Those who love guitars really shop around to find the perfect acoustic guitar that plays just right, looks real sharp and most importantly, sounds great! Of course, once you get your acoustic, there is also the dilemma on what type of string you need to buy. There are 2 things you need to consider: Size & Material
1) String Size aka gauge
The reason why there are so many different sizes of strings is because everyone’s needs are different. If big volume & presence is more important, you’re going to want to use heavy gauge strings. If you want strings that are easier to bend and to press down, then light gauge strings are for you. Of course there are other advantages to each gauge, but this is why it’s a really good idea to try different gauges of strings until you find just the right size for you. It can really make or break your guitar playing experience.
Cleartone Treated Strings offer a wide variety of sizes to meet these needs. We carry the Ultra Light 10-47 gauge set all the way up to the Medium 13-56. The Light 12-53 may be a good starting point as it is our best selling gauge, but be sure not to settle for anything less than exactly what works best for you.
2) Material aka composition
Certain acoustic guitars pair well with certain types of strings, much like certain foods pair well with different wines. Cleartone offers 3 completely different string materials for this reason: Phosphor-Bronze, 80/20 Bronze, & Copper-Bronze. All sound completely different and have their own unique advantages.
Phosphor-Bronze are the most widely used sets of strings on the market. Made up of roughly 92% copper, 8% tin, & .2% phosphorus, these strings are formulated to add warmth to your tone without compromising the brightness. They are a very well-rounded string, and will last the longest due to the phosphorus in the formula. These strings pair well with guitar brands that typically have brighter characteristics such as many Epiphone & Takamine guitars, and will add warmth where needed.
Phosphor Bronze = Warm tone, longest lifespan
80/20 Bronze strings were the first popular acoustic guitar string on the market are perfect for those who love a crisp, bright sound. Many love how these strings sound on the larger dreadnought guitars or those with warm characteristics such as Martins & Taylors. Traditionally warmer sounding guitars such as the larger dreadnought Martin & Taylor guitars pair well with 80/20s. These are made of 80% copper, 20% tin and many like them because they get what some people call a true “brass” sound. Also, since they do not contain phosphorus, they tend to break in a little quicker so you may find yourself changing strings a bit sooner than with the phosphor bronze strings.
80/20 Bronze = Brightest, most traditional tone
Copper-Bronze aka “Red” strings are made up of the newest string formula on the market and have a characteristic “red” look to them. These strings provide a warm, rich tone along with some overtones that many say add clarity to your sound. Many like them for studio recording sessions but they can be used for a variety of situations. These also contain no phosphorus so string life will be good, but they likely won’t last you as long as the phosphor-bronze. Cleartone sells these as Red brand strings.
Reds = Clarity, warm tone, popular for studio sessions
Overwhelmed yet? Don’t be. Start with a phosphor-bronze string, 12-53. If you feel that you need a brighter tone, get the Bronze 80/20 strings. If you feel that you need strings that are easier on your hands, try the 10-47 gauge string. Once you have this dialed in, you’ll be sure to have a much more enjoyable experience with your guitar.