Choosing the Right Strings for Your Acoustic Guitar

A good set of strings can make your performance stand out among hundreds of others or make you plummet into the abyss of obscurity. In spite of how important they are a lot of people downplay their importance because of lack of experience or inability to hear the difference between a good and bad set of strings but trust me, there is a difference, and a HUGE one at that. And that becomes even truer when we are talking about acoustic guitars.

I will try to give you a set of different factors you should consider when trying to find the best acoustic guitar strings and a couple of options at the end but by no means stop at that. Experience as many strings as you can, read up more and more about them and experiment to find the best-sounding acoustic guitar strings. That is the only way to find the right set of strings and have a great sound.

Top 5 Best Acoustic Guitar Strings

Check Price
D'Addario EJ16-3D Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings, Light4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)Check on Amazon
Ernie Ball Earthwood Medium Phosphor Bronze Acoustic String Set4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)Check on Amazon
Elixir Strings 80/20 Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings NANOWEB, Light4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)Check on Amazon
Martin MSP4150 SP Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings, Light4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)Check on Amazon
John Pearse 600L Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)Check on Amazon

D’Addario EJ16-3D Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings, Light

D_Addario EJ16-3D Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings, LightIf I got a set of strings for every time I have mentioned D’Addario as one of the best strings for acoustic guitar, my house would be overflowing and I would be sitting by the door trying to hold it back but I would definitely not be annoyed at all because I would not mind a couple of thousand D’Addario strings. This company has been on the market for quite some time, innovating and experimenting with new methods and instruments and delivering the best from their years of research and trial and error. Their EJ16-3D Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Guitar String set is one of their bestselling models. The fact that these strings are made of Phosphor Bronze makes the tone a lot warmer and brighter with great intonation. It is also corrosion resistant and with a hex core to support the winding with computer-controlled wrapping and avoid slippage. An affordable model that is good for beginners as well as professionals D’Addario EJ16-3D does not disappoint in performance, consistency, and long-lasting life.

Ernie Ball Earthwood Medium Phosphor Bronze Acoustic String Set

Ernie Ball Earthwood Medium Phosphor Bronze Acoustic String SetEven if you got into guitars fairly recently you probably have, at one point or another, heard about Ernie Ball. They are one of the most well-known and most trustworthy manufacturers of musical instruments, so when you come across a set of strings by Ernie Ball you rarely have to look any farther. I used Ernie Ball strings when I first got my guitar and it eased me into playing by making it an enjoyable process rather than strenuous. This Earthwood Medium Phosphor Bronze Acoustic String Set is about 90% copper that makes for a clear and rich sound. This set is extremely durable because plain strings have lock twists to secure wiring around ball ends. The core which is made of high carbon steel is surrounded by phosphor bronze which creates an amazing balanced tone and amazing intonation and hex make it slippage free.

Elixir Strings 80/20 Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings NANOWEB, Light 

Elixir Strings 80-20 Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings NANOWEB, LightWhether you are practicing for the first time or gigging the 100th time you need a good set of strings. Of course, requirements will differ based on your preferences but as long as you know what you want there are hundreds of options out there, the key is to choose a good one out of those hundreds. Elixir Strings 80/20 Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings NANOWEB is the go-to for a lot of people for several reasons. First of all, these strings have a coating that protects them from corrosion so that you have your favorite strings for a long time and with NANOWEB technology it does not feel like the strings are coated. No matter how much maintenance you do on your guitar, an extra-strong coating that protects your strings from dust and sweat is a good idea, especially if you are in humid places or are playing for long periods of time. The construction of these strings allows for amazing crispiness and brightness. Although available in many different gauges this one is in light so it is on of the best acoustic guitar strings for beginners.

Martin MSP4150 SP Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings, Light 

Martin MSP4150 SP Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings, Light

If you are looking for a set of strings at a good price that will last you from practicing to gigging to the studio and back again, Martin MSP4150 SP Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings are a good option. The company has developed a new high-quality steel core that lasts longer than most other cores. The finish of core wires and plain strings is coated with bronze, making strings more durable. With great tone and response, this set comes in light gauge so it is one of the best acoustic guitar strings for beginners who want something to ease them into playing and do not necessarily want to destroy their fingers with heavy gauges right away. That being said, professional players who have years of experience would not be disappointed in this model either.

John Pearse 600L Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings

John Pearse 600L Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Guitar StringsIt is really hard for a small company to stand out among so many well-established manufacturers that have been on the market for years but John Pearse managed to do exactly that. Even though the company does not have huge production it definitely boasts some of the best quality strings out there. John Pearse’s 600L Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Guitar String set is a great option for anyone, no matter their level of expertise and experience. This model has a great volume and a smooth feel with crisp sound on higher strings and beautiful, warm tones on the lower strings. I know nowadays a lot of strings are coated to add extra protection for the strings but these ones are not. Nevertheless, I would say they are quite durable and will last you for a long time if you clean it regularly and do not strain it too much.

How To Choose Acoustic Guitar Strings

First of all, congratulations on getting an acoustic guitar or just coming to a realization that great strings are integral to a good sound. We have reviewed the best strings for acoustic guitar and now we can move on to understand what you should be paying attention to when going through a myriad of strings available out there.

String Gauges

First of all, consider the string gauge. Gauge is basically a string’s size and it will affect the tone, playability, and overall sound of your instrument, so be cautious. Gauge sizes range from extra light to heavy. While all sizes have their pros and cons be careful if you are a beginner because heavy gauges are a lot harder to play with because there is more string tension.

So if you are just starting off with your acoustic guitar maybe get a lighter or at least a medium gauge, get a little bit more experience with that one, and then move on to heavier ones that produce more volume, if that is what you are looking for. But if you are an experienced player and are into heavy strumming or have a low-action guitar, the heavy-gauge string would be great for you.

When you are deciding on the gauge keep in mind the style you want to play, tone (heavier gauges will produce deeper tone), and the state of your guitar (if your guitar has existed through more presidents than you or something along the lines you should probably try to avoid heavy gauges because they bring a lot of tension to the neck of the guitar).

String Materials

Another BIG one is the material of strings. Some of the most popular ones are  Phosphor Bronze (warm and darker tones, lasts longer), bronze (80% copper and 20%, great for any style, brighter tones but they age quicker than some of the other strings), silk and steel strings (more mellow sound than with other strings, they create less tension so whip out that vintage guitar that your grandfather left you).

There are other materials that would take ages to go through but there is not really one ultimate great material to use for any style and sound. You should think about the sound that you want to have and then consider the material alongside the guitar you have to reach that perfect sound and tonality. On that note, whenever you are looking through strings try to find ones that have a protective coating. No matter how little or much you pay for your strings you should still take care of it.

Another “intricate” detail for beginners but definitely not for well-seasoned players (I mean.. hopefully) is the core of the string. The shape of the core, either hex or round, determines the sound. While round core has a more vintage and warm tone, hex-core produces a brighter tone with less sustain. Hex cores also grip the outside winding a lot better than round ones making them more consistent and helping with avoiding slippage. Speaking of, the winding is another important matter that you should keep in mind.

This is basically how the wires are tied around the core and there are three popular ones: round wound, flat wound, and half wound. Roundwood uses round (duh…) wires and creates a textured surface making the string have a brighter sound and longer sustain. Flatwound is made from flat wires to make a smooth textured string with warmer sounds, and a shorter sustain that lasts longer than a round wound. And the half wound is basically a hybrid of the two (I swear they are making it all too easy with these names).


I hope at this point you have a good understanding or at least a better understanding of acoustics guitar strings and what you need to consider when trying to find that one and only – the best acoustic guitar strings. I know it might be a little bit overwhelming. Maybe you just bought your first guitar and the painful process of trying to find the right one and learning about every single detail exhausted you so you do not feel too eager to undergo pretty much the same process of finding the right guitar strings. If you have not found the right strings for you from the above list I hope you have at least realized that a string is not just a string, it is a means to achieving a great sound and thus they can never be neglected.


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