Electric Guitar String GaugesElectric guitar strings, like acoustic guitar or electric bass strings, are manufactured in a range of thicknesses or gauges. The thickness of an electric guitar string has a large influence on the playability and sound in addition to other factors like the string material.
- Easier to bend and play, so ideal for beginner guitar players with uncalloused hands
- Ideal for vintage electric guitars
- Even projection with bright sound
- Require more finger pressure to fret and bend notes
- Hotter output with punchy tone
- Are preferred for low tunings such as Drop D, Drop A, etc
- Exert more tension on the guitar neck
Standard set, generally what comes on a guitar stock from the manufacturer.Preferable for a looser, Les Paul-like feel on a Fender Scale instrument. Preferable for getting a heavier, more Strat-like tension on a Gibson Scale instrument.
Maintains slinkiness on the high strings, and beefs up the feel on the lower strings, especially when dropped.
Eb StandardFor a tighter feel on the lower strings.
Slightly on the heavier side, while retaining a bit of looseness and slinkiness on the Gibson Scale.
Drop C#Using the 11-48 set with the low-E string swapped out for a 52 gives you all of the low-end chug that you need while still feeling like standard tuning on the higher strings. Retains the feel of standard tuning even when dropped to a much lower tuning.
D StandardOptimal for detuning. Similar to the Skinny Top / Heavy Bottom, but several gauges heavier. Provides a higher-tension feel. Retains the feeling of normal tension, even with the lowered tuning.
Still feels slinky, but retains a good amount of tension.For an even slinkier, looser feel.
Helpful for retaining proper tension with a shorter scale.
Using the Beefy Slinky set with a 56 swapped out for the low-E (or even a 60!) feels fantastic.
A great middle-ground for size vs. tension. Adding a 60 on the low-E string can also provide even more “oomph” to the low end.
Creating a custom set of single strings allows you to retain tension on the higher strings, while allowing enough twang on the lower strings.
A slightly adjusted custom set of single strings allows you to beef up the higher strings, while retaining the size of the lower strings. Can also use a 62 or 64 on the low-E string for added heaviness and tension.
E Standard and Drop D
Good tension and good attack. Not too tight, not too loose.
Eb Standard and Drop C#
Translates well from E Standard and Drop D all the way down to Eb Standard and Drop C#.
D Standard and Drop C
Healthy tension, but not overkill. Doesn’t fatigue the hand, but enough tension to dig in with heavy attack.
Drop BBy using just the lower four strings from a Super Slinky 5-string bass set, the tension remains dialed in for such a low tuning. Can also use the same approach with the Regularly Slinky Bass 5 set. Provides for solid attack, without the “flop.”