If you have just started playing, chances are you may be unsure just what strings to buy.
We have included here, OUR suggestions as to which strings to buy either. Once you have decided what's right for YOU then you can search for the tone...
We can give advice, but only you, the player can tell what is right for you!
Should you feel unsure as to what string you need, email us with your instrument details and playing experience and we will come back to you with our suggestion.
Electric Strings & Acoustic Strings for beginners: WE would always suggest having a starting point. So with Electric guitar strings - start with astandard .009-.042 gauge nickel wound set. With Acoustic guitar strings - start with a set of .012-.053/.054 gauge bronze wound set.
You must then determine whether these feel either too heavy or too light for your own style of play and you can judge whether you want to go up a gauge (heavier) or down a gauge (lighter).
If you have only just started out on the road to rock & roll stardom here are some useful tips on how to begin getting the right strings for you.
Electric guitar strings - As briefly looked at in the introduction the best place to start is with some lighter strings such as 09-42 gauge. We recommend Legacy Pro-Tone Nickel Wound Electric strings, these strings will give you a idea of how electric strings feel and from here you can decide whether a heavier or lighter gauge would best suit your style of play plus they also come with a free 1st & 2nd, handy!
Acoustic guitar strings - Much like the Electric guitar strings novice players are advised to go for a lighter gauge such as 12-53. Legacy Tru-TonePhosphor Bronze(12-54) again are a great starting point to give you a first hand idea of which direction you should head in.
Bass guitar strings - with bass strings a perfect starting gauge would be 40-100 we advise beginners to go with either Rotosound or Elites as both are well respected makes and will stand you in good stead for the future. If these are out of your price range you can always try the Legacy or Tonesearch Bass at £7.95 again a good starting point.
Assuming you are happy with your gauge of strings, finding the right sound can be a never ending search for some. Remember - If you are happy with the sound you have, it is usually best to stick with it as you maybe looking for something that isn't there.
Electric Guitar Strings - Nickel wound strings such as D'Addario EXLs and Ernie Ball Slinkys are great sounding strings, but if you want a bit more of a gutsy feel then nickel plated is maybe for you (i.e Fender 250's). Or brighter still (possibly verging on harsh with say a Telecaster) Stainless steel is also a choice, although it may wear your frets quicker (i.e Fender 350's).
* If you have a Stratocaster with a whammy bar you might want to try the Fender Super bullets. The ends of these strings are bullet shaped so they fit neatly in the block of the Strat so even with heavy use of the whammy bar the bullet end still stays firmly in the block keeping the guitar in tune.
Acoustic Guitar Strings - On an acoustic guitar 80/20 bronze would give a very bright, vibrant sound (i.e Martin M140 or D'Addario EJ11) but if you are looking for a rich, warm tone a Phosphor Bronze would be a better choice(i.e Martin M540 or D'Addario EJ16).
Bass Guitar Strings - Bass players used to boil their strings to add extended life to their sets(we are sure some still do!) but the truth is there is no need anymore. With prices ranging from under £10 a set to near on £50 there is something for everyone. Elites & Rotosound are superb strings at reasonable prices,which beginners and professionals can be well served. Bass guitar strings are similar to guitar strings in this region due to the nickel(i.e Elites Player series/Rotosound Swing Bass Nickel) will provide you with a great sound but for a more bright, punchy sound a stainless steelstring would prove a wiser choice ( i.e Elites Stadium series/Rotosound Swing Bass) but can increase fretwear.
Jazz Guitar Strings - A lot of Jazz players like to invest in a set of Jazz Flatwound/Tapewound strings which give off a smoother, warm tone with string noise tempered similar to that of Wes Montgomery. Among some of the flatwound strings we stock are D'Addario Chromes ( 10-48, 11-50, 12-52, 13-56 ) & Thomastik Jazz Swing ( 10-44, 11-47, 13-53 ) both these sets would give the characteristics mentioned above.
Jazz Flatwound Bass Strings - In the same light as Flatwound guitar strings, bass strings also play smoother with less string noise perfect for Jazz Bassists or Fretless players. Some of the Flatwound Bass Strings available from Strings Direct are Rotosound Jazz Bass ( 40-100 & 45-105 ) & Picato Flatwound Bass ( 45-105 )
Bridge Pins - Changing your bridge pins can have a remarkable effect on your guitar, really bringing it "alive", helping it stay in tune longer, easier to change strings, richer in sound and they look great as well!Planet Waves bridge pins come in Ebony - Pearl & Abalone. If you are looking for a cheaper option the Planet Waves Boxwood or Ebony Bridge Pins maybe the answer at each you cannot go wrong! Also now available Planet Waves plastic bridge pins.
Classical Guitar Strings:
Novice Players: a beginners string choice are Tonesearch Classics which come in normal tension this tension being more forgiving.
Intermediate Players: there are a range of classical strings in this category such as D'Addario Pro Arte coming in Normal, Hard or Extra Hard tension, Augustine Gold, Darco by Martin going up to Savarez. We recommend for an intermediate player either Normal or Hard tension.
Experienced Players: More experienced players find a string that has good projection,low string noise combined with long string life is something that can elude them but there is a huge range on the market these days with ever increasing improvements being made. Some examples are -
Electric & Acoustic Guitar Strings - Elixir by Gore with the patented polyweb covering which gives of a excellent full bright sound of 'broken in' strings with less string noise and maintain their tone up to 3-5 times longer than normal guitar strings, provide a smooth feel for maximum comfirt & are winning fans worldwide. Also available are the Elixir Nanoweb Electric & Acoustic guitar strings which are 1/3 of the thickness of the Polyweb strings yet still offer the great sound and long life that Elixir players are accustomed to.
Bass Guitar Strings - Elixir by Gore again with the same principles but in Bass string form.
Classical Guitar Strings - D'Addario Pro Arte Composites( DD EJ45C )are made with a unique combination of materials which in turn provides a long string life ( 2-3 times longer).
Guitar Cables - Now you are happy with your choice of strings you want to amplify you guitar and annoy the neighbours as much as possible. Beginners may want to start with a lead which is not too expensive but is still reliable. The next step up are Smart Cables made with high quality cable and genuine neutrik jacks. A Smart cable is of a quality which believes its price and can bring your guitar alive. Another step up you have the much raved about Planet Waves instrument cables by D'Addario, produced with special input=output jacks and gold plated plugs they ensure the exact signal from your guitar gets to your amplifier.
In the way of patch cables an excellent choice is Piranha 1 metre Patch Cables coming in a variety of colours these leads are made with non-crackle cable and metal neutrik connectors ensuring a high quality signal. Also available in angled jacks in 12" / 24" & 1 metre.
Guitar Straps - OK you have your guitar, the right strings, your plugged in and ready to rock, do you want to be sitting down? NO! Everyone needs a strap. If you are looking for a standard strap to do the business then look no further than Ernie Ball Polypro strap you cannot go wrong.
Perhaps you were looking for something slightly more funky, then maybe Levy's Leathers would be your choice ranging from the flamboyant designs of the polyester straps to the graffiti artist street design straps to the classic signature series suede straps there is something for every player, Levys also offer a high quality standard webbing strap available in black, red, blue & extra long .
At one stage or another every player using a strap comes across the annoying consequence of the strap slipping off the guitars end pin, there is a simple answer to this problem straplocks. Schaller straplocks ) are a simple contraption fitted as standard on all Fender USA guitars which is easily attached to your guitar and locks your strap firmly in ruling out any chance of it falling off. If you are looking for a more cost effective way of tackling this problem then you may want to look at the Jim Dunlop Lok which is low cost and requires no modification to your guitar just put your strap on the end pins and slip the Lok over the top securing it firmly.
Guitar Slides - For the Slide players who have visited Strings Direct.co.uk here is the low down on the slides we carry in stock. Firstly we can start with the Standard Jim Dunlop Glass Slide this slide gives off a warm, thick tone that accentuates the middle harmonics of your sound, probably the most popular of all the slides at the moment and for those who like a slightly thicker/heavier glass version try the Clayton glass slide . Then we have the sister to the glass slide the Jim Dunlop Standard Steel Slide produces a bright tone and is very lightweight perfect for electric guitar.
Next we have the Jim Dunlop Solid Brass Slide favored by both acoustic & electric players for their comfortable weight and mass, also available with added mass. At the top of the ladder are Shubb Axys Slides and Tonebars. The Axys Slide is designed to allow you to switch from regular guitar playing to slide it has a half cavity which with a simple twist of the slide you can alternate between the different styles. The tonebars are for lapsteel players and with 4 different styles will suite any player.
Guitar Tuners - If you are just starting out then chances are your ear is not to the point at which you can tune your guitar without a guitar tuner. We offer a wide range of tuners for all levels starting with the Korg GA-30 Auto Tuner which suits bass, acoustic & electric guitars as well as violins. Also in that price range we have Korg CA-30 Chromatic tuner being chromatic means that the tuner will tune all notes including flats & sharps. Next on ladder we have tuners such as Korg GT3 / Korg DT3 before you leap up to Intellituner. Intellituner PT1 & PT2 are both wireless tuners which clip onto the headstock of any stringed instrument and tune via the vibrations through the guitar when a string is struck, really handy & compact product which is very accurate. Finally we step up to, for the gigging musician, pedal tuners to which you cannot get better than the Boss TU-2, accurate, compact and build like a brick at its a tuner built to last a lifetime.
The Korg MA-30 is a portable, versatile metronome for precise rhythm training, it has a compact metronome that contains complete functionality for accurate tempo production and display. It is pocket sized for easy carrying, if you're uncertain of the numeric tempo of a song, simply press the MA-30's tap-in button in time with the rhythm you hear, and the Tap function will set the tempo accordingly.
Guitar Capos - The first capo we have to offer is the simple yet effective Jim Dunlop Standard Elastic Capo at whether you are just starting or simply want an easy solution you cannot go wrong with this capo. Next up we have the Shubb series of capos one of the best if not the best capo on the market with various different models to suit different shaped fretboards - i.e. nylon, 12 string, electric & acoustic. Also available in the Shubb range is the Shubb Deluxe which has a new roller mechanism for ultra smooth operation and comes in stainless steel. Finally is the Kyser capo with its trigger style mechanics for quickly changing is designed to fit every 6 string instrument.
Guitar Stands & Hangers - The Fender Mini Guitar Stand is a superbly designed stand with the traveling musician in mind, the Mini Guitar Stand is sturdy, folds quickly and easily, and is small enough to fit inside most guitar cases . For wall mounted hangers you cannot go wrong with the bespeco wall hanger which screws securely to the wall and fits all types of guitars & bass, or if your budget is abit tight try the Stagg wall hangers
Guitar Care - Everyone has to look after their guitar to make sure that it sounds and looks at its best, Guitar surfaces can fade, become cracked or brittle, and lose their luster. Without proper maintenance the life of your guitar will be shortened. Here are some products you may find useful to perfect the performance of your instrument.
GHS Fast Fret is a string and neck lubricant which prolongs fingerboard life and lets your fingers slide freely over the strings and neck, Fast fret is designed specifically for stringed instruments so it will not damage, stain or soil your guitar in anyway. Also around the same area as the Fast Fret we have the Kyser Polish & Lemon Oil. Kyser Polish protects your guitars finish & even improves playability. Kyser Lemon Oil is formulated for fingerboards and other oil-finished wood surfaces, cleans & protects against drying & tones down scratches and blemishes.
Planet Waves Polish & Planet Waves Conditioner is available, Planet Waves Polish is a pump action spray that cleans, protects, removes fingerprints, smudges, and has a nonabrasive formula suitable for wood, metal and plastic surfaces. Planet Waves Conditioner is specially created to restore and maintain your guitar, this polish has been researched and designed to meet the requirements of professional luthiers to give your guitar a longer life. Now we come to cloths Planet Waves Pretreated cloth for use with less or no polish made with a double napped cotton flannel picks up dirt, dust & oil better than any other material. Also available are Planet Waves Untreated Cloth designed to buff & polish without scratching.
Guitar Picks - Obviously picks are a personal thing whether you like heavy or thin, big or small, wedge or teardrop we at Strings Direct have a vast range of guitar plectrums, here are just a few to set you in the right direction in choosing the correct pick for yourself and your style of play. Firstly you have the standard shape which everyone has used at one time or another, this pick is available in almost every make we stockFender, Gibson, Jim Dunlop etc...with a wide body and a round tip this pick is a favorite with many guitarists. Next we have the Jazz Style with a more oval shaped pick it is a nice compromise for players looking for something slightly smaller than the traditional pick. Now we have a similar shape to the standard shape in the Teardrop style it is slightly more narrow but the same length if you need a pick with a slimmer profile.
Lastly we have the a pick that many bass players use for its large sturdy shaped to cope with the heavier strings on bass guitars. The wedge style pick is a large rounded triangle which provides three edges if one wears down just switch sides. The wide body provides plenty of surface to hold & the rounded tips give a nice, smooth action.
We also stock some specialist plectrums such as the Dava Control , coming in a pack of 5 these picks have a revolutionary multigauge system where the pick itself changes gauge from soft to medium to hard depending on where you grip on its surface.
Don't miss out on some great funky designed picks as the Alien series & Jim Dunlop Blackline Series, and many other shaped and sized picks.
String Winders - To make replacing strings easy it is best to use a string winder on the pegs to quicken up the winding process, here are some choices from the Strings Direct range. Firstly we have either the Fender Clear winder or the Jim Dunlop winder both of these are standard & very simple to use. On from there we come across the Planet Waves Deluxe Guitar Winder & the Planet Waves Deluxe Bass Winderboth specifically designed for their instruments & with built in string stretchers they allow you to tune your instrument quicker. Finally we have the Planet Waves Pro-Winder Tool this useful contraption comes complete with a super quick winder and built in clippers making restringing fast and easy.
Guitar Books - Strings Direct are now stocking a range of guitar books and DVD's including tuition books with lessons on playing the blues, acoustic riffs & guitar scales and much more.
Gig Bags - Ritter gig bags from including 5mm Soft foam padding protection, made from quality water repellent polyester, adjustable padded ruck sack straps, integrated mobile phone pouch, antiwear base panel, strong colour coded wrap around carry handle, reflectice safety strips on pouch & shoulder strap, quality No.8 2 way zipper will moulded pulls, large A4 music/accessory pouch with additional accessory pocket. Ritter styled interior nylon lining, polyester bridge & double headstock protectors, all round webbed piping, dot stitched embroidered ritter logo.
Effects - Almost everything is sorted you've got the right strings, a cool strap, the best picks, a reliable tuner, a great cable and your guitar is being taken care of. Now you want your own sound, you don't want to sound like the average joe strumming away to the same old familiar tune, you want a distinctive tone that makes you stand out, effects can help you achieve that goal and here are some effects products and reasons why they may be the right bit of gear for you!