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Frequently Asked Questions

The idea of this page is try to answer as many of your questions as possible, right here, right now.  If we've not addressed your specific question please use the contact form at the bottom to get in contact.

 

Product Q&A

What is the difference between 80/20 bronze and phosphor bronze?

You’ll probably know already (but have a look if you don’t) that guitar strings sets are composed of a mixture of wound and plain (non-wound) strings. The wound strings consist of a core wire which is then wrapped with a layer, or multiple layers of wire strands. This wrap wire is one of, if not the most crucial tonal element of the string and with today’s acoustic-focused bulletin we’re going to compare the tone of the two major acoustic alloys.

PHOSPHOR BRONZE. This is the most popular of the acoustic guitar alloys. Made from a mix of 92% copper and about 8% tin (and sometimes a little phosphorous) it has a rose-brown colour. This alloy was first used for guitar strings by D’Addario in the 70’s for its natural longevity. The tone is warm and full with a nice amount of clarity. Click here to shop phosphor bronze strings.

80/20 BRONZE is an alloy of roughly 80% copper and 20% zinc and is more yellow in colour than phosphor bronze. It has a bright, articulate, percussive, and loud sound with a controlled low-end punch. 80/20 bronze strings are the 2nd most popular of the acoustic guitar strings alloys, and especially favoured giving life back to inherently dark or old guitars. Click here to shop 80/20 bronze strings.

 

What do you mean by string 'construction'?

String construction is the term we use for both the winding technique and profile of the wrap wire used on guitar strings. If you look closely at the thickest guitar strings you’ll see that the outer wire probably looks round and cylindrical. This is what is called ‘round wound’ and is by far the most popular and widely used winding; however, there are a quite a few more.

 

I want 10's - apparently - what does that even mean?

Just one of those fragments of the past that’s forever here to stay… (that’s using imperial instead of metric).

When someone says "I use 9's" or "10's", "11's", "12's", etc... they're referring to string gauge.

String gauge comes from wire gauge and is the literal overall diameter of the string in thousandths of an inch. We use it in its shortened form dropping the '0.0' instead referring to a string of gauge 0.010” as a '10'.

Strings sets are denoted by their thinnest and thickest gauges. For example, a set of 10, 13, 17, 26w, 36w, 46w will be written as '10-46' and then further colloquially referred to as ‘a set of 10s’.

The most popular guitar strings gauge is 10-46 aka regular 10s.

 

Can I buy just one string?

Yes! We stock a vast range ofindividual strings from a variety of brands. Single strings are used to replace a broken string, pimp an existing set, or create a completely unique custom gauge. Shop single strings here.

 

What is Nashville tuning?

Nashville tuning, sometimes referred to as High String tuning is like playing a 12-string guitar without the wound strings. It has a bright, sparkly sound and can be played like a normal guitar. It’s been used on far more tracks than you realise, notably Hotel California by The Eagles!

 

What is a coated string?

The fundamental make-up of a guitar string is essentially a core wire which is then wound with a thin layer/s of wire strands. A coated string has a polymer layer either over the indiviudal wires or over the entire string. Strings can also be treated. Coating and treatments are desgined to extend the life of the strings.

 

How often should I change guitar strings?

First thing to check: if your guitar strings are starting to blacken, sound dull, require more tuning, are dented/pitted underneath, or just carrying a load of gunk, it's time to change them! However, to maintain good, fresh tone, and hygenie we suggest replacing your standard guitar strings every 2-3 weeks if you play regularly.

There are caveats of course... coated and treated strings will often last a lot longer - up to a year in some cases - but that's just dirty. Also, some players have particularly acidic sweat which destroys strings so they'll need changing more often. In the more humid summer months, a particularly sweaty rehearsal can turn fresh strings into rubber bands!

So I guess what I'm trying to say is, look for the signs: dull tone, black spots, rust, gunk, or poor tuning stability. And, if they've been on for a year, change them for everyone else's sake!

 

What are the best strings for electric guitar?

Choose nickel-plated steel strings for the most versatile tone. The sound is bright, full, and smooth which suits almost every style. The majority of top brands (including Ernie Ball Slinky, D'Addario XL, D'Addario NYXL, Elixir, La Bella HRS) make their own versions using this formula.

For a darker tone try pure nickel strings, or for a brighter tone try stainless steel strings.

 

What are the best strings for acoustic guitar?

Strings are absolutely fundamental to sound of your acoustic guitar, and too often overlooked. The correct strings will compliment and enhance the natural tone of your acousitc guitar.  There are two popular options: 80/20 bronze for a bright, percussive, loud tone and phosphor bronze for a fuller, smoother, but clear tone.

 

What gauge strings should I get for my acoustic guitar?

We suggest custom light 11-52 for intricate playing, or light 12-53 gauge strings for most rhythm-style acoustic guitars.

 

General Questions

 

Are guitar strings recyclable?

Well, yes... and no; it's not so simple unfortunately.

Guitar strings are made of many different materials and this is the real issue with recycling them at the moment (still in 2023). Although we may think it's as simple as melting them down, actually that's not possible and therefore they have to dissembled. However, unwinding them and breaking them apart is a long and costly process.

There is a pilot scheme in the US with a company called TerraCycle which is experimenting with recycling strings. We're exploring the same avenues here but it's still not possible.

We've looked at all current options, including shipping large quantities to TerraCycle but the carbon footprint for this far outweighs any benefit.

So for now, we're offering a collection scheme where we take strings back from both our customers and other company's in exchange for a 5% discount on your next strings order.

Our hope is that this stops a significant amount ending up in landfill until such time as the strings are recyclable.

 

What are the 6 strings on the guitar?

The standard tuning pitches for electric guitar and acoustic guitar from thickest string (lowest) to thinnest string (highest) are: E2 - A2 - D3 - G3 - B3 - E4.

The reference frequency is A = 440Hz aka Western concert pitch.

 

What guitar strings should I buy?

As you'll probably have noticed by visiting our website, there are a lot of guitar strings to choose from! Therefore, if you're unsure of what you need it can be quite baffling, understood. Our suggestion is to drop us a message here where our specialists can find the perfect set for you.  However, if you're desperate here are a few general suggestions:

Acoustic Guitar - if you have an acoustic with metal strings, then we suggest a set of custom light strings with gauge 11-52. Click here for our suggestion.

Electric Guitar - light-regular strings with gauge 10-46. This is most popular guage for a reason! Click here for our suggestion.

Classical Guitar - choose normal/medium tension strings. Click here for our suggestion.

Bass Guitar - again, light-medium round wound strings with gauge 40-100. Click here for our suggestion.

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