Acoustic Guitar Strings: Guide & Reviews

Acoustic Guitar Strings Guide to acoustic guitar strings: Know what materials are used to make these, and the best options that are available to you.


If you own a hollow body acoustic guitar, six or twelve strings, you will need to keep some spare strings. The type of string will depend on whether you are using an acoustic or a classical one.

The classical one use nylon strings that produce a mellow sound, compared to the steel ones. Besides, these do not come with the supportive truss rod, in the neck portion, which makes them ill-equipped to support the high tension steel core strings.

As far as the acoustic guitar is concerned, the material of choice is usually steel or alloys (mix of different metals). These also differ in their gauges or the thickness of the strings.

Materials Used

You might think that most acoustic guitars commonly use “steel strings” (and its right, they do have steel cores), but the wound strings will almost always be wound with bronze. Acoustic guitar strings are either phosphor bronze (provides a warm tone and sustains the tone a bit longer) or it can be 80/20 bronze (sounds a bit brighter and loses its brightness a bit faster).

Some of the popular options for strings are:

  • Bronze (80% of copper to 20% of zinc or tin): Produces bright sounds with clear ring, but not very durable.
  • Phosphor and bronze acoustic (92% to 8% or 85% to 15%): The bronze makes the sound brighter, more durable as good resistance to corrosion, preferred by most players.
  • That is why those acoustic strings don’t actually look steel colored.

    String Gauge

    Gauge refers to the thickness of the strings. You have options of light, super light, extra super light, medium, heavy and extra heavy gauges. What you choose will depend on what style of music you prefer to play.

    Beginners should ideally choose the lighter guitar strings as they are easier to play, and hurt less.

    However, the thinner strings don’t sound as loud, full, and bright as the heavier/thicker ones though. The thicker ones are good for strumming but require more strength, and that is why the experienced players use it more.

    These are some of the factors to keep in mind when selecting acoustic guitar strings.

    Best Acoustic Guitar Strings

    D’Addario EJ16-3D Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings, Light, 3 Sets

    Guitar players love the D’Addario EJ16-3D phosphor bronze strings for their rich and warm tone, strongly built, and with this 3-pack you get a killer deal on these excellent strings!

    These strings tend to get mellower over time, as you play more. If these strings sound too bright initially, they should develop into a nice warm sound in a few days time. Another good thing about the D’Addario EJ16 is that it has color coding on the ball ends. This is useful for beginners, as it makes identifying the strings and restringing much easier.

    Elixir Strings Acoustic 80/20 Bronze Guitar Strings with NANOWEB Coating (.012-.053)

    You get a bright and lively tone from the Elixir Strings Acoustic 80/20 Bronze with NANOWEB coating. Designed for consistent performance, and feels smooth. Elixir Strings are coated with an ultra-thin coating to protect the entire string. The Anti-Rust Plated Plain Steel Strings also resists tone-deadening corrosion, ensuring longer life for the entire set.

    The tones are softer and brighter, and the good thing about the Elixir Nanoweb strings is their consistency; they sound great when you buy them new, and sound similar few months later as well.

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