I am considering stringing my 6-string electric guitar with a series of prime gauges.

e.g. 11,13,17,29,37,47

I am looking on Ernie Ball's site and while I might be able to find the 3 thinner strings, the larger ones almost always fall into the same sizes (which are all composite numbers, not primes).

Has anyone ever seen gauges like this for larger strings? (29,37,47)

  • 2
    For a moment, I thought that I had wandered into the maths site but the yellow banner contradicted that. Why do you care whether the size numbers are prime or composite? The particular numbers are just a chance effect of the units used.
    – badjohn
    Apr 13, 2017 at 14:46
  • 1
    I have not seen string gauges you are looking for (29, 37, and 47), but to get close you can order a custom package from String Joy here: stringjoy.com/guitarstrings/strings/electric-guitar-strings/…
    – Chad
    Apr 13, 2017 at 16:02
  • Onto the lower strings I guess the manufacturers just round gauges to the nearest even number - none of which will be prime. Apart from the principle involved, I defy you to tell in a blind test whether a bottom string is 47 or 48. What particular reasoning apart from maths is involved?
    – Tim
    Apr 13, 2017 at 16:50
  • 1
    @JasonPSallinger I am well aware of the connection between music and maths. I am a member of two stack exchange communities: music and maths. My point here is that the unit of size for the strings is arbitrary and hence no meaning can be sensibly attached to the numbers. Is 13cm a prime length? Does it cease being prime if we measure it in inches instead?
    – badjohn
    Apr 13, 2017 at 17:04
  • 1
    I just did a bit of Googling and most of the sizes that I see ate not even integers but numbers such as .042. So, they are only integers if multiplied by 1000. These sizes appear to be in inches. If we went metric then the strings wouldn't change but the numbers would. Here in the UK, I have prime feet: size 11. In the US, they are 12 so not prime. In Europe, they are 46, and other numbers in other countries. Just arbitrary.
    – badjohn
    Apr 13, 2017 at 17:50

1 Answer 1


Yes, you can find string gauges in the odd sizes, depending on the manufacturer. I've filled odd sets by pulling from a couple different makers. You can check with Dunlop and D'Addario.

As mentioned in the comments, there sometime is very little difference in a single gauge change. I have measured strings with digital calipers and found that there can be some on variance on what .048 means to each manufacturer, some a little bigger, some a little smaller.


Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.