7 String Guitar Gauges – What Should They Be?

There are a lot of gauges available for 7-string guitar players. Some people swear by a particular gauge, some don’t care about it, and some are even confused about the difference between a “gauge” and a “string”.

You can find 7-string guitars often equipped with bass strings or nickel-plated steel strings. DR strings sound the best and are considered the best strings for a 7-string guitar. Sometimes we also see nickel-wound electric guitar strings on a 7-string guitar.

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7-string guitars are often used by guitar players who want to play a particular style of music or a genre of music. They can be used for jazz, rock, blues, country, and even heavy metal. There are different types of guitar gauges, and we’ll discuss the most popular ones here.

What is Guage in a guitar?

The thickness of the high E string, which is calculated as 1/1000th of an inch, is referred to as the string gauge of an instrument. For instance, the high E string in a package of 10-gauge strings will possess a diameter of 0.010 inches. As with most electric instrumentalists, either 9 or 10 gauge, and for acoustic guitars, 12 gauge is the finest string gauge.

Most guitar players would rather play with a thicker gauge. It is not because they don’t like thin strings. On the contrary, it is because thin strings are prone to breaking. This is why guitarists prefer thicker strings.

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The thicker the string, the harder it will be to bend, thus providing better control. This is true for both steel and nylon strings. With steel strings, the thicker the string, the harder it is to bend. A good-quality guitar string can last up to three months with moderate playing.

7-String Guitar Gauges

The seven-string is, in fact, mostly employed for playing techniques that fall under the metal umbrella. Given this, most people would choose a heavier gauge set (.010-.060 and higher). However, there is a lot of complexity involved in making this choice.

Although thicker strings usually sound best with metal, there are many various reasons you could want to choose something else!

Gauges, which more precisely refer to a measurement of the thickness of the guitar string, are another name for these “weights.” Certain gauges can support specific musical genres more than others, which can also make a guitar easier or harder on the fingers. You can pick from one of three major groups of gauges.

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Heavy, Standard, and Light are those. When making a purchase, paying great attention to the measurements is crucial because the language used for those categories may vary from brand to brand.

Because the variances between these measures are so few, it is simple for beginners to believe they don’t need to be concerned about the gauge they use. This is false since different string gauges have advantages and disadvantages.

Heavy Guage

This gauge refers to .010-.060 and above. First of all, metal musicians frequently thrash and strain their instruments’ cords. As a result, too-light strings may appear “floppy” and have too much give. Because of the drop tuning problem, strong strings frequently perform best for metal music genres.

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Players want to expand their range, particularly when using seven-string guitars. Drop tuning is one method of expanding the range. A guitar’s strings become looser when drop-tuned, although part of the looseness that results from these alternative tunings is mitigated by the heavier weight of a heavy string.

When using heavy gauge strings, the tension on the guitar is higher than the standard gauge. They are thicker than standard gauges and, therefore, heavier as well. For example, a heavy gauge string of 0.011 would weigh.07 ounces. A standard gauge string would weigh.013.

Since most seven-string guitars are played through amplifiers, the louder sound of these thicker strings may not be all that significant. Longevity is an extra bonus of thicker strings. There isn’t much more to say about the fact that they endure longer since they are thicker.

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The fact that heavier strings are harder on the fingertips is a big drawback. Many newer players struggle with this since their finger calluses haven’t fully grown, but they can learn to do it with practice.

Acoustic guitarists typically use thicker strings because they provide more volume, warmth, and resonance, which are essential qualities for an acoustic guitar. Additionally, acoustic strings don’t bend as frequently. Thus, it’s OK to trade tension for suppleness.

Standard Guage

The standard gauge, also known as a medium gauge for 7-string guitars, is around 0.010-.056. For seven-string players, in particular, standard strings are sort of the best and worst of all worlds. They are not as simple as light-gauged strings but gentler on the fingertips.

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Standard gauge strings are more common than heavy gauge. They’re designed to produce a more “relaxed” sound. If you are used to playing acoustic guitar, a standard gauge should be enough for you to start out with.

They can withstand a little down tuning, but not too much, and will become floppy if you loosen them far beyond the common alternative tunings. They are also less likely to live as long as heavy strings while being more resilient than light strings.

Light gauge strings can be the finest option for people who want to perform music from the blues or rock genres. As long as you don’t want to tune your guitar too low, they’re a perfect compromise that you can adjust to your needs. Many seven-string guitarists would probably benefit from using a standard gauge.

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The benefits of standard guitar strings are that they are easy to find. They are sold in most guitar shops and department stores. They are also cheap, making them perfect for the beginner who is just starting to play the guitar.

Their sound is great for beginners because they are easy to learn. Standard Guage strings are perfect for those who want a fast, loud sound. Most guitarists prefer them to nylon strings. They make a great choice for guitarists who want to play fast.

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In hybrid packs, the lower strings tend to be heavier and thicker. With a meatier tone for riffing and the added benefit of easier fretting on the thinner top strings, you effectively get the best of both worlds. Although hybrid strings are a common option for many guitarists who play rhythm and lead parts, they aren’t specifically designed for any musical genre.

Light Guage

Light gauge strings refer to .009-.052 and lower. Of course, these are advantageous, but with seven strings, the disadvantages exceed the advantages in most cases. Musicians who desire to perform country, folk, pop, and other genres that call for a lot of fingerpicking should choose light strings.

Players who want to employ a lot of string-bending techniques should also choose light strings. Beginner guitarists are another genre of a musician who would likely appreciate light strings. They require little finger dexterity because they are simple to push to the fret.

However, light strings have many drawbacks for seven-string electric musicians. Light strings aren’t particularly robust, to start. You’ll hear a lot of popping with the higher-pitched strings. You could see some unravelling where the string is wound on lower-pitched strings. The majority of drop tunings won’t work with light strings.

Unfortunately, if they are tuned below average, they will be quite floppy. They’re also not appropriate for the typical metal playing chugging.

The main benefit of Light Guage is that it is easier to tune than the other strings. Light Guage is usually made out of steel. This means that they have more resistance and tension.

Steel strings have a higher tension than Nylon strings. If you want to tune your guitar with Light Guage, you will need a lighter gauge tuning key. Nylon strings are generally used in metal guitars. They are easy to play and produce a mellow, relaxing sound. They are also very soft.

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You might want to use a tiny string gauge to keep fretting light and agile because contemporary jazz guitar typically requires a lot of rapid technical playing and advanced methods. This is especially important if you’re striking several notes quickly.

Combining Guage Sets

A hefty set of strings will win the prize for the majority of seven-string players. But there’s no denying that most seven-string guitarists are unbeatable when it comes to genre choices and playing styles.

It’s possible to mix gauge types; for musicians, it can occasionally be a good choice. Having heavier gauge strings for lower-pitched notes and lighter gauge strings for higher-pitched notes is the essence of combining gauge sets.

This gives the musician complete string freedom in the instrument’s upper register while yet enabling them to choose between tunings at will.

Why String Gauge Matters

Contrary to popular belief, guitar strings impact your song more than you may imagine. Different gauges produce a range of sounds and have an impact on the hands that fret and strum.

Thick strings are harder to bend yet seem more taught and intentional when strummed because they hold more tension across the fretboard. The more you use them, the more your fretting hand’s picking endurance will increase, although you may need to reach a particular level before attempting to utilize them.

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To modify your string height, you’ll also need to have a basic understanding of guitar setup, especially if you’re replacing tiny strings, because the bigger strings will likely cause fret buzz when they contact the frets in front of the one you play.

For rock and metal songs, which often favour bassy tones and drop tunings, thick strings are useful because they will maintain tension even when you leave some string slack when tuning down to lower notes. This is a key reason to choose thick strings over thin ones, which don’t sound as chunky or have the strength to go with lower tunings.

Frequently Asked Questions

In this section, we will answer a few FAQs to clear your mind further.

What is Guage in a guitar?

Guitar strings are like wires, and their weight determines their strength. Gauges are the sizes of the strings. Different strings have different gauge sizes. Gauge is measured in millimetres. A good example is the violin has 0.01mm gauges, whereas a cello has 0.05 mm gauges.

What is the difference between a gauge and a string?

The gauge refers to the thickness of a string. The strings have different gauges. The thicker the string, the stronger it is. String Gauges are measured in millimetres. For example, a string gauge is 01mm. A string gauge measures the diameter of the string.

What kind of gauges do I need for 7-string guitar?

There are different kinds of gauges used in 7-string guitars. The thinner the string, the weaker it is. Different kinds of gauges are used to determine the strength of the strings. Most guitar strings are 0.0033 (01) to 0.003 (03).

What are the different types of gauges?

The different types of guages for 7-string guitars are 0.0033 (01), 0.0035 (02), 0.0037 (03), 0.004 (04), 0.0045 (05), and 0.005 (06).

How do I know which gauge is best for me?

One of the greatest methods to determine your optimal string gauge is to do some research on the string gauges that your favourite guitarists or other performers of the same musical style use. Now is the time to start experimenting. Each guitarist naturally favours the tone and feel of certain guitar strings.

Conclusion

To begin with, seven-string players often benefit from thicker gauged strings. This suggests that you should search for sets with a range of at least.010-.060. In general, a seven-string will perform poorly the lighter the gauge.

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For the weight of their gauges, different brands use different names. Ernie Ball, for instance, refers to the suppleness of its strings using terms like a slinky. As a result, you have to constantly look at the actual measures rather than the marketing lingo.

Combining different string gauges is not only acceptable; it should be encouraged. Although heavier is typically preferable for seven-string guitar players, the key to this whole thing is figuring out what works best for you. Trying new things is usually a good idea.

Last but not least, start with the weight that fits your playing style the best and work up from there. This provides you with a solid notion of the norm, allowing you to experiment with various possibilities while working with a control group.

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