The 7 Best Acoustic Guitar Strings for Beginners (2022)

Acoustic guitar strings can make quite a difference to your sound and differ from electric guitar strings quite a lot. For beginners, extra light, light, or even medium string gauge is preferable for better and easier playing.

Although it seems quite simple, choosing perfect strings can be a little bit more complicated than you would think. The three main things you should consider are gauges, material, and winding. Luckily, there are a lot of good options on the market.

My top recommended acoustic guitar strings for beginners are the D’Addario EJ16 Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings. Quite affordable acoustic guitar strings with great sonic capabilities.

My second recommended acoustic guitar strings for beginners are the Fender 70L 80/20 Bronze Ball End. Hailing from a well-renowned manufacturer, plus, more affordable than the first option.

The Best 7 Acoustic Guitar Strings for Beginners (2022)

2. Fender 70L 80/20 Bronze Ball End
Budget Pick - Well-renowned manufacturer and quality strings.
3. Elixir Strings 80/20 Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings
Nanoweb phosphor bronze, light strings.
5. D'Addario EFT16 Flat Tops Phosphor Strings
Flat tops, low-noise great for recording.
7. Ernie Ball 2146 Earthwood Light Acoustic Strings
Renowned manufacturer, great value for the money.

Let’s compare these in more detail.

1. D'Addario EJ16 Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings

Top Pick
Great tone qualities.
View Price at SweetwaterView Price at Amazon

D’Addario EJ16 is probably the most popular set of strings for acoustic guitars you can find. Therefore, I won’t waste too many words on it. A combination of phosphor and bronze ensures both a bright tone and a decent lifespan.

The main reason for such popularity lies in the fact that these strings are balanced pretty well. The strings are durable, while the sound is pretty good. Finally, the price is very attractive. Of course, it comes in all kinds of gauges, so you won’t have any trouble finding something for yourself.

2. Fender 70L 80/20 Bronze Ball End

Budget Pick
Well-renowned manufacturer and quality strings.
View Price at Amazon

The Fender 70L 80/20 Bronze Ball End strings are the most affordable acoustic guitar strings on this list. Hailing from a well-known and respectable brand – Fender! These light gauge acoustic strings offer flexible playability, multi-applicable to all genres.

Lighter gauge strings are great for beginners, and these affordable ones make for an excellent purchase if you’re after something that screams value for money. The tonal capabilities are warm and bright that can bring much-needed life to your playing sound.

3. Elixir Strings 80/20 Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings

Longevity
Nanoweb phosphor bronze, light strings.
View Price at SweetwaterView Price at Amazon

Elixir Nanoweb strings would usually cost you two or three times more than common strings, but the company advertises itself for extraordinary longevity. I’ve checked in practice and it works. The tone won’t fade out even after months of playing, so we could agree that this set of strings is definitely worth the money.

The secret is in the company’s patented nanoweb coating technology that protects strings from dirt and prevents oxidation pretty well. In terms of the sound, this is pretty much a typical brass alloy, so you can bet on warm and clear tones from these Elixir strings.

4. Ernie Ball Earthwood Silk and Steel Strings

Mellow Tone
Perfect choice for soft hands.
View Price at SweetwaterView Price at Amazon

A combination of silk and steel guarantees mellow tone and super-soft playing, perfect for fingerpicking and fingerstyle players (classical guitar). On the other side, as a major company in the business, Ernie Ball Strings guarantees great quality.

Those who would like to try compound strings and their sound definitely won’t go wrong with The Ernie Ball Earthwood. Also, it is good to know that various gauges are on the offer and the price is usually quite affordable. These silk and steel strings will make a difference in your strumming and overall playing style.

5. D'Addario EFT16 Flat Tops Phosphor Strings

Flat Tops
Flat tops, low-noise great for recording.
View Price at AmazonView Price at Guitar Center

Those who want soft playing without sacrificing tone brightness can pick these ones without worries. The D’Addario EFT offers a good combination of semi-flat wound strings and phosphor bronze alloy, which ensures easy playing, free of any finger noise.

The sound is bright enough, though it can’t compare with typical round wound bronze strings. After all, even the company describes its tone as semi-bright. You can choose between Extra Light gauge, Light gauge strings, and Medium gauge strings. These phosphor bronze strings are a good pick!

6. Martin Guitars MA-150 Authentic Acoustic Set

Mid-range
Famous company, great strings.
View Price at SweetwaterView Price at Amazon

The famous guitar company also has strings on the offer and some of them are very good, according to most reviews. In terms of the tone, these ones are pretty common. The typical bronze material ensures a very bright and clean tone. Unlike most manufacturers that praise their wounding technologies, Martin Strings focuses on the core string, which is made of high-end quality silk and steel.

Considering that this company makes spectacular guitars for almost two centuries, I don’t doubt the quality of its steel core. The price might sound high to some, but keep in mind that these strings will last at least three times longer than common ones, according to the manufacturer.

7. Ernie Ball 2146 Earthwood Light Acoustic Strings

Value for Money
Renowned manufacturer, great value for the money.
View Price at SweetwaterView Price at Amazon

Here is another well-balanced choice. This is another household name among guitar strings makers. This particular set features a pretty typical combination of phosphor and bronze, which delivers a quite bright sound.

Once again, decent longevity and solid sound quality in a combination with an affordable price is a win-win combination. Choosing between Ernie Ball 2146 Earthwood and D’Addario EJ 16 is nothing more than a matter of preference. Both packs deliver plenty of quality for the money.

Things to keep in mind when buying Acoustic Strings

There are a few things to consider when purchasing acoustic strings like the gauge, the materials, and the winding. Any guitar player can go wrong from time to time, I’m here to make sure that does not happen. You need tuning stability as well as avoiding heavier gauge strings when you’re a beginner.

Gauge

Ask any guitarist for advice about guitar strings and the first words you’ll hear will probably be about gauges. This is perfectly fine, as tension is definitely the most important thing for every beginner. Someone who doesn’t play for too long usually has pretty soft fingers and the most important thing is to keep them away from too much pain and potential injuries.

The most basic classification would include three main groups – Light, Medium, and Heavy. Things are pretty simple here. Lighter gauges require less tension in your fingers than thicker strings. So, my recommendation for every beginner would be to choose light gauges only.

The easiest way to recognize the gauge is by looking at the thickness of the first string. Light strings usually start with 0.10 to 0.12 inches and that is something you should go for.

Materials

Let’s presume that, as a beginner, you probably play some entry-level, or mid-class guitar, which is still far away from a professional instrument. In most cases, such guitars are made from wood that is rather neutral in terms of sound color. This leaves a lot of room to determine your preferences in a pretty cheap way – by choosing different types of strings, in terms of the materials.

While higher strings are made of steel only, lower (bass) strings are wounded with some additional materials. That material has a big influence on the sound. You have a lot of different ones like copper and zinc, aluminum bronze, and nickel bronze but, among acoustic guitar strings, the three most common winding materials are Bronze, Phosphor Bronze, and Compound strings.

Bronze strings will give you the brightest, super clean sound, which is perfect if you prefer vintage music. Unfortunately, a big drawback is a fact that bronze oxidates very fast, so your sound will fade pretty quickly.

Therefore, Phosphor Bronze is definitely a much better choice. Phosphor prevents oxidation, so these strings will last for much longer. Of course, the sound is not that bright, but still pretty amazing.

Compound strings combine steel and silk and such a combination gives a pretty interesting result. These strings are significantly softer, practically somewhere in the middle between steel and nylon strings. Sounds like a perfect choice for those who prefer fingerpicking techniques.

Also, they are characterized by a pretty mellow sound. If you prefer such a sound, the choice is obvious. On the other side, if the softness is your main worry, all bass strings are generally soft and there is no good reason to lose that bright bronze sound just to keep your fingers from pain.

Winding

From this aspect, we can classify string into two main groups – round wounds and flat wounds. As its name says, round wounds use a material that has a round cross-section. Therefore, these strings are textured, which can sometimes be quite irritating to beginners, due to recognizable finger noise.

On the other side, flat wounds are, logically, flat. Such design feels more convenient for playing, as there is no texture anymore. However, a bad thing about these strings is the sound, which is almost completely deadened, which doesn’t work very well for acoustic guitars.

Fortunately, there is a compromise. It is called a semi-flat wound. Simply said, semi-flat wounds are flat from the outside, but around from the inner side. In practice, this means a bit from both worlds, which is sometimes the best solution.

These would be some of the main things you should care about. Now it’s time to be more direct and talk about specific products. Here is a list of some of the best acoustic guitar strings for beginners. Also, you can check out the best Acoustic Guitar Brands while you’re here.

Conclusion

Guitar strings can make or break your playing style and habits. The right choice can propel your playing progress as well as make it more enjoyable. Naturally, low-grade strings can take the fun and practicality out of your playing, so, you want something of quality that does not rust easily, is corrosion-resistant, and are easy to tune and re-string.

My top acoustic guitar strings for beginners are the D’Addario EJ16 Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings. These are sonically capable strings that allow for personal preferences to be applied while being quite affordable.

My budget acoustic guitar strings for beginners are the Fender 70L 80/20 Bronze Ball End. These are more affordable than the top pick while also hailing from a well-respected brand name.

Brian Clark is a multi-instrumentalist and music producer. He is passionate about practically all areas of music and he particularly enjoys writing about the music industry.

Leave a Comment

Leave a reply

Musician Wave
Logo