What Are the Best Acoustic Guitar Strings For Beginners?

Published Categorized as Acoustic Guitar String Selection, Buying Guides

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best acoustic guitar strings for beginners

The best acoustic guitar strings for beginners are strings that will assist in making it easier to play the guitar and that will minimize finger soreness.

This doesn’t mean that you have to go with nylon strings.  There are certain types of steel strings that you can pick that will be well suited to the entry-level guitarist.

This post will cover three main things to look for in your strings.

  • String Gauge
  • String Material (not all steel strings are made of the same stuff)
  • Construction method

Table of Contents

Top Picks for Beginners

Find below the best picks for beginner acoustic guitar strings as well as how much these strings cost.

StringElixir 16002 Strings Phosphor BronzeErnie Ball Earthwood Phosphor BronzeMartin Authentic Acoustic SP Phosphor Bronze Extra LightFender Dura-Tone 80/20 Bronze Custom LightD’Addario EJ11 80-20 Bronze LightRotosound JK9 Jumbo King Phosphor Bronze Super LightDR Strings RARE Acoustic Phosphor BronzeMartin Authentic Acoustic Marquis Silk & Steel CustomJim Dunlop Phosphor Bronze Extra Light
Average Price ($)1681098617109

How to Choose Acoustic Guitar Strings for Beginners: By Material

Steel strings tend to have steel at the core but the bass strings have an extra material wound around them. This winding material comes in a few different materials.

The most common are Bronze, Phosphor Bronze, and Silk and steel. The most common of those three are Bronze and Phosphor bronze.

However, as a beginner, you should start with silk and steel. Why? Simple, they are easier on your fingers.

All new guitarists will get finger soreness until they build up enough calluses. This can reduce the amount of time you play and put you off playing. Whilst any string you get is going to cause some sort of soreness (yes even nylon strings) silk and steel strings will minimize that soreness compared to the bronze varieties.

Silk and steel strings have steel as their core but are wrapped in either nylon, silk, or copper that is silver plated and has silk running through it. This makes for a smooth playing experience and is easier on your fingers.

Bronze Guitar Strings

If you love the sound of folk, country, or traditional acoustic music, you’ll probably dig bronze guitar strings. They’ve been a go-to choice for generations of players who crave that classic, warm tone.

Bronze strings get their unique mojo from the mix of metals – usually 80% copper and 20% tin. This combo creates a full-bodied, mellow sound with powerful projection.

When you strum a chord on bronze strings, you’ll hear tons of rich low and midrange tones. The sound is rounded and vintage compared to brighter steel strings. But there’s still enough crisp treble to keep things defined.

To get the right bronze vibe for your guitar, think about the body size first. Bronze strings sound awesome on big dreadnoughts and jumbos, really letting the warmth come through. They can also add some oomph to smaller guitars.

String gauge makes a difference too. Lighter bronze sets (.011-.052) have a more delicate, bright sound, while heavier gauges (.013-.056) are fuller and louder. Many folks like the balance of light-medium strings (.012-.053) for a sweet mix of warmth, volume, and easy playing.

Some killer bronze acoustic sets to try out:

  • Martin Retro MM12 Light 80/20 Bronze
  • Ernie Ball Earthwood 80/20 Bronze Medium Light
  • Elixir Strings 80/20 Bronze with NANOWEB Coating, Custom Light

Phosphor Bronze Guitar Strings

Phosphor bronze strings give you a sound that works well for many different ways of playing acoustic guitar. These strings have a balanced tone that is warm and full, but still has bright, clear high notes. This makes them a good choice whether you are strumming chords or picking individual notes. Phosphor bronze strings sound good for many different kinds of music.

One of the best things about phosphor bronze strings is that they last longer than regular bronze strings. The phosphor added to the metal helps stop the strings from rusting and wearing out too quickly. This means you can keep playing on the same strings for a longer time before you need to put on a new set.

The phosphor also helps the strings keep sounding good even as they get older. Regular bronze strings can start to sound dull fast, but phosphor bronze strings keep more of their good tone over time. This is helpful if you play a lot and don’t want to always be buying and putting on new strings.

Some popular phosphor bronze strings you can try are:

  • D’Addario EJ16 Phosphor Bronze Light Strings
  • Elixir Strings Phosphor Bronze Nanoweb Coating Light/Medium
  • Martin Authentic Acoustic Phosphor Bronze Light Strings
  • Ernie Ball Earthwood Phosphor Bronze Medium Light Strings

Brass Guitar Strings

Looking to add some extra sparkle to your acoustic sound? Brass strings might be just what you need! Known for their bright, crisp tone, these strings can make your playing really pop.

Brass strings get their unique voice from their composition – usually around 90% copper and 10% zinc. This mix gives them a bright, metallic character with plenty of top-end shimmer.

Brass is perfect for styles that require clarity and note definition, like country and bluegrass. Fast runs and intricate phrases will cut through with ease, while strummed chords will have extra punch and presence.

One thing to keep in mind with brass is that it can tarnish a bit quicker than some other string types. But with a little regular TLC, you can maintain that brilliant tone.

Just wipe your strings down with a clean cloth after playing to remove sweat and oils. Coated strings can also help resist corrosion. Either way, a quick wipe after each session is a smart habit.

Check out these top-rated sets:

  • Martin MSP7050 SP Lifespan 92/8 Phosphor Bronze Extra Light
  • Ernie Ball 2560 Everlast Coated 80/20 Bronze Light
  • D’Addario EZ920 85/15 Bronze American Medium Light

Polymer-Coated Guitar Strings

Polymer-coated guitar strings are designed with a thin layer of protective polymer to shield against factors that typically degrade string quality, such as moisture, dirt, and oils from the fingers. This innovation not only extends the life of the strings but also helps maintain their original tone for longer periods.

Tone Preservation: Coated strings retain their brightness and clarity longer than uncoated strings, offering consistent performance. No more dull, lifeless tone after just a few jam sessions.

Reduced Finger Noise: The coating reduces the noise produced by shifting fingers on the strings, beneficial for recording and live performances. Say goodbye to distracting squeaks and hello to a polished sound.

Popular polymer-coated string models:

  • Elixir Nanoweb Light Phosphor Bronze (16052)
  • D’Addario EXP16 Coated Phosphor Bronze Light
  • Ernie Ball Everlast Phosphor Bronze Medium Light (2546)
  • Martin Lifespan SP Phosphor Bronze Extra Light (MSP4100)

Some Silk and Steel Options

Below are some of the most popular silk and steel strings:

Martin Marquis Silk & Steel

Martin Guitar MA130S Authentic Acoustic Custom-Gauge Marquis Silked Strings, Silk & Steel Acoustic Guitar Strings

Martin M130 Silk & Steel

Martin M130 80-20 Silk & Steel Strings Acoustic Guitar Frets

D’Addario EJ40 Silk & Steel

D'Addario Silk & Steel Acoustic Guitar Strings - EJ40-6 String - Warm, Mellow Tone - Light, 11-47

Ernie Ball Earthwood Silk and Steel Extra Soft

Ernie Ball Earthwood Silk and Steel Extra-Soft Acoustic Guitar Strings, 10-50 Gauge (P02047)

Nylon Guitar Strings: Gentle and Classical

Nylon strings are soft, easy on the fingers, and have a warm, mellow sound. They’re perfect for beginners and players who like classical, Latin, folk, and fingerstyle music.

Nylon strings come in different tensions – low, medium, and high. Lower tension strings are easier to play, while higher tension strings are louder. You can choose from pure nylon or composite materials for the strings.

For beginners, try medium tension strings like D’Addario Pro-Arte EJ45 or Savarez Corum Alliance 500AJ. If you’re performing, go for high-tension strings such as La Bella 2001 Hard Tension or Hannabach 815 HT Goldin. Flamenco players might like D’Addario EJ25B Flamenco or Savarez 510MR Tomatito strings.

To keep your nylon strings sounding great, clean them with a soft, dry cloth after playing. Also, make sure your guitar is stored in a place with the right humidity and temperature.

Some of the best nylon string models include:

  • D’Addario Pro-Arte EJ45
  • Savarez Corum Alliance 500AJ
  • La Bella 2001 Hard Tension
  • Hannabach 815 HT Goldin
  • Augustine Classic Blue High Tension

Pro Tip: Don’t Go Nylon If You Don’t Want To

Some people recommend getting a classical guitar as a beginner as the nylon strings are easier to play – but if you don’t intend on playing the styles of music that the classical guitar is best suited to then this means you’ll have to buy another guitar soon. Yes, another string to the bow of the argument between steel vs nylon stringed instruments.

You can’t put steel strings on a nylon string guitar because a nylon string guitar (classical guitar) is not designed to handle the extra tension that is exerted by steel strings. You will damage the neck and bridge of your classical guitar if you do.

You also can’t put nylon strings on a steel string acoustic. This is because nylon strings won’t exert enough pressure to drive the soundboard of an acoustic guitar.

So if you want to play the styles of music that are best suited to steel string guitars (pop, rock, blues, bluegrass, etc) then you should get a steel string guitar.

There are several ways you can make your steel string acoustic easier to play (see below).

If you are looking to get into classical, flamenco, folk (folk sometimes uses steel, nylon), and the like then you should go with the nylon strings. If that’s the case, check out the post below on how to choose nylon guitar strings.

How to Choose Acoustic Guitar Strings for Beginners: By Construction Method

There are a few different methods manufacturers use for winding guitar strings – roundwound (rounds), flatwound (flats) and semi-flatwound (semi-flats, a.k.a. flat-tops or halfwounds).

I won’t go into detail about how these work – if you want to know more check out the link below.

String Construction for Beginners

Rounds are the most common type but aren’t necessarily the best for beginners.

Flats have a flatter surface which makes them easier on the fingers so better suited to beginners.

Flats also reduce the string noise that is created when your fingers slide across the strings. This can make it easier for the beginner to create a cleaner sound.

Flats are harder to bend but this shouldn’t be something that a beginner is doing yet so this isn’t a problem.

The biggest problem with flats is that they can sound a bit dead on most acoustic guitars. That’s where semi-flats come in. They have the same or at least similar benefits as flats but sound brighter.

It’s also important to note that you probably won’t find any flats or semi-flats that are also silk and steel (see materials above) – not sure if anyone even makes them.

This isn’t a problem though. Choose either silk & steel or semi-flats. You don’t need both.

One more thing about semi-flats is that they tend to be more expensive than rounds. However, they are also more durable so that cost should even out, at least somewhat, in the long run.

Some Semi-Flat Options

There is, however, a middle ground between rounds and flats and they are semi-flat, some options of which are included below for your viewing pleasure.

D’Addario EFT15 Flat Tops

D'Addario Guitar Strings - Acoustic Guitar Strings - Flat Tops Phosphor Bronze - For 6 String Guitar - Warm, Semi-Bright Tone - EFT15 - Extra Light, 10-47

D’Addario EFT16 Flat Tops

D'Addario Guitar Strings - Acoustic Guitar Strings - Flat Tops Phosphor Bronze - For 6 String Guitar - Warm, Semi-Bright Tone - EFT16 - Light, 12-53

The gauge of string you get is probably the most important consideration for the beginner.

This is because the lighter the gauge, the easier it is to press the string to the fretboard. This is because lighter gauge strings are under less tension than heavier gauges.

You can see the different gauges in the table below.

Extra-LightCustom LightLightLight-MediumMediumMedium-Light *Heavy-Medium **Heavy
E.010.011.012.012.013.013.016.014
B.014.015.016.016.017.017.018.018
G.023.022.024.024.026.025.028.027
D.030.032.032.035.035.032.035.039
A.039.042.042.045.045.042.045.049
E.047.052.053.056.056.053.056.059

Don’t go any heavier than ‘light’.

If you are playing on a dreadnought-shaped guitar also don’t go any lighter than ‘light’ so you don’t affect the sound too much.

If you are on a grand auditorium or concert guitar (see link above) then go with ‘extra-light’ as they will be the easiest to play on.

Dreadnought shape = Light Gauge Strings

Grand Auditorium or Concert shape = Extra-Light Gauge Strings

Consider the Body Size of Your Guitar

As well as guitar string sizes, you would do best to consider the size of the body of your guitar in relation to how many strings it has. Most acoustic guitars will come standard with 12-gauge strings and while 12s are a great choice, you always have the option to go with a heavier string like 13s or a lighter string such as 11s.

When it comes to 13s, you can expect a heavier string that is typically found on an archtop, dreadnought, or a jumbo acoustic. These types of guitars are usually larger and that means they are able to support the extra tension that the 13 gauge string causes.

This extra tension helps drive the top to provide a larger body of tone. Typically, these strings are used by bluegrass players who are heavy flat pickers. If you can handle the extra resistance from the strings, then you can expect a bigger and louder sound from your guitar. 13s could be used on any style of guitar, but the extra effort might not always be worth the tonal benefits.

Going the other way by selecting 11s will also provide substantial differences with your guitar as 11s are going to be much easier to play than 12s or 13s, though it does come with a sacrifice.

The tone of the guitar will suffer because there is not enough tension from the strings to get that big, full sound. That is a choice you will have to make because maybe the extra hour of playing you receive outweighs the amount of tonal diminish.

One thing to keep in mind while changing the gauge of strings on your guitar is the setup. When going from a lighter to a heavier gauge, it is important to make sure the nut has enough room to support the extra girth from the string.

When going from a heavier to lighter gauge, you may experience some buzzing from the guitar. It may be a good idea to take your guitar to a luthier or another kind of guitar technician for a setup after changing the strings.

Consider the Style of Music that You Play

Fingerpicking is, for example, easier with thin strings, so if you are playing delicately fingerpicked folk tunes, consider using thin strings.

If you tend to primarily strum the guitar, thick strings will more often than not be the better choice for reasons pertaining to volume and rigidity.

If you play both styles, a good choice may be the “Light” set, which contains gauges .012-.054, as it works well for both styles. This tends to be the most commonly used string gauge. However, keep in mind that this varies from person to person, and may not be the right choice for you.

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

A lot of finger pickers also love smaller body guitars with lighter strings while slide and dobro players go for the heavy strings.

Acoustic blues players, on the other hand, love to bend, so they tend to go light or extra-light gauge. Classical and flamenco players, conversely, choose different string tensions and wrap materials for a specific tone and feel. These are rough guidelines, and the final sound relies on the materials used in the string, as well as the gauge and tension.

How to Choose Steel Strings for Beginners

As I have mentioned there are a few choices you can make to make steel strings easier to play when you first start, not least learning the guitar string names as soon as possible, as well as making the process of choosing acoustic guitar strings easier in turn.

It’s very important that your strings (and your guitar) are easy to play as a beginner. The easier it is to play, the more you play. The more you play, the better you get. Plus if the strings you are playing on are too difficult it will slow down your progression no matter how much you play.

And the worst thing that could happen is that you end up not enjoying playing the guitar and give up together.

So, to help speed up your progression and make playing more enjoyable follow these easy tips.

This article focuses on the best strings for a beginner – click here to learn about the best guitar for a beginner.

How to Choose Silk and Steel Strings for Beginners

If you’re a beginner guitarist, you should think about trying silk and steel strings. These strings are softer and warmer than regular steel strings, which can be good for new players.

Silk and steel strings have a steel core wrapped in silk or nylon. This makes them feel softer and easier to press down than normal steel strings. They’re also easier on your fingers, which is helpful when you’re just starting to play guitar.

Silk and steel strings also sound warm and mellow. This sound works well for certain types of music, especially fingerstyle guitar and folk music.

Silk and steel strings are often used for fingerstyle guitars. The softer feel of the strings makes it easier to pick individual notes and play complex patterns. Many folk guitarists like silk and steel strings because the warm sound fits well with acoustic guitars used in folk music.

If you currently use regular steel strings, you can definitely switch to silk and steel strings. Just remember that silk and steel strings have lower tension, so you might need to get your guitar adjusted for the new strings. It’s worth doing though, because silk and steel strings are easier on your fingers and offer some new sounds to explore.

How to Choose Nylon Strings for Beginners

Nylon strings are an excellent choice for beginners learning to play guitar. While they are the traditional choice for classical and flamenco guitars, nylon strings have benefits for new players on any acoustic guitar.

Nylon strings are much gentler on the fingers compared to steel strings. As a softer material, nylon causes less pain and wear on the fingertips, which is especially helpful when you’re practicing frequently as a beginner. This allows for longer playing sessions and faster progress.

Nylon strings have lower tension than steel strings, making them easier to press down. This ease of playability is beneficial when learning chords and notes as a beginner, helping you master the basics more quickly.

Nylon strings are best suited for classical or flamenco guitars, which have wider necks and are constructed to accommodate the lower string tension. These guitars produce the traditional classical sound associated with nylon strings.

However, if you have a regular steel-string acoustic, you can still experiment with nylon strings, particularly if you find steel strings too painful on your fingers. Keep in mind that the guitar may not sound or play exactly as designed with the lower-tension strings.


Frequently Asked Questions

What are Acoustic Guitar Strings Made of?

The kind of string you use on your guitar can greatly affect its sound. The right strings can make an inexpensive acoustic guitar sound like a million bucks. You can’t just use any guitar strings for acoustics as their design and build are unique.
To the untrained eye, all guitar strings look pretty similar but this isn’t true. While electric guitars use nickel-plated steel or pure nickel, acoustic guitar strings are typically made of two main varieties: 80/20 bronze (80% copper and 20% zinc) and phosphor bronze. (8-10% tin and a small percentage of phosphorus) However, there are a variety of different alloys that can be used too such as aluminum bronze, nickel, and Alloy 52.
The wound strings of an acoustic are made with an alloy wrapped around the steel core while plain guitar strings are usually made from tin-plated steel.

When is it Time to Change Guitar Strings?

Changing guitar strings can depend on the amount you play them, the quality of their construction, and how long they have been on the guitar. Strings can wear out from use and the passing of time. For beginners, the general rule of thumb and recommended time to change guitar strings is every 3 months or 100 hours or whichever comes first.
It is important to change your strings to prevent them from sounding bad and dull. Older strings are more difficult to tune and can break easily. Dead skin builds up on the string’s surface and fretboard as well leaving an uncomfortable texture to feel. Of course, this can be combatted with regular maintenance and cleaning.
Check your strings for any signs of wear and corrosion. Moisture in the air can cause rust over time but this is accelerated with moisture from your fingers. If your killer tone is now dull and corrosion is evident, it is time to change your guitar strings.

How to Pick Strings for Warm Sounds?

The acoustic guitar can sound a little sharp at times, especially when using a pick, but certain techniques can roll off that brightness in favor of a rich and soul-stirring warmth.
There are two main things that you can do to change the voicing of a note: change position or change picking style.
– Positionally speaking, the further toward the neck you pick, the warmer the sound will be, and the closer to the bridge you pick, the more twangy and sharp the sound will be.
– Stylistically, if you’re fingerpicking, you should try to make softer connections with the strings and use the pads of your fingers rather than the very ends. Employing upstrokes with a pick can also increase tonal warmth.
If none of these techniques are working for you, you may want to consider a thicker plectrum or changing your strings. You’ll need a set that accentuates the mid and bass frequencies, with plenty of 2nd order harmonics to thicken the tone. If you’re using an amplifier try rolling off the mids.
If the problem persists, perhaps the sharpness you’re hearing is just part of the unique timbre of your guitar.

When Should I Change my Acoustic Guitar Strings?

Acoustic guitars tend to grow old with dignity and, like a fine wine, they can improve with age. The same can’t be said about acoustic guitar strings, however. After some time, they can sound dull and become harder to play. This can be remedied by changing the guitar strings.
It is recommended that you change your guitar strings every 2 to 12 weeks on average. This is depending on the amount you play.
Professional musicians who play live and record in the studio regularly will need to change their strings for every gig or studio session. If you mostly play at home on an irregular basis, you should change your acoustic guitar strings every 2 to 12 weeks. If you are just beginning or don’t pay regularly at all, it is possible to leave your strings on until a string breaks or corrosion begins to appear on the strings.

Do Acoustic Guitars have Steel or Nylon Strings?

You can use both steel and nylon strings on an acoustic guitar. While both offer different sounds, there are advantages and disadvantages to using either. Nylon strings are often used on classical guitars and many guitarists start on these strings for their softer, easier-to-handle texture.
Steel strings can not be put on nylon string guitars as these are not designed to handle the amount of tension steel strings exert. If so, a classical guitar’s neck and bridge can become damaged. The same goes for putting nylon strings on a steel-string acoustic guitar as nylon strings won’t exert enough pressure to drive the soundboard of the guitar.

Which String Material is Best for Acoustic Guitar?

There are three popular choices for an acoustic guitar’s string material. These are:
– 80/20 Bronze (Bronze, Brass) – These are made up of 80% copper and 20% zinc creating a bright and clean sound. Although this metal corrodes quickly, it is one of the most popular choices.
– Phosphor Bronze – Made up of 80/20 bronze, the phosphor is also added to prevent oxidation and increase the string’s lifespan. These tend to be less bright in sound.
– Silk and Steel (Compound strings) – These have greater flexibility and a lower string tension creating a more mellow and gentle sound.
The best string material for a classical guitar is clear nylon thanks to its brightness and clarity.

Are my Guitar Strings Nylon or Steel?

Fortunately, it is easy to tell whether your guitar strings are nylon or steel. Nylon strings are much softer on your fingers than steel strings. Steel strings are under a higher amount of tension and need a far greater force to press down than nylon strings.
One easy way to tell the difference is how they look. Nylon strings are generally thicker than steel strings and don’t feel metallic under your fingers. Steel strings are tougher and have a harder feel like a metal wire. Also, nylon-stringed guitars are usually smaller and don’t include electronics, cutaways, or fretboard markers. The necks are generally wider too with these models and have 12 frets as opposed to most steel-string guitars with 14.

Are Guitar Strings Toxic?

Due to the presence of certain chemicals and metals in guitar strings, many people are worried that guitar strings are toxic. You’ll be pleased to know that they are not toxic. This is because nickel, chromium, bronze, and steel can not be absorbed through the skin very well. However, repeated use and exposure over many years could lead to possible side effects such as dermatitis or a very minor allergic reaction but this is very rare.
Guitar strings can not be coated in hazardous materials that could impede anyone’s health. The only way you could be harmed by a guitar string’s chemicals is to repeatedly lick the string for many months. As you can guess, this is not advised.

What Happens When Guitar Strings Get Old?

When steel guitar strings get too old, their sound becomes dull and muffled with very little or no presence. New guitar strings sound colorful and very bright but this fades over time along with the original color. Older strings tend to turn into a brownish color as opposed to the gleaming silver and gold they start off as.
This is a sign of rust build-up and that it’s time to change the strings. They become rough to play with and can hurt your fingers.
Nylon guitar strings also become more dull-sounding but there is no visible change in color. Typically, the top three strings will look and sound uneven with gaps sometimes forming on the wound.

How Long Do Guitar Strings Usually Last?

It can be difficult to gauge the lifespan of guitar strings for a variety of reasons. One instance is how often the guitar is played. The more you play your guitar, the more frequently you will need to change your strings.
Other factors to consider are the size and gauge of the strings as well as their brand and construction quality.
On average, a set of uncoated electric or acoustic guitar strings should last between one and three months. Coated guitar strings can last a lot longer. These can hold their tone and vibrancy for six to nine months and even longer. Professionals who play very regularly are known to change their strings before every performance or studio session.

Does Heat Affect Guitar Strings?

Heat can have a dramatic impact on your guitar’s strings, especially at extreme temperatures. One way heat can affect your strings is through the added sweat your hands produce. Over time, this can make your strings become sluggish and feel very sticky. Therefore, the strings will soon lose their brilliance and tone.
The tension of the strings can also be affected as different temperatures can cause them to go out of tune easily. If you have a nylon string guitar, you should lower this tension if the guitar will be in contact with cold temperatures. The same should be done with steel string guitars too at very low temperatures.


Final Tones

Hopefully, you now know more about choosing the best strings for a beginner – whether that be you or someone you are researching for.

To sum up:

Choose:

  • Either Silk & steel material or semi-flat strings; and
  • In a lighter gauge string (‘light’ for a dreadnought and ‘extra-light’ for a Grand Auditorium or Concert guitar).

If you want to learn how to put new strings on your guitar check out the link below.

Thanks for reading. If you have any questions or comments please leave them in the comments section below and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

By Nate Pallesen

Nate is just your average (above average) guitar player. He's no Joe Satriani, Jimi Hendrix or Jimmy Page - wait this site is about acoustic guitars (sorry) He's no Django Reinhardt, Chet Atkins, or Michael Hedges, wait? who!? He's no Robert Johnson, Eric Clapton or Ben Harper - more familiar? Anyway you get the point :-)

20 comments

  1. Nate, This is great information. I tried to learn to play the guitar off and on through out my life but never stuck with it. One of the reasons is because of my finger hurting. I still have a fender acoustic guitar sitting in the closet, so I might have to get some new strings and give it another try. I had no idea that there were that many types of guitars. I just thought it was acoustic or electric. Thanks for the information. Great article.

    Steve

    1. Hey Steve – glad you found the info helpful. Different strings can definitely make a big difference so you should def restring that Fender with some light gauge silk and steel or semi-flats and get playing again!

  2. This post is so helpful, obviously for the beginners. This is literally all you need to know to get started. I will definitely be coming back!

    1. Hey April – thanks for visiting. Glad it was helpful. Keep an eye out for my next post which will cover what the best acoustic guitar type is for beginners.

  3. My original string gauge 0.12 (Epiphone DR 100 VS) , but my finger pain and I plan to replace by gauge 0.10. to reduce finger pain.

    Your advice highly appreciated

    1. Hey Tony

      Yeah 0.10 gauge will make it nicer on your fingers for sure. Lighter gauge strings require less tension and when there is less tension you don’t need to push as hard to get a good sound – and as a result your fingers hurt less. That’s not to say that it will take the pain away altogether but should be lessened and if you persevere you’ll be building callouses in no-time and then you’ll be sweet.

      If you’re really worried about it you could opt for silk and steel strings like these or flat tops like these

      Thanks for visiting and let me know what you go with and how it turns out.

  4. Wow. This was very helpful. I?m buying my second guitar, and all the buying guides I found out there were for beginners. This was the only site that has been helpful to me.

    1. Hey Mason

      Thanks for visiting. Glad that you found the guitar buying advice on the site helpful. Let me know what you end up going with for your second guitar. What was your first guitar – out of curiosity?

    1. Hey A.M.

      Thanks for the input. I’ve never used these strings before but always good to have more options to try. Will have to give these a go at some point.

    1. Hi Paul

      Medium-Light are sometimes called HD Light strings (I meant to put that with the asterix in there but I forgot! I’ll do it now :-). Check out the link below for some Medium-Light (aka HD Light) strings.

      >>HD Light Strings

      Hope one of these are what you’re looking for.

  5. Thank you for the the clear well-written article. Your recommendations supported with your personal experience was eye opening. Thanks so much

    1. Hi Saith Paul

      Thanks for your message. Appreciate it. I hope this helped you to find the guitar strings that you needed.

  6. Thanks for this review. I have been playing for a long time and use 13 – 56 gauge strings. My grandson is now taking up guitar and this info has been very helpful for me to help him with a easier introduction set up.

    1. Hi Dan

      Thanks for your message. I am glad this helped with your grandson’s guitar setup. Hope he loves playing the guitar!

  7. Hey Nate,
    All good info. Same old story, my son bought his first acoustic and playing hurts his fingers. We will try semi-flat ones.
    Thanks

  8. I just got my first guitar but the level of the frets it higher then the vintage frets guitars and it’s hard for me to press because my fingers is little bit of tiny so is there’s a way to replace these jumbo frets with normal one

    1. Hi Steve

      Thanks for your message.

      Frets can be replaced – but if you don’t know what you’re doing, and most don’t, then you’ll need to get a professional to do it for you. I haven’t had it done so I’m not sure how much it would cost. It’s possible that they might also be able to grind down the existing frets – but again, this isn’t something that I’ve done before, so I think you’d need to see a professional (guitar tech, luthier) – probably asking at your local guitar store would be a good place to start.

  9. Thanks for your advice. I have just bought a second hand Aria dreadnought model No. AW75QN. lovely condition guitar. Would appreciate your opinion / comment about this model – and beast strings to get for it to learn on

    Many thanks from England
    Ray

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