Skip to main content

Best acoustic guitar strings for beginners 2022: Our top choices for getting to grips with acoustic guitar

Best acoustic guitar strings for beginners 2022: Our top choices for getting to grips with acoustic guitar
(Image credit: Getty)

The majority of guitar players start their journey on the acoustic guitar. It’s the perfect platform to build a solid foundation on, honing your finger strength, helping you nail open chords, and building the muscle memory to lay down the essential riffs. As a new player, you’ll need to make sure you have the best acoustic guitar strings for beginners as bad sound or poor playability can cause you to give up too soon. 

Your guitar strings are a critical component of your acoustic guitar and they should inspire you to keep playing, rather than putting up another barrier that can prevent progress.

Best acoustic guitar strings for beginners: Guitar World’s Choice

If you’ve got a bit of money to spend, the  Elixir’s Nanoweb Extra Light acoustic guitar strings deliver long life, albeit costing more than a lot of other kinds of guitar strings. Thanks to their special coating, they reject the sweat and dirt that builds up on your strings, meaning they’ll keep going as long as you can.

Alternatively, you could always go for the ever reliable name of Ernie Ball and their Earthwood Phosphor Bronze Extra Light strings. These are the perfect choice for beginners thanks to their extra light gauge and are top notch no matter what your style of playing.

Best acoustic guitar strings for beginners: Product guide

Best acoustic guitar strings for beginners: Elixir Acoustic Phosphor Bronze with Nanoweb Coating Extra Light

(Image credit: Elixir)

1. Elixir Acoustic Phosphor Bronze with Nanoweb Coating Extra Light – 10-47

The longest-lasting strings money can buy

Construction: Round wound | Core: Steel, Hex Core | Wrap Material: Phosphor Bronze | Coating: Nanoweb

Long-lasting
Balanced tone
On the pricier side
Coated feel not for everyone

Elixir’s Nanoweb coated acoustic strings are favorites in the acoustic guitar world thanks to their incredibly long life. They can increase the lifespan over regular strings by three to five times, with many players reporting them lasting months, even with daily playing and regular gigging.

Some guitar players find it hard to get along with the feel of a coated string, so Elixir opted to deliver its ultra-thin nanoweb coating, retaining the feel of a traditional acoustic guitar string. Underneath the wrap and coating lies a hex core for excellent string strength.

Tonally, you’ll find these strings stay in the ‘sweet spot’ for far longer. They’re balanced in tone all across the set with excellent projection. The combination of traditional phosphor bronze tone with ultra-long life makes these strings an excellent proposition for beginners.

Best acoustic guitar strings for beginners: Acoustic guitar strings: Ernie Ball Earthwood Phosphor Bronze Extra Light

(Image credit: Ernie Ball)

2. Ernie Ball Earthwood Phosphor Bronze Extra Light – 10-50

The top choice for many touring musicians

Construction: Round wound | Core: Steel, Hex Core | Wrap Material: Phosphor Bronze | Coating: N/A

Used by many pro guitarists
Excellent value for money
Won’t last as long as coated
Not the loudest

Ernie Ball strings have been the pro's choice ever since the 1960s. Famous for its Slinky electric guitar strings, the company's acoustic range offers many high-quality options for players, with this extra light gauge being perfect for beginners.

They feature a very typical construction for acoustic guitar strings, with a phosphor bronze wrap over a hex core made from plain steel. This construction is renowned for its stability under duress, ensuring it’ll put up with any playing style. 

Playing barre chords is an absolute joy on a set of these, and they react really well to string bends too. Lash a set of these to your acoustic and you’ll find your fingers dancing across the fretboard, with plenty of brightness of tone to match.

Best acoustic guitar strings for beginners: Martin Authentic Acoustic SP Phosphor Bronze Extra Light

(Image credit: Martin)

3. Martin Authentic Acoustic SP Phosphor Bronze Extra Light – 10-47

A string set from one of the biggest names in acoustic guitar

Construction: Round wound | Core: Steel, Hex Core | Wrap Material: 80/20 Bronze | Coating: N/A

Bright tonality
Great for fingerpicking
Not the best for strumming
Not the loudest

Martin Guitars has been manufacturing acoustic guitars since 1833, so you can bet it knows a thing or two about strings! This set from the acoustic behemoth is extra light, making them perfect for the hands of beginner players.

Manufactured in Martin’s dedicated Mexico string factory, a high-tensile steel core for each string is tin plated for extra resistance to corrosion. With them being made by such a large manufacturer, you can rest assured the quality control is top-notch.

The tone of these strings is bold and bright, reacting to your lightest touch and ringing out beautifully. Thanks to the light gauge you’ll find it easy to fret chords, with plenty of fluidity for fast riffing too.

Best acoustic guitar strings for beginners: Fender Dura-Tone 80/20 Bronze Custom Light

(Image credit: Fender)

4. Fender Dura-Tone 80/20 Bronze Custom Light – 11-52

The best coated string for players on a budget

Construction: Round wound | Core: Steel, Hex Core | Wrap Material: 80/20 Bronze | Coating: Dura-Tone

Very long-lasting
Punchy tone
Coated feel not for everyone
Not the thinnest out there

Fender’s Dura-Tone strings ensure coated strings are available to all. Getting a coated string at this price is pretty astonishing, with the majority of others costing almost double the price of this particular pack.

Fender’s own Dura-Tone micro-treatment acts to protect your strings from the build up of all that sweat, dirt and grime that gets transferred from your fingers. This means your strings last much longer, inspiring more play time.

The 80/20 copper-zinc alloy gives you a lovely bright tone, making any acoustic guitar sound super lively. Great for fingerstyle as well as big open chords, these strings are tonally versatile, making them great for players learning for the first time.

Acoustic guitar strings: Daddario EJ11 80-20 Bronze Light

(Image credit: D'Addario)

5. D’Addario EJ11 80-20 Bronze Light – 12-53

One of the most popular string sets on the planet

Construction: Round wound | Core: Steel, Hex Core | Wrap Material: 80/20 Bronze | Coating: N/A

Super bright tone
Environmentally friendly packaging
Won’t last as long as coated
Not the thinnest

D’Addario’s 80/20 Bronze strings are the most popular acoustic strings this huge company sells, which tells you a lot about how good they are. It’s not just beginners using these strings either, many seasoned musicians swear by them.

Wound onto a hexagonal core, D’Addario’s strings are all manufactured in the USA to ensure superb quality and consistency. Even the packaging is well thought out, coming in a corrosion-resistant pack that’s also environmentally friendly.

Guitarists love the 80/20 Bronze strings for their crisp projection, which makes them great for recording. The low-end projects well too, ensuring an excellent balance all across the spectrum whether strumming chords or fingerpicking.

Best acoustic guitar strings for beginners: Rotosound JK9 Jumbo King Phosphor Bronze Super Light

(Image credit: Rotosound)

6. Rotosound JK9 Jumbo King Phosphor Bronze Super Light – 9-48

An easy-playing yet durable acoustic guitar string

Construction: Round wound | Core: Steel, Hex Core | Wrap Material: Phosphor Bronze | Coating: N/A

Easy playability
Very durable
Wound strings are quite thick
Not the loudest

Rotosound’s JK9 string set offers the easy playability of a set of electric guitar strings on your acoustic. Perfect for beginner guitar players, the sleek feel of these strings is sure to have you coming back time and time again.

All of Rotosound’s strings are made to exacting specifications and tolerances, ensuring that their sets will always feel the same under your fingers. A phosphor bronze wrap over a hex core delivers rock solid performance and stability.

Brightness is an inherent quality of Phosphor Bronze strings and these are no different. Percussive and punchy, the super-light gauge makes these strings a joy to play on, and easy on the fingers of beginner acoustic guitar players.

Best acoustic guitar strings for beginners: DR Strings RARE Acoustic Phosphor Bronze

(Image credit: DR Strings)

7. DR Strings RARE Acoustic Phosphor Bronze – 10-48

Low tension acoustic strings perfect for beginner players

Construction: Round wound | Core: Steel, Hex Core | Wrap Material: Phosphor Bronze | Coating: N/A

Lovely warm tone
Easy on the fingers
Take time to settle

DR Strings RARE Bronze offers a low tension feel to make playing buttery smooth for new and seasoned players alike. These strings are handmade, offering the reassurance of high-quality USA construction.

These strings feature a wound third (G) string, so may feel slightly unusual at first. Once you’ve passed this though there’ll be no holding back – these strings sound immense! DR aimed to produce a string set with unique characteristics, and they’ve certainly succeeded with these.

They’re well suited to darker-sounding acoustics, such as those with Mahogany and Rosewood tops, helping improve sustain and overall tone. They’re loud and fat sounding, with plenty of projection and bottom end.

Best acoustic guitar strings for beginners: Martin Authentic Acoustic Marquis Silk & Steel Custom

(Image credit: Martin)

8. Martin Authentic Acoustic Marquis Silk & Steel Custom - 11.5-47

The perfect string for beginner fingerstyle players

Construction: Round wound | Core: Steel, Hex Core | Wrap Material: Silver-Plated Copper | Coating: N/A

Prevents wear
Easy on the fingers
Not the loudest
Thicker than some

Martin’s Marquis Silk & Steel acoustic strings offer a slightly different construction method and material, to deliver a string that’s easy on the fingers and on your acoustic guitar. Despite being relatively thick, the softer material ensures these are great for beginners.

With the wrap material being silver-plated copper, these strings help to prevent wear and tear on your acoustic guitar. Your bridge will stay in pristine condition with a set of these thanks to their softer wrap and thicker gauge.

Sonically the wound strings are very zingy, with plenty of warmth on the treble side of things which makes them great for fingerpicking. The overall tone isn’t as loud as some other sets, but the excellent playability more than makes up for it.

Best acoustic guitar strings for beginners: Jim Dunlop Phosphor Bronze Extra Light

(Image credit: Jim Dunlop)

9. Jim Dunlop Phosphor Bronze Extra Light – 10-48

A strong string for heavy-handed players

Construction: Round wound | Core: Steel, Hex Core | Wrap Material: Phosphor Bronze | Coating: N/A

Excellent durability
Great clarity
Might be too thick for some
Won’t last as long as coated

Not content with dominating the market for picks and accessories, Jim Dunlop also makes fantastic acoustic guitar strings. This extra light gauge is perfect for players new to the instrument, offering great sound and easy playability.

Jim Dunlop strings are made at their California factory, so you’re assured of fantastic build quality, reliability, and consistency. Their string formula was developed alongside professional players such as Zakk Wylde and Matt Heafy, so you’re in good company with a set of these!

Players like them for their overall clarity and fantastic volume. They sound great in the low end too, ensuring open chords ring out evenly whilst single-picked lines and harmonics really sing.

Best acoustic guitar strings for beginners: Daddario 85-15 Bronze

(Image credit: D'Addario)

10. D’Addario 85/15 Bronze Super Light – 9-45

A great all-rounder that’s easy on the fingers

Construction: Round wound | Core: Steel, Hex Core | Wrap Material: 85/15 Bronze | Coating: N/A

Great value
Bright, percussive sound
Not as long-lasting as a coated string

D’Addario offers a huge array of acoustic strings, but for beginners, this super light gauge is the perfect match. It’s a lesser-known string with a slightly different composition - partly because these particular strings are only available outside the US - but is all the better for unconventional construction.

These strings have a hexagonal core which gives them a sturdy tensile strength, ensuring they’ll put up with the hardest strumming and picking. This construction also delivers excellent tuning stability and intonation.

Thanks to the 85/15 Bronze wrap, you get a very percussive string with a bright tonality. This makes these strings great for beginners to get to grips with, requiring far less strength in your picking hand to ensure notes ring out true and clear.

Best acoustic guitar strings for beginners: Buying advice

Best acoustic strings for beginners

(Image credit: Jose Feito Sanchez - Getty)

Choosing the Best Acoustic Guitar Strings for Beginners

When buying acoustic guitar strings for the first time, things can seem a little overwhelming. There’s a huge range of gauges, string materials and brands that are available so it can be difficult to determine exactly what it is you need. Luckily, Guitar World is on hand to help! There are two main things that you’re going to want to look at with the Best Acoustic Guitar Strings for Beginners, string gauge and materials. To put it simply, the string gauge determines how the strings play, whereas materials determine how they will sound.

String gauges typically come in the form of two numbers and you’ll usually find these on the front of the packet somewhere. They start with the highest pitched string, which is the thinnest, and end with the lowest pitch string, the thickest. A typical acoustic guitar set may read 10-48 as an example. The string gauge refers to the circumference of the string, so the lower the number, the thinner the strings will be. 

As a beginner acoustic guitar player, you will need to go for thinner gauge strings, as your hands will not have developed the strength required to deal with a thicker string and there’s no point making things even more difficult at this stage! Sets with a nine or 10 string to start with are the best choice for you here. It’s also important to note that a lot of guitar string packets carry terms like ‘light’ or ‘extra light’ to help inform you of the gauge. We recommend sticking with numbers, however, as one brand may determine a 10-48 as ‘light’ whereas for another brand that could be its ‘extra-light’ set.

Next up are the materials which make up the acoustic guitar strings. The most common materials you’ll come across are 80/20 and Phosphor Bronze. 80/20 strings are a mixture of copper and zinc respectively and offer a very bright sound with a more accented bass tone. Many classic songs used 80/20 strings so if you’re into The Beatles or Bob Dylan you’ll find a lot to love about them. They pair really well with dreadnought size acoustic guitars thanks to their accented bass. 

Phosphor Bronze acoustic guitar strings are a newer technology and contain a greater amount of copper, with some zinc and a little phosphorus. They’re considered to be warmer in sound than 80/20 acoustic strings and will pair nicely with smaller, ¾-size acoustics or travel guitars. You may also come across Silk & Steel acoustic guitar strings. These are great for guitarists who play fingerstyle, as they are mellower in sound and feel.

It’s important not to get too hung up on the sound qualities of the different kinds of acoustic guitar strings, however. As a beginner player, you’re not likely to notice a difference between the two materials straight away, so you can easily use any of the kinds of strings that are out there. That said it certainly pays to match the string material with the type of acoustic guitar that you have, as it will ensure you get the best possible sound, and thus inspire you to keep playing!

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month*

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49

Matt is a freelance writer at Guitar World, Thomann.de, and various other music and music gear-related publications. Having played for 20 years he knows a thing or two about axes, and you'll most likely find him hacking away at his guitar strings in the rehearsal space, or hunched over caveman-style, tweaking settings on his pedalboard. Matt currently plays in Manchester-based alt-rockers JACKALS and when he’s not at his guitar, likes to spend his time in his home studio with his two cats, collaborating on alternative hip-hop tracks with fellow creatives from the North-West of England.