Best Acoustic Guitar Strings For Beginners – 2020 Ultimate Buyer’s Guide

As a beginner, choosing the right accessories for your guitar can be overwhelming.

Strings do not only influence the tonal characteristics of your instrument, but they can also act as a deterrent when you start practicing if they inflict too much pain and hurt your fingers.

High-quality, beginner strings are a must for a flawless, pain-free experience!

Comparison Chart of the Best Acoustic Guitar Strings For Beginners

PRODUCTDETAILS
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Martin M130 Silk & Steel Acoustic Strings

  • High playability
  • Protects the bridge
  • Best beginner acoustic guitar strings overall
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Ernie Ball Skinny Top, Heavy Bottom

  • Affordable and ideal for fingerplay
  • Hybrid composition for balanced tones
  • Durable and protected against moisture
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D'Addario Phosphor Bronze EJ16-3D

  • Best for the money
  • Nickel-plated steel composition
  • Extremely versatile, suitable for all genres and play styles
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Ernie Ball 2146 Earthwood Acoustic Guitar String Set

  • Rich, warm tones
  • Natural, smooth feel
  • Best Acoustic Guitar Strings for Sore Fingers
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Elixir 80/20 Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings

  • Crisp, bright tones
  • Very expressive and vibrant with Nanoweb coating
  • Hybrid strings made of 80% copper and 20% zinc
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Can Any Strings Be Used For Acoustic Guitar?

Not all strings are suitable for beginners. Some are less flexible than others and have a rough feel, which can hurt your fingers since you haven’t built your calluses yet. Most will recommend nylon strings for beginners, but they can be quite troublesome since some guitars are not built to handle the extra tension. 

This is why you need high-quality yet affordable strings that have already been tested by beginners all over the world! Have a look in the next sections for more information. 

What Makes Guitar Strings More Suitable for Beginners?

As you carry on with your guitar practice, you will soon realize that strings are a matter of personal preference. Every musician will have their own favorite brand, gauge (thickness), and components of the strings.

For beginners, this means a lot of experimenting, although there are some guidelines to keep in mind when choosing them. They should be significantly more flexible than conventional strings so they will not hurt your fingertips as much, more affordable since you will most likely change them quite often, and they should not hurt your guitar. Starting with lighter gauges will also help you play the guitar with more ease. 

How Do I Choose Acoustic Guitar Strings as a Beginner?

It is vital that your beginner strings are extremely easy to play. If they inflict pain on your fingers, you will be less likely to practice often, which means you will not be able to build up your guitar skills. Here are the essential aspects you need to consider when choosing acoustic guitar strings:

Lighter Gauge

The easier it is to play, the more you will play your instrument. A lighter gauge is probably the most important feature for beginner strings since a lighter gauge (not so thick) will be easier to press. A lighter gauge requires much less tension compared to heavier gauges, and they are a great starting point.

Material

Most strings are made from bronze or phosphor bronze. As for beginners, strings come with a steel and silk combination to make life easier. These are easier to play, and have a normal steel core, but they come wrapped in silk, nylon, or copper. 

Construction

The construction method also influences the feel of the strings. The most common ones are round wound, followed by flat wound and semi-flats. The flats are easier to play because they have a flat surface, which is easy on your fingers. 

Quick Take: 
Top 3 Picks

Review of the Best Acoustic Guitar Strings For Beginners

Once you have decided what you are looking for in your beginner guitar strings, take a look at the options below to find strings that suit your needs.

PROS

  • Amazing, rich sounds
  • Resistant to corrosion
  • Very flexible and light to play
  • Easy going on the neck and bridge
  • Premium quality with a long-lasting design
  • Constructed with silk for enhanced playability

CONS

  • Not for hard play
  • Might bend too easily
  • Quieter than standard strings

What Recent Buyers Report

Many stated that these strings have significantly less tension compared to conventional strings with the same gauge, which means users can play them with more ease. Buyers also reported that they cut less into their fingers. These are great for vintage or delicate guitars since they protect the guitar’s neck and bridge nicely, giving most users some versatility of use.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Martin M130 strings are our winner for top guitar strings for beginners. They are made with silk, which enhances playability and flexibility. They have a soft, smooth feel on your fingers, and are great for fingerstyle players. The lightness of these strings is unmatched!

Who Will Use This Most

These strings are highly recommended to beginners who enjoy fingerplay. They are perfect for delicate and vintage instruments or simply for those who haven’t built the strength yet to play with conventional strings. They are not very responsive to hard playing, though, since they are quite flexible.

Bottom Line

All in all, Martin M130 Strings are ideal for beginners and musicians who want pain-free play. They have a nice feel to them, are extremely flexible and easy to play, and can be a great incentive to make you pick up your guitar more often than before.

PROS

  • Balanced tonality
  • Ideal for fingerplay
  • Affordable price range
  • Anti-moisture protection
  • Package prolongs string life and retains their freshness

CONS

  • Slightly difficult to tune

What Recent Buyers Report

Users state that these strings gave them balanced tones and lots of playability. They said these strings prevent slipping thanks to the round wiring, and that they are silky and have a smooth feel. Buyers report that the product is wound with the highest precision, which gives them a consistent volume throughout and balances sounds.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Ernie Ball Skinny Top Heavy Bottom strings are a set of hybrid strings, ideal for beginners. They are manufactured with typical Ernie Ball premium quality components and are highly consistent, durable, and offer you the optimum performance. Their overall composition is ideal for perfectly balanced tonality.

Who Will Use This Most

Whether you are a beginner or a casual player, you will find great value for your money in these Ernie Ball strings. They are easy to play, durable, and most likely, will grow with you. Apart from this, they have an attractive price, which makes them quite irresistible!

Bottom Line

Overall, our runner up is definitely the right choice if you need perfectly balanced tones with some highly playable, long-lasting strings. They are quite versatile, suitable for most acoustic guitars, and can handle any type of playing style. Ernie Ball’s quality is exceptionally reflected in these silky strings.

PROS

  • Silky feel, highly playable
  • Affordable for most people
  • Suitable for any genre and play style
  • Anti-corrosive coating and protective packaging
  • Exquisite craftsmanship and freshest components
  • Highly versatile, suitable for balanced, bright, or warm tones

CONS

  • Short lifespan
  • Quality control issues

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers say the best features of these strings are the smooth, silky feel of the strings, the tonal warmth, and the packaging which keeps them as fresh and new as when they were made. Users say these are well worth the money, whether you are a beginner or a professional.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The D’Addario strings bring a sparkle to your play experience. They are innovative, affordable, and take your play to the next level. What we truly love about them is their versatility – whether you want balanced tones, bright or warm, there is nothing you cannot achieve with these strings.

Who Will Use This Most

Any musician would appreciate the quality, performance, and feel of these strings. They are suitable for any genre and playing style, are extremely versatile, and they offer you a traditional, comfortable experience every time you play your guitar. They are incredibly affordable, too, so definitely worth a check!

Bottom Line

All in all, D’Addario’s strings are the world’s favorite guitar strings for a reason. They are suitable for all acoustic styles, affordable, and quite long-lasting for beginner strings. Additionally, they are coated, which means they have a significantly smoother feel than other strings.

Best Acoustic Guitar Strings for Sore Fingers:
Ernie Ball 2146 Earthwood Acoustic Guitar String Set

PROS

  • Ensures tonal clarity
  • Ideal for delicate fingerpicking
  • Rich sounds with a warm tingle
  • Affordable and can be purchased in bulk
  • Highly durable due to premium quality components
  • Come in protective packaging retaining their freshness

CONS

  • A short lifespan (no coating)
  • Seem twangy during first uses

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers say these strings excel in the rich, fullness of the sounds they provide. These strings protect from slippage, and ensure high playability rates with enough comfort to accommodate any music genre or playing style. Users also said they are extremely durable compared to other alternatives.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Ernie Ball 2146 Strings are perfectly engineered to make the guitar more accessible to you. They meet musician demands consistently all around the world, providing deep and rich notes with clear, bright sparkles. The protective package ensures that they are long-lasting and as fresh as possible.

Who Will Use This Most

Ernie Ball has a long history of helping new musicians practice their new skills with ease. They offer high value for money and their products are also highly affordable. What is more, the strings do not have that "cheap" sound, as others do, and they help you practice with ease every day.

Bottom Line

Overall, Ernie Ball strings are a great start for guitar players. They are affordable, easy to play, and last long. The strings sound great, are consistent, and once you practice for a day or two, they get even better. Any way you look at this, it is impossible to miss this opportunity of high quality at a cost-effective price tag.

PROS

  • Great value for money
  • Rejects corrosion and rust
  • Ideal for crisp and bright tones
  • Nanoweb coating for extra lifespan
  • Highly durable composition made of 80% copper and 20% zinc

CONS

  • High price range

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers say these are high-quality, highly playable acoustic guitar strings. They are profoundly dependable, and the sounds are smooth, rich, yet quite crisp and bright when they need to be. They say these are so smooth that it feels like brushing butter with their fingertips!

Why it Stands Out to Us

Elixir 80/20 Bronze Strings are premium-quality, extremely popular strings for acoustic guitar players. They are coated with Nanoweb, which prolongs their life considerably compared to uncoated strings. They are a true industry standard, and they offer you bright, crisp sounds, ideal for bold players!

Who Will Use This Most

These strings are more expensive than other options, but are worth every single cent. The quality is astonishing, and the extra bucks are easily explained through the Nanoweb coating, which will save you lots of money in the future. They are ideal for any serious musician who can afford premium-quality strings.

Bottom Line

These strings offer you a wide tonal range, with brilliant, crisp highs, which will turn you into a highly experienced musician. Whether you want full, rich notes or high, clear ones, these strings can achieve that and anything in-between. They are worth a try!

Aspects to Consider Before Buying

Picking the most suitable string guitars for your needs might take a lot of experimentation as you go along your journey. Here are some top considerations to keep in mind before buying:

Tonality

Not all strings are suitable for your music genre or play style. For instance, if you play heavy metal, extra soft, flexible strings will not be ideal for hard play, but rather for delicate fingerplay. Additionally, they do impact the tones of your instrument, since some are balanced, some crisp and bright, and others are warm. If you cannot decide, it’s best to go for balanced tones in the beginning. 

Coating

Strings can come coated or plain and uncoated. They have coatings that maintain their life for a longer time, make them corrosion or rust-resistant, and are often more expensive than uncoated strings. On the other hand, be aware that coated strings might sound dead when you first use them, but they will quickly take it up a notch once you start playing. 

Gauge

Although lighter gauges are easier to play, they are also easier to snap and break. Even if you go for a thicker gauge, it can still be prone to damage if the construction method and materials are not high quality. 

How to Change Your Acoustic Guitar Strings

Learning how to play your guitar is just as important as knowing how to change your guitar’s strings. When you attempt this, make sure you have a string winder, string clippers, and new strings within hand’s reach and follow the next steps:

  1. Loosen the tuning head using the string winder. You can also do this step manually if you don’t have a string winder. 
  2. Completely loosen the string and then unwind it from the tuning peg. You can clip the string in half using the clippers before unwinding (optional step). 
  3. Take the bridge pin out of the socket.
  4. Remove the string. 
  5. Place the new string’s ball end into the string pin socket. 
  6. Secure the string by putting the pin back into the socket.
  7. Take the other end of the string and thread it through the peg from the center of the headstock. 
  8. Wind the tuner. You may or may not tune the string at this moment. You can just wind it until it feels approximately as tense as your other strings, but ensure that the windings on the tuning post do not overlap and are downwards. 
  9. Do this for all the strings and then tune your guitar

Conclusion

Overall, choosing your first guitar accessories can be quite bothersome as a beginner. Strings are an essential part of your instrument, so make sure you consider all of our recommendations, which were specially selected with care to make your practice sessions run as smooth as possible. 

People Also Ask

Here’s a short FAQ session to answer all of your pressing questions about gauges, tonalities, and strings, how often you should replace your guitar strings and many more:

Should I Get Light or Medium Acoustic Guitar Strings?

The gauge (thickness) of your strings will influence not only the tonality of your instrument but also the playability. If you are a heavy strummer, you might want to go for medium acoustic guitar strings, while for a softer feel and less damage to your fingertips, light guitar strings are the best option. 

What is the Warmest Sounding Acoustic Guitar Strings?

Phosphor bronze strings often sound darker, warmer than bronze ones. For the highest quality, you should consider Elixir 80/20 and they also last for a long time, since they are coated with Nanoweb. Alternatively, Ernie Ball and D’Addario also offer warm-sounding acoustic guitar strings. 

How Long Do Guitar Strings Last?

The guitar string’s life depends on whether they are coated or not, since the coated ones have a prolonged life, but also on how much you practice. Most recommend changing them every 1-2 months for best results or after a maximum of 100 hours of practice. You can still use them when they wear down if they don’t break.

Can You Put Nylon Strings on an Acoustic Guitar?

Nylon strings can be attached to an acoustic guitar, provided you purchase a model with ball-end nylon strings (which usual ones don’t have). They are, in fact, quite popular with folk players or anyone who enjoys the mellow sounds of nylon guitar strings. They are also quick and easy to install. 

How Can You Tell the Difference Between Electric and Acoustic Guitar Strings?

The main difference rests in their composition. For electric guitars, most guitar strings provide a warm tone and they are usually made from nickel-plated steel (warm and bright combo), pure nickel (warmer, vintage sound), and stainless steel (sustain and brightness). On the other hand, acoustic guitar strings are often made of 80/20 bronze (bright, clean), phosphor bronze (less bright), and silk and steel (mellow, gentle). 

Are Nylon Strings Better for Beginners?

Nylon strings can be easier on your fingertips than steel strings, but the genre you play is also important to determine whether they are suitable for you. Nylon strings are best for classical genres, flamenco, and folk music, while steel strings are used for country, bluegrass, rock, or any other music genre.