Guitar Strings Medium vs Light | Best Acoustic Guitar Strings

Guitar Strings Medium vs Light | Best Acoustic Guitar Strings


  • Guitar strings are available in gauge sizes, comprising light, medium, and heavier strings to suit different players.
  • Light acoustic guitar strings are easier to play, but medium gauge strings offer a more tonally balanced sound, which is great for new players.
  • Not all guitars play nice with light-gauge strings, or even heavy strings, so conduct some research before making any purchase.

If you are new to the world of acoustic instruments, you may want to compare guitar strings, medium vs light. The best guitars, after all, need strings, and these strings are available in many sizes, including medium and light. So what difference does the size of the string make, and which size is best for you? Keep reading to find out.

Acoustic Guitar Light Strings vs Medium

String thickness is a pretty big deal, as is comparing steel guitar stings vs nylon. No matter how many strings a guitar has, whether it’s an acoustic guitar or otherwise, the size of the strings impacts the sound, volume, playing style, and more. Changing up the strings can be a good way to make an old guitar feel new or spruce up the best acoustic guitar under $500.

So, yeah, medium strings are a standard size while light strings are much smaller. Let’s do a deep dive into what it means, so you can choose the best acoustic guitar under $300 and start playing.

Comfort While Playing

Light acoustic strings have a gauge of 0.08, 0.09, and 0.10, though some extend to 0.12 gauge. Generally speaking, the lighter the string, the easier it is to play. Higher-gauged medium strings are “harder” to play, but there is a good reason to start with medium strings. Embrace the increased difficulty. That way, when you switch to lighter strings, you can fly across the fretboard. The reverse, going from light to medium, works in the opposite way.

Guitar Integration

Medium strings are considered the de facto standard, so they will fit just about any guitar you throw at them. Some guitar shapes and designs, on the other hand, do not do that well with light strings. This won’t break the guitar or anything, but the strings will snap easier and will necessitate regular replacements. When you buy a guitar, the tech will let you know the appropriate size string to use.

Tonal Balance

This is up to personal preference, but different-sized strings do change the sound of the guitar. Medium strings are known for offering a neutral and balanced sound, while lighter strings provide a reduced bass response and an increased treble response. Going even heavier to thick gauge strings creates a bass-heavy response that some consider muddy, but others prefer above all else.

Medium Vs Light Strings FAQs

Does guitar string gauge matter?

String gauge matters in that it changes the overall experience, allowing for drop tunings, for instance. However, you can still play with just about any-sized strings, including heavy gauge strings, electric guitar strings, and even bass strings.

Do acoustic-electric guitars need different strings? 

Yes and no. They take well to heavier gauge strings, aka thicker strings, and treble strings, aka lighter strings. Experiment with various sets of strings to find your favorite setup. 

How often should acoustic guitar strings be changed? 

There is no stock answer here, as it depends on the string gauge (lighter gauge strings require more frequent changeouts than thicker strings) and how often you play the guitar. Keep an eye on string tension, especially on the treble strings, and you’ll know when to switch them out. 



“The lightest strings are typically .010, and the heaviest are .059. String gauge has a big influence on playability and sound. Most acoustic guitars ship with light or medium gauge strings, which are also known as 12s or 13s.” (source)

TIP: Keep a wide array of strings on hand, with different sizes, to suit your moods and playing preferences.



Lawrence Bonk
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