Acoustic VS Electric Guitar Strings: All You Need to Know

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  • Writer:Alice
  • Time:2022-06-28

There are many types of guitar strings, and each of them can bring a different sound to the instrument. The sound of a guitar string depends on many aspects, including the material, gauge, core, coated of the string, and its winding ways.


Acoustic and electric guitar strings are the two major kinds of guitar strings relating to the timbre and effects of the guitar. This article will introduce the differences between acoustic and electric guitar strings. Follow up and keep reading!

Main Differences Between Acoustic and Electric Guitar Strings

1. Materials

● Electric Guitar Strings

The electric guitar strings usually consist of three common metals: nickel-plated, pure nickel, and stainless steel. The nickel-plated strings are popular and cover most of the electric guitar strings. They are made of steel and coated with nickel, which helps soften the touch. In addition, the nickel-plated strings balance the characteristics of nickel and steel on one string for warm and bright tones.


Pure nickel strings have a warmer tone and a thicker sound than other electric guitar strings. Therefore, pure nickel strings are best for classic old-school or retro-style songs such as blues, jazz, or classic rock.


The pure steel strings produce the brightest and loudest sound of all-electric guitar strings, making them perfect for rock. In addition, it has good corrosion resistance because it is made of a highly magnetic alloy. This characteristic makes it more durable than other electric guitar strings. However, these strings will wear out your frets faster than nickel-plated or pure nickel strings.


● Acoustic Guitar Strings

There are two main types of acoustic guitar strings: 80/20 bronze and phosphor bronze strings. Both of them are made of steel, so they are also known as "steel acoustic guitar strings."


The 80/20 bronze string comprises 80% copper and 20% zinc. It's the most popular choice because of its bright and clean sound. 80/20 bronze strings work best on orchestra-sized guitars or larger.


On the other hand, Phosphor bronze strings are composed of 92% bronze, 8% tin, and a small amount of phosphorous. They produce a warmer and smoother high-frequency response than 80/20 bronze strings.


2. Music Type

People often play folk songs with acoustic guitar strings because of their warm tones. So, they are ideal for soft tonal genres such as ballads and lullabies. In addition, acoustic guitar strings are best for smaller-sized guitars. In contrast, the electric guitar strings produce a brighter tone, so they are perfect for aggressive music genres like heavy rock or hip-hop.


3. Gauge

String gauge represents the thickness of the strings, which greatly affects the guitar's performance. The thicker the strings, the warmer the sound and the louder the volume. On the other hand, thinner strings produce a brighter sound than thicker strings. However, they are easier to bend during the playing.


Unlike electric guitars, acoustic guitars don't rely on pickups and magnetism to produce sound. Therefore, acoustic guitars require thicker strings for a stronger sound. So acoustic guitar strings are generally thicker than electric guitar strings. For example, their string gauges are generally 16 to 35. By contrast, electric guitars don't need thicker strings because the pickups enhance the sound through the strings' magnetic fields. Therefore, their string gauges are generally between 13 to 28.


In conclusion, the gauge of an acoustic guitar string of the same level will be larger than that of an electric guitar. For example, the gauge of the E1 light string of the acoustic string is generally 23, while the gauge of the electric guitar is generally 16.


4. String Wound

Wound strings are much thicker, so wound strings produce a warmer sound. Acoustic guitars have more wound strings than electric guitars. In most cases, the four acoustic guitar strings with the lowest volume are all brass or bronze wound. However, for electric guitar strings, only the former three strings(E, A, D strings) have nickel plating.


Why Choose Alice Strings

Established in 1999, Alice Strings has built five modern workshops with a total area of about 30,000 square meters and twelve professional production lines. The company is one of the most influential musical instruments and accessories.


In addition, Alice Strings has a professional R&D center with all materials and products tested to ISO9001:2015 standards. We offer more than 2000 products to meet music lovers' needs, including classical guitar strings, acoustic guitar strings, Classical Guitar Strings, Acoustic Guitar Strings, Electric Guitar Strings, Acoustic Bass Strings, etc.


If you are looking for a reliable supplier. Contact us!