String gauges for beginners

Hi what gauge string would you recommend for a beginner?

For an electric guitar, I recommend 9’s (that’s a standard set with .009" diameter of the high-E string).

I actually started with 8’s, but the string tension was so low that I would constantly bend strings while fretting, causing the note to be sharp (higher pitch).

Understand that if you change string gauge, you will likely need to adjust the truss rod in the neck to compensate for the different string tension.

For an acoustic, I recommend a set of phosphor bronze 10’s. I had these put on my acoustic, along with a set-up to get the action low, and it is a JOY to play. The tone is great!


For acoustic I found silk and steel strings pretty good - they have a little less tension, a bit more mellow. I have a set of Martin silk and phosphor waiting on the shelf 11-47.


I’ve also had good experience with silk and steel strings.

When we put them on my girlfriend’s guitar, she went from being frustrated to motivated almost overnight, they made such a difference.

No truss rod adjustment was needed.

Note they are they are thicker than regular light strings - .012 - I think. But this makes them easier on the fingers.


On acoustic, I like thicker but low tension strings. There are several places to get these. I use Straight Up Strings. Their 12s have similar tension to regular 11s. 11s like 10s.

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I started with 9s on electric and 11s on acoustic. Now on 10s on electric and 12s on acoustic. 10s because I sometimes press too hard and bent the 9s out of tune, 12s because they sound better.

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