The day will undoubtedly come when you’ll need to change your guitar strings as you learn how to play. Many are fully aware of how perplexing the guitar string market might be, and everyone understands at least that much. When it comes to finding the best electric guitar strings, navigating through the myriad of options can indeed be a challenge. To help you on your guitar journey, this article will give you the information you need to help you choose the best electric guitar strings for beginners.

Take Note Of Your Gauge

Simply said, string gauge describes the thickness of our strings. The thickness of each string on our guitar is denoted by a number, such as .009″, .010″, .011, etc. It’s common practice to remove the decimal places, thus you’ll frequently see the numbers expressed as 9, 10, 11, and so on. The string will be thicker the higher the number.

The low E, sometimes known as the sixth string, is the thickest of the guitar strings, which are arranged as E A D G B E. The first string, or high E, is the thinnest. It is standard to choose thicker strings for low notes and thinner strings for high notes because the thickness of the string affects its tension as it is brought up to tune.

For instance, if you were to use a high E string measuring 0.009 inches in diameter for the G string, it wouldn’t have enough tension to be playable when it was raised to pitch.

When thinking about how string gauges impact the tone and playability of the guitar, it is important to keep in mind the relationship between tension and string gauge. The diameter of a string is represented by string gauges, which are measured in thousandths of an inch.

The string gauges for a light set of strings might range from high to low, .009 to .042.

These will feel uncomplicated. With a bit less string tension and less thread to manage on your hands, smaller gauge strings are frequently preferred by shredders. Smaller strings are also simpler to bend.

An extra-light set of “9s” on your electric guitar will be easier to play with your fingers that have not yet developed the strength and calluses on your fingertips as a beginner. Below is a generic guide on gauges for your electric guitar:

  • Extra light: .008, .010, .015, 021, .030, .038
  • Light: .009 .011 .016 .024 .032 .042
  • Medium: .010 .013 .017 .026 .036 .046
  • Heavy: .011 .015 .022 .030 .042 .054
  • Extra heavy: 012, .016 .020, .034, .046, .060

Which Gauge Is For You?

It may seem as though everyone and their dog has an opinion on the optimal string gauge to use if you enjoy browsing guitar forums. It is recommended for someone learning the electric guitar to begin with a thinner (lighter) gauge like 09-42, 09-46, or 10-46.

This is a typical objection you’ll hear from guitarists, and although it’s a valid point of view, many believe that beginning with a lighter gauge can help you progress in your guitar playing.

Thinner strings have less tension than thicker strings, which makes it easier to fret notes, bend the strings, and move across the fretboard than if you were using a heavier gauge set.

Your fingertips will inevitably be a little sore in the beginning for a few months. Any early soreness rapidly goes away as the skin surrounding the tips of your fingers hardens and the muscles in your hands get stronger over time.

While you’re breaking through any discomfort barriers, using a lighter gauge will undoubtedly make these first stages easier on your hands!

A lighter gauge also makes it easier to concentrate on perfecting your technique and can help you avoid picking up undesirable habits. It’s crucial to be able to enjoy the early stages of learning the guitar because it might be challenging.

This means that you shouldn’t let discomfort in your hands prevent you from playing the guitar or slow down your development. This is especially important for newer and younger players.

Changing Your Guitar Strings

Typically, this comes down to personal preference. After each practice session, wipe your strings down with a dry towel to keep them clean. You may also use specialized cleaners to maintain your strings in great shapes, such as GHS’ Fast Fret.

However, as time passes, they will start to lose their luster, sound a bit dull, and feel a little dirty, and it will be necessary to replace them. You might have to put up with them when you do.

Some musicians like using brand-new strings since they are most vibrant while doing so. However, you could discover that after a few hours of playing, once they have calmed down a bit, they play better.

Experimentation is the key. The advantage of strings is that generally speaking, they are not costly. You may test a lot of fantastic sets starting at ten pounds, and if you discover the one you like, you might want to treat yourself to one of those glitzy coated strings.

Top 3 Brand Recommendations

Elixir Electric Strings with POLYWEB Coating Light

Because coated strings virtually level out the nickel winding, they are quicker and simpler to play than non-coated strings.

Elixir offers several coating options, with the POLYWEB version producing a warmer tone and being softer on the hands and fingers. Their “super light” set, which ranges from 09 to 42, is their lightest electric string set.

Ernie Ball Classic Rock N Roll Extra Slinky

Ernie Ball’s Extra Slinky strings in the Classic Rock N Roll configuration are light and simple to bend, making them ideal for new players seeking to get a feel for their fretboard.

One of Ernie Ball’s smallest available gauges, at .038 on the bottom E string, it gives a warm vintage tone that works extremely well with a tube amp.

Dunlop Reverend Willy Electric Strings Extra Light

The incredibly tiny gauge of these strings—which is somewhat smaller than the Ernie Ball set we previously examined—is its biggest selling point for novices.

They are the smallest set on this list, with a size range of 07 to 38. You’ll be able to concentrate on memory and head knowledge of the fretboard since learning chords and brief tunes will become much less of a physical challenge.

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As you master the instrument, almost every electric guitar player will form a relationship with a particular set of strings. However, newcomers frequently purchase strings without understanding where to begin or what to look for. Explore our guide to find the best electric guitar strings for your sound.

The list mentioned here is strictly a suggestion of where to start. It will at least provide you with a starting point and familiarize you with the more prevalent alternatives as you gain experience and work on your preferences.


Northern girl Laura is the epitome of a true entrepreneur. Laura’s spirit for adventure and passion for people blaze through House of Coco. She founded House of Coco in 2014 and has grown it in to an internationally recognised brand whilst having a lot of fun along the way. Travel is in her DNA and she is a true visionary and a global citizen.

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