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Are you finally looking to change your nylon guitar strings for the first time? Have your long-worn and dusty strings seen enough hard labor and need retiring? Are you looking for the best classical guitar strings in the business to fit out your guitar with so you can give it the best there is?
Well, look no further, for today we will be exploring 10 of the best sets of classical guitar strings available on the market based on quality, affordability, and swag.
Table of Contents
- 1. Ernie Ball “Ernesto Palla” Nylon
- 2. Martin M260 Classical
- 3. D’Addario EJ45 Pro-Arte
- 4. Savarez S.A 500CR New Cristal Corum Normal Tension
- 5. Savarez S.A 500AJ Alliance Corum High Tension
- 6. D’Addario EJ27N Classic Nylon
- 7. D’Addario XT Classical Dynacore Carbon
- 8. HAVENDI® Guitar Strings For Classical Guitar
- 9. Hannabach Classical Guitar Goldin Medium/High-Tension Strings
- 10. Alice AC130 Classic Nylon Guitar Strings
- Final Tones
- FAQs Best Classical Guitar Strings
1. Ernie Ball “Ernesto Palla” Nylon
Narrowly earning a place on this list of the best classical guitar strings is the well-traveled Ernie Ball brand which, though very comfortable in the pouch of an electric guitar case, might not find itself so cozy in the same pouch of a classical guitar.
The key benefit to using these strings is being able to afford other accessories to go along with it. The modus operandi here is value, though hopefully never at the expense of quality. Most serious guitarists – even electric guitarists – are likely to steer clear of Ernie Ball strings at all costs, vouching instead for the D’Addario equivalent.
That being said, these strings offer plenty in the way of volume and the tonal spectrum is about as balanced as you can hope to get with a classical guitar. Alongside this, the tuning stability is incredibly solid given the price, though this kind of thing is usually the preserve of the guitar. Nylon strings like this are bound to hold up their tuning alongside steel strings anyhow, with bass strings managing even better.
Their ability to project to the masses is one of the reasons that the back of the packaging (pictured below) features such an illustrious list of famous advocates for Ernie Ball strings.
You will notice if you look closer that very few (if any) are musicians that center their expertise on the classical guitar. Rather, the large majority of the cameos on this list are electric guitar players, so this might be something to bear in mind. This and other points of savviness are the ways in which you can choose the best classical guitar strings. Here is my robust article on how to choose classical guitar strings.
2. Martin M260 Classical
Martin Guitars is one of the oldest mainstream manufacturers of guitars, period, so you can no doubt rely on them for their services, right? Indeed, these strings offer the same sort of quality you would expect from a manufacturer that has been in the game for almost 200 years.
For this reason and others, these strings are definitely on the higher end of the spectrum in terms of quality, with many professional musicians arguing that you get what you pay for, though in this instance it is so affordable that you almost get more than that. (How much do guitar strings cost anyhow?) The tones on offer are great and offer a brighter character for anyone who otherwise struggles to get classical guitar to stand out in the mix.
This is an ideal choice for those who have not yet managed to grow their long nails properly to those who seek to take their classical guitar playing more seriously so that the treble strings can be better heard above a bunch of other instruments or in a larger performance space unplugged.
Those looking for a more convenient solution for restringing their nylon string guitar will no doubt rejoice at the fact that these strings offer the convenience of a ball end. This is great if you are the kind of professional musician that is constantly breaking classical strings or, indeed, looking for greater tuning stability.
For those who didn’t even know that there was an alternative to a ball-end, there is! Nylon string guitars have typically always been strung by tying the strings into place and this has only recently been replaced by the ball-end thanks to industrial technology. Many purists still prefer the look and feel of the old ways, though, so no matter how much you may try to convince them of the convenience, ease of use, and improved tuning stability of ball-ends, they simply won’t listen.
Want to also be part of the old ways and never cut ties with the futile past? Then check out this neat tutorial on how to string a classical guitar the old way!
3. D’Addario EJ45 Pro-Arte
For the classical guitar player looking for medium tension strings that are going to be consistently amazing from pack to pack, you can scarcely go wrong with the Pro-Arte’s from D’Addario. This is often the case with D’Addario, for they offer what are arguably the best strings for any instrument on the market, including electric, acoustic, classical guitar, and many more.
D’Addario’s Pro-Arte classical guitar strings have a nylon core which, alongside the exterior, provides a smooth and mellow tonal character that can be far more forgiving on those looking to play more quietly and with more dynamics (or even those just starting out who are likely to make more mistakes).
By using laser sorting technology, D’Addario can attest to offering extreme accuracy in the likenesses of strings between different packs so that you can truly rely on the consistency of the tonal characteristics on display. Gone are the days of relying on gut strings to change the tone every time you changed strings – now you can bank on having identical tones every time you restring your guitar.
It’s no accident that these carbon strings are the most popular choice for classical guitar strings on Amazon – this is the way D’Addario has made it and this is likely the way that it will stay!
4. Savarez S.A 500CR New Cristal Corum Normal Tension
Another great choice for high-tension strings is the Savarez brand. This is likely going to be more of a choice for the classical guitar aficionados who prefer to visit classical music shops for their accessories instead of the rank-smelling and foul-sounding traditional guitar store.
With the exceptional tonal characteristics on display with these strings, it’s a small wonder why they haven’t quite taken off as the premier classical guitar strings on the market. Then you realize that the less-than-catchy title might have something to do with it. For our money, if these strings had a slightly more melodious name, they would do considerably better in terms of sales.
Still, they have a place in the hearts of many professional classical guitarists who prefer nylon treble strings and silverplate winding on the bass side. The contrast between the treble and bass strings actually works really well with the silverplate winding keeping the bass strings as lively as the treble strings so that there is no loss of clarity when you move up and down the range of strings.
If there’s one gripe a professional might have with a classical guitar string, it’s that some are just a bit more dull than the rest of the pack. This is not so with Savarez strings. These are normal tension strings with bass strings that are just as lively as the treble strings and treble strings that are among the liveliest and most characterful on the market, period.
So, for the classical guitar aficionado who wants to grab a bargain without sacrificing quality, you can scarcely go wrong with Savarez strings. If this name and the names of the actual names of the strings are a little confusing still, try learning the guitar string names with us!
5. Savarez S.A 500AJ Alliance Corum High Tension
And here we have another offering from those reliable folks over at Savarez! This set of strings is certainly more expensive than the previous set but you most certainly get what you pay for. In fact, many aficionados of classical guitar would suggest that these are among the best classical guitar strings on the market today.
And you thought those other Savarez strings were balanced! Those other strings didn’t even know the meaning of the word – well, of course they didn’t, they’re strings! – oh, you know what we mean! Here, each string is perfectly balanced at the right volume and will be projected forth evenly without any cause for concern.
Anyone looking for a set of strings that they can hide behind might do best to look elsewhere – these incredibly bright and clear strings pick up on every nuance of your playing and project it forth with great brightness and volume.
If you thought the quality of the previous set of Savarez guitar strings was on a level, then you are going to be shocked and flabbergasted when you get a grip on these strings. Indeed, the quality of these strings is almost incomparable and, though they are decidedly more expensive, you will feel and hear the difference as soon as you sit down and start playing.
Considering the history of the classical guitar in Spain – with many still referring to this type of guitar as the Spanish guitar – it is surely to be interpreted as a sign of quality when the instructions on the back of the packaging (pictured below) are written entirely in Spanish, is it not?
6. D’Addario EJ27N Classic Nylon
Another more affordable option comes in the form of these classic nylon strings by D’Addario. Their strings are never usually very expensive unless you are going for, say, some that are coated to last longer, but these are particularly affordable, making them a great choice for the artist looking to cut some corners.
Of course, as any advocate for D’Addario well knows, cheap and affordable doesn’t have to mean low quality. This is something D’Addario has proven time and time again, and these strings are no exception. They may be simple in construction and aesthetics, but they are more than capable of getting the job done on a budget.
The packaging itself (pictured above and below) attests to just how varied the player of such a set of strings might be. In their own words, these strings are for players of all skill levels. Despite their great value, they are not simply the preserve of the novice or student artist. Rather, these are strings that can compete with the best on a real budget, making them likely the best budget strings for classical guitar in the business.
These are comfortable strings that are well-equipped to keep up with just about any performance environment you can conceive of using a classical guitar for. Their ability to project well and balance the priorities between the bass and treble strings makes them a great all-rounder pick for anyone who isn’t willing to fork out the many millions needed for the highest-quality strings (see above).
So, what are you waiting for? Get busy you deal-finders!
7. D’Addario XT Classical Dynacore Carbon
Well, what do you know? It’s only another appearance from your friendly neighborhood string manufacturers, and here they once again prove that they are the best in the business by taking a tried and tested ideology and taking it for a modern spin.
Where companies like Savarez are happy to do everything in their power short of using actual catgut to attain a level of vintage character within the classical music sphere, D’Addario is capable of doing what they do but is also more willing to take it to the next level.
This range of strings is evidence of that, where they have sought to take these beautiful strings and try to get them to sound better for longer and remain in tune without check-ups for a lengthier period of time, all while offering a whole range of guitar string sizes.
The main difference between these strings and the more affordable previous set of strings is the fact that carbon is used in the manufacture of the former so that they can last and stay in tune for longer than the latter. This might sound a bit futuristic and far-fetched, especially considering the nylon material of the treble strings, but it is a real win for anyone who loathes changing strings and/or who is constantly having to tune up or down due to extremes in climate.
All in all, these strings are a great purchase for the player who wants to take their musicianship to the next level and to focus on the things that really matter, the playing of the guitar instead of the tuning and re-stringing of it. Though they are double the price of the average set of classical guitar strings, this expense is more than made up for by how long they last and how long you can go without having to tune up.
8. HAVENDI® Guitar Strings For Classical Guitar
Next up, we have a product from a relative newcomer to the classical guitar string racket. Where the other brands aforementioned have been manufacturing strings for a considerable period of time – up to 200 years in the case of Martin Guitars – Havendi is relatively inexperienced in comparison. However, this should not deter you, for they bring something uniquely their own to the table at a fairly reasonable price.
Indeed, since they began their work in 2020, they have been making waves in the classical guitar community, garnering a solid reputation, particularly among professional classical guitarists looking for something a little different.
The main shtick with these strings is that they are made from nylon but coated in silver after the fact for greater durability and tuning stability. This makes them, as already elucidated, more durable and tuning stable, but also ensures that they are rust-proof, something that will be incredibly important to artists working within more humid environments.
Besides these more practical benefits, they also have a great tonal effect, producing tones of significantly improved sound quality that are well-suited to both melodies and chords. These are strings that, for all their material benefits, are just pleasant to play, providing an effortless platform for experimentation even for beginners with sensitive fingertips who are just starting out.
All of this, alongside the fact that the company will replace or refund the strings of anyone who is unsatisfied with their product, is surely a win, at least for someone out there, right? Right?!
9. Hannabach Classical Guitar Goldin Medium/High-Tension Strings
By contrast, these Hannabach strings are definitely going to suit those who actively enjoy breaking the bank into smithereens each time they buy a set of strings. These strings are far more mellow in character and thus will suit anyone for whom some of the other sets of strings here listed are a little too clear and/or bright.
The treble strings are made from golden yellow super carbon fiber, while the bass strings are made from a high-density synthetic core, both of which provide a clear yet warm tonal character that is both balanced and able to project despite the warmth of the overall tone. Hannabach are incredibly proud to declare their strings are free from nickel and cadmium, something that apparently ensures an optimal playing experience (though this has yet to be proven).
Above all, these strings are a distinctly premium set, at least double the price (if not more) than the most expensive set of strings mentioned thus far. For this reason, they are more likely to be the preserve of the classical guitarist who prefers to follow tradition without cutting any corners.
The distinctive gold-colored metal alloy is one of the other things that set these strings apart from the rest, boasting a unique visual touch that aligns with the supposedly exemplary sound quality, at least if you prefer a warmer and softer tone than that provided by carbon strings. This alloy is, though, highly resistant to wear and tear and shouldn’t be slept on for this reason at least.
Since they have been applauded for bringing out the best in both the guitarist and the guitar in question, there’s no doubt that they deserve a place on this list, even if they are going to largely be the preserve of snobs and underlings.
10. Alice AC130 Classic Nylon Guitar Strings
You can usually tell if a set of guitar strings is bad from the packaging. The best will either have really nice-looking packaging or will look like they were manufactured several decades of taste and decor ago. This is all perfectly subjective, of course, but if we are to follow such logic to its natural conclusion, there will undoubtedly be strings whose packaging occupies a liminal space in the uncanny valley between excellence and drab.
The Alice strings are just such a set, defying the usual way of assessing the quality of a set of strings from the outside by offering some of the finest playability for one of the best prices on the market. In fact, these strings seem to offer everything the Hannabach strings have – responsive touch, mellow-toned strings that last long – in a far more affordable package.
To last so long, they are lathered in an anti-rust coating which helps the strings to last considerably longer and stay considerably fresher than a set of uncoated strings. Perfectly balanced, these strings come in the form of three clear nylon treble strings and three silver-plated copper-wound bass strings which offer equal projection and majesty in tone.
So, there you have it! Hopefully, you are now feeling ready and able to get out there and choose a set of strings that is best suited to you and your needs as a guitarist!
FAQs Best Classical Guitar Strings
The most common tension – often referred to simply as medium tension – is likely your best bet if you are unsure which strings to go for initially. As long as you are buying strings for the right type of guitar – i.e. in this instance buying strings designed for a classical guitar – then you can scarcely go wrong, unless, of course, the guitar that you are looking to fit the strings onto has a particularly delicate neck and/or action. Thus, the tension you use will be more indicative of your own preferences. Some people simply prefer a higher tension and more to rail against when playing, whereas others prefer a lighter tension with less to fight against.
Since classical guitar strings are more often than not made from nylon, then you can’t really go wrong with any type of classical guitar string, especially if you are looking for a set that is going to suit your nubile novice fingers. That being said, string tension for classical guitars is typically generalized into three categories – light, medium, and hard – which are useful guidelines if you are just starting out and want to know which to go for. If you are really new to guitar, then perhaps you might prefer a lighter string tension will be easier on both your fingertips and the muscles in your fingers that push down on the string. Often, though, you can’t go wrong with trying out the medium tension and seeing how you go from there.