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Best Acoustic Guitar Strings For Playing Blues

Most guitar players have a kind of a running battle with their guitar strings, apart from the normal issues relating to keeping them in tune and changing them. The questions are rife for the student guitarist. It's not sufficient that we have to learn finger picking guitar, but on top of that, our fingers hurt and we are not sure if we are using the right guitar strings or not!  

What are the best acoustic guitar strings for blues style fingerpicking are there any such things as 'blues strings'
 If you are lucky enough (and rich enough) to have a personal teacher, then it's a piece of cake. Just ask his advice and rely on his practical experience. However, if you purchase blues guitar lessons from the net, or on a DVD, you are mostly left to your own devices, relying on word of mouth from friends, or good old trial and error. 

The best strings for acoustic blues guitar are really the ones that suit your style, which might change over time, but first of all it depends an awful lot on your touch and the effect you want to give with your music

Best acoustic Guitar Strings For Playing acoustic Blues

First off, it depends on, what style of acoustic guitar to want to play. Blue grass players go for a medium gauge guitar string, which goes from 0.054 inch to 0.013 inch. These strings are great for clipping with a plectrum held loosely between thumb and finger, and don't vibrate a lot when struck. This can be important if you have a great guitar with a low action. A string that vibrates too much can touch one of the frets, causing a horrible buzzing sound. Also, they are a bit hard on the fretting fingers.

The guitar in the video below is a Martin 000X1 with Cleartone Light Gauge phosphor bronze strings.

acustic guitar strings for acoustic blues guitar

Above , Martin 000X1AE - One Of The Best Acoustic Guitar For Blues Fingerpicking (IMO)

In the video below I'm playing two guitars. On the street I'm using an Aria Johnny Joyce signature model, one of the best acoustic guitar for blues, and for the demonstrations of technique I'm using an old favorite, which was a very cheap Fender cutaway.

I'm not much of a purist as far as guitar quality goes, but I do like to have really good strings. Having tested many over the last 40 years or so, I always seem to come back to light gauge Martin strings, which are great for picking acoustic blues guitar.

The guitar in the video below is a Martin 000X1 with Cleartone Light Gauge phosphor bronze strings.


Acoustic Blues Guitar Strings - Medium Guitar Or Light Gauge For Finger Style?

best acoustic strings for blues
Of course, we need to build up those callouses, but medium gauge guitar strings need a little more finger pressure to hold them firmly on the frets. For blues style finger picking, most players prefer light gauge, which range from 0.054 to 0.011 inch.

There doesn't seem much difference between the two sets of strings, but believe me - you will feel it! The difference becomes obvious when you try to bend one of the strings across to raise the note a semi-tone and produce that lovely wailing blues sound.

It feels really hard - you just can't push it far enough, easily enough. By contrast, most people find extra light strings a bit too thin (0.052 to 0.010). They just move around a little too much, and easily touch the frets if hit too hard. Saying that, many superb world-class guitarists use lights, as it all depends on your finger control.

String quality is not an issue with modern strings and manufacturing methods.
Basic 80/20 bronze wound strings can be bought quite cheaply, but it's worth while spending a little more and buying phosphor bronze, which are a bit more mellow and longer lasting. Martin make an SP set, which is more durable and great for that special studio session, or important performance. However, if you are a street player, don't bother with the higher quality - play the guitar hard and change them often. The best guitar strings are the ones that suit your playing style and don't need changing too often!

Rating: 9 out of 10
Author: Jim Bruce
Date: 2012/01
Category: Music
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best strings for fingerstyle - It's always a personal choice!

Best Acoustic Guitar For Blues FingerpickingWhen playing finger-style with bare fingers, I generally use two sets of strings a month and buy phosphor bronze strings in the SP range. For the best strings for fingerpicking bottleneck I use Medium gauge, same manufacturer and always SP.

Correct acoustic guitar action not just manages the convenience and playability of the guitar, however it also helps the guitar stay in tune and preserve articulation. Acoustic guitar action is generally more adjustable than electrical guitar action in that acoustic guitar strings require more space to vibrate. Typically, the greater the action on a guitar, the more unpleasant and hard the guitar is to play and the lower the action, the simpler and more comfy the guitar is to play.

The Best Acoustic Guitar String Is The One That Fits Your Style Of Fingerpicking

THE BEST ACOUSTIC GUITAR STRINGThe above article sums it up nicely. You and your playing style are the keys here. Of course, cost is an important thing - the very best strings will set you back 50 bucks or so, so if you you're in the habit of changing strings every gig or once a week even, get ready to spend some money.

For most of us who change our strings once a month, or even once every two weeks, a good general quality string like the Cleartone range is well within or pocket. In my own case, for some years I played with steel fingerpicks - great for cutting through noise when playing on the street, for example, but they really chew up the strings, which need changing every few days. Annoyingly, it's always the wound G string that goes dull first, so best to keep a supply of those to change it out before fitting a complete new set.