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I thought this would be an interesting topic seeing as how there's so many types of string gauges out there... almost as many as there are players it seems!

I use light gauge (12 - 53) on the acoustic guitars as I tend to play a lot of improvise a lot of lead guitar lines when I fingerpick. Between doing that and bending the strings up to a whole step the light gauge is easier on my fingers.

However, on the instruments set up for slide guitar I use a medium set and swap out the E (13) for a (14)... as I find it does improve the overall tone. I tend to tune those guitars down to D, D6, Dm, G, and Gm. In doing so I also swap out the 3rd string (26) for a (24) as going back and forth between those tunings tended to exhaust the higher gauge.

I have a couple of parlor guitars from the 30’s. I’ll use custom lights on those - 11 - 52.

Finally, my 12 string guitars are strung with mediums (12-52) and tuned down 2 whole steps to get that Blind Willie McTell - Leadbelly sound.

There's really no hard and fast rule as to what to use. It's worth your while to experiment and see what works best for you.

As a by line... I like D’Addarios. I’ve been using them since the early 70’s when they used to be called Darco New Yorker.

Toby Walker

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Well, you're probably right, but I think they're doing a dis-service to beginners especially.  My son just started playing, and changing strings is a daunting task  for him under the best of circumstances.  Most people want to put the strings on sequentially, so they'll want the 6th out of the first package and the 5th out of the second package and so on.  Certainly, being sure to get the right string on the right pin should not be rocket science, but it helps a lot if the strings are clearly marked and/or packaged in order.  So, anyway, I gave him a set of Elixers and a set of DAddarios for Christmas, skipping the Martins entirely even though the Martins are priced lower.

Yep ... D'Addarios have colored ends and so do Godin strings which are manufactured by D'Addario. I'm not wild about changing strings either, but I've gotten pretty quick and efficient at it since I switched to the Taylor system.  Radical concelt at first, but just makes so much sense once you do it a time or two.  I get about 50-60 hours out of a set of coated Elixers or D'Addarios.  I find myself changing the strings on my most played guitars about once a month.

Sorry for delay - just returned from Africa - and reading this thread back, it seems to me that it might help if we explain our preferences but also on what type of guitar.

When one of our number mentioned an opn tuning on a strat, I realised that his comments would have little or no relelvence to my stringing my 12 fret slotted headstock dreradnaughts and vise versa.

However, I have resooeved to try to formulate a standard methodology for stringing acoustic guitars with both flat and slotterd headstocks, and with pinnned or floating bridges - and, of course - 12 string guitars, which have similr chalenges to mandolin. .

I am convinced that there is an ideal string changing order to make the changes as quick, accurate and easy as possible.

However there are radical variances - for instance whilst I agree with another who siad that he prefers to remove all strings, and then clean his instrument before re-stringing and do so for my fixed bridge flat-tops, I do not remove all strings on my floating bridge

archtops, 12 string, or mandolin, because I don't wish to affect the intonation. 

For these I try my best to clean them as thoroughly as possible whilst thje old strings are still on.Even with just two strings holding the brisdges in place it is possible to treat the fretboard and the awkward gaps between the fretboard and bridge and the spaces around the tailpieces.

There is also a common assumption that slotted heads are more difficult to change that flat-heads and I would suggest that neigtther is more deifficult but simply a matter of technique - although I would accept that older instruments such as prewar Nationals with very thin slots can be a bit of a bitch. 

With such style headstocks, a particular order of string is helpful. Trouble is I have to go do some string changing to remind myself!

Whilst I was away I distributed my guitars amongst my pals for safe keeping and still need to get most of them back. Then I propose to change the strings on all my player guitars.

For the wall hangers - incidentally I prefer Elixirs because they simply last forever looking good.

Anyone already figured out a methodology of  re-string order for mandos, 12 strings etc ?

Ol' Andy

Arlie ... yes, remove all strings at once and go through the normal housekeeping, but then with the Taylor system you cut the strings to the proper length before you wind them, using the distance between the tuning pegs as a general gauge for where the cut should occur.  Strings for the first pegs are clipped at the second peg, strings for the second pegs are clipped at the third peg, and strings for the third peg are clipped at the end of the head stock.  This sounds radical, but it works great and always gives you a consistent number of winds.  Here's a video showing you what I mean:

Hi, the Yamaha of which you speak (I googled it) is beyond my experience as I have only briefly flirted with solid guitars and fond them to be simply not6 my style - but each to his own. I prefer guitars made to designs prior to 1935. 

As far as working on guitars -0 and havoing about 20 I utilise my small gernal workshop bench with a carpeted top, and have amassed a small aluminioium case of appropriate measuring, changing and adjusting tools - the best of wghich is probably my small electric scewdriver with a winding tool on the end - something similr to that used on the taylor video. I also use a planet waves clipper/winder/and pin remover and a small dentists tool to manipulate strings. There are far more but the tool box is my little delight.


I watched the Taylor method with interst but the concept of cutting strings before they are under tension dgoes against my nature - especially for round core strings - so I won't be doing that any time soon. 

I also buy my strings in bulk and positively enjoy canging strings aon a few guitars at a time - usually on two monthly intervals. Mandos and 12 strings are the most demanding.

Best to all,

Ol' Andy

I'm a big fan of John Pearse Mediums (13 - 56) on my old Taylor 810.  In my opinion they have the best tone.  Plenty of bottom end without getting "boomy".   They are not easy to bend and can be a little tough on your fingers at first.  But once you get past the pain, the sound is quite nice.

I use 11 or 12's to 54's but recently have swapped out just the 54 for a 58, this really helps for open tunings (which I use a lot) especially for things like low C tuning.

I used to use Black Diamond strings in the early days when they were readily available in my area - .012 to .053. I switched to D'Addarios when the music stores stopped carrying the Black Diamond brand (I think that was around 1977 or ' 78) and I've been using D'Addarios ever since, same guage - .012 to .053. Similar tone and life span as the Diamonds, too. I also use D'Adarrios for my electrics as well - .011 to .049.


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