitar.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Acoustic strings are thicker in diameter while electric guitar string have thinner diameter. But they all do come in different diameters depending on your style of music. Electric strings usually are colored nickel while acoustic strings are colored bronze. I use Fender string , Dean Markley Blue Steel, or Ernie Ball super slinky on my electric guitar.

    Source(s): Experience
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