The Five Best Acoustic Guitar Strings in 2020 + Buyer’s Guide


There aren’t many things more enjoyable to listen to than someone strumming an acoustic guitar. It fills the air with melody and just hits the ear in such a way that is warm and inviting. That twang you hear is made, in large part, by acoustic guitar strings that are tightened in a specific way to get all that rhythm out into the world. Whether you’re sitting in your room just fooling around or playing in front of a crowd, quality guitar strings for your acoustic guitar matter. That’s why we’ve looked around to find some of the best acoustic guitar strings to help you compose and perform like a star.

When it comes to guitars and that smooth, crisp sound, nothing can beat the acoustic guitar or acoustic when amped. It’s easy to spend a lot of time choosing the right guitar only to let the finished product down by the choice of strings. Gone are the days where quality strings equaled bank-breaking prices. As more manufacturers have entered the fray, the prices of even the top brands are more affordable. A lot of your personal preference will be determined by your choice of guitar and playing style but at GuitarTunerTips we wanted to give you the top 5 sets of steel strings that would cover most of your acoustic needs at reasonable prices. The gauge rating of strings can be quite different between manufacturers as they use varying materials and winding techniques, we’ll help find the right one for you.

MOST VERSATILE SET

D’ADDARIOS MOST POPULAR ACOUSTIC STRINGS
Another offering that comes packaged as a set of three is always welcome at Music Critic. Very versatile, you can put them on any steel acoustic guitar you own. Bright, reliable and great for picking.

0.12-0.53 gauge is now one the most popular all-round choices for acoustic guitars. These would also be well suited for electro-acoustics but at this price point, they probably just tip the Elixirs for value. As they are more on the “medium” gauge range they suit pretty much all acoustic guitar types and are suitable for anyone from a beginner to a veteran.

 

MOST VERSATILE SET

Inspiring performance
Corrosion-resistant
String gauges
Most popular
Made in the USA

 

They stay in tune well and have a resonance that is very pleasing. Due to their unique construction, they last longer than most strings but if you are an avid player, you’ll probably want to change the strings as soon as they start to lose their brightness (but since they come in threes, you’ve got an extra two sets so no worries there).

If you hail from Kentucky and were born in the rich culture that is bluegrass or if you’re just a fan, then the D’Addario Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings could be right for you. With gauges that go from .012 to .056, it’s a light top to medium bottom set of strings. D’Addario makes a lot of different styles and gauges and the bluegrass strings give you a warm, bright and balanced acoustic tone. The phosphor bronze is corrosion resistant and wound around a hexagonal-shaped, high-carbon steel core.

EDITORS CHOICE

ACOUSTIC STRINGS WITH NANOWEB COATING
As these Elixirs are light-gauge they also suit ¾ steel acoustic and electric acoustics with thinner necks and cut-aways. Being this versatile makes them are a great all-rounder.

These 0.12-0.53 gauge Elixir strings are a fantastic set. We all agreed that they deliver a very bright tone. If you were playing a larger jumbo acoustic or preferred a country style sound, you might want to go for a heavier gauge for that “bigger” sound, but these are a clear and clean resonance which was apparent whether solely acoustic or when amplified.

 

EDITORS CHOICE

Played for a crisp, bright tone with an expressive, vibrant presence
Ultra-thin NANOWEB Coating provides a more traditionally textured, “uncoated” feel
Light gauge: .012 .016 .024 .032 .042 .053

 

They’ve got some pretty clever innovation with their “Nano” coating which easily tricked us in to thinking that they were uncoated. They have a more traditional textured feel which enhances your playing ability when sweeping from note to note with a very natural sound and tone. The added bonus means that the strings will last a bit longer than uncoated strings. We gave them a pretty good thrashing and they stayed in tune and lost no resonance.

Featuring an ultra-thin NANOWEB coating, the Elixir Extra Light Strings give off amazing clarity. Elixir strings cover the whole string to avoid the building up of gunk, skin, and oils that can make your guitar sound tinny and lifeless. They protect against common corrosion and the extra light gauges range from .010 to .047. They offer a dynamic balance in sound and last a long time. They have a smoother and more traditional feel, thanks to the phosphor bronze wrapping. The strings are anti-rust plated.

BEST VALUE

The Earthwood series is perfectly wound to match any genre giving you the experience of your life. 2146 hardwood guitar strings mark the same identity with a price range that anyone can easily afford.

Ernie Ball are probably best known for their electric guitar strings but they have been quietly manufacturing acoustic steel strings since 1962 so they know what they are doing.

 

BEST VALUE

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

 

At a light gauge of 0.10-0.50 they have easy playability but equally a warm rich tone and superb clarity. They have great resonance and when you use them to string your old Takamine, Martin, Gibson or Yamaha, they seem to bring new life to your playing. And at this price, get a set and start enjoying that old guitar that’s been collecting dust in the corner.

Depending on the type of guitar you have, the strings should be made of different materials. For great bronze strings for an acoustic guitar, check out the Ernie Ball Acoustic Guitar Strings. Ernie Ball is an extremely popular brand, having been played by legends such as Eric Clapton, Slash, and Keith Richards. These acoustic strings have a natural feel and project strongly, producing a warm and rich tone. It has an Elemental Shield packaging that keeps the strings fresh and helps them last longer. They are made from 92% copper and 7.7% tin with 0.3% phosphor wire wrapped around tin plated steel wire. They come in different gauges, so pick the ones that are right for you.

OUR HEAVIEST GAUGE CHOICE

SOMETHING A BIT DIFFERENT FROM DR
Veritas strings are a revolutionary new type of acoustic guitar string with no outer surface coating or treatment. Rated at lasting 4 times longer with the same clarity, we wanted to give these a try.

They have a nice bright sound, a little “zingy” when you first put them on but they calm down after a couple of days of play. They have great playability and because of their thicker gauge of 0.13-0.56, they have the potential to stay in tune for longer than average.

 

OUR HEAVIEST GAUGE CHOICE

Lasts up to 4 times longer with no surface coating or treatment
Robust and resonant tone, excellent sustain
Loud and bright, notes ‘jump off the pick’

 

When we played our trusty Godin Seagull using the DR Strings it really came to life and was louder than ever. We can’t attest to the fact that these strings will last 4 times longer than your average set, but when Paul McCartney and John Mayor decide that this is their acoustic set of choice, we know they have great caliber.

So, if you’ve got an old guitar that you’ve given up on for a while, get a set or two of these and breathe some new life into you playing, with robust tones and some very reliable sustain.

OUR PREMIUM CHOICE

IF YOU OWN A MARTIN, YOU NEED THESE
The MSP6100 SP acoustic strings by Martin. With bright tones, Cleartone proprietary technology and dirt repulsion this guitar string set is hands down among the best options you can choose from.

Now these are by the most expensive of all the acoustic strings we tested and reviewed but there is a reason for that. These are studio quality and begged to be professionally recorded. They really are for the discerning acoustic player and they won’t let you down.

Keeping up the tradition and providing state of the art products, Martin has taken the game to a whole new level. Chances are if you are in the market with this price point in mind, you’ll have a quality instrument to strap them to and you’ll be grinning from ear to ear. They’re, bright, vibrant and strings could sing, these Martins do.

 

OUR PREMIUM CHOICE

Treated with Martin's Clear tone proprietary technology for a longer lifespan than regular strings
Designed to repel the oils and dirt that can deaden strings
80/20 bronze provides a bright and vibrant tone
Gauge (light): .012, .016, .025, .032, .042, .054

 

Special Recommendation by Editor

XT strings feature an extended lifespan treatment on every string in the set, preserving the natural tone and feel of uncoated strings.
Strings last at least 4 times longer than traditional uncoated strings

 

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