Top 12 Acoustic Guitar Strings For Beginners 2023

Top 12 Acoustic Guitar Strings For Beginners | integraudio.com

In this article, let’s look at the best acoustic guitar strings that beginners should consider in their early guitar journey.

Choosing the best strings for your acoustic guitar can take time if you’re a beginner. So you want something that won’t hurt your fingers yet still sound good to help you develop your techniques.

There are plenty of options in the market today, and choosing whichever is the cheapest is tempting. However, while that is a practical option, there are other considerations.

If you’re starting, you want something that will allow you to learn how to fret correctly. Second, you also want something that brings out the best in your guitar to help you develop your techniques.

The most common string gauge for acoustic guitar is 12 with the thickest or low E string, varying per model or set. You can start with gauge 12 and choose something between 52 – 54. If these are too hard, consider going for an extra light set, such as 10 or 11 – 49, or 52.

Once you’ve developed your techniques, you can then explore other gauges.

And just as important is having your acoustic guitar setup. Again, high action or a wide distance between the string and the frets will make your guitar hard to play. But, again, different factors cause this, and it’s best to have a professional check.

Let’s look at the best option for acoustic guitar strings that beginners will enjoy.

Top 12 Acoustic Guitar Strings For Beginners 2023 (Any Budget)

1. D’Addario EJ16

Check on Amazon

Check on Thomann

Check on Sweetwater

D’Addario is one of the leading string makers for guitars and innovated Phosphor Bronze strings for its acoustic guitars. The EJ16 string set is one of these string sets that use this material to create warm tones.

The EJ16 string set was designed for use in different genres. For beginners looking to explore different kinds of music, the EJ16 will allow them to find their voice and playing style.

Key Features: 

D’Addario doesn’t offer much with these strings, but it makes up with the quality of the string it offers.

  • Phosphor Bronze
    D’Addario acoustic strings come with Phosphor Bronze wraps and a steel core to adapt to different playing styles.
  • Light Gauge
    The EJ16 uses 12 – 53 strings to ensure the guitar’s playability.
  • Balanced Tones
    Thanks to the Phosphor Bronze, you can expect your guitar to have a balance in its tones, giving you enough low, mid, and high frequencies.

Pros: 

You can’t go wrong with the EJ16s, as they can help bring out the natural sound of your acoustic guitar. In addition, the Phosphor Bronze material ensures that your guitar tones are balanced.

Cons:  

The string gauge on this set might be hard for young beginners, but mileage may vary per user.

2. Elixir 11052 

Check on Amazon

Check on Thomann

Check on Sweetwater

If you have the budget to spend on a good set of acoustic guitar strings, then consider the Elixir 11052 string set. These strings feature Nanoweb coating, which protects your lines from corrosion.

These strings cost more than other acoustic guitar strings in the market, so let’s look at what these strings offer and see if the price is justified.

Key Features: 

When people say that Elixir strings will last, they aren’t kidding. Many users say that Elixir strings generally have good durability and keep their luster even beyond three months.

  • Nanoweb Coating
    The main feature of every Elixir guitar string is the Nanoweb Coating. Unlike ordinary strings, these strings ensure that your guitar still sounds good after months of use.
  • 80/20 Bronze
    These Elixir strings blend 80 percent brass and 20 percent zinc, producing a more vintage acoustic guitar tone.
  • Light Gauge
    These strings feature a gauge of 12 – 53, making them on the lighter side.

Pros: 

As with any other Elixir string in the market, this string set will last you months without worrying about string changes unless you break a string. They also produce a bright, bright vintage sound with extra emphasis on the low end.

Cons: 

Like other Elixir strings, this string set costs more than other strings in the market today. However, while the features justify the cost, some people may need to realize they get their money’s worth with these strings.

3. Martin MA540T

Check on Amazon

Check on Thomann

Check on Sweetwater

Martin has always been synonymous with acoustic guitars, and if you want to get one step closer to that Martin vibe on your guitar, then try the MA540T acoustic guitar string set. These strings are one of the default sets installed on many Martin guitars in the market.

According to Martin, this string set uses a trademark coating that prevents corrosion and dirt from clinging to the string. And because Martin specializes in acoustic guitars, you can expect these strings to be engineered for acoustic guitar players with different levels of expertise.

Key Features: 

These strings tend to deviate from acoustic guitars’ light gauges.

  • 98/2 Phosphor Bronze
    These strings use Phosphor Bronze to wrap the steel core of the string. This winding material uses a 98 percent mix of brass and 2 percent nickel.
  • Corrosion Resistant
    This string set uses Martin’s trademark formula that deters corrosion and dirt from clinging to the strings.
  • Hybrid Light Gauge
    Unlike most light gauge acoustic guitar strings in the market, this string set uses a 12 – 54 set, which deviates slightly from the 53 used by many acoustic guitar manufacturers.

Pros: 

The acoustic guitar strings have a warm tone and are one of the elements for getting the Martin sound. In addition, the slightly thicker low strings give you thicker low frequencies. These strings also have a decent lifespan with their coating.

Cons: 

The low string might be too hard for some beginners. You may consider swapping out for a slightly lower gauge for this.

4. John Pearse 600L

Check on Amazon

The 600L is a popular choice for many folk guitar players. These strings are made by the company of the late British folk singer John Pearse, who had previously designed products for CF Martin before establishing his string brand and other guitar accessories.

Many guitar players swear by the tone they get with these strings, as they’re able to produce vintage acoustic guitar tones.

Key Features: 

There isn’t much to these strings, and most of their features are similar to other acoustic guitar strings in the market.

  • Hex core
    The 600L uses a hex core as the foundation of the string to ensure tuning stability.
  • Phosphor Bronze
    These strings use Phosphor Bronze as a wrap-around for the string core, although there needs to be more information on the material mixture.

Pros: 

Because these strings use a hex core, players are ensured of tuning stability and better playability. These strings also produce good vintage tones, although you can get varying results based on the type of acoustic guitar you use. 

Cons: 

These strings are stiff compared to round core strings. They also don’t have as many chimey tones compared to other guitar strings, which might be disappointing to some.

5. Fender 70L

Check on Amazon

Check on Thomann

Check on Sweetwater

One of the leading manufacturers of guitars, Fender, offers the 70L acoustic guitar string set, which is affordable but produces interesting tones from your acoustic guitar. Designed as a light gauge, these strings are a common choice for many guitar players starting.

Beginners tend to gravitate to these strings as they’re affordable and carry Fender’s reputation as a guitar brand. 

Key Features: 

Like the John Pearse strings, the 70L doesn’t offer many features but focuses on being a more straightforward product.

  • 80/20 Phosphor Bronze
    These strings blend copper and zinc in 80/20 proportions to create its round-wound wrap.
  • Light Gauge
    This string set features a 12 – 52 gauge, slightly lighter than many light tension strings.

Pros: 

The main reason why you’d want to consider these strings is their affordability. These strings are a good choice for anyone starting out and wouldn’t want to spend an extra few dollars.

Cons: 

The sound on these strings could be better, as there are some inconsistencies. They may be Fenders, but each acoustic guitar’s sound quality tends to differ.

6. Elixir 16052

Check on Amazon

Check on Thomann

Check on Sweetwater

For those wanting the benefits of coated strings while looking for that more natural feel, the Elixir 16052 is for you. These strings have a thinner Nanoweb coating that gives the strings more texture, similar to uncoated strings.

But even with a thinner coating, the Elixir 16052 offers the same quality and longevity that the brand is known for.

Key Features: 

Like other Elixir strings, this set offers no compromise, even with slightly different specs.

  • Thinner Nanoweb
    The thinner Nanoweb coating gives these strings a more natural feel, similar to uncoated strings.
  • Phosphor Bronze wrap
    Like many acoustic guitar strings, this string set features a phosphor bronze wrap that has become standard for many acoustic string sets.
  • Balanced Tones
    These strings ensure you can bring out the natural tones of your guitar with much clarity.
  • Light Gauge
    Like most acoustic guitar strings, these strings feature a light gauge of 12 – 54.

Pros: 

Like other Elixir strings, the strong point of this set is its coating. As a result, you get better longevity while maintaining the natural feel of the strings. Another thing to note about these strings is how it provides a good balance of tones.

Cons: 

These strings can be pricey, and if you’re starting, you might want to stay away from these strings for now until you can adequately assess your needs in acoustic guitar playing.

7. DR Strings RPM-12

Check on Amazon

Check on Thomann

Check on Sweetwater

DR offers another take on the usual acoustic guitar strings and introduces the RPM acoustic guitar strings. These strings introduce Rare Phosphor Bronze to provide another take on tone chasing with your acoustic guitars by improving tonal qualities regardless of the guitar used.

DR states these strings are flexible whether you use archtops or dreadnought guitars. 

Key Features: 

Most of the features on these strings are standard, save for one interesting feature.

  • Rare Phosphor Bronze
    According to DR, the Rare Phosphor Bronze adds more volume and sustain to your guitar.
  • Hex core
    This string set provides more tuning stability using its hex-core as the backbone of the strings.
  • Light gauge
    These strings are designed as a light gauge but feature a 54 on the low E string.

Pros: 

Consider this brand if you’re looking for an excellent alternative to the Fender acoustic guitar strings. While slightly more expensive, you get benefits such as improved sustain and warm tones.

Cons:  

If there’s anything not to like about these strings, it’s got to be the stiffness that comes with many hex-core strings. But as a beginner, it can also be used to get yourself used to string tension.

8. Ernie Ball P02076

Check on Amazon

Check on Thomann

Check on Sweetwater

If you consistently break strings, here’s a solution for you. It’s called the Ernie Ball 2076 Paradigm Phosphor Bronze strings. According to Ernie Ball, these are one of their brand’s most durable strings, which can withstand abuse when learning to play the guitar.

These strings stand abuse and have also been proven to withstand corrosion brought about by the environment, including humid climates.  

Key Features: 

For this set of strings, Ernie Ball takes pride in how these strings managed to withstand abuse through innovative engineering.

  • Breakage Resistance
    Ernie Ball understands the challenges of string durability, especially among newbie players. Taking a cue from this problem ensured that these strings would withstand abuse from playing.
  • Humidity Resistance
    Even if you live in humid environments, these strings can handle corrosion quite well, making them ideal for tropical climates.
  • Phosphor Bronze
    The Phosphor Bronze winding on these strings improves your guitar’s midrange response and warmth.  
  • Medium Light Gauge
    Ernie Ball considers this string set a medium light gauge set, a blend of light (12) and medium (54) tension gauges.

Pros: 

These strings have improved longevity differently. While many strings focus on ensuring tone consistency for more extended periods, Ernie Ball made these strings tough to withstand abuse. After all, what good is tone consistency if it breaks faster?

Another reason to consider these strings is the improved midrange. If you plan to use this in a live band setting, your guitar has better chances of cutting through the mix.

Cons: 

These guitar strings are slightly more expensive than other string brands. While not as expensive, they still cost more than two sets of strings.

9. Martin MA140PK3

Check on Amazon

For those who like to have extra string sets on hand, the Martin MA140 PK3 offers three string sets in one package. This bundle features three packs of the MA140 string set from Martin, designed to withstand the rigors of gigging.

Key Features: 

Martin designed these strings to work for beginners and working musicians.

  • High tensile strength core wire
    The core wire of these strings are tough enough to withstand long hours of practice every day and can be taken to gigs.
  • Tin coating
    To add protection against corrosion, Martin coated these strings with tin to protect them from premature rusting.
  • Bronze windings
    These strings have the option for 80/20 Bronze and 92/8 Phosphor Bronze windings.
  • Light Gauge
    These strings have a gauge of 12 – 54, which can be tougher on the lower side. 

Pros: 

You can think of these strings as budget-friendly coated strings. So if you’re looking for something like Elixir, but don’t have the money for it, here’s a good alternative. It might not be as good as Elixir, but it should do.

Cons: 

Some users have noted inconsistent qualities, such as strings becoming dull after a few uses or string breakage after a few weeks.

10. Fender 860L

Check on Amazon

Check on Thomann

Check on Sweetwater

Here’s another Fender option in this round-up. If you’re looking for coated strings and trust Fender, you should look at the 860L acoustic guitar strings. These strings are known for providing reliability when it comes to longevity.

These strings are worth considering if you’re looking to upgrade strings without spending too much.

Key Features: 

Fender markets these strings as their take on coated strings, which many guitar players now favor.

  • Dura-Tone
    The Dura-Tone is Fender’s take on string coating that improves sound articulation and durability.
  • Phosphor Bronze
    Fender still uses industry-standard Phosphor Bronze for the string windings of this set.
  • Light Gauge
    These strings use 12 – 53 gauge strings to ensure better playability.

Pros:

They may not be Elixirs, but the coated strings do the job of repelling dirt and corrosion. These strings might not last like Nanoweb, but they are cheaper and last longer than non-coated strings.

Cons:  

The gauge 53 string might be stiff for some beginners but is a little softer to fret than gauge 54 strings.

11. Gibson 12 Masterbuilt

Check on Amazon

For the Gibson fans who try to keep things stock on their guitars, these Gibson 12 Masterbuilt strings offer premium quality for your favorite Gibson acoustic guitars. And even if you don’t use a Gibson, you’ll still love these strings.

Key Features: 

These strings cost more than the usual acoustic guitar strings in the market, and here are the reasons why.

  • Vacuum-sealed
    Each string is sealed in a vacuum pack to lock out air and prevent corrosion so that you get a fresh set of strings every time you open a pack.
  • Light gauge
    These strings feature a gauge of 12 – 53, making it easier to fret on the lower side.
  • Phosphor Bronze
    These strings use industry-standard Phosphor Bronze windings for its strings.

Pros: 

You don’t have to worry about getting corroded strings when you open a pack, as these strings are vacuum sealed. However, it’s another matter when you start using them on your guitar.

Cons: 

These strings tend to cost more and would have benefitted from being coated to make them worth the cost.

12. Dunlop DAB1254

Check on Amazon

Check on Sweetwater

Dunlop offers budget-friendly options for acoustic guitar strings with its 1254 string set. These strings provide more vibrant tones and clarity so that each string rings without dead notes. These strings are a popular choice, considering their price and sound.

This Bronze strings set is affordable and perfect for any beginner guitar player.

Key Features: 

These strings offer little and come with the standard features expected from a budget line model.

  • 80/20 Bronze Strings
    Dunlop uses an 80/20 combination of copper and zinc for the windings on these strings, providing better clarity and brightness.
  • Improved Response
    These strings respond well to fingerstyle and strumming so that notes ring out clearly.
  • Light Gauge
    Each string set comes with 12 – 54 gauge strings.

Pros: 

One thing to note about these strings is the price. They don’t cost much, so if you’re starting, it’s a low investment. But more than that, these strings produce decent sounds with notes ringing.

Cons: 

The low E string might be stiff for some beginners. But, considering how much these strings cost, you can’t complain that much.

Bonuses:

1. Ernie Ball P02070

Check on Thomann

The Ernie Ball Earthwood acoustic guitar strings are one of the cheapest in the market today. But make no mistake, as these strings are a bang for your buck, considering the sound quality.

The Earthwood strings from Ernie Ball are known to be bright and work best with guitars that use rosewood fretboards and spruce tops to help bring out the warm tones of this wood with hints of brilliance.

Key Features: 

The features of the Earthwood strings are generally straightforward.

  • 80/20 Bronze
    These strings use a combination of copper and zinc to create an 80/20 proportion for the windings on the string.
  • Medium Light Gauge
    Each string set comes with 12 – 54 gauge strings.

Pros: 

The nice thing about these strings is that they are cheap. So you can have these in stock to help you develop the habit of changing strings regularly, especially when starting.

Cons:  

These strings work best with certain guitar woods. You might be unable to maximize their potential with a guitar using different wood.

2. D’Addario EJ11 

Check on Amazon

Check on Thomann

Check on Sweetwater

The D’Addario EJ11 is a product of John D’Addario and John D’Angelico, who developed these strings in the 1930s. These strings are one of the brand’s most iconic sets, being easy to play. Until today, these strings remain one of the best-sellers of D’Addario.

The EJ11 is known for its brightness, which delivers rich harmonics while maintaining its playability.

Key Features: 

The beauty of these strings is that they are straightforward. No fancy features, which keep the price low, yet the simplicity is what allowed it to become one of the best-selling strings in the market.

  • 80/20 Bronze
    The 80/20 mix of copper and zinc gives these strings their bright tone and volume.
  • Light Gauge
    For anyone wanting a slightly thinner low string, these strings use 12 – 53 gauge strings.

Pros: 

These strings are known for their brightness. These will do the trick if you want to steer away from bassy tones. They also have good volume projection, which can help in a recording session.

Cons:  

Considering the price of these strings, you get what you pay for: decent quality without the fancy features found in modern strings.

Conclusion

There are plenty of choices for guitar strings, especially if you are a beginner. Considering all the options here, your mileage may vary. What matters is your preferences, as these dictate your chosen direction.

If you’re looking for durability, Elixir is the best choice, although it comes with a heftier price tag. Ernie Ball, Dunlop, and D’Addario are sound choices for those on a budget. Tone differences can also be subjective, so you may have to audition different strings.

But as a beginner, your number one objective should be to develop your techniques. So it would be best if you considered these strings’ tension as a factor in choosing.

Don`t copy text!
Scroll to Top