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.
Table of Contents
- Top 5 Best Acoustic Guitar Strings
- D’Addario EJ16-3D Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings, Light
- Ernie Ball Earthwood Medium Phosphor Bronze Acoustic String Set
- Elixir Strings 80/20 Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings NANOWEB, Light
- Martin MSP4150 SP Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings, Light
- John Pearse 600L Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings
- How To Choose Acoustic Guitar Strings
Top 5 Best Acoustic Guitar Strings
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.
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).
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.