Light Vs Medium Guitar Strings: Which To Choose?

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A World of Tonal Range & Color

Playing the guitar as an instrument is a display of tonal range and color. This range depends on a lot of factors such as the wood of the guitar, the plectrum used for playing, and the gauge type of the strings used. You might face such a question too – light vs medium guitar strings: which to choose?

For beginners, it can be a daunting task to figure out what type of strings to use. In simple terms, the gauge of a strings set can also be defined by color or tonal range and mood.

You might face a dilemma when you pick up a pack of strings but you don’t know which one to buy. You don’t need to worry because after ready this entire helping guide, you’ll know which strings set to buy for your guitar.

Your Personal Style & Mood

Choosing the right type of strings is a very personal thing. This is because of a few reasons such as:

  • What type of tonality makes you feel good when you play?
  • What type of sounds attracts you?
  • What is your personal playing style?
  • What type of genre are you pursuing?

All of these questions will make you decide between light vs medium guitar strings and which to choose!

Light Guitar Strings

The basic setting arrangement from top-down for light guitar strings set is as follows:

  • E
  • A
  • D
  • G
  • B
  • E

This naming pattern is also the same for medium guitar strings for all six stringer guitars.

To help you better understand, visualize a spectrum. The high part or high end of the spectrum represents treble. The low part or low end of the spectrum represents the bass and the center part represents the mid-section.


Between light or medium guitar strings, light strings have a light tone. Their thickness is lesser in girth as well.

Sound & Tonality

The most notable difference is that light guitar strings have a sound and tonality that is more on the higher end of the sound spectrum.

In terms of playing, light strings are easier to bend and play advanced guitar tricks with. They also give off shriller sound and are best for lead guitar playing styles.

Medium Guitar Strings

Medium guitar strings are perfect for rhythm guitar playing styles. They are also the usual choice of most beginners.


Medium guitar strings are thicker in girth as compared to light guitar strings. However, they are lesser in thickness and girth as compared to heavy guitar strings.

Sound & Tonality

Medium guitar strings are mid-section center in terms of sound frequencies. The sound tonality generated by medium guitar strings reflect on the mid-section of the sound spectrum.

This is one of the reasons why medium guitar strings are perfect for rhythms and filling up backspaces in song composition.

Light Vs Medium Guitar Strings: The Final Choice

Light guitar strings are more catered towards providing higher frequencies, shriller sounds and work perfect for playing riffs and solos in songs. They are more malleable and bendable. However, they are also quieter and do not stand out if played with other instruments in cohesion.

Medium guitar strings cater to the mid ranges of the sound spectrum. They work perfectly for playing rhythms and backing support for vocals. They also work well for filling up empty spaces between vocals and other chordal instruments. Medium strings will be just a tad bit harder to bend and perform pull-offs with but in the end, it all comes down to your guitar playing skills.


Light or medium guitar strings: the answer comes down to your preference. Your playing style will also be influential in choosing between light or medium guitar strings. If you are looking to play leads and perform epic solos on songs, then light guitar strings are a great option.

On the other hand, if you want to choose a medium frequency oriented playing style with chordal works, rhythms, singing and even some solos, then medium guitar strings can work out great.

Which guitar strings are you going to choose now? Light guitar strings or heavy? Let us know in the comments below.

Jim Henneberry

Jim Henneberry

I love playing my guitar, and my kids got hooked along with me.
This is a family thing now - why don't you join the family fun? :)