Best Strings for Acoustic Guitar in 2023 [Our Reviews and Comparisons]
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It might have taken you quite some time to find the best acoustic guitar that satisfies your requirements. Heads up, it is going to take even more time to zero in on the best strings for your acoustic guitar.
Gauges, materials, windings, cores, and other factors are to be given consideration when it comes to selecting a string set. It is important to find the right string to get the best out of your acoustic guitar.
Here is a list of popular string sets that have found their way on to the guitars of legendary guitarists.
Read Related Reading: 10 Best Guitar Tuners for Harmonious Strumming
|1. Ernie Ball 2146 Earthwood
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|2. D’Addario EJ16-3D Phosphor Bronze Light
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|3. Martin SP Lifespan
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|4. Martin MEC13 Clapton’s Choice Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings
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|5. Elixir Strings 80/20 Bronze Nanoweb
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Our Best Strings for Acoustic Guitar for 2020 Reviews and Comparisons
1. Ernie Ball 2146 Earthwood
- Warm, rich tone with excellent projection and clarity
- Medium Light, the most popular gauge, consists of plain steel strings (.012, .016.) and phosphor bronze wound strings (.024, .032, .044, .054)
- Phosphor bronze wound on a hex-shaped, high-carbon steel core wire
- Element Shield Packaging prolongs string life and keeps strings as fresh as the day they were made
- Made in California, USA with the freshest and finest materials
Ernie Ball is a popular Californian company famous for its slinky electric guitar strings. Its range of acoustic strings is used by a beginner, experienced, and professional acoustic guitarists. It has found its way onto guitars of legends from Brad Paisley to John Mayer.
Ernie Ball Earthwood Phosphor Bronze strings are made in California, U.S.A., and consist of 92% copper, 7.7% tin, 0.3% phosphorus wire. The phosphorus wire is wrapped around by tin plated hex shaped steel core wire. It is available in .010, .014, .020w, .028, .040 and .050 gauges.
The phosphor bronze strings give a warm rich tone with a mellow ringing sound. Your notes will possess greater clarity with the Ernie Ball 2146 Earthwood. It produces deep, rich bass notes with clear and bright trebles.
What We Like About Ernie Ball 2146 Earthwood
Ernie Ball incorporates Element shield packaging which prolongs string life and keeps strings as fresh as the day they were made.
What We Don’t Like About Ernie Ball 2146 Earthwood
There is a slight buzzing sound when you start using the strings; however, it becomes clear after a short while.
- Warm rich tone
- Durability issues
2. D’Addario EJ16-3D Phosphor Bronze Light
- CORROSION-RESISTANT, PRECISION WOUND – D’Addario Phosphor Bronze acoustic guitar strings are precision wound with phosphor bronze wrap wire, over a hexagonal high-carbon steel core.
- WARM, BALANCED TONE - Phosphor Bronze wrap wire provides tried-and-true D’Addario acoustic tone, with beautiful balance and warmth suitable for all musical genres
- MOST POPULAR ACOUSTIC GUITAR STRING - Now the standard in acoustic guitar strings, Phosphor Bronze strings were originally pioneered by D’Addario in the 1970s.
- EARN REWARD POINTS - D’Addario Phosphor Bronze acoustic guitar strings come with a code on the recyclable VCI bag, which you can register to earn Players Circle points
- MADE IN THE USA – Our Phosphor Bronze strings are made in the USA—drawn to exacting specifications at our New York production facility.
DÁddario is a well-known manufacturer of musical accessories. It is one of the oldest and best-known guitar string makers in the world.
Its most popular string range is the phosphor Bronze EJ series. The D’Addario EJ16-3D Phosphor Bronze Light is preferred by most acoustic guitarists and is a great example of the company’s craftsmanship.
Made of Phosphor Bronze, a technology first introduced to the market by DÁddario in 1974, the strings are versatile and boast high performance and quality. These strings are precision wound with corrosion resistant Phosphor Bronze.
They are wound on a carefully drawn, hexagonally shaped, high carbon steel core contributing to long-lasting, bright acoustic tone with great intonation.
The D’Addario EJ16 strikes a balance between playability and tone. Even if you string them on to an inexpensive acoustic guitar, the strings are bound to make the guitar sound brighter and better.
What We Like About D’Addario EJ16-3D Phosphor Bronze Light
The strings last longer due to corrosion-resistant coating.
What We Don’t Like About D’Addario EJ16-3D Phosphor Bronze Light
It is expensive compared to other strings.
- Well balanced tone
- Sound might take a bit of time and usage to stabilize
3. Martin SP Lifespan
- Msp7100 SP lifespan phosphor bronze light acoustic Guitar strings (3-pack)
- Martin SP lifespan strings are the next level in studio performance
- Treated for long life, They repel dirt, grit and other environmental elements that can quickly alter the sound of your strings
- The treatment is so incredibly thin, you won't even know it's there
- Sp lifespans are designed to last longer and sound better so you can play on! This is a 3-pack
Established way back in 1833, Martin is a well-known acoustic guitar brand wielded by legendary guitarists across the globe. The company doesn’t disappoint with its guitar strings as well.
Martin’s Lifespan SP seeks to provide guitarists with the natural feel and tone of traditional bronze strings at the same time give the added lifespan of coated strings.
The strings are available in Bronze or Phosphor and gauges of .11, .12 or .13. It uses a special proprietary core wire with high tensile strength. The core wire helps to keep the guitar in tune and also avoids the problem of breakage of strings.
Once you string them on to your guitar you will immediately notice a fuller brighter tone. These strings can bring in a new liveliness and clarity to your old acoustic guitar. Plus, these strings can be considered perfect for a live performance session.
What We Like About Martin SP Lifespan
These are clear one strings that prevent oil and dirt even after regular use of the strings. Cleartone also helps the strings sound like uncoated strings.
What We Don’t Like About Martin SP Lifespan
The strings tend to buzz with genres like heavy metal.
- Versatile response for strummers and pickers
- Cleartone strings to prevent oil and dirt from sweaty hands
- Strings tend to buzz
4. Martin MEC13 Clapton’s Choice Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings
- Gauges: .013 - .056
The Martin MEC13 is another popular choice from the guitar giant Martin. The strings are named Clapton’s choice, because these strings are a favorite of the legendary guitarist Eric Clapton. These are reasonably priced guitar strings endorsed by the great artist himself.
Complete with ball endings, these strings settle in very quickly. The Phosphor Bronze on the strings ensures that the tone you play is bright and warm. It adds depth to your tone and gives your guitar added volume.
If you dig Clapton’s music, these strings are definitely worth a try. The 92/8 mix of copper and zinc of these strings with a touch of phosphorus gives out a mellower tone, the same as the one Eric Clapton is known for.
What We Like About Martin MEC13 Clapton’s Choice Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings
The MEC13 is long-lasting and gives the desired tone to your guitar.
What We Don’t Like About Martin MEC13 Clapton’s Choice Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings
These are not suitable for people looking to get darker resonance and a more distinguishable intonation out of their instrument.
- Mellow tone
- Reasonably priced
- Takes time to settle in
5. Elixir Strings 80/20 Bronze Nanoweb
- Acoustic guitar strings constructed with 80/20 (80% copper, 20% zinc) bronze wrap wire
- Played for a crisp, bright tone with an expressive, vibrant presence
- Ultra-thin NANOWEB Coating provides a more traditionally textured, “uncoated” feel
- Our patented coating technology protects against common corrosion, extending tone life longer than any other brand’s coated or uncoated strings (Elixir Strings player survey)
- Light gauge: .012 .016 .024 .032 .042 .053
Elixir, established in 1995, is the best known for their coated strings. Elixir strings use unique Polyweb and Nanoweb coatings to protect the metal from dirt, rust, and corrosion contributing to the extended lifespan of the strings. The coating technology was cutting edge in the 90s and still remains hard to beat in the guitar string realm.
The Elixir 80/20 is made of 80/20 (80% copper, 20% zinc) bronze wrap. The combination of copper and zinc gives a bright, even, and deep tone. These strings can make any guitar sound better. Plus, the 80/20 needs considerably less tension to be in tune and promotes ease of fingering.
If you are tired of breakage problems and constant string changes, then Elixirs 80/20 is worth the investment. The Nanoweb coating of the strings helps prevent rust and adds to the tone of life.
What We Like About Elixir Strings 80/20 Bronze Nanoweb
The webbing on the strings makes it easier on the fingers for beginners and experienced guitar players alike, plus moving from one note to the other is smoother.
What We Don’t Like About Elixir Strings 80/20 Bronze Nanoweb
Some guitarists may feel the strings are a bit slippery.
- Nanoweb coating for longer life and full-bodied tone
- Kinder on the fingers
The Elixir 80/20 is a string set that we would recommend to guitarists. This versatile string set can be used by beginners and professional players alike. They last longer than the other strings saving you some considerable amount of money.
Besides durability, the Nanoweb coating on these strings contributes to a full-bodied tone and high-end clarity, also helps prevent rust.
There are several factors to consider while investing in a guitar string set. Gauge is the most important factor as it can drastically affect how your guitar performs. Generally, lighter gauged strings are easier to fret and bend and are suitable for beginners and fingerstyle players because they are easy on the fingers.
On the other hand, heavier gauge strings are for heavier playing styles and have great sustain and volume. Plus, budget and durability come into picture while choosing for the best one.
Remember to select a highly durable and reasonably priced string that can make your guitar sound better and add character to your tone.
Hope the suggestions help you purchase the right guitar string!
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