10 Best Acoustic Guitar Strings for Beginners in 2020

Playing guitar takes a lot of practice, dedication and understanding. Though it is an incredibly rewarding instrument to take on, you must be completely interested in learning about all of the nuances behind playing guitar. An essential part of playing the guitar is having the right strings to get your desired sound, but this can be a difficult thing to understand if you are just starting out.

As seasoned professionals, we have spent a lot of time testing out different strings and are here to show you some of our favorites. Through this guide, we will give you the tools to not only understand the different types of guitar strings, but know the best acoustic guitar strings for beginners.


Our Top Recommended Acoustic Guitars Strings

D'Addario EJ16-3D Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings, Light Tension - Corrosion-Resistant Phosphor Bronze, Offers a Warm, Bright and Well-Balanced Acoustic Tone - Pack of 3 Sets
  • DAddario EJ16-3D Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings
  • Warm tone
  • Light gauge
  • Price: See Here!
Elixir Strings 16539 Light 80/20 Bronze Nanoweb Acoustic Guitar Strings 3-Pack (.012.053)
  • Elixir Strings 16539 Bronze Nanoweb Acoustic Guitar Strings
  • Very comfortable, light feel
  • Great for beginners who are nervous about adjusting to steel strings
  • Price: See Here!
Ernie Ball Earthwood Phosphor Bronze Medium Light (12-54) 3-Pack Acoustic Guitar Strings (P03446)
  • Ernie Ball Earthwood Phosphor Bronze Medium Light Three Pack Acoustic Guitar Strings
  • Three packs of strings included
  • Classic metallic tone
  • Price: See Here!

10 Best Acoustic Guitar Strings for Beginners on the Market Today:

1. DAddario EJ16-3D Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings

D'Addario EJ16-3D Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings, Light Tension - Corrosion-Resistant Phosphor Bronze, Offers a Warm, Bright and Well-Balanced Acoustic Tone - Pack of 3 Sets

Review

If you begin your search for the best guitar strings for beginners, it won’t take long until you are recommended these D’Addario EJ16-3D strings. This isn’t for no reason, though—these strings have more than earned their spot as some of the best strings for both beginners and professional players.

Their coveted status comes from the fact that they are very durable and do not deteriorate easily (we were able to use them for over two months before we noticed any difference in tone). They also have a wonderful, warm tone that can’t be replicated by other brands. The price might be prohibitive for some, but they’re worth the quality.

PROS:
  • Warm tone
  • Do not deteriorate easily
  • Light gauge
CONS:
  • Price might be prohibitive for some

2. Elixir Strings 16539 Bronze Nanoweb Acoustic Guitar Strings

Elixir Strings 16539 Light 80/20 Bronze Nanoweb Acoustic Guitar Strings 3-Pack (.012.053)

 

Review

As the most expensive pack of strings on this list, the Elixir 16539 strings are definitely a premium product. However, this premium aspect also makes them not ideal for beginners who may not be able to tell the difference between a well-rounded and a flimsy tone yet.

The tone on these strings is also very nuanced, giving you control even in the upper range of the guitar. These strings also have a very comfortable feel that does not put too much pressure on one’s fingers. If you are worried about your fingers hurting from adjusting to steel strings, these are some great light guitar strings for beginners.

PROS:
  • Very comfortable, light feel
  • Great for beginners who are nervous about adjusting to steel strings
CONS:
  • Price is expensive when compared to other products

3. Ernie Ball Earthwood Phosphor Bronze Medium Light Three Pack Acoustic Guitar Strings

Ernie Ball Earthwood Phosphor Bronze Medium Light (12-54) 3-Pack Acoustic Guitar Strings (P03446)

Review

As one of the most reliable brands out there for guitar strings, Ernie Ball has always been known for their consistency. In fact, if you purchase an acoustic guitar at a Guitar Center or another type of store, it’s very likely that they will try to sell you these strings as well.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though—they’re simple, comfortable, and have a classic metallic tone. You also get three packs of strings, making this a great value. The only downside to these strings is that they might be a bit harsh on your fingers if you have never used steel strings before, but they’re the best guitar strings for beginners looking to play blues music.

PROS:
  • Three packs of strings included
  • Classic metallic tone
  • Consistent tone
CONS:
  • Strings can be difficult to get used to for beginners

4. Martin MEC12 Clapton’s Choice Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings

Martin MEC12 Clapton's Choice Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings, Light

Review

If you are only able to get one pair of guitar strings to go with your new guitar, we recommend that you get these Martin MEC12 strings. Not only do they have a gorgeous tone that is unparalleled, but they also are incredibly easy on the fingers. They are definitely the easiest guitar strings to learn on, but you have to be playing an acoustic for them to be truly effective.

PROS:
  • Gorgeous tone
  • Easy on the fingers
  • Best guitar strings to learn on
CONS:
  • Only for acoustic guitars

5. Ernie Ball Earthwood Medium 80/20 Bronze Acoustic Set

Ernie Ball Earthwood Medium 80/20 Bronze Acoustic Set, .013 - .056

Review

These strings are great because they have a lot of the same consistency and comfort that the Ernie Ball strings earlier on our list also provided. However, the main draw to these strings is that they are a medium gauge, giving you a slightly stronger tone.

This also makes the tone have more of a middle range to it, making it perfect for those who want to play booming chords with the assistance of a guitar pick. Similar to the other set of Ernie Ball strings on this list, these strings can be a bit hard on the fingers initially. That doesn’t stop them from being good acoustic guitar strings, though!

PROS:
  • Strong tone
  • Detailed middle sound range
CONS:
  • Can be a bit hard on fingers initially

6. Ernie Ball Aluminum Bronze Medium Light Acoustic Set

Ernie Ball Aluminum Bronze Medium Light Acoustic Set, .012 - .054

Review

If you’re looking for a set of Ernie Ball strings that are just as fit for finger picking as they are for strumming with a pick, you should definitely look into these strings. The consistent clarity that these strings give is enough to allow you to quickly switch between playing styles without worrying about your sound radically changing.

On top of this, they are also a medium light gauge, making them recommended guitar strings for acoustic guitars. They still can be hard on your fingers at first, but this difficulty fades quickly with practice and can arguably be productive for guitar players.

PROS:
  • Perfect for switching between finger picking and strumming
  • Versatile sound is effective for different styles
  • Medium light gauge makes them suitable for different guitars
CONS:
  • Can be difficult to get used to at first

7. D’Addario Nickel Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings

D'Addario Nickel Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings, Medium, 13-56

 

Review

This set of strings does not stray from the quality and durability that D’Addario are so well-known for. They also have a stronger sound when compared to the EJ16-3D strings presented earlier on this list, offering a full tonal spectrum.

The sound quality alone makes this product a set of perfect learning acoustic guitar strings! We recommend these strings if you are someone who wants strings that do not deteriorate quickly to play folk music with. It is worth noting, though, that they have a very metallic sound that isn’t for everyone.

PROS:
  • Very durable
  • Strong, full tonal spectrum sound
  • Great for folk music
CONS:
  • Metallic sound may not be for everyone

8. Fender 60L 0730060408 Acoustic Guitar Phosphor Bronze Ball End Strings

Fender 60L 0730060408 Acoustic Guitar Phosphor Bronze Ball End Strings, 13-56

 

Review

If you’re even somewhat familiar with guitar playing, it’s very likely that you’re already familiar with the Fender brand. This is because they have truly established a reputation for themselves in the rock world as being one of the leading brands for guitar players. However, their products aren’t always intuitive for amateur players, having a harsh grip that makes it difficult to learn right away.

Once you get past the harsh grip, though, the wide range of sounds is more than worth the price. This set of strings is definitely the most comfortable out of the Fender line-up, making it a good choice for beginners looking for strings for a dreadnought acoustic guitar. In particular, these strings are great for heavy riffing!

PROS:
  • Great low end for heavy riffing
  • Wide range of sounds
CONS:
  • Can have a difficult grip at first

9. Gibson Masterbuilt Premium Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings

Gibson Masterbuilt Premium Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings, Super Ultra Light 10-47

Review

Unlike many other sets on this list, this set of Gibson strings is perfectly suited for beginners who are not quite yet used to metal strings. They have the firmness associated with bronze, but feel as light and easy-to-use as nylon strings.

These strings have an incredibly bright sound to them that might not be for everyone, but you can’t argue with the comfort these strings provide. As far as recommended guitar strings for acoustic guitars go, these are a great option for beginners looking to ease their way into playing with metal strings. If you want to play a guitar safely, then use capos for electric guitars.

PROS:
  • Very comfortable grip
  • Beautiful, bright sound
CONS:
  • Bright sound might not be appealing for everyone

10. DR Strings Rare – Phosphor Bronze AcousticHex Core

DR Strings Rare - Phosphor Bronze AcousticHex Core 12-54

 

Review

Though these strings technically have a “light” tension, they feel more on the medium side. DR Strings are typically wonderful for playing alternative rock music (i.e. music that sounds like Wilco or Sufjan Stevens) as they give you enough tension to have both strong and intimate strums.

This is a set of good cheap acoustic guitar strings for people who want to primarily use a pick, as the tension is also perfect for having consistent picking patterns and being able to select notes on the fly. If you are somebody who wants to primarily finger pick, though, you should look elsewhere.

PROS:
  • Wonderful strings for strumming
  • Light strings that feel like medium tension
  • Good for powerful and intimate strumming
CONS:
  • Not good for beginners who want to finger pick

Acoustic Guitar Strings for Beginners Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How often should you change your guitar strings?

If you are determined to be someone who plays guitar on a daily basis, you should be focused on changing your guitar strings at least once a month. If you play a few times a week but not necessarily every day, you can also get away with changing your strings every two months.

The reason why you should change your strings is because the strings will begin to deteriorate over time, making it more difficult to get a high-quality sound. The strings will also begin to stretch beyond their initial capacity, making them more likely to break while you are playing. This can be quite inconvenient if you are in the middle of performance, so changing your strings regularly is important to make sure that this doesn’t happen.

What are string gauges?

This is one of the parts of playing guitar that is deceivingly complicated. Though gauge might seem like a very complicated word, it isn’t. Gauge refers to the thickness of the string, with the numbers being contextually labeled as fractions of inches. For example, seeing a string package that has “9-42” on it means that the lowest string will have a gauge of .042, while the highest string will have a gauge of .009.

Why should I care about gauge?

The gauge of the strings you put on your guitar greatly affect the tone, albeit in subtle ways. The notes won’t sound different, but—for the most part—strings of certain thickness are only able to be tune to a certain range of frequencies. For example, you can’t tune a string with a gauge of .042 (typically a low E) to the same octave as a string of .009 (typically a high E). Though you can tune the strings to notes around their standard (i.e. low D and high D, respectively), you can’t change octaves as easily.

Another important thing to understand about gauges is that certain guitars can only handle certain gauges of strings. For example, electric guitars are usually built to handle different gauges than acoustic guitars are. If you put the wrong strings on your guitar, you risk breaking them.


Tips on Choosing the Best Acoustic Guitar Strings for Beginners

Choosing the best guitar strings for you will ultimately depend on your personal preference and what you think sounds best. Guitar strings can also affect the way you play the instrument by having increased or decreased tension, so you will have to play on a few different types of strings to truly know which ones feel most comfortable.

However, there are some strategies that you can use to decide which strings are the best guitar strings for beginners:

Learn Which Gauge Your Guitar Needs:

Like we explained in the previous section, one of the keys to making sure your guitar strings last is to make sure that you are using the correct gauge that it requires. To figure out which gauges your guitar needs, simply look up the model of your instrument on the manufacturer’s website. In the event that you can’t find the information, you can also just go to the guitar store where you buy your strings and ask the person working there. They will likely be able to take a look at the model and tell you which gauges are appropriate for your instrument.

Try Some Well-Known Brands:

One of the biggest mistakes that beginners make is that they try and shop for strings based on what looks interesting to them. While this can feel like a gratifying practice, it often ignores the fact that many guitar strings are made for specific purposes, making it best to stick to brands that are more well-established. For example, brands such as Ernie Ball, D’Addario and Martin are good examples of companies that you can definitely trust. These brands also have string sets that are labeled as “standard” so you know that they are the ones you’re looking for.

Decide Between Nylon or Steel:

If you play acoustic, whether or not you use nylon or steel strings can actually have a huge impact on your playing. For example, steel strings are much better for playing folk music with a pick while nylon strings are better for classical music. If you play electric, though, your only option will be steel.

When in Doubt, Ask:

If you don’t know which strings are appropriate for you or are stuck between two brands, we recommend that you ask people working at the music store you’re buying strings from. Chances are, they’ve been asked the same question hundreds of times before!


In Conclusion

At the end of the day, the best guitar strings for beginners are definitely the Martin MEC12 Clapton’s Choice Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings. These strings are most efficient because they feel incredibly comfortable, allowing you to not lose your grip while performing. Another aspect of these strings that we appreciate is that they are very intuitive, allowing your fingers to get used to the weight of steel strings without putting yourself in too much pain.

However, it’s worth noting that the guitar strings that you should pick will be the ones that feel most comfortable to you. Our bodies and learning styles are nuanced and individual enough that what works for one person might not work for someone else. We hope this guide has been helpful so that you can make the decision about which beginner guitar strings are best for you!