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The best size guitar strings for a hollow body guitar

Updated February 21, 2017

Solid body guitars, semi-hollow body guitars and hollow body guitars are the three main types of electric guitar body styles. A hollow body electric guitar actually has a portion of the inside of the body cut out, similar in some ways to an acoustic guitar. Any size strings can be used on a hollow body guitar, so the best size of guitar strings for your hollow body guitar will depend largely on personal preference.

String Gauge

The size of guitar strings is measured by their thickness in thousandths of inches. This measurement is known as string gauge. Most guitarists use .009 or .010 gauge (named for the thickness of the high E string) strings on their guitars. This is because these gauges work very well with standard tuning. In general, lighter gauge string will be easier to tune up, while thicker gauge strings are well suited for tuning down.

Style of Music

While any size strings can be used on hollow body guitars, the style of music that hollow body guitars are best suited to play may help you decide which size strings to use. Hollow body guitars tend to have deeper and richer tones than other types of electric guitars. This, along with the fact that hollow body instruments tend to have feedback when high levels of distortion are used, makes hollow body guitars best suited for clean or slightly dirty tones. Blues, jazz, rockabilly and country are often played on hollow body guitars. These styles of music tend to remain in standard tuning (or sometimes standard tuning dropped half a step), meaning that .009 and .010 gauge strings are good choices for hollow body guitars.

Feel

Thinner strings are easier on the fingers than thicker strings. For a beginning guitarist, this can make a big difference. If you are having trouble with finger pain, you may want to use a thinner set of strings, no matter what style of music you are playing. Thinner strings are also easier to bend, so if large bends are a part of your playing style, you may want to use thinner strings. Thicker strings tend to sound fuller than thinner strings, though.

Decision

The way to decide what size strings work best for you and your guitar is to try out several different sizes. Start with standard gauges and work slowly one way, then the other. You will eventually find that a certain set of string gauges will simply feel and sound better to you than other string sizes.

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About the Author

Michael Black has been a freelance writer based in South Central Pennsylvania since 2010. He graduated from York College of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Arts degree in professional writing. He has written music- and writing-related articles for various websites.