Can you mix string brands if they’re in the same gauge? I have Ernie Ball strings and the ‘A’ string broke. Was wondering if i could Replace with a fender string of the same gauge?

  • It won’t do anything bad to the guitar. The tone may be different. But other than that if the gauge is the same I don’t see why you couldn’t. – b3ko May 29 '19 at 2:01
  • Why not? You can even put bass strings on a plain guitar, as was done by Todd Rittman of U.S. Maple. – Pyromonk May 29 '19 at 2:12
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    Even though there are many string brands available, they are all made by only a few different manufacturers and just re-labeled, so it's entirely possible that Fender strings and Ernie Ball are actually the same thing. I'm pretty sure Ernie Ball and GHS are just two different labels of strings made at the same factory. – Todd Wilcox May 29 '19 at 3:19
  • Hmmm. Maybe I’m wrong. Ernie Ball strings were originally just custom gauge sets ordered from an existing string manufacturer and repackaged by Ernie Ball himself, but now it appears they have their own factory. Maybe that story is why people still to this day think there are only a few manufacturers that provide many labels. I found an anecdote on another forum from someone who has toured the fender string factory in Mexico, so perhaps those are their own brand. Also it seems like the raw wire used to make strings is only made by one or two companies. – Todd Wilcox May 29 '19 at 3:43
  • No, you absolutely cannot. If you try to do that, the guitar police will burst through your windows and take you to jail. – LCIII May 31 '19 at 16:52

There is no fundamental reason to use a single brand or even a single weight from one brand for all strings. Granted you may find it easier to maintain an even sound level and strum/pick force if all strings are in the same weight class, but especially for acoustic guitars, you might find that swapping in one or two different weights improves the tone balance.

By way of comparison, many cellists use different brands and weights for the upper two strings vs. the lower two.

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    To echo your comments on cellists, my brother is a violin and mixes and matches all four strings from different sets and manufacturers. It is governed by the music he plays and how his violin is voiced. As a matter of personal taste he doesn't want four balanced strings and likes achieving a different timbre from each. – ABragg May 29 '19 at 13:18

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