Are Electric Guitar Strings Supposed to be Loose?

Are Electric Guitar Strings Supposed to be Loose?

When you move from one type of guitar to the next, you will feel many differences between both types. The main differences are tone, bass, and the infrastructure of the guitars. Strings are another concern for many newbies in electric guitars. The majority of the users may find electrical guitar strings baggy compared to acoustic guitars. Are Electric Guitar Strings Supposed to be Loose? Or do you need to fix them?

Yes, Electrical guitar strings are lax compared to the acoustic guitar. The reason lies in the flimsy structure of electric wires. You don’t need to pluck the wire hard, so mostly they are loose.

Else you think that’s too loose to produce the right tone. You can tighten the strings using different methods. In the article, I will help you understand how to make your guitar feel comfortable.

Why Are Strings on Electrics Looser?

The prime purpose of electric guitars is your comfort. The strings are loose. The wires are a bit baggy than the acoustic guitar.

This property of these strings is to put your fingers at ease and reduce the pressure. They have different workings, such as transducers instead of vibrators that don’t require much tension in the strings.

Workings of Electric Guitars and Acoustic Guitars

You may think of acoustic and electric guitars as the same, but they are different in working and sound production.

Acoustic guitars have a hollow body, and the tone comes from the body.

When you pluck a string, the movement transmits to the body and makes the whole hollow chamber vibrate. It, in turn, produces a full and rich sound that you hear as different tunes.

You can, later on, change the volume of the guitar by using mics and amplifiers.

Let me now discuss the electric guitars. Electric guitars have transducers that work as pickups for the plucking strings. When you pluck a string, transducers convert it into electrical energy.

This energy then goes to the amplifier. Here the vibrations are amplified. You can add effects of your choice to create more variety in our tone by using an effect pedal.

The infrastructure of Electrical Guitar and Acoustic Guitar

Acoustic guitars have a hollow body for the propagation of vibrations and do not contain built-in amplifiers. The strings are tightly bonded to the body to provide pressure and powerful impact vibrations.

On the other hand, electric guitars have built-in amplifiers and pickups. It does not mainly work on direct vibrations. But instead, it converts those vibrations into electric current, which is processed and toned. You can also customize the tone according to your choice in this guitar.

The reason why this guitar does not require a tighter string is its infrastructure and working, which does not utilize direct vibrations. So you don’t need to pluck the wire with a greater force, and hence it comes with a baggy string.

Lower Action

Most of the processing is performed inside the guitar by transducers and amplifiers. The action of the electric guitar is lower compared to the acoustic guitar. It is fundamental to note that action does not mean effort, but it is the separation between the fretboard and the strings. Action is what decides the fate of your wire. Action is directly proportional to the tension in the wire. Acoustic guitars have more pace of action, so their string is also tight. It is 2.8mm (7/64″) at the low-end wire to 2.0mm (5/64″) at the high-end.

So the electric guitar is 2.78mm (7/64″) and 1.98mm (5/64″). There is only a difference between some points, but they contribute significantly to the tension in the strings.

Thinner Strings

The thickness of the wire you are using is another factor that can significantly contribute to the elasticity of your string. The strings of acoustic guitars are higher in density and are thick.

So the tension in them is higher, and you have to put more effort into plucking the string.

Usually, the thickness of the medium gauge for acoustic guitar is between 0.12 for high E and 0.53 for lower E. You measure it in thousand inches.

Electric guitar wires are at a lower density than acoustic guitars. The thickness of the electric guitar ranges from 0.10 to 0.48.

Some newbies think that strings are baggy. But in fact, they are easy to pluck. You will get used to it with time.

How Can I Evaluate If My Strings Are Looser than Normal?

Mentioning that electric guitar strings are less tight, there may be some conditions in which your wire is sagging away than a typical string. There are a few indicators that can help you evaluate precisely.

  • Tuning

Many guitarists don’t tune their guitar and suppose it as a loose string.

To check if the guitar is in tune or not is by looking at the notes. Your notes should be on the ovate. If the string lags behind the ovate, try gently turning it and bringing it to the level.

But be gentle with your string as the electric guitar wires are thin and can easily break away.

After your guitar is tuned but you can hear a clattering noise. Then it means your string is somewhat sagging away, and you need to fix it.

How To Tighten the Strings on an Electric Guitar?

If the above check proves positive, your string is saggy. You can tighten it in just a few steps.

Correcting Action

As I mentioned earlier action of the guitar has a direct link with the elasticity of the string. If the guitar action is below average, it will result in a saggy wire.

First, identify the lag by using a string action ruler. It contains the measurements for the angles of the guitar, from string size to the breath and nuts.

Check your guitar by comparing it to the other electric guitars. You can bring the action to the standard point by tightening the strings to the ideal mark.

Steps to Tight the Strings

  1. The first step is locating the spring on the guitar. You can find it at the bottom of the electric string.
  2. You will see a screw with the spring. From here, you can untighten the wires of your guitar.
  3. With the screwdriver, try to tighten each knob. But be careful as they are very delicate.
  4. Keep on yielding until the string feels comfortable in your hand and the action is to the mark.

The above steps will be adequate to restore the guitar action to the mark. But be patient and gentle with your guitar, as too much stress can break the strings.

Thicker Strings

The density of the string also plays a crucial role in the laxity of the wire.

Thin wires naturally feel loose as compared to the thicker ones.

If the first check is complete and your string still feels low, then the next step is considering the density of your wire.

You can test a variety of options in the range of .010 to .054 gauge. It will help you determine your comfortable choice.

Consider Going To The Luthier

If you have completed the above course of action and your guitar strings still feel loose and saggy, it’s time to see the professional.

Sometimes either the frets are too high for your guitar, and coping with them at home will only worsen the condition of your guitar. So it is a better idea to see a luthier.

You should not take it as a big problem because if your guitar and strings are in perfect formation, your professional will guide you about that as well.

Are electric guitar strings supposed to be tight?

No electric strings are supposed to be loose rather than tight because of various factors such as lower action and low density of the electric wire.

The chief purpose of the slinky string is to put you at ease. The tight wiring may make it uncomfortable for you to play the guitar and interrupt your desired tone.

What happens when you tighten a guitar string?

When you tighten the string on the guitar, it decreases the distance between the wire and the body. Tighter the string more the tension in the wire.

If strain exceeds the maximum value, it can collapse the structure, and your wire will break away. Moreover, a wire with excess stress is uncomfortable to control.

Does tightening a string make it higher or lower?

You can tune your guitar by the use of specific tuning keys. These keys carry personalized notes. When you tighten a wire on the guitar, it makes it tighter.

But it also elevates the pitch of your rhythms. So if you want to play your guitar on the lower note, I will recommend not to apply too much pressure on the edges.


There are many differences between acoustic guitars and electric guitars. The difference in the elasticity of the string is one of the main differences.

Acoustic strings are elastic due to the infrastructure of the guitar. Vibrations produce the sound, and it lacks amplifiers. On the other hand, electric guitars work on transducers and amplifiers, so much effort is not needed.

Also, the action between the string and guitar is low, which is a reason for the slinky wire. You can tighten the wire by using different methods, and if you still feel it’s now take it to the professional. You will get used to this new system, but it will take time.

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By amjadlaghari

Amjad Laghari is an enthusiast of musical instruments, especially guitars. He has great knowledge to play, setting, and writing about guitars as a hobby. His skills and experience with guitars bring him great ideas to write blogs.

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