When it comes to the acoustic guitar, the importance of the strings can’t be overrated. You probably can’t even remember when was the last time you changed the set on your instrument, but in this review, you’ll learn that the strings can make it or break it for the guitar. Old strings sound dull; brand-new ones come with a “zingy” tone. But there’s a lot more to them than meets the eye. Let us take a look at the key aspects of acoustic guitar strings:
- It’s safe to say that if you go with Ernie Ball, Martin, D’Addario, or DR, you’ll be fine. These are some of the finest brands on planet Earth.
- Steel strings don’t go well with classic guitars. In fact, they may actually damage the bridge or the neck. Go with nylon strings if flamenco is your favorite style.
- The gauge is the diameter of the strings. Light-gauge strings are best suited for beginners, as they are easier to play. On the other hand, they break faster. Heavy strings are warmer, richer, and louder. But, they are more expensive and harder to play. The gauge ranges from 0.1 to 0.59.
- The materials used to make the strings are the next factor. Overall, there are six materials. The list includes bronze, phosphor bronze, aluminum bronze, silk and steel, brass, and polymer-coated. Phosphor bronze is considered to be the most reliable choice for the acoustic guitar players. It lasts longer than regular bronze and comes with an equally warm and bright sound that’s perfect for most musical genres.
- Coating, along with round/hex cores also matters. However, it’s more of a “technical” term and doesn’t have nearly as big of an impact as the gauge and the material.
Checking Out the Best Acoustic Strings
Alright, now that the basics are out of the way, it is time to take a look at the finest acoustic guitar strings out there. Overall, we’ve got 7 brands with their best sets present on this list.
These guys have been in the business for 200 years and are pretty much the biggest and most respected players in the industry. The Martin strings are reliable, durable, and sound heavenly. Obviously, they’ve got an impressive collection that will satisfy the needs of even the most demanding players. Their M540 Phosphor Bronze Strings are pretty cheap and come with a great tone. For more brightness, go with the 80/20 Bronze Acoustic Strings.
According to the experts, D’Addario has been making guitar strings for almost 100 years. As the company with the most experience, they know exactly how to shape the market to their advantage. You’ve probably heard about the Phosphor Bronze EJ series. The fans love it for the clean, bright, and balanced tone. EJ40, in turn, is an amazing pack of silk and steel strings.
Based in the United States, Elixir is one of the “boundary pushers” of our time and always comes up with tiny revolutions. Say, they single-handedly developed coated strings, and now they are an essential part of the industry. The strings with polyweb coating have a dark, warm, round tone. But if you need something brighter and with more air, pick a nanoweb pack of strings. The choice, as always, is yours.
The pros seem to really love Ernie Ball. The tone, the durability, and the innovations are the cornerstones of this company. Their world-famous Earthwood series is, without doubt, fantastic, and should definitely be in your collection. As for the Everlast coated set, it’s not a cheap option but will last for a lifetime. Obviously, Ernie Ball also offers silk and steel, phosphor bronze, and even classical strings.
This manufacturer stands out thanks to its hand-made strings. That’s right: they don’t trust the machines to do their work and spend hours on every single string set. As a result – they have some of the finest collections in history. You might not feel the difference between man-made and machine-made strings, but it’s there. Hi-Beam, Black Beauties, and Dragon Skin are all lovely packs.
Yes, Fender is famous around the world for the guitars, but it also makes exceptional strings. And, just like the guitars, the amps, the preamps, and everything else in between, their strings sound amazing. Dura-Tone Coated is an award-winning string pack (80/20). The owners of classical guitars will also appreciate their Classic Nylon set.
This is the final contestant. GHS has been a part of the industry for more than 5 decades. And, in contrast to all the rest, they ONLY make strings. That gives them a unique opportunity to hone their skills to perfection. I’m not even going to single out any of their string sets, because they’re all worth your money.