8 Of The Best Acoustic Guitar Strings You Can Get Today(2022 review)

By Monica | Product Reviews

May 05
best acoustic guitar strings

The best acoustic guitar strings can make the difference in your rig. Even a well-made acoustic guitar will not have a good sounding if it has a cheap set of strings. Although it is true that they are the least inexpensive part of your instrument, their quality and importance are still impregnable.

In fact, you should be warier when it comes to choosing strings for acoustic guitar than an electric guitar. The latter usually have accompaniments and "flavorings,"  thanks to the presence of pedals and amp. Sometimes, it is very difficult to distinguish the individual strings of an electric guitar, especially if you are dropping some wicked chords and riffs.

Meanwhile, an acoustic guitar plays without these effects and amplification. Its tone relies on the type of strings that you integrate with the system. Evidently, choosing the wrong strings will lessen the tone quality of your acoustic guitar.

In this article, we will show you the right models of acoustic guitar strings that you should get. Each of these string set will unleash the full potential of your rig. Therefore, you must have a look at them and see which one you think will work for your setup. Let's start!

Best Acoustic Guitar Strings: Our Top Picks

But before we dig in deeper to these units, we have to veer away a little bit. Specifically, we want to discuss the basics of choosing guitar strings. After all, nobody wants to end up with a bad unit.


A Short Introduction to Acoustic Guitar Strings

As their name suggests, acoustic strings are for acoustic guitar. They have a different construction to an electric guitar string, as it is usually made from steel and nickel. An acoustic guitar string is crafted from copper alloys. This type of material is an excellent partner for acoustic guitars, as it can optimize tone preservation.

Of course, you can still use nickel and steel strings on an acoustic guitar. There is no stopping you on that. However, you should not expect that the quality is just the same if you are using a copper-based alloy string set. This is especially true if your acoustic instrument is unplugged or doesn't have an electric capacity. But even if such feature is present, the sound of the acoustic guitar won't improve that much.

How to Choose Acoustic Guitar Strings

Variants of Acoustic Guitar Strings

We highly encourage you to read this section, as it will become a crucial part of your choosing process.

There are different types of acoustic guitar strings. Of course, the "type" we are indicating refers to the composition of the strings (the materials used in the construction). Manufacturers are using various types of alloys to vary the tonal flavor of the string. Specifically, you can either describe the sound of the strings as "bright," "mellow," and "warm."

Selecting between these nuances is pretty easy, especially if you know what you are looking for. Of course, this should depend on the kind of acoustic guitar that you are using. For example, a large bass-type acoustic guitar will need a set of bright strings.

We can classify acoustic guitar strings through the following: 80/20 Bronze and Phosphor Bronze.

80/20 Bronze

This type of string is a combination of 20% zinc and 80% copper. In short, it is a brass (chemistry geeks out there know this perfectly). But in the industry, they call it the "80/20 Bronze" because it sounds cool. Technically, the term is incorrect. But we can't change it anyway.

80/20 bronze strings produce a bright sound. They tend to emphasize the high frequencies of your rig. Therefore, it is a great partner for jumbo guitars (like we mentioned earlier). Such type of instrument will benefit from 80/20 strings because it balances out the excessive bass that it has.

Phosphor Bronze

Meanwhile, the phosphor bronze is made out of 90% copper and around 9% zinc. It contains a small trace of phosphorous, too, hence the name "phosphor." The sound of these strings is the opposite of 80/20 bronze, as rich and warm characteristic defines them. Moreover, they have better resistance to corrosion than their counterpart. After all, the oil that your hands produce can affect the quality of your strings.

This type of string is a perfect fit for acoustic guitars that possess high frequencies. On the other hand, you might want to avoid using it on rigs that focused on low frequencies.

Coated or Not

When choosing a guitar string, you also need to decide whether you want to opt for a coated model or not. The coating of the strings usually refers to its thin plastic cover. This particular component prevents the accumulation of dirt and oil in the grooves of the strings. However, this poses some drawbacks as well.

Coating the strings lessens the frequency and volume. In short, it just removes the original tonal quality that a string should have. Well, if you put it into the application, it doesn't really result in horrible sounds. But for those who are quite keen on the tone, you should keep such repercussion on your mind.

At the end of the day, you will just have to understand the setup that you has. Specifically, you have to partner your acoustic guitar with the appropriate set of strings. In this way, you can fully realize its potential.

Gauge of the String

gauge of the string

To put it bluntly, string gauge refers to the thickness of the strings. If you have been playing the guitar for quite some time, you probably noticed that it thick strings are somehow difficult to manipulate. This is due to the tension that they have. But because of the tension, the guitar can produce significant vibration, which results in a loud and full sound. The opposite effect happens when you use a thin set of strings.

Check the list below to know the different classifications of strings, depending on their gauge:

  • Extra light - 0.010, 0.014, 0.023, 0.030, 0.039, 0.047
  • Light (Custom) - O.011, 0.015, 0.023, 0.032, 0.042, 0.052
  • Light (Standard) - 0.012, 0.016, 0.25, 0.032, 0.042, 0.054
  • Medium - 0.013, 0.017, 0.026, 0.035, 0.045, 0.056
  • Heavy - 0.014, 0.018, 0.027, 0.039, 0.049, 0.059

For beginners, we advise that you should use light strings. In this way, you won't hurt your hands too much. If your fingers are naturally calloused, you can freely choose medium to heavy strings. But still, light strings are way better for amateur applications.

Best Acoustic Guitar Strings: Full Review

We already elucidated the important aspects that revolve around acoustic guitar strings. Now, it is the time to introduce the capabilities of our featured guitar strings. Get to know them now!

The D'Addario EXP is one of the finest acoustic guitar strings that you can see in the market today. This particular model is constructed under an extremely-precise machinery. It has a micro coating that lengthens its lifespan but without affecting its overall tone. In fact, it is pretty evident that D'Addario EXP has four times lifespan compared to ordinary strings.

Moreover, the D'Addario EXP features exceptional tonal stability. It has an optimal vibration that further improves its performance and pitch reliability. Aside from having a long lifespan, the EXP series proves that it has a better tune than most of its competitors. Specifically, these strings come in various gauges. They are also available in both phosphor bronze and 80/20 bronze models. Therefore, your options are pretty varied here.


  • Exceptionally long lifespan
  • Holds better tonal characteristics
  • Comes with improve coating technology
  • Can cater for different types of guitars
  • Possesses pitch stability


  • No noticeable drawbacks

Let's take a look at this product...

D’Addario EXP16 Coated Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings, Light, 12-53 – Offers a Warm, Bright and Well-Balanced Acoustic Tone and 4x Longer Life - With NY Steel for Strength and Pitch Stability
  • MOST POPULAR – Pursue your passion with D’Addario’s most popular coated acoustic guitar string set. The EXP16 Coated Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings delivers the ideal balance of volume, projection and comfortable playability. With EXP coated phosphor bronze strings you get a warm, bright, well balanced acoustic tone and 4 times more life than uncoated strings.
  • WITH EXCLUSIVE NY STEEL – These coated light acoustic guitar strings feature plain steel strings and hexagonal cores made of our revolutionary NY High Carbon Steel that delivers unprecedented strength and pitch stability.
  • COATED THEN WOUND – Unlike other coated strings, D’Addario strings feature an ultra-fine layer of EXP coating that is bonded to the phosphor bronze wrap wire and then wound onto the hex-shaped core wire. The result is a barrier against corrosion and a consistent, long-lasting tone.
  • STRING GAUGES – The string gauges in this acoustic string set include: Plain Steel .012, .016, Phosphor Bronze Wound .024, .032, .042, .053.
  • MADE IN THE USA – D’Addario leverages centuries of string-making experience and advanced computer-controlled winding technology to bring you the most durable, consistent and long-lasting guitar strings. Made in the USA for the highest quality and performance, only D’Addario strings are sealed inside and out.

If you are looking for an impressive 80/20 bronze acoustic strings, we would recommend first the Elixir. This particular string set features the Nanoweb Coating, which allows a "natural feel" of the string. The protection is still there, but the quality of sound never really deterred. It is a great option if you want to expressive and bright strings for your instrument.

It is also undeniable that the Elixir Strings 80/20 Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings exhibits exceptional vibration. Therefore, it can produce loud and full sounds without even breaking a sweat. Of course, such feature is already impressive, considering that this one is a light-gauged string.


  • Features a patented anti-corrosion coating
  • It has a long and unwavering tonal quality
  • Light and easy to manipulate (perfect for beginners)
  • Sturdy and doesn't break quickly
  • Produces stable vibration and pitch


  • It is typically costly (around two times more expensive than its competitors)

Let's take a look at this product...

Elixir Strings - Acoustic 80/20 Bronze with NANOWEB Coating - Light Guitar Strings (.012-.053)
  • Top Rated Coated Acoustic Strings: Elevate your sound with our exclusive featherweight NANOWEB Coating and 80/20 bronze wrap wire for a bright, expressive tone - superior craftsmanship and durability for endless play. Light: 12-16-24-32-42-53
  • Brilliant Tone that Lasts: Unmatched in retaining a fresh, out-of-the-box tone, these strings outlast both coated and uncoated alternatives. Trust Elixir Strings to ensure you always sound your absolute best for an extended period.
  • Superb Corrosion Resistance: Safeguard your acoustic guitar strings with our Elixir NANOWEB Coated Strings. The featherweight coating combats corrosion, rust, and the detrimental effects of sweaty hands, high humidity, and tone-detracting debris.
  • Unyielding Durability: This durable set of acoustic guitar strings can withstand fluctuating temperatures and humidity. All of our strings from light acoustic guitar strings to heavier gauges will deliver a reliable performance and comfortable feel.
  • Greater Tuning Stability: Elixir acoustic guitar strings deliver unmatched tuning stability. These 80/20 acoustic guitar strings have advanced protection, enabling them to stay in tune for longer, keeping your guitar consistently sounding its best.

Those who are searching for robust and full sounds for their acoustic guitars should consider the Elixir String 80/20 with Polyweb coating. They have almost the same capabilities as the first Elixir String set we featured. However, this one is an ideal choice for those who want to produce clear mid and low tones. Your rig can certainly stand out in the mix with this tool.

Unlike other strings out there, the Polyweb used in Elixir is authentic and patented. Therefore, you can expect that these strings can offer soft and smooth playing experience to its user. In fact, we definitely recommend these guitar strings to beginners. They provide impressive maneuverability and pitch quality that you can't find on ordinary string sets.


  • Durable construction
  • Comes with polyweb coating for impressive and natural playing feel
  • Playable (beginner friendly-instrument)
  • Pitch quality is on-point
  • Produces optimal vibration for enhanced sounding


  • The cost is still the issue

Let's take a look at this product...

Elixir Strings 80/20 Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings w POLYWEB Coating, Extra Light (.010-.047)
  • Acoustic guitar strings constructed with 80/20 (80% copper, 20% zinc) bronze wrap wire
  • Played for a warm and robust tone that sounds “played-in” but still retains a remarkably clear mid-range presence
  • Original POLYWEB Coating provides a soft, smooth feel that keeps the strings from getting in the way of playing
  • Our patented coating technology protects against common corrosion, extending tone life longer than any other brand’s coated or uncoated strings (Elixir Strings player survey)
  • Extra Light gauge: .010 .014 .023 .030 .039 .047

Another dependable string that you should try is the Martin MM12 Retro Monel. This one has been a recent talk-in-the-town, especially on guitar communities like r/Guitar (Reddit). This particular set of strings has a great performance and stability. It received a lot of recommendations, especially for those who play the mellow genre. The tonal quality that it has is soft and distinct. But the sounding that it has can still provide enough presence.

This string set has a light gauge. You can easily play this instrument without hurting your hands, even if you are still a new player. Despite this, this particular unit remains to be durable. It is not susceptible to corrosion, which makes it a good investment. With all these features, it is not a surprise to anymore why many guitar players recommend it!


  • Produces a distinct mellow sound
  • Resist corrosion for longer lifespan
  • Rugged construction
  • High-quality tonal pitch
  • Beginner-friendly


  • Creates unwanted metallic sound if you won't tune it properly

Let's take a look at this product...

Martin Retro Acoustic Guitar Strings, MM12 Light-Gauge Monel, Nickel (6 str)
  • PROFESSIONAL GUITAR STRINGS: Made from monel, a nickel-copper alloy, our Retro acoustic strings provide a reduced pick attack that allows the guitar’s tonewoods to be heard—not overshadowed. These solid guitar strings are the real deal, offering a true, consistent tone.
  • LONG-LASTING DESIGN: Discover your guitar’s true voice. These strings are designed with Martin’s naturally corrosion-resistant materials to protect the core and wrap wire and extend string life while ensuring a quality feel in every note. They’re available in extra-light, custom light, light, medium-light (“Laurence Juber’s Choice”), and medium gauges as well as in the bluegrass-inspired “Tony Rice’s Choice” string gauge.
  • PERFORMANCE READY: Best for rigorous practice and performance, our Retro Acoustic Guitar Strings offer enhanced longevity with a warm natural tone, and they sound great plugged in. If you have finger fatigue after playing or wish bending notes was easier, try a lighter string gauge.
  • VERSATILE STRINGS: String gauge is an important part of getting the best sound out of your guitar. We recommend using only our extra-light through medium-gauge strings on our guitars. Medium-gauge strings deliver more volume and are perfect for larger-bodied guitars.
  • THE TONE YOU DESERVE: For every handmade element we craft, we never forget why we do it: To help you set your creativity free. You’ll find a wide range of Martin strings that fit your instrument and playing style. Enjoy incredible tone, no matter what you play.

The Ernie Ball 2146 Earthwood is a string set that provides expressive tonal quality. It can offer a clear sound production that can easily emphasize your playing style and capabilities. Coming from the United States, this acoustic guitar string is crafted from the best and finest string materials. It possesses unique shielding that protects it from the unwanted elements.

You can also assure that strings are durable and rugged. They don't break easily, even if you play with your instrument constantly. In fact, the Ernie Ball 2146 Earthwood is a great choice if you want to play live and do some recordings. Since it has a clean output, you will certainly perform without any worries.


  • Available in multiple gauges
  • Ideal for live and studio applications
  • Made from high-quality materials
  • Pitch is distinct and clear
  • Durable and element-resistant


  • They don't last long compared to other strings that we mentioned here

Let's take a look at this product...

Ernie Ball Earthwood Medium Light Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings, 12-54 Gauge (P02146)
  • Warm, rich tone with excellent projection and clarity
  • Medium Light, the most popular gauge, consists of plain steel strings (.012, .016.) and phosphor bronze wound strings (.024, .032, .044, .054)
  • Phosphor bronze wound on a hex-shaped, high-carbon steel core wire
  • Element Shield Packaging prolongs string life and keeps strings as fresh as the day they were made
  • Made in California, USA with the freshest and finest materials

For the price, nothing can just beat the Martin MSP4150. It is among the most affordable options that you can get out there. But definitely, the quality is not cheap either. This is a surprising feat, considering that this one has a splendid design and performance.

Just like the first Martin acoustic guitar string we featured, this also has a good rapport with the community. It is available in different variants and gauges. Moreover, you can actually use these strings even if you don't own a Martin guitar.The MSP4150 comes with a coating. Fortunately, it is not as thick as we expected it to be. Although it is a guarantee that Martin's bread and butter are their uncoated strings, you can never still underestimate the pitch quality of the MSP4150.


  • Affordable choice
  • Great strings for practice applications
  • Sound quality is pretty decent
  • Durable and rugged
  • Corrosion resistant


  • It has too much coating
Martin MSP4150 SP Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings, Light/Medium
  • Gauges: .0125 - .055
  • Ultra-high quality steel core
  • Core wires and plain strings plated with an acoustic bronze finish

Another D'Addario acoustic guitar string that you should consider is the D'Addario EJ16-3D. It can generate a balanced and clear acoustic tone. It has a unique construction, too. Specifically, it is crafted from precision machinery. Because of this, you can assure that these strings are durable and resistant against typical detriments.

When it comes to sounding, the D'Addario EJ16-3D produces warm and bright tones. The intonation is distinct and clear, too. As a result, this string set can deliver the traditional and organic experience that is iconic to acoustic guitars.


  • It is a well-made string set
  • Excellent sounding
  • Pitch and vibration are impressive
  • Works well in different types of commercial acoustic guitars
  • Great for amateur and seasoned players


  • It is not as bright as we expected it to be
  • Can hurt your fingers when they are still new

Let's take a look at this product...

D'Addario Guitar Strings - Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings - EJ16-3D - Rich, Full Tonal Spectrum - For 6 String Guitars - 12-53 Light, 3-Pack
  • WARM, BALANCED TONE - Phosphor Bronze wrap wire provides tried-and-true D’Addario acoustic tone, with beautiful balance and warmth suitable for all musical genres.
  • EARN REWARD POINTS - D’Addario Phosphor Bronze acoustic guitar strings come with a code on the recyclable VCI bag, which you can register to earn Players Circle points.

You may not have heard of John Pearse. But definitely, this is among the best-sounding acoustic guitar strings on the market today. Its popularity is not as great as other strings above here. However, we can assure that you won't regret on this one.

The tonal quality of the John Pearse 600L is definitely great. They are very comparable to the strings produced by Martin. Of course, they also possess the cleanliness and distinction that are well identical to some high-end brands. But the best selling feature of this strings is its inexpensiveness. It is like getting more than what you have paid for.


  • Great tonal quality
  • Affordable choice
  • Perfect for practice purposes
  • Easy to play
  • Comes in different models


  • Doesn't last long, especially if use them constantly

Let's take a look at this product...

John Pearse 600L Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings
  • Phosphor Bronze Wound
  • Light
  • 0.012 - 0.053
  • Country of Origin: United States

Final Verdict

Having a great acoustic guitar string will certainly improve the sounding and quality of your instrument. They can certainly define the tone that the guitar will release. If you can get the right strings, your guitar will be at its peak performance.

Among the strings we featured, both the Elixir strings impressed us the most. They are well-made. Their tonal quality doesn't suck. And their lifespan is notably long. Therefore, we can easily say that their prices are justifiable. They are our best acoustic guitar strings.

Which of these acoustic guitar strings do you like the most? Tell us your answers in the comment section below!


About the Author

Hi everyone! Im Monica and I am an avid lover of guitars and everything in-between. My current profession is not really music-related. It is quite discouraging but I just don't want to drop my zeal--especially not to guitars! I created GuitarTrance.Com so that I can keep up with my hobby. Of course, I want to engage with the community as well! Hope we can all get along!