If you’re kinda new to playing the acoustic guitar, yet pretty addicted to the activity, and don’t know what to expect from different types of strings, then you’ve landed on the right page. Also, ever heard about extra light acoustic strings? There are many mysteries surrounding the type of string in question. Okay, that’s a bit of an overstatement, but many folks still do wonder: are extra light acoustic strings any good?

Needless to say, beginners are in need of good advice. That’s exactly what they’ll get from reading the text below. In it, we’ll introduce you to the various types of acoustic guitar strings (plus related info) and, eventually, why we think extra light acoustic strings are either good or bad. Stay tuned!

Extra light guitar strings are great for beginner guitarists since they’re a bit easier to play and won’t damage your fingertips. Additionally, you’ll be able to get clear notes out of them while avoiding pressing down hard on the strings. You can play using this type of strings until you’ve built up some strength in your fretting arm, and then switch to a heavier gauge.

Now, we can’t possibly imagine you stopping right here. Okay, we can, but that’s not the point. Simply keep on reading!

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What’s the deal with extra light acoustic strings?

If you’re having some trouble differentiating between various sizing systems, we’re here to help. For instance, you might be having a hard time figuring out the difference between XXL and XXXL. Now, we can’t help you with that one, but we’ll show you just how to recognize extra light acoustic strings. That being said, let’s kick-start this one!

What does extra light guitar strings mean?

Before we delve deeper into today’s main topic, it’s best if we first introduce some definitions to this text. So, what are extra light guitar strings? Extra light guitar strings represent the lightest version of guitar strings available to guitarists worldwide. To be more precise, this term refers to .010 to .047 gauge strings for acoustic guitars. These numbers are actually the diameters (in inches) of the lowest and the highest guitar string.

Is there any difference when it comes to electric guitars? You’ll wanna know that there’s a difference, alright: for electric guitars, extra light most means a .009, or sometimes even .008 gauge on the top spring.

Are extra light guitar strings easier?

Most folks would recommend that, as a beginner, you should opt for lighter strings. That’s because they’re a little easier to press down or fret. They won’t harm your fingers as heavier gauge strings would. For instance, many folks experience severe thumb pain when playing guitar with heavier gauge strings. Also, if you play using steel strings, jumping into light or ultra-light mode will tremendously help.

So, all in all: one could say that extra light guitar strings are easier. That’s especially crucial if the person’s a beginner since pain can sometimes demotivate folks from practicing guitar.

Do light gauge strings break easier?

Whether your strings will break during your guitar practice depends on a couple of things (besides the gauge). For instance, low-quality, yet medium-gauge strings can break more easily than high-quality, yet extra-light-gauge strings (who would’ve thought, right?). Also, the way you play will also have some good influence on whether or not your strings will break. If you like to drop tune your guitar and give it a good thrashing, then… Yeah, there’s a good chance you’re playing with the risk of breaking a string any second now.

To conclude: one can’t say that light-gauge strings will break more easily. However, low-quality light-gauge strings will break more easily than high-quality light-gauge strings, there’s no doubt about it. Lastly, are you curious why guitar strings are so long? Follow the highlighted text.

Do heavier strings sound better?

Here’s another one we can’t answer using a simple YES or a NO. The thing is: thicker acoustic strings will produce a louder sound since they possess more mass. However, that shouldn’t necessarily mean they sound better or something. Lighter guitar strings will make soloing a bit easier and are, as a matter of fact, the preferred option by many of today’s leading guitarists (like this guy here). So, who’s better now? We’re just kidding; the best strings out there are the ones you’re most comfortable playing with.

Okay, so that’s about it when it comes to the basic guitar-string info discussion. It might be time to consider our main topic: are extra light acoustic strings good? Also, if you’re on the lookout for more tips on playing your favorite instrument, click right here.

A girl holding and playing the acoustic guitar with extra light strings.

Are extra light acoustic strings good?

Okay, so let’s answer this in the simplest manner: yes, they’re good. However (and there’s always a however), we can’t just say they’re good and start talking about something else. We’ll need to elaborate further on why that’s so, and since we know that they’re good – who are they good for?

Here’s the thing: lighter gauge strings are, as we’ve already mentioned, easier to play. Also, you can get a clear tone out of them once you fret the notes more easily than you would if you were to use heavier gauge strings. That’s, among other things, why beginners (or recreative, seasoned guitarists) usually opt for lighter gauge acoustic strings.

Oh no, here’s the however section again: while extra light strings are easier to play, they’ll provide you with less volume and will definitely possess a different kind of feel than your standard light or medium gauge strings. They’ll also seem a lot looser and floppier. Therefore, you’ll notice that good old fingerpicking might be a little less easy to control for some guitarists. All in all: try not to worry about lighter strings having a strange feel to them since you’ll get used to it eventually. Not a bad ending for a however section, huh?

What about the set up?

Good question! Let’s say you’ve experienced some buzzing while playing your acoustic guitar and that’s the reason why you’ve stumbled upon this article in the first place. First of all, what’s a set up?

  • Performing a set up basically means simply (it’s not so simple, though) adjusting the guitar action to your liking while removing any annoying fret buzz on open strings. The process is usually done by a professional, and we encourage you to seek assistance from one, too. En général, amateurs and beginners will find it more enjoyable to use a guitar that possesses a lower action since it will cause the strings to be easier to press down. 

Why should professionals conduct this process? Well, they’ve got the right amount of experience in order to evaluate your instrument. The person can see if there are any modifications to be made just so your guitar receives a proper set up for extra light strings. Some say that this can be an alternative to opting for lighter gauge strings (when you’re experiencing the annoying buzzing), but no one said you can’t do both!

Anything else?

Actually, yes. We’ll quickly go through this and then give you a brief glimpse into the various types of guitar strings. Opting for lighter strings might be a good solution for you until you build some strength in your fretting hand; you’ll always have the option to go back to a heavier gauge mode. Anyway, keep in mind that each switching to a different gauge will have to be followed by a change in setup.

Bonus round: Different types of guitar strings (gauges)

Since we’ve talked about gauges all day long, let’s introduce you to your options when it comes to choosing guitar strings with different gauges. Okay, so we can differentiate between:

  • Extra-light. For acoustic guitars, they go from .010 to .047 gauge. For electric guitars, they even go from .008 or .009 gauge. As we’ve already mentioned, they’re recognized for their easy playability, yet something a tendency to break (especially if they’re low-quality).
  • Light. For acoustic guitars, they go from .012 to .053 gauge. For their electric siblings, light strings go from .010 to .046. They, of course, seem to be more durable than their extra light peers, yet still keep a pleasing tone.
  • Medium. These ones start at .013 (acoustic guitars) and .011 (electric guitars). They’re very, very popular in blues and rock-n-roll since they provide the player with a sturdy tone, but still enable string bending to a certain degree.
  • Heavy. These folks begin at .014 (acoustic guitars) and .012 (electric guitars). They’re very appealing to jazz musicians since these strings put the emphasis on the bass-forward guitar sounds and very minimal string bending. Of course, blues musicians and rockers also use these strings. Still, they like to detune their guitars by a half-step to get a heavy tone with strings that are easily bendable. When it comes to acoustic guitar music, these strings will create more sustain and overtones, although that type of playing will demand you possess a lot of finger strength.

The end of the road

Alright, so we’ve reached the end of the road, buddy. This was all there’s to the question of whether or not extra light guitar strings are any good. Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed reading this article as much as we did writing it. For more tips on various other subjects related to the act of playing music, pay a visit to our blog page.