The Impact of String Gauge on Your Acoustic Guitar Sound: A Lesson by Michael Watts

by Madonna

Have you ever pondered the profound influence that your choice of string gauge can have on both the sound and playability of your acoustic guitar? In this enlightening video, acclaimed acoustic guitarist Michael Watts delves into the intricacies of string gauge by comparing three variants of Elixir Phosphor Bronze Strings on the same instrument.

With gauges of 11-52 (custom light), 12-53 (light), and 13-56 (medium), Michael embarks on a musical journey, showcasing the distinct tonal characteristics through a range of beautiful musical examples. His performance spans various styles, encompassing singer-songwriter fingerstyle, strumming with a 1mm pick, and fingerstyle in DADGAD tuning.

0:00 – Introduction

Michael Watts sets the stage for this educational exploration.

0:51 – Custom Light Fingerstyle in Standard Tuning

Michael demonstrates the nuances of custom light strings in a standard tuning context.

1:28 – Custom Light Strumming

Explore the dynamic potential of custom light strings when strumming.

2:17 – Custom Light Fingerstyle in DADGAD Tuning

Michael delves into the unique world of fingerstyle playing with custom light strings in DADGAD tuning.

3:10 – Custom Light Recap

A brief recap of the custom light gauge’s distinctive qualities.

3:22 – Light Fingerstyle in Standard Tuning

Discover the attributes of light gauge strings when used for fingerstyle playing in standard tuning.

4:23 – Light Strumming

Hear how light gauge strings perform when strumming your guitar.

5:14 – Light Fingerstyle in DADGAD Tuning

Michael continues his exploration, this time with light gauge strings in DADGAD tuning.

6:12 – Light Recap

A summary of the unique qualities of light gauge strings.

6:49 – Medium Fingerstyle in Standard Tuning

The exploration continues with medium gauge strings in standard tuning for fingerstyle playing.

7:24 – Medium Strumming

Michael uncovers the character of medium gauge strings during strumming.

8:11 – Medium Fingerstyle in DADGAD Tuning

Experience the distinct sound of medium gauge strings in the context of DADGAD tuning.

Intriguingly, the custom light, light, and medium gauge sets offer a vast soundscape to explore. To truly appreciate the intricacies, we recommend listening with headphones, allowing you to delve deep into the subtle nuances captured in these detailed recordings. Michael Watts’ expertise and exploration of string gauges provide valuable insights for guitar enthusiasts seeking to refine their acoustic experience.

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