Like with everything, you have low end and high end products of the same thing. The same goes for guitar strings. So, our question is: Is there a significant difference between cheap and expensive guitar strings? Are expensive guitar strings worth it? In other words, do quality guitar strings make a difference?
Expensive guitar strings are significantly better than cheap ones. They have richer and fuller tone. High end strings resonate better. They feel better under the fingers. Also, they provide better tuning stability. Lastly, they last significantly longer than cheap strings.
A good thing about strings is that you can experiment with different string brands for small amount of many. Even expensive guitar strings don’t cost that much in comparison with other guitar parts and accessories, such as amps, pedals, pickups etc.
How Much Should You Spend On Guitar Strings?
I’d say that 10 to 30 bucks for a set of guitar strings is just fine. For around 10 $ and higher, you’ll get a decent set of strings. For more than 15 $ you’ll get great, or fantastic guitar strings for yourself. You decide. Just keep in mind one thing: String sets that are more expensive usually lasts much longer.
So, if you’re worrying about spending money on guitar strings, keep in mind that with buying expensive strings you’re buying a time. Basically, in the long run, expensive guitar strings aren’t that expensive when you put durability in equation.
Do Cheap Guitar Strings Sound Bad?
Cheap guitar strings sound worse than non cheap strings. In my opinion, you shouldn’t go for a cheap set of strings, because it’s pointless. You’ll have to change them more often, and the playing experience is nowhere near good as it is with more expensive set of strings.
What Makes Expensive Strings Better Than Cheap Strings
Let’s analyze main characteristics of a guitar string.
Expensive guitar strings are made of fine materials. Some expensive strings are coated. Expensive guitar strings are wounded in a better way. They don’t have cracks. They are longer than cheap strings; that’s one of the reason why cheap strings are cheap.
High quality guitar strings have louder tone than cheap ones. They resonate better, and they have more sustain than cheap strings.
Because they resonate better, a pickup sends a better signal to guitar amp. Cheap strings are not loud. Their resonance is poor, so you often have to amplify the pickup and the amp to get the decent output.
Cheap guitar strings don’t provide you a good feeling when you press your fingers on them. It is often the case that cheap strings are more harsh to your fingers than average priced or high priced strings.
In other words, expensive strings will provide you a better playing experience. Your fingers will be better off with these strings. The sliding is easier and feel better with expensive strings. Bending also.
Cheap strings can provide a harsher experience with string bending. They are more prone to rust, so bending strings is often more uncomfortable.
Different guitar string sets produce different tones. Cheaper guitar strings usually don’t produce the sound as full and rich as expensive guitar strings produce.
That’s because expensive guitar strings resonate better. They are, not just louder, but also warmer and fuller in terms of sound than cheap strings.
With cheap strings, you’ll often get a sound that’s more gained in treble part of frequency spectrum. Cheap strings don’t have good bass tone. Or you can get the opposite. With some string sets, you can hear a lot of bass and mid, but treble is lacking.
Expensive guitar strings don’t have that problem. They are balanced in a good way.
Expensive, high quality strings last longer. That’s because high quality strings are more resistant to corrosion. Corrosion and rust are strings’ greatest enemies.
Strings, in general, tend to get rusty over time. That’s because of the humidity in the surroundings, or sweat coming from our fingers. Proper guitar storing and string care can prolong longevity of guitar strings significantly.
However, expensive guitar strings last longer because they are wounded better. + They have been made out of better materials, in terms of quality.
For example, Elixir strings are coated with nanoweb. That’s why they last significantly longer than cheap strings. You can check them out on Amazon.
- Elixir Acoustic Guitar Strings with Nanoweb Coating
- Elixir Electric Guitar Strings with Optiweb Coating
Cheap guitar strings go out of tune more often. That’s because they are wounded worse than high quality strings are. Cheap strings are often wounded in a way that their windings develop cracks and gaps. When the string is winded around tuning keys, over time windings on a strings becomes loose.
That’s what makes cheap strings go out of tune more frequently, after some time passes.
Expensive strings provide better tuning stability. They are made in a way that they provide uniformity and stability of the tone.
Before we conclude the topic, I encourage you to watch this interesting video. In it, you’ll see the experiment with different sets of strings. Some are cheap, some are more expensive.
As you can see and hear, the difference between differently priced guitar strings sets can clearly be heard. This basically confirms all of that’s written above in the article.
I hope this article provided some valuable information about this topic. Expensive guitar strings are definitely worth it. Even if you worry about spending some extra buck on these string sets, I tell you not to worry.
Often, the case is that the cheaper the product is, the more expensive it is in the long run. Cheap strings provide worse playing experience, they don’t keep the tone stable enough and they have shorter lifespan. With all that in mind, it really pays off to spend some extra cash on expensive guitar strings.
Moreover, strings, as a product, don’t really cost that much.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing it. If that’s the case, I’m more than happy about it.
Don’t forget to check out other interesting guitar related articles on this site.
Cheers, and rock on!