I'm a new guitarist and options are confusing. Help?

I'm using my dad's old guitar, and it's in really good shape, but the strings are really dirty, so I decided to get some new ones. I'm going to get them on Amazon, and I was about to purchase the Elixir Acoustic Guitar strings when I went to the q & a section. I had no clue what the questions were asking, so I got worried that I'm missing something. What do I need to know to purchase the strings? And what other equipment is vital to sounding good? Do I really need picks?

Tony B

You need to buy the correct type of strings - nylon or steel. After that it's basically personal choice. You don't say what type of strings the guitar has so I'm guessing steel. If the existing strings are more than a few months old and/or they look dirty or corroded they definitely need changing. There's no point in trying to clean them and if they are really old and the guitar isn't in tune I wouldn't even try to tune it. Lemon oil is a fretboard conditioner and you shouldn't put it onto the strings. It should only be applied, sparingly, to bare wood. You don't need it. You can buy any gauge (thickness) of string you want but too light and the guitar doesn't really work properly, too heavy and it's difficult to play. I'd suggest "light" guage starting with a high E of 0.011" or 0.012". Elixir are coated strings which means they are more expensive but last longer. I've never used them but it's a reputable brand. Don't buy "budget" strings, they're a waste of money. Change the strings one at a time and try to stretch them gently as you fit them. An electronic tuner is the best thing to use to tune with. I'd strongly recommend that as a beginner you take the guitar to a music store and ask them to check the guitar over a replace the strings, or maybe your dad could help you? As a beginner yu have a daunting task ahead of you otherwise. The best thing to make you sound good is lessons from a good teacher. I'd also suggest a good beginner's book. If you plan on learning fingerstyle then you don't need picks. Most people use a pick though, at least to start with.

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get a fender

Robert J

Make sure you get exactly the same type and gauge of strings as the originals - eg. you cannot swap between plastic and metal and the new string thicknesses should be the same as the existing ones. If you have access to a vernier micrometer you can measure the string thickness. Or take the guitar to a music shop and let them match the strings. If you change them yourself, change one string at a time and re-tune it before changing the next, to try and avoid any drastic changes in tension on the neck and bridge. New strings tend to stretch and the tuning drift for some time to start with, so expect to do a lot of tuning up for the first few days. For metal strings, If they are not rusty, I'd not worry too much about what they look like. You could just get some ax wax or Dunlop lemon oil and give them a wipe with that to clean them up a bit and prevent corrosion, until you can get a new set of the right gauge. eg. https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B0064CKGLQ/ref=dp_olp_new_mbc?ie=UTF8&condition=new https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/6554--dunlop-6554-lemon-oil