Find the best acoustic guitar strings for you with our guide to the top options available today at PMT, including picks from D'Addario, Elixir, Martin and more
Whether you’re a fingerpicking maestro or a steady strummer, the sound of your acoustic guitar is important.
In addition to the tonewoods used to construct an acoustic guitar and the design choices that shape the build, the strings that are used will have a sizeable impact on the final sound of the instrument.
This means that picking the correct strings is hugely important, and it’s why we’ve compiled this list of the best acoustic strings available at PMT.
We’ll highlight some of the best brands and our personal favourites, so you can decide on the best guitar strings for acoustic playing and get the ultimate sound from your guitar.
The Best Strings for Acoustic Guitar
Many people often ask us: “What are the best acoustic guitar strings?”, and our answer is always the same - it depends what you want your guitar to sound like!
Beyond that, it’s also dictated by how you want your guitar to feel when you play it, and how long you expect your strings to last.
Thicker acoustic guitar strings - that is, those with a higher gauge - will often be harder to play, but will reward you with a greater low-end and warmer tone. On the other hand, thinner strings will be easier to play and can offer a bright, twinkly sound that many players prefer.
Guitar strings may come as either ‘coated’ or ‘uncoated’. Coated strings are popular as they increase the longevity of the strings, whilst the latter option offers a more natural tone. Once you begin to look at the materials and shapes used to create the strings, things can get even more complicated..
If you’ve ever wondered what a hex core is, pondered the tonal properties of phosphor bronze, or considered how your playing style will influence the sound of your strings - keep reading and find the best set of acoustic strings for you!
D’Addario are one of the most reliable string manufacturers in the world, and countless professional players rely on these strings for their needs.
Our favourites are one of the most popular in the range - the D'Addario Phosphor Bronze strings are precision-wound with corrosion-resistant phosphor bronze onto a hex-shaped, high carbon steel core. The result is a lively, bright tone which is designed to last.
These strings are well-balanced and comfortable yet deliver top-class projection and volume - ideal for players of all levels.
Many players will be familiar with the Ernie Ball brand, and for good reason. No matter what style of music you play, Ernie Ball has a set of strings to perfectly suit your needs - and they’re guaranteed to sound great too.
This Earthwood set features an 80/20 bronze wrap, silk, and a steel core. The wrap is made from 80% copper and 20% zinc wire (hence the name!), and comes with the following gauges:
.010 .014 .020w .028w .040w .050w
Crisp and filled with beautiful overtones, these strings are a solid option.
Elixir makes some of our favourite high-end guitar strings, and they’re responsible for a number of advancements in string technology that we can’t imagine living without!
The coating on this set of phosphor bronze NANOWEB strings protects both the outer surface of the strings and also the gaps between the winding and core. This means that you’re less likely to get debris stuck, which in time is responsible for ‘deadening’ your tone.
Manufactured in the UK, Rotosound is a trusted name that has been making high-spec guitar strings for many years.
Their 92/8 bronze alloy is made to exacting standards and is synonymous with British rock tone, as well as having been used by the likes of Jimi Hendrix!
This set of Medium Light strings comes with the following gauges:
12, 16, 24w, 32w, 44w, 54w
As one of the most revered acoustic guitar builders in the world, it’s no surprise that Martin knows a thing or two about choosing the right acoustic guitar strings.
This set of Custom Light 11s are treated using an all-new patented technology that can only be found on Martin strings. It’s designed to protect both the core wire and the winding, preventing corrosion and ensuring your beautiful tone lasts much longer.
For an uncompromising and consistently professional tone, this set is one of the best available - check out the entire Martin strings range here.
What are Acoustic Guitar Strings made of?
Acoustic guitar strings are usually referred to as being either ‘steel string’ or ‘nylon string’.
Nylon string guitars are considered to be classical or flamenco-style instruments, whereas steel string versions are the more typical sort of acoustic guitar strings that we’ve been talking about throughout this blog.
Despite the name ‘steel string acoustic guitars’, you’ll find many different types of material used to create acoustic strings. Some of the most common include nickel, bronze, and brass.
The name steel string mostly refers to the actual wire that runs through the string, which is then plated with a secondary material such as bronze.
What types of Acoustic Guitar Strings are there?
Acoustic guitar strings come in a variety of shapes and sizes, with each different set of strings offering an array of tonal properties.
The main types of acoustic guitar strings are nylon strings and steel strings.
Each steel string will vary in a number of ways, depending on the:
- String Core
- Winding Type
As you become more familiar with how each variant affects the sound and feel of your guitar, you can narrow the selection down to the perfect set of acoustic strings for you.
Some people prefer roundwound heavy gauge strings with a deep bassy sound, constructed with a hex core, and coated for longevity.
Others prefer uncoated light gauge flatwound strings, constructed with a traditional round core - there are no rules to what you play!
Until you've tried out a few different types, it's hard to tell what type of acoustic guitar string is right for you. Take a look at which brands your favourite artists are using and see if they feel comfortable.
Eventually you'll settle on a perfect gauge, and in time you'll develop preferences for winding, material, and coating!
The brands listed above are a perfect starting point on your quest for the right acoustic strings, but you can shop the entire range at PMT below: