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Best Acoustic Guitar Strings for Beginners and Buying Guide 

 April 16, 2021

By  Zen Chung

The beginning of any journey is usually difficult. When it comes to learning the acoustic guitar, it takes a while to learn all the instrument's various aspects. Because we want you to have an easier experience, we're giving you the best acoustic guitar strings for beginners.

At least having the proper guitar strings will give you an upper hand as you learn to enjoy the workings of the instrument. There are numerous aspects to guitar playing in addition to playing the actual instrument. You need to know how to set up your guitar and maintain it.

The guitar you have will determine the strings that you get. There are certain guitars, especially electric guitars, that are strung in a completely different way. This means that getting the right and the best guitar strings will determine how you play and your entire learning experience. Let's dive in.

Best Acoustic Guitar Strings for Beginners

1. D’Addario EJ16-3D Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings

D’Addario EJ16-3D Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings, Light Tension...
  • MOST POPULAR – Pursue your passion with D’Addario’s most popular acoustic...
  • INSPIRING PERFORMANCE – These light acoustic guitar strings help you achieve...
  • CORROSION-RESISTANT – These strings feature a precision wound corrosion...
  • STRING GAUGES – The string gauges in this acoustic string set include: Plain...
  • MADE IN THE USA – D’Addario leverages centuries of string-making experience...

If you are an acoustic guitar player, you will love D’Addario. The D’Addario brand is popular among acoustic guitar players, and this D’Addario EJ16-3D Phosphor Bronze set is one of their most affordable guitar strings set with great sound quality.

These D’Addario EJ16-3D Phosphor Bronze acoustic guitar strings for beginners sound amazing and will make you the envy of your whole class. These acoustic guitar strings are sure to boost your playing by giving you a bright and rich tone that will sound great for both melodies and strumming.

The slight thickness of these acoustic guitar strings will be good for you as you build your finger dexterity. Many top stage and studio guitarists use these guitar strings as they are durable, consistent, and have excellent intonation. The gauges of these acoustic guitar strings run from .053 to 0.12. This means that your chords and notes will resonate for a long time.

Pros

  • Warm and well-balanced acoustic tone.
  • Have a corrosion-resistant packaging.
  • Durable.
  • High-quality guitar strings.
  • Have superior dimensional stability and precise intonation.
  • Feel good on your fingers.

Cons

  • Not budget-friendly.
  • Not soothing on the fingers without the coating.

2. Elixir Strings 80/20 Bronze Strings

Sale
Elixir Strings 80/20 Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings w NANOWEB Coating,...
  • Acoustic guitar strings constructed with 80/20 (80% copper, 20% zinc) bronze...
  • Played for a crisp, bright tone with an expressive, vibrant presence
  • Ultra-thin NANOWEB Coating provides a more traditionally textured,...
  • Our patented coating technology protects against common corrosion, extending...
  • Light gauge: .012 .016 .024 .032 .042 .053

If you have played for a while and feel like your fingers get hurt or you want to avoid the experience altogether, go for these guitar strings for beginners. The Elixir Strings 80/20 have a nanoweb coating that ensures that the strings are super smooth and will be gentle on your fingers. These acoustic guitar strings are from 80% Copper and 20% Zinc bronze wrap wire.

This combination is not a coincidence as it creates a nice and warm sound that will leave your listeners in awe. These light gauge strings are amazing on your fingers, but this may come with a downside when the coating falls away, leaving your guitar strings vulnerable to dust and corrosion.

Nonetheless, we say this only to warn you to be prepared as these guitar strings for beginners are totally worth it, especially with how affordable they are.

Pros

  • Great metal composition.
  • High-quality build.
  • Comfortable and soothing to your fingers.
  • Have a great coating.
  • Great tone on the guitars they are suitable for.

Cons

  • Tone may be too metallic.
  • Coating may peel off.
  • May break with continued use.

3. Ernie Ball 2146 Earthwood Medium Light

Ernie Ball 2146 Earthwood Medium Light Acoustic Phosphor Bronze String Set...
  • Rich Expressive Sound
  • Excellent Clarity
  • Made in California, U.S.A. Featuring the finest and freshest materials.
  • Made from 92% copper, 7.7% tin, 0.3% phosphorus wire
  • Element Shield Packaging Prolongs string life and keeps strings as fresh as the...

If you haven't heard of Ernie Ball yet, you will. Popular in the world of electric guitar strings, their guitar strings are used by legends such as Maroon 5, The Counting Crows, The Edge, and soon by you too. Ernie Ball Earthwood Phosphor Bronze acoustic guitar strings for beginners consist of copper, tin, and phosphorous around their steel core.

These guitar strings Ernie Ball produce a deep, earthy, and rich sound that will take you to the moon and back. Another thing you won't have to worry about with these acoustic guitar strings for beginners is your fingers, as the strings have a coating that makes them smooth to play. This very affordable set comes at an almost throw-away price given the quality of Ernie Ball strings.

There's a reason why Ernie Ball Strings are so popular and loved in the guitar community - they are made for you in mind. Long life, optimum performance, and precision are the keys that drive the manufacture of these fantastic strings.

Pros

  • Constructed with great materials.
  • Highly affordable.
  • Easy to play.
  • Don't hurt your fingers.
  • Easy to attach and tune.
  • Have a warm deep sound.

Cons

  • Some strings may break easily.
  • You may not like the tone.

4. Martin Guitar Original Acoustic 

Sale
Martin Guitar Original Acoustic M170, 80/20 Bronze, Extra Light-Gauge...
  • BRIGHT TONES: Made for players who love deep, rich bass tones and clear, bright...
  • MARTIN GUITAR STRINGS: These heavy-duty strings are engineered to stand up to...
  • VERSATILE STRING SOUNDS: Designed to bring out a consistent and true tone from...
  • EXTRA LIGHT-GAUGE ACOUSTIC STRINGS: Measuring from a 0.010" high E string to a...
  • MARTIN GUITAR: With Martin Guitar's Original M170 strings, you get a total set...

The thin gauge and extra light quality of these acoustic strings make them excellent for beginners. These Martin M170 acoustic guitar strings for beginners will help you build finger strength. They produce rich bass tones and bright trembles that will make your music beautifully soulful.

The sound profile of these acoustic strings is perfect for any playing style. You can play blues, country, fold, rock, and many other music genres with these acoustic strings. Although these acoustic strings come at a higher price, they will serve you well as they are manufactured with high-quality Bronze and can withstand any rigorous playing.

Pros

  • Highly durable.
  • Brighten the natural tone of your guitar.
  • Great for beginners thanks to their thin-gauge.
  • Designed to produce a true consistent tone.
  • Produce rich bass tones and bright trebles.

Cons

  • Slightly expensive.

5. DR Strings Zebra - Acoustic-Electric Strings

DR Strings Zebra - Acoustic-Electric Round Core 11-50
  • ZEBRA Acoustic Guitar Strings are made for acoustic-electric guitars with piezo...
  • Alternating nickel-plated steel and phosphor bronze wrap wires every other coil...
  • DR has created the perfect hybrid string that has significantly better output...
  • Custom Light
  • 11, 15, 22, 30, 40, 50

ZEBRA Guitar Strings for beginners are meant for acoustic-electric hybrids that are equipped with piezo bridge pickups under the bridge or magnetic pickups in the sound hole. DR Strings has created the perfect hybrid guitar string by alternating nickel-plated steel and phosphor bronze wrap wires every single coil on a round core wire.

These hybrid best strings have significantly better output compared to most while still maintaining a desirable acoustic tone. These best acoustic strings are great for archtop jazz guitars. They are also great for artists and guitarists who are venturing away from the typical acoustic world. Therefore, if you want to mix it up a bit, you should get yourself a set of these best guitar strings.

This DR Zebra guitar string set runs from .050 up to .011, giving you a slightly more medium to light feeling than the other best strings we've covered above. You'll get a snappy and rich sound with these acoustic guitar strings. Thankfully, these acoustic guitar strings are affordable and give you a unique tone.

Pros

  • Very affordable.
  • Has good output while maintaining a desirable acoustic tone.
  • Ideal for archtop jazz guitars.
  • Has great sound

Cons

  • Can be stiff for some players.

Buying Guide for the Best Acoustic Guitar Strings for Beginners

Here are a few factors to look at when buying the best acoustic strings for beginners.

1. Material of the String

The material used to make the strings on your acoustic guitars affects the sound they make. Let's look at some of the materials used to make strings.

a) Bronze

Bronze is a popular material because of the bright sun-shiny tone that it provides. However, it doesn't come as its pure version but as an alloy of Copper, Tin, Zinc, and more. You'll see Bronze following the 802- ratio, with 80% being Copper and then a coating of Zinc on the remaining 20%.

However, Bronze corrodes and oxidizes easily; therefore, you'll find that these strings don't stay intact for long. Nonetheless, Bronze Phosphor combinations last longer, just like the Aluminum-Bronze strings.

b) Nylon

Nylon strings are best with classical guitars because it gives the guitars their warm and soft tones. Therefore, if this is your goal, get some good nylon strings.

c) Stainless Steel

The best part about stainless steel is that you don't have to worry about corrosion or rust. This means that your strings are going to keep their shiny look for as long as it takes. These strings also produce a soft tone when they have a slight rusty touch.

d) Brass

The tone produced by brass strings has a metal touch to it.

e) Polymer Coated

We've seen how the materials affect the sound produced. Now, with this material type, it's more about resisting corrosion more than the tone it produces. Therefore, if you are more concerned about durability and practice, go for these strings.

They also produce a warm tone, and the strings last for long and look attractive.

f) Silk and Steel

Silk and steel guitar strings come coated with silk. This means that if you have sensitive fingers, this is the option, especially for beginners who aren't used to pulling and plucking strings.

2. Your Goal

Knowing what you want the new strings for will determine the type of strings you get. For example, the type of guitar will influence the strings, and so will the type of tones you want. As we've seen above, the different materials affect how the strings sound.

Also, if you want to produce soft tones, you should go for lighter strings or strings that have a light feel to them. Remember that you need to check what guitar you have to get the right guitar strings for your instrument. For example, you can't use strings for an electric guitar on its acoustic counterpart, which is a sure way to ruin your guitar.

3. String Gauge/Diameter

This factor is very important, especially for beginners like you, because guitar string gauges affect how you play. Choosing the right string gauge will allow you to play easier.

a) Light Gauge

These strings are perfect for beginners like you and allow you to play easier as they need less pressure. These strings are also great for producing softer and thinner tones and are great for fingerpicking. A point of caution, however, is that these strings tend to break easily.

b) Medium Gauge

If you are more explorative as a musician, you can go for this acoustic guitar string. With a good set of these best guitar strings, you can easily play medium lows and medium highs. They also have a warm sound and are very durable.

c) Heavy Gauge

These best guitar strings are meant for the masters and guitarists who have played a while because you need to put enough pressure on them. Also, their tone is very warm, deep, and soothing. However, if you'd like to take a chance on this set of strings, you can do it.

Note that the build and size of your guitar matters when you are choosing this set of strings.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What are 80/20 Guitar Strings?

These are strings that have a wire composition that is 80% copper and 20% Zinc. Compared to other compositions, this set of strings is brighter.

2. What are the Best Guitar Strings for A Beginner?

We recommend the gauges of 10-47 up to 11-52 because they are thinner and great for beginners. This is because they require less pressure. Therefore, you won't get sore fingers and calluses at the beginning of your journey.

You can use light string gauges before you get the hang of it. Once you have more experience, you can move to a string of a higher gauge.

3. How Often Should I Restring My Guitar?

When the string breaks or you feel that the string is not playing as well as it did or should. This usually happens because of humidity ruining your string. However, you'll find that for beginners, you will often replace your string once it breaks.

When this happens, you'll have to restring your guitar.

4. How Do I Take Care of Guitar Strings?

Keep your guitar in a moisture-free area to prevent any humidity from landing on your strings and ruining them with rust and corrosion. Another way of ensuring that your acoustic string remains in tip-top condition is to wipe off the oil that settles on it as you play.

You can also opt to buy a guitar case with a feature that soaks up the moisture or at least keeps the moisture and humidity levels normal and low. 

Zen Chung


I'm Zen Chung, a piano and violin teacher based out of Plano, Texas. I started this blog because my students (and their parents) kept asking about the best musical instruments to buy online. Look no further I'm here to save the day! 

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