Best Guitar Strings For Beginners: All You Need to Know

best guitar strings for beginners

For ages, string instruments have been a major part of musical history. They may have the same basic structure: a hollow body with a neck.

With changes to the body shapes over the years there have been changes to the strings that produce the melodies.

What first started with animal intestine and silk wound with animal intestine up until World War II, has now come to nylon and metal as its substitute.

Sure the wood and pickup and all other gizmos are interesting to look at, but nothing can change the fact that without the strings the guitar is just another piece of wood.

Picking the right strings is essential, especially for beginners. Because all strings have different responses, feelings, and sounds.

Before you get your new strings, let us have a look at a couple of things to help you make the best decision.

Things to Consider Before Buying Guitar Strings: Beginner’s Guide

String Material

Before buying your strings, you should know what type you want because every type produces a different sound quality.

With that being said, there are 5 types of strings available in the market. These are further divided into subcategories based on construction.

1. Steel and Nickel

Steel strings are brighter and livelier.

They have a brighter high-end response which helps steel strings cut through the mix better than nickel strings.

They also happen to be the most widely used strings.

On the other hand, Nickel strings have a richer tone and more body than steel strings. They produce a warm, fuzzy, and pleasing sound.

They are great for rhythm work and give richness to the mix.

Nickel-plated steel is the middle ground between nickel and steel.

These strings have a low-end response while maintaining that local cutting lead tone on the treble strings.

Pure steel strings are an excellent fit for genres requiring an aggressive lead tone. Nickel strings do well for genres that require a warmer and mellower response, genres that play with a low level of distortion.

2. Brass and Bronze

The actual strings are made of steel; it’s just that they are brass plated and bronze plated.

There isn’t that big a difference in feel between the two types, but there is a noticeable difference in the response.

Brass strings are brighter than bronze. However, many brass strings are referred to as the 80/20 bronze. These strings are the same, with 80% copper and 20% zinc.

This produces a brighter and cutting tone, but it can create a high-end, thin and tiny response when used on the guitar.

The phosphor bronze strings have a warmer sound and smooth high-end response. This is of great benefit for genres that require a mellower tone.

For a brighter tone, go for brass strings, and if you want a mellower tone, go for the phosphorus strings.

3. Nylon

Nylon strings are generally used for nylon guitar or the classical guitar, as we discussed in different guitar types.

For beginners who are still in the Learner stage, nylon strings offer a comfortable experience on your fingertips than their steel counterparts.

Nylon strings are far easier to play for an extended period until you get used to the tension on the strings.

They are more lightly braced than the steel strings.

They produce a very relaxed and warm tone but at the expense of lower volume and reduced response across the entire frequency range.

String Components

You should keep in mind four components when getting your strings. While the strings may look the same, you will get different responses.

1. Gauge

Gauge is a flamboyant way of saying thickness. All guitar strings have different thicknesses.

A thicker string produces a warmer tone with a slower response.

However, they are stiffer, which makes them harder to fret.

On the other hand, Thinner strings are generally brighter and easier to play, but in some cases, they can also sound thin and tinny.

You can tell whether the string is thick or thin based on the number printed on the packet.

Smaller the number, thinner the string.

The first string on your guitar is always the thinnest, which allows it to reach those high-end treble notes. The sixth string is the thickest to get your low bass notes.

All the other strings fall in between these two extremes.

2. String core

The string core is the shape of the wire. There are mainly two types: hex and round core.

The Hex core strings are brighter and louder with a modern tone. These strings are a bit stiffer than round strings, but the difference isn’t that much.

The Round strings produce a more mellow tone. They have more sustain than the Hex core strings.

3. Coating

A coated string is a standard guitar string with a plastic polymer coating. They last longer than the uncoated ones. But they are prone to cutting off High-end responses.

They are also significantly more expensive than non-coated standard strings.

4. Winding Type

There are three basic winding types: the roundwound, the flatwound, and the half-round.

If you have strings already on the guitar, chances are they are roundwound. These are textured and have a brighter tone.

Flatwound strings have a flat surface. They produce a dark and understated tone; however, they are more challenging to play.

The half round strings play middle-ground between the roundwound and the flatwound.

They are more challenging to play than the roundwound and sound brighter than the flatwound but are still considered dark for the modern era.

With all that said, a bass player uses flat or half-round strings.

Best Guitar Strings for Beginners – Acoustic

1. Martin Authentic Acoustic Custom Light

Martin Authentic Acoustic MA175 Custom-Light-Gauge Acoustic Guitar Strings, 80/20 Bronze
Image credit to

Martins were the pioneer of the steel strings. The Martin is a trusted brand by many artists across the globe, like Tommy Emmanuel, Bob Dylan, and Cody Simpson.

The custom light set is unconventional, with a slightly skinnier sixth string than the light pack.

These acoustic guitar strings are a wonderful choice for beginners to practice fingerpicking and essential chords. They are well-priced, very durable, resistant to corrosion, and last for a long while if treated well.

They produce a huge sound, bold and brassy. You might have to lose out on the volume a bit.


  • Feature bright and rich tone that offer excellent tuning capability
  • Come in simple design that makes them useful in various musical setting
  • Are medium-sized, which makes them easy to work with.


  • May be average in build quality

2. La Bella 710L Silk and steel

 LaBella 710L La Bella Guitar String Set
Image Credit to

La Bella also has a rich musical history, some exceptional artists like Willie Nelson and Bryan Adams, to name a few.

The La Bella Silk and Steel are made with silver-plated copper wire, wound over a layer of pure Italian silk filament with an inner steel core.

They have a soft touch and sweet tone and have less tension than the steel or bronze wound strings.


  • Wrap wire over silk and steel core
  • Lower string tension
  • Less string noise


  • the tone they produce is not bright, but mellow and warm so don’t expect loud pronounced tunes.

Best Guitar Strings for Beginners – Electric

1. D’Addario Pro Steel XL

 D'Addario Guitar Strings - ProSteels Electric Guitar Strings - Round Wound - Brighter, Crunchier, Increased Sustain - EPS510 - Regular Light, 10-46
Image Credit to

These strings have been in business for a long time. Nile Rodgers, Paul Franklin, and Nita Strauss are a few world-famous guitarists who trust the D’Addario guitar strings for their instruments.

Many guitars displayed in the shops are equipped with D’Addario XL strings.

They are versatile and clear, making them the best option for beginners to practice and learn.

They will last you for a long while before they wear out.


  • They produce a crisp and crunchy tone
  • Have enhanced string life
  • Feel thin and tactile to touch


  • Relatively bad tuning stability
  • No coating to protect the strings

2. Ernie Ball Regular Slinky

 Ernie Ball Regular Slinky Nickel Wound Electric Guitar Strings, 10-46 Gauge (P02221)
Image Credit to

Ernie Ball is one of the biggest names in guitar strings, regularly counted as the best manufacturer of electric guitar strings in the market.

They have pretty A-list guitar players, singers, and songwriters as their customers, people like Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, and Jimmy Page.

They use nickel-plated steel wrap and offer a consistent and even tone through the frequency range.

They are 10-46 gauge, which is suitable for beginners.


  • Core is made from tin plated high carbon steel hex wire providing excellent durability
  • Balanced tone with superior intonation and consistency
  • They are thicker and chord friendly


  • For frequent practitioners, they might not last long, since they are uncoated

Best Guitar Strings for Beginners – Nylon

1. Ernie Ball Ernesto Palla Clear and Silver Nylon

 Ernie Ball Ernesto Palla Clear & Silver Classical Nylon Strings, Lot/2, P02403^2
Image Credit to

The Ernesto Palla set is an excellent starting point for nylon string users.

They are US-made, with a brass string comprising silver-plated copper wrap surrounding a multi filament nylon core, with three treble strings made from solid mono-filament clear nylon.

They produce a beautiful mellow precision tone you need from a classical guitar.


  • Smooth rich tone
  • Balanced tone
  • Comfortable to play for any beginner


  • They lack proper protective layer to extend string life

2. D’Addario Pro-Arte Nylon Classical guitar strings

 D'Addario Guitar Strings - Pro-Arte Classical Guitar Strings - EJ45 - Nylon Guitar Strings - Silver Plated Wound, Nylon Core - Normal Tension, 1-Pack
Image Credit to

The D’Addario’s classical strings settle into tune quickly.

This is great for beginners because you don’t have to wait for them to sound good.

They have excellent tone, consistency, and precision.

The strings are wound using silver-plated copper on a multifilament nylon core.


  • Consistent and warm, yet projecting tone
  • Flat wrap wire for finger noise reduction
  • Consistent string tension and intonation


  • They won’t last long if you are beginner who practices a lot

Best Guitar Strings for Beginners – Bass

1. Elixir Electric Guitar Strings Nickel-Plated Steel Nanoweb Coating 09-42 Super Light

 Elixir Strings Electric Guitar Strings w NANOWEB Coating, Super Light (.009-.042)
Image Credit to

Elixir are known to produce the traditional electric guitar tone but with extended tone life.

They are super light gauges, ranging between 0.009 to .042.

And smooth on the fingers which enhances playability.

And they are anti-rust plated steel strings that are resistant to tone-deadening corrosion and ensure a long life for the entire set.


  • Have protective coating, which means they will last for a long time
  • They produce bright, vibrant and dynamic sound
  • Long lasting tone life


  • They are comparatively more expensive than any other strings in this category

2. D’Addario Roundwound EXL170

 D'Addario EXL170-5TP Nickel Wound Bass Guitar Strings, Light, 45-103, 2 Sets, Long Scale
Image Credit to

The EXL170 is D’Addario’s best-selling bass string.

The Nickel wound strings are industry standard and are used in a wide range of musical genres.

They have a high carbon steel core and are hexagonal shaped.

They are roundwound, which produces the feel and tone that most players are familiar with and fit a long scale bass guitar with a string scale length of 36 ¼ inches.


  • Great feel and tone
  • Superior durability and precise intonation


  • Noticeably rough on the touch


Which is better: round wound or flat wound strings?

The choice of your strings depends on the type of guitar you choose. A flatwound string produces a mellow, warm, and smooth tone compared to roundwound strings.

If you want to play something like R&B or jazz, you will choose flatbound.

But if your interests lie in playing rock or punk style music that is more pronounced, then the roundwound strings are best because of their enhanced presence.

How can I choose the correct string gauge, and which is the most common one used by beginners?

A general rule among string instruments is: to choose a lighter gauge for smaller body instruments and a heavier gauge for larger body instruments.

The most commonly used strings by beginners are lighter gauge because they are easier on the fingers and suitable for practice since they require fewer efforts to press down.

Are lighter strings better for beginners?

Lighter strings are considered best for beginner guitar learners.

They are thinner and potentially looser, putting less stress on your fingertips.

learn guitar online

Learn Guitar From Expert Teachers

Book a free demo class with one of our top teachers and start learning Guitar.


There are many types of guitar you could tryout to pick your perfect partner.

Taking up online guitar courses or on-site classes for your journey of learning guitar is very helpful, especially for beginners.

Choosing your strings without guidance can be quite the hassle.

Leave a comment