Hey guys I'm very new to guitar as in like I need to restring my old guitars that I got years ago but never even bothered to learn before I can actually start to learn. My question is what gauge strings should I go with on my acoustic guitar and also on my electric? I have small hands and they also aren't the strongest so should I go with 8 gauge strings, or go with 9 maybe even 10s? And as far as acoustic goes I don't know much about them other than for the 10 minutes if ever actually tried to play an acoustic guitar it really hurt my fingers I dont know what gauge the strings were but would a lighter gauge string hurt less to play on? I'm a complete noob guys so if my questions seem odd please dont just completely roast me lol. I can handle people talking junk to me but I actually really want your guys help with this, also will I be able to adjust the action and set up my electric guitar by myself with the help of YouTube to get a more pleasant playing experience or will I need to go to a store and get help from a professional?

3 Answers 3


Not knowing the make, or more importantly the scale length of the guitars makes it awkward to answer. However, I can't see a problem with lighter strings - I've used .008s for many decades. As a beginner, you'll find them easier to press down, and no, they won't act as cheese cutters. The problem you might find is that they are easier to bend out of tune, and if you press too hard, the notes will be slightly sharpened.

After a while, you may find you prefer a more mellow sound, and your fingers are stronger, (callouses are optional !) so you may opt for .009s or .010s on the electric, possibly going to .011s or .012s on acoustic.

Something else to consider is tuning down a semitone or two, when the tension of thicker strings will be less. And, of course, get the action and intonation to its best.


Different string gauges will sound different, especially on acoustic guitars, depending on how you actually strike the stings to make them sound, so which gauge you select should be determined by how you play and what you want it to sound like.

Since you are just starting out you likely are not sure exactly what sound you want and how different gauges will effect the sound. Generally speaking the thicker the stings the more body there will in the sound, it will sound "bigger" and "richer", where thinner strings can sound "lighter", more "intimate", but as always it depends on how hard you hit the strings and what you use to hit them with. A delicate finger style on a light string will sound different to crashing through the strings hard with a thick plectrum.

So what gauge should you buy? If you buy a new guitar from a shop then it will most likely come with tens, or sometimes elevens on acoustic guitars. So this is a sort of "standard" string gauge.


If your acoustic is hurting your fingers you may need to get the nut and bridge adjusted to lower the action. I had this done for one of my students and really helped improve the quality of the instrument, ease of play, her enthusiasm, etc. As for gauge? If you can guess the gauge you currently have and match it that would be best. A change in gauge sometimes requires a tweak in adjustment of the other mechanisms in the guitar. Take it in to a shop and ask for a complete set up. That will include new strings and you can ask the tech for advice. Let them know your level and how you'd like the guitar to feel. They should be able to accommodate you.

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