Free Video: Guitar String Gauge Guide - Make Sure You Pick The Right Strings For You

Wish you had a guitar string gauge guide that helped you choose the right strings for you and your specific playing style?

You've come to the right place!

Whether you want to play with lighter or heavier guitar string gauges...

...there are several reasons why you should pick one or the other.

The strings you choose will affect things like overall tone, how easy it is to use certain guitar techniques or how you go about approaching different speed-related challenges.

Get started learning about what strings to choose by watching this free guitar string gauge guide:

Click on the video to begin watching it.

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Now that you understand the pros and cons to choosing various guitar string gauges, review the points below to solidify your choice next time you go to put new strings on your guitar:

Choosing The Right Guitar String Gauge For: Sweep Picking

Sweep picking is much easier to pull off cleanly when you use thicker guitar string gauges for your strings.

Having thicker string gauges makes it easier to complete the release of a note.

This makes it much easier to mute strings using your fretting hand in order to prevent them from ringing together when you want them to sound separately.

Using a thinner guitar string gauge makes it easier to play sweep picking arpeggios fast but at the expense of making it harder to play them cleanly.


If you still want to play sweep picking arpeggios with a lighter guitar string gauge, try raising the action of the strings. This makes it much easier to mute the notes and release the strings properly so no extra noise occurs.

Choosing The Right Guitar String Gauge For: Guitar Sustain

Many of my guitar students ask me which strings to choose for the greatest level of sustain.

Here’s what I tell them:

It’s not about your strings.

It’s about your pick.

Use a heavy pick that slices right through the strings (versus a thin one that bends when you pick a note). Then pick with power and use vibrato in your fretting hand to sustain the note. This is all you need to sustain a note indefinitely until you decide to stop.

Choosing The Right Guitar String Gauge For: String Bending

The guitar string gauge you use greatly changes your approach to bending the strings.

Here’s how:

Lighter strings: Easier to bend, more range, less energy required to bend

Heavier strings:  Harder to bend, less range, more energy required to bend

Overall, if you like to bend the strings a lot, consider choosing lighter gauge guitar strings over heavy.

Choosing The Right Guitar String Gauge For: Legato Technique

Love the smooth sound of legato guitar technique?

It’s much easier to play this technique when you use lighter strings vs heavier ones. Using lighter strings helps you to easily create the initial note of a legato lick without needing to pick and without requiring a lot of energy.

Choosing The Right Guitar String Gauge For: Playing With Speed

Depending on what you want, either light or heavy guitar string gauges can be great for fast playing.

Heavier strings provide a nice tone for lower register/fretboard playing. They also make it easier to release a note after you play it – making cleaner play more easy.

Lighter strings require less overall force to get a note to sound and therefore make speed easier in this way. However, it is more difficult to control the release of a note with light strings. This can lead to sloppier playing.

Note: There can be many other reasons you may be playing sloppy too and choosing the right string gauge might not solve all your problems at once.

For example:

While playing fast guitar scales, make sure you are not slowing down at different points within the scale (such as during the times when you change position).

This is a matter of not having both hands in sync for every note you play in the scale.

To fix this issue, try isolating these problem notes by working on them separately from the other notes in the pattern that you’ve mastered. An excellent way to do this is to double pick each of these notes at a slower speed.

While changing fretboard positions during a scale, watch to make sure your fretting hand thumb is aligned with your middle finger (from behind the neck).

It’s also much easier to solve any specific problems in your guitar playing that you can’t seem to fix when you do one big thing:

Take lessons with a great guitar teacher and track your progress consistently.

A great guitar teacher gives you all the information, advice, coaching and training you need to fulfill your potential on guitar as fast as possible. This means no more struggling to make minimal progress and a massive increase in the motivation you feel to keep getting better (because you get consistent results).

I know this works because I've seen it in my own playing and designed special lesson plans and tools to help other guitarists get better while tracking their results along the way.

Here are just a few testimonials from some of my students who got big results by taking guitar lessons:

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