Lots of people choose the acoustic guitar as their passion or hobby due to its outstanding advantages and special sound. However, the guitar strings are broken frequently because of unstable-quality strings or other reasons. Therefore, we are here to instruct you guys how to choose the best strings for acoustic guitar through this article.
We have also split our expert recommendations down further by gears and accessories. So take a look below:
- Get a better recording with the best mic for acoustic guitar
- Boost the vibration and sounds with the best acoustic guitar preamp
- Do some blazing solos with the best jazz guitar amplifier
D’Addario Phosphor Bronze EJ16-3D Set Of 3
D’Addario is one of the most well-liked brands among acoustic players. There are many guitarists that chose D’Addario strings as their very first brand. The EJ16-3D Phosphor Bronze set is perhaps their best balance of sound quality and affordable price.
Besides the great price, these strings also have an amazing sound. They’ll bring a rich bright tone that will sound good for both strummings and playing melodies. The gauges run from .053 up to .012, meaning your notes and chords are gonna resonate for a long time. The slight thickness will also help you build up your finger dexterity!
Martin SP 7100 Phosphor Bronze Lifespan Coated Acoustic Strings Light
Martin offers acoustic guitar strings with a wide range and these Lifespans are classified as the Superior Performance line due to ultra-pure steel SP core wire. They are available in 80/20 and phosphor bronze sets, while 12-string and acoustic baritone players are also catered for. This is simply a great-sounding acoustic guitar string that’s durable and fit for all styles of playing.
Elixir Nanoweb HD Light
Elixir is the first name in coated guitar strings, and this coated phosphor bronze light/medium hybrid (0.013-0.053) set has been treated with Nanoweb, which not only keeps the strings fresh longer, and protects the entire string, but reduces finger squeak. It’s designed to provide a warmer bottom-end and bolder top-end with some mid projection boost in between.
Martin Phosphor Bronze MSP4150 Strings
Martin & Co is another wonderful brand that makes great guitars and guitar accessories as well. Their MSP4150 guitar strings are classified for studio and stage performances. Above all, these strings are made to bring amazing sound to you. With the .055 to .0125 gauges, your play will be as resonant as possible while they are still light enough not to hurt your fingers too much when you’re starting out. The shimmering tone has lots of depth to it, mostly derived from the steel core construction. However, they are usually a bit expensive.
DR Zebra Acoustic-Electric Strings
Even though DR Strings is not a popular name mentioned regularly in the world of guitar products, wonderful sets for players wandering into the strictly acoustic world are still coming out. For example, this Zebra kit is meant for acoustic electric hybrids outfitted with piezo bridge pickups. They also make great for any guitars that have magnetic pickups inside of the body. You can use these with arch top jazz guitars as well.
The DR Zebra set runs from .050 to .011, giving you a slightly more “medium to light” feeling than the D’Addario strings above. The sound quality you’ll get is snappy and rich at the same time. The fact that every other coil switches between bronze and nickel plated gives a unique tone overall. These strings are a little off the beaten path, but they stand up well, especially given their price range.
Dean Markley Blue Steel
The ‘cryogenic processing’ with liquid nitrogen that Dean Markley use for the Blue Steel range may sound a little like something from a sci-fi movie, but by freezing strings to -320 degrees Fahrenheit and then gradually bringing the temperature up, greater frequency response and tuning stability is claimed.
Ernie Ball Earthwood Extra Soft Silk And Steel Here
The 80/20 bronze Earthwood range offers this Extra Soft Silk And Steel iteration adding a layer of silk between the steel core ang wrap to make your fingers play easier. It promises a tuneful sound with reduced finger noise that could prove useful for recording sessions.
Martin Retro Monel Vintage Tone
A back-to-the-future move from Martin saw these strings launched back in 2014; think of these as a vintage string. Returning to the old nickel-based alloy blend of monel results in a softer touch and warm tone, to bring out the inherent tone in your acoustic’s wood. There’s also a claimed longer life than some other phosphor or 80/20 options.
How We Chose the Best Acoustic Guitar Strings for Beginners
Since acoustic strings are naturally heavier and harder to play, the best acoustic guitar strings for beginners should be a lighter gauge and, if possible, coated. The coating – like the kind Elixir uses – makes strings easier to slide on and less gritty, which is a small, but helpful perk for beginners trying to get the hang of guitar.
Here are some more common acoustic string features to keep in mind, beginner or otherwise:
What are common acoustic string features to watch for?
- NANOWEB Coating: A type of treatment used on Elixir acoustic strings (brighter tone)
- POLYWEB Coating: A second type of treatment used on Elixir acoustic strings (warmer tone)
- Steel Core: Most guitar strings start with a high-carbon steel core
- String Gauge: The size of the string, usually given for each one in a pack
- 80/20: Commonly used to describe the breakdown of bronze and phosphor used in guitar strings
- Bright EQ: Strings will respond better to the mid and treble end of the EQ spectrum
- Low EQ: Strings will respond better to the bass end of the EQ spectrum
What do guitar players need from a good set of strings?
- Balanced Tone: Acoustic guitar strings should sound good, both on low and high EQs. Generally speaking, this means they’ll be amicable for both strumming and single-note picking patterns.
- Coating or Age-Prevention: Many of the acoustic guitar strings on today’s market come with a coating or treatment, which helps to preserve the life of the string and improve the string’s tone.
- Construction & Materials: Guitar strings are wound which means you have a core (usually steel) with another layer of material wrapped around that core. The type of materials used here – nickel, bronze, phosphor, etc. – will have a lot to say about the quality and durability of the strings, particularly the thicker gauges.
- Length of Life: How long is a string able to last while maintaining its tone and resonance? Strings that lose freshness not only corrode visibly, but will lose their tonal vitality as well.
Other Important Considerations
In this section, we’ll cover some basic FAQ about the best beginner acoustic guitar strings, focusing on issues and questions that commonly arise.
Are coated acoustic strings a must-have?
For beginners on acoustic guitar, I would highly recommend a light gauge coated string. They’ll be easier to play and will last longer, making it well worth the increased up-front cost.
While you can certainly do fine without them, I really like how easy they are to play and the difference you feel when sliding on the thicker, wound strings.
They definitely make a difference.
How long do acoustic guitar strings last? How often do they need to be changed?
Uncoated acoustic strings that are played daily (or semi-regularly) will last around three to five months.
Coated acoustic strings, like Elixir, will last around seven to 10 months with the same amount of playing.
These numbers can shift depending on the frequency of playing time they get.
Storage conditions (humidity, temperature, quality of guitar case, etc.) can also have an impact on string life.
Should beginners use a lighter gauge acoustic guitar strings?
Lighter string gauges will make everything easier, including basic chords, sliding, string to string movement, and even single note melodies.
As a beginner, you should be worrying about finger positioning and proper form without putting an unnecessary amount of stress on your fingers. Take advantage of lighter acoustic guitar strings in your earlier playing days.
Do you need tools to change acoustic guitar strings?
A peg winder is the easiest way to change strings, drastically cutting down the time compared to doing it by hand. This handy article shows you the process in photos.
Why are the smaller acoustic strings unwound?
You’ll notice that on most acoustic string sets, the G, B and E are unwound, left to only the steel core in varying sizes. This is a normal aspect of steel string construction which winds the low E, A and D strings, but leaves the other three unwound to more easily achieve the balance of size and tone between the six strings.
This stands in contrast to nylon strings, which are not wound with any kind of additional material.
How will I know when acoustic strings need changed?
Acoustic guitar strings tend to discolor easily, especially on the thicker wound strings (the low E, A, and D).
Once they start losing their color you might also notice a distinct drop in tone quality, as though they’ve lost a lot of their body and chime.When this happens, a change of strings is advisable.
Another great guitar’s buying guides:
- Best mic for recording acoustic guitar
- Best beginner electric guitar packages
- Best acoustic guitar preamp