2 questions about strings on an acoustic guitar

Sorry if those questions already have been answered. Have done search in the forum, reading here and there and not able to find anything that could satisfy my questions.

  1. The dude in the shop recommended 11-52 strings. (11, 15, 22, 32, 42, 52) - (Light Gauge) - (black smith phosphor bronze). Also he kept saying, that I had 30 days money back / change guitar. He seemed to be sure I would come crawling back with fingers hurt and changing to spanish guitar with plastic strings. He didn’t know I am a farmer and stubborn like 17 donkeys and I already had done thoroughly investigation on sound and pros and cons of each guitar type, before entering the shop.
    Also “Nothing Else Matters” by Metallica simply sounds better on acoustic. :wink:

I had 3,5 - 4 mm distance on fret 12, so have sanded down the saddle so now its roughly 2,5 mm. Also I tune in 432 hz and not the official 440 hz. That itself lowers the tightness of the strings.

I would like to try thicker strings. 13 - 56. (13, 17, 26, 35, 45, 56) - Medium Gauge) - (D’addario, phosphor bronze).

How much harder will those thicker strings be to press? Is it just that you slightly notice it is harder or is it a lot harder?
Because if only slightly harder, I will give it a try and hear the difference. If a lot harder, I think I will wait a month or two, before doing this.

  1. Both I and my friend are baffled about this:

I put new strings on 3 weeks ago, not sure my friend though. However, the guitar is in tune in the evening. We can play and it is still in tune somewhat later. - Next morning or next day, the strings have tightened, and I have to loosen the strings to get it in tune again. Often day after day. How is that possible. My logic tells me that the string should become more loose, less and less tightened, certainly not more. My friend have experienced the same, and we are both very confused about this?! Makes no sense. Temp in house / room is roughly same, though humidity unknown, could be that?. But else, no difference in outer circumstances.
Sorry if that is a stupid question and maybe there is a very obvious, simple and logic explanation, that we just are too blind to see. :upside_down_face:

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Hi I am no expert on this and just my thoughts,
Never used 13 gauge I am small and lighter for me is better than heavy. However if you have set up your action for 11’s as 13 are fatter you would need to adjust as the action would now be lower.

With regards to staying in tune did you stretch your strings after changing them? also temperature and humidity have a huge effect on acoustic guitars.


Yes, I stretched them, think I followed one of Justins videos. Maybe I stretched them too much and they now are going back to the original shape. :rofl: I am a farmer :wink:
According to the videos I have seen, it should be easy to adjust the action, if its too low. Also guitar shop is kind of nearby, so I can easy go there and get some extra saddles.
It does take a good amount of time to change and tune again…so it was just to avoid all that work, if the strings really are that much harder to press. -
I am old school farmer and youngsters are not what they used to be :wink: Maybe its just a whimp who started this rumour and it got stuck with people. Who knows, can happen.

I have decided to do the experiment myself. My fingers are extra sensitive atm, and skin is nearly breaking on two of the fingers. So I will for sure be able to feel the difference.
Then I will report back later and tell what conclusion I have come to.
Also I will get the experience how different the sound will be.
I can always change back if they really are that harder to press.


Sounds like a good plan I have lights and mediums on my guitars I like what BBKing once said why are you working so hard he played with lights but it depends on the types of music you play.
Good luck :slight_smile: let us know the outcome :+1:

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There is no right or wrong with strings. They are inexpensive to try and just a mild hassle to change.

13s are hearty. I do like thicker strings, but stop at 12s at this stage and may stay with them. There are lower tension string sets so the rabbit hole is deep.

Words of caution…
Do not mistake action and relief. When you speak of action in the above posts some of the comments actually reflect action, others relief. They are not the same, but relief does affect action and is important.

Relief is the curve of the neck. It is pulled into an up bow (head pulled up above the body) by the tension of the strings. It can be pushed back from this bow by adjusting the truss rod. Countered as it were.

Lower tension strings wether from design or gauge will pull less. Lowering your tuning to 432hz will do the same. Higher tension strings will pull more, and 13s will be higher than your 12s.

If the relief is high, too much up bow, the action will be higher. You don’t want to fix this at the saddle or nut.


Check your relief by fretting the 1st and 12th frets and measuring the space under the 6th string. Roughly the thickness of a business card is a ball park.

Adjust truss rod to get this. Guitar needs to be in tune.
This is super easy.
Then remeasure your action.
2.5mm at the 6th is medium-high.
If needed, THEN adjust the saddle again (after making sure action is correct at the nut)
After that, try 13s, but be sure to check and adjust relief if needed. The action should take care of itself when you do that, since you set it up correctly with the 12s.

If your fingers are currently tender, why not wait until your fingers settle in to their calluses and stop hurting before stressing them further? If you are a beginner at the callous development stage, there isn’t much you are doing that needs a different string gauge yet. Wait it out a little for the sake of pain.


SRV played with 13’s apparently so give it a try.

Guitars go out of tune all the time. Watch pro guitarists and you’ll see they tune up between each song and sometimes during the song:

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Also keep in mind if the nut slots are filed for a smaller gauge string then larger gauge string might bind in the nut and cause tuning issues.



SRV did play with heavy strings.
Note, he was tuned down to E flat.
He played for hours on end every day.
He had colossal finger strength.
He still ripped his finger ends to pieces and was known to superglue them back in place.
That last may be more urban myth than truth.

All on an electric of course.

Electrics and acoustics handle different gauges - acoustic strings tend to be thicker / heavier period.

Electric = 9 or 10 is common.

Acoustic = 11 or 12 is common.


Your guitar is also made to handle the strings it can with. So if your guitar was designed for 12’s putting on 13s may damage the guitar over time.

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I rewatched Justins Video. He call it a bridge. The thing I sanded down was the bridge. Maybe it is also called a saddle?
Yes, I am a beginner. Totally :rofl:
I did look at all the things you mention. I understand it very well and for me it is easy to understand. I have worked as a carpenter, wood carving and other stuff, where similar technique is used as in the guitar. - The Guitar I got is a Takemine, G-Series, GN20 NS, without any electronics stuff at all. - The shop did not change strings, when I bought it, and those strings were just awful. So when I came home, I did a lot of investigation, to figure out, what exactly I actually had bought and how it worked.
So I followed all the steps you mention, until I started looking at the truss rod. No umbraco key fits. It’s just round there. …

ok…I decided to call the shop. It is possible to adjust the truss rod and a 4 mm umbraco seem to be the one that fits. Have not tried again as guitar is already with thicker strings :slight_smile:

I have put those 13-56 strings on, and to be honest… I don’t think I will ever go back to thinner strings. I might actually try thicker. Wow, what a wonderful sound and of course hard to feel difference in pressure, when it’s not more than it is. Pinky is very sensite also when measure water temp for the yest when baking :wink: , and from 11 strings to 13…nah… hardly anything.

If I had read your post earlier, I actually might have waited to change. :slight_smile:

The guitar is working nicely, however, Still 2,5 - 3 mm on 12th fret, but very close on first fret, ( at the nut) (when pulling the string hard straight out, it does bounce back on the fret, I would never play like that, but I would like a slight bigger gab on first fret). So while the fingers get some rest the next couple of days and while doing more study on theory, I will try to get that adjusted and maybe even take the guitar back to the shop, if I still can’t get anything to bite there at the truss rod.

Thnx a lot for your help, time and detailed description. Really appreciate it! :heart: :pray:

All I said was give it a try. If it rips the bridge off the acoustic; lesson learned…

Just wait until you get to the string bending bit with 13’s - ouch!

I wanted to have your lines here…so pressed something… not sure what…hope its not something bad… anyway…didn’t know that a guitar was build to only certain strings. If that is really the case, then shops should tell that to people. - Something like ( Please be aware, this guitar take max 12 strings or what ever). If that is really the case, I will scold them next time I visit the shop.

When steel strung guitars were invented skinny strings did not exist so you should be OK.

As as kid, I put steel strings on a cheap nylon strung Spanish Guitar. They eventually ripped the bridge and the neck off. I screwed them back on with massive screws. I learnt a lot on that guitar.

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:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: Oh…you are one of those that tried steel strings on a plastic guitar…
Well, during my study before going to the shop, I learned: Never put steel strings on a plastic guitar and never put plastic strings on a steel guitar… :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

My plan is actually to get a classic / spanish guitar later. Especially for the classical pieces. Maybe in a year or 6 months. At least some months out from now. Need to learn some basics first and most beginner music just sound way better on acoustic… IMHO. Also I see them as two very different instruments. But that’s just how it function in my weird mind :wink: :joy:
The reason I made this plan and choose to take this route…well…I forgot now…but that’s what what my plan is… :joy: :rofl: :joy:

I have looked a little bit about tuning down and other stuff about the tunings. My conclusion so far is: It’s not for beginners like me. It’s for people who know what they are doing. With the level I have, I can change the sound by changing strings. I will stick with that, until I have so much knowledge in theory, so I know what I am doing. Because it doesn’t make sense for me, to do such thing, like lower the strings a semitone or something similar, until I really have a solid knowledge in the theory.

13s will not rip anything off an acoustic.


Takemine are built pretty sturdy so 13 shouldn’t be a problem.

Most beginners don’t put heavier strings on their first guitar. They usually go lighter to make it easier to play and learn on.
The players that use 13 are usually experienced bluegrass players and buy guitars built for 13’s.

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You write: “Most beginners don’t put heavier strings on their first guitar. They usually go lighter to make it easier to play and learn on.
The players that use 13 are usually experienced bluegrass players and buy guitars built for 13’s.”“”

I still have few days before the 30 day change option run out. I will head down to the shop tomorrow and have talk with them. I might come back with a different acoustic. I will for sure stay with the acoustic and I have just fallen luv with those 13 strings…dang, they sound awesome… I’m in luv :heart_eyes: :star_struck: :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

Hi @kimlodrodawa ,

Welcome to the Community. Being a complete beginner can be overwhelming but you seem not to worry too much about things which is a good thing, and the others have given you a lot of good advice.

When I started out, I did some research too and found that a proper listing of the parts of a guitar helped a lot with understanding things. You could check out this one:


The bridge is the black piece of wood that is glued to the top of the guitar. It has holes for the strings and the bridge pins that hold the strings in place. There’s also a slot for the saddle which is usually made of some synthetic material (it used to be made of bone). When changing strings, be careful to put the saddle back the right way in case it comes out of its slot.

Also, the neck relief can be adjusted with the truss rod. This video uses an electric neck as an example, but the idea is the same in steel-string acoustics (classical guitars usually don’t have a truss rod):

Action refers to the distance between the top of the fret and the “bottom” of the string:


If your action is really 2.5 to 3mm on the 6th string 12th fret, you have some tough fingers!

If you fret at the third fret and the string is just barely not touching (or just touching) the first fret, the nut is close enough. Then do the relief thing. Very important to get that close first. If you are still high, then trim the saddle down a little more.

Personally, I would go closer to 2mm.

You don’t need to change the strings to take the saddle out. Loosen them just enough to pull the pins and pull the ball end out. Leave attached at the tuners.

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