10 Best Guitar Strings in 2021

Dave Mostert
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When it comes to choosing guitar strings the options are huge. In fact it can all be very confusing if you don’t know what you’re looking for.

That’s why in this review of 10 best guitar strings in 2021, I’m going to take you by the hand and show you which strings out there are the best, and which aren’t worth your time.

I use Guitar Strings from numerous manufacturers and brands. I wanted to find out which ones were supplying good quality leads and which ones weren’t. I have a tendency to test different brands and this applies to strings too.

Guitar strings aren’t quite that expensive, but an expense nevertheless.

To save you time, therefore, I’ve put together this comprehensive guide on the best guitar strings available.

NameCategoryProduct
Ernie Ball Earthwood Phosphor Bronze Medium LightBest OverallErnie Ball Earthwood Phosphor Bronze Medium Light
D'Addario Pro-Arte Nylon Classical Guitar StringsBudget PickD'Addario Pro-Arte Nylon Classical Guitar Strings
D’Addario EJ16-3D Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Guitar StringsUpgrade PickD’Addario EJ16-3D Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings

1. Ernie Ball Earthwood Phosphor Bronze Medium Light

Our rating: 9 / 10

Ernie Ball Earthwood Phosphor Bronze Medium Light

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Pros:

  • String life was longer than expected
  • Super warm tone that lasts
  • Strings are not overly bright
  • Made of all copper for long life
  • Good quality string at a cheap price

Cons:

  • Strings are hard to restring
  • Some breakage at the high e string
  • Not as famous as other brands

2. D’Addario EJ16-3D Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings

Our rating: 9 / 10

D’Addario EJ16-3D Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings

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Pros:

  • New corrosion resistant phosphor borde
  • Easy to play and stay in tune
  • Quality price, more durable than other brands
  • Long lasting, you can expect two years of use before they start to lose their tone

Cons:

  • May feel too fragile for a beginner
  • A bit expensive

D’Addario strings are produced in the U.S. and have a reputation for being of the highest quality on the market today. Because of their quality and popularity they often cost more than other strings, but are still reasonably priced.

D’Addario is perhaps the most well known of acoustic guitar string brands, and their reputation is due in no small part to the high quality of their acoustic strings. They come in several different gauges to match the needs of each player, and the EJ16 string sets are perhaps the best string sets for an acoustic guitar player.

The EJ16 gauge is a common gauge for acoustic guitars. It is light enough to provide good intonation but not so light as to be difficult to work with. The sound is very bright, but not harsh; the EJ16 works well for finger style work. They’re very durable and can give you years of use before they begin to lose their tone.

3. D'Addario EXL110-3D Nickel Wound Electric Guitar Strings

Our rating: 9 / 10

D'Addario EXL110-3D Nickel Wound Electric Guitar Strings

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Pros:

  • One of the strongest set of strings on the market
  • Great quality considering the price
  • Is very suitable for almost any guitar
  • Easy to tune
  • Great durability and lasts for a very long period
  • Comes in different gauges
  • Great for players who are trying to learn how to play guitar
  • Works great as a replacement for other strings

Cons:

  • The ball end tends to wear off the string before the fret, causing the string to end up in lower sounds
  • Lots of people have complained about this product having lost its sound after a while

This string set is by far the cheapest on this list, but it definitely doesn’t lack quality. The D’Addario EXL110-3E Nickel Wound Electric Guitar Strings, Regular Light, 10-46 seems to have many great reasons as to why they should be your next purchase.

The great thing about this string set is that it’s incredibly suitable for almost all types of guitars that you might have. Another great thing about it is that you can choose between different gauges, which are also incredibly high quality considering their reasonable price.

4. Ernie Ball Regular Slinky Nickel Wound Sets

Our rating: 9 / 10

Ernie Ball Regular Slinky Nickel Wound Sets

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Pros:

  • Great for beginners
  • Sound good
  • Reasonable price
  • Durable
  • Made in the USA
  • Offers two types of strings
  • You can choose from a variety of packages … from single to 3-packs
  • Break in easily

Cons:

  • Are known to snap easily if not handled properly
  • Sound too bright for some guitarists

Ernie Ball Regular Slinky-Nickel Wound string sets are manufactured in the USA and are available in a wide range of gauge sets from thick to thin.

If you’re looking for authentic performance at a reasonable price, these strings are your best bet.

These strings are made from nickel-plated steel wire wrapped around a hex-shaped, high carbon steel core. A string’s gauge depends on the diameter of the wire it’s made from, with higher gauges translating to heavier strings.

5. Elixir Strings 80/20 Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings w NANOWEB Coating

Our rating: 9 / 10

Elixir Strings 80/20 Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings w NANOWEB Coating

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Pros:

  • Performance improves with each string change
  • Great enhancement with perfectly balanced tone and projection
  • Sound great on all acoustics as well as electrics
  • Great consistency

Cons:

  • Bulkier packaging
  • Higher initial cost

It can be hard to know whether you need fresh guitar strings. In the case of Elixir Strings, you’ll feel the difference when you upgrade to restring your guitar with these acoustic strings. The 80/20 bronze strings have a clear, bright sound that’s great for guitarists with high expectations.

The Nanowebs coating on the strings means that you don’t have to change them as frequently.

The strings are coated with a polymer, which helps to keep the tone or intonation from changing with time. This gives you a smoother playing experience and allows you to use the guitar for longer periods of time without needing to restring.

6. Ernie Ball Power Slinky Nickel Wound Sets.011

Our rating: 9 / 10

Ernie Ball Power Slinky Nickel Wound Sets.011

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Pros:

  • Slinky is the most popular and widely used guitar string of all time
  • This string is also used by artists such as Joe Perry, Slash, and Keith Richards
  • Impressive string life
  • Made in the USA
  • Great responsiveness
  • Highly versatile & perfect for every genre
  • Precision wound with nickel plating
  • Reasonably priced for a premium string
  • Available in multiple gauges

Cons:

  • Intense initial break-in period, but only lasts a week or two
  • The sound takes some getting used to

This is considered by many as one of the best guitar string sets you can buy. This should come as no surprise, considering the brand itself has a legacy dating back to 1965. And the quality is simply unbeatable.

Besides the premium quality, these guitar string sets from Ernie Ball certainly come with a premium price tag.

This is the perfect string for lead guitarists who want a little more characteristic “crunch” in their tone. The biggest quibble among players is the sound, as this string is a bit on the brighter and “gutier” side.

7. Martin M170 80/20 Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings

Our rating: 9 / 10

Martin M170 80/20 Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings

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Pros:

  • Warm and well-defined tone
  • Very smooth feel for excellent playability
  • Durable and well made

Cons:

  • Not very bright
  • Might be too thin for classic guitars

Martin’s ultra-thin electric strings are great for anyone moving from a heavier gauge to a lighter gauge string set. These strings offer a warm, well-defined tone that’s perfect for finger-picking and soloing. They also feel very smooth, making them some of the best-playing acoustic guitar strings available. The strings also feel very durable since they are made from 80% copper and 20% zinc. The added length of time they stay in tune is proof that they are well made.

There are a few bonuses here, though. Martin also includes a set of extra light strings with a pick, which is nice. It gives you the option to experiment with your sound if you’re playing live. These sets are durable and well-made, so they’ll last you a while. If you don’t like them, you can always choose another brand. Just make sure you get a lighter gauge.

8. D'Addario Pro-Arte Nylon Classical Guitar Strings

Our rating: 8 / 10

D'Addario Pro-Arte Nylon Classical Guitar Strings

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Pros:

  • Quality strings for a reasonable price
  • Pro-Arte strings have a warm, mellow tone
  • Smooth highs and great clarity

Cons:

  • Lights are more susceptible to breakage, rattle, and other string problems
  • You will need to know the tension of your old strings before you purchase

If you’re looking for a quality string set that’s very affordable, you’re going to fall in love with D’Addario Pro-Arte strings. These are professional quality strings, manufactured in the United States at a small family-owned factory. They are handmade on a round mandolin string winder, and they also undergo a final inspection stage.

These beginner strings for classical guitars are ideal for students, hobbyists, and intermediate players. The tone that you’ll get with Pro-Arte strings is warm and mellow, and ideal for students on a budget. The bright and clear sound is perfect for beginners, allowing them to learn how to play by ear.

D’Addario offers an outstanding limited lifetime warranty that covers human errors and equipment failure due to normal use. This warranty does not cover changes in tone or string rattle.

9. Gibson Brite Wires Electric Guitar Strings

Our rating: 8 / 10

Gibson Brite Wires Electric Guitar Strings

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Pros:

  • Highly affordable strings
  • Made with 80% copper so they last for a fairly long while
  • Made from quality materials
  • Performance is consistent
  • Affordable for any musician

Cons:

  • Not for professional use or studio recording
  • Lack of defining brightness

80/20 Bronze.

When we started searching for the best guitar strings for your money, there were certainly a lot of different choices to consider. When comparing different guitar string brands based on our desired criteria, we found Gibson’s Brite Wires to be the best guitar strings for the price. A lot of guitarists will try and be clever and stretch their guitar strings as long as possible but the fact is that guitar strings can only be stretched so far.

Gibson guitar strings provide a great balance of tone, durability, and performance. And although many of the products on the market are quite expensive, Gibson managed to create a great product at an affordable price. Gibson’s Brite Wires are perfect if you’re looking for a nice helping of brightness in your tone.

10. Ernie Ball

Our rating: 7 / 10

Ernie Ball

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Pros:

  • It is used by a lot of professional musicians
  • Set of 3 Ernie Ball strings
  • It has a steel core and is coated with nickel to avoid rust and corrosion
  • They are light in weight but with a strong tone
  • These strings have good resistance to wear and tear

Cons:

  • They are a little expensive as compared to other strings of the same caliber
  • These are good for beginners but not those who are experts in using strings
  • The higher-end models are costly
  • They are not easily available

This is a standard, medium gauge guitar string designed for electric guitars.

This set is a pack of three but if you want a single set then you have the option to get it.

It has a bassier string and lack clear tone but it does bit of job for studio recordings.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Which guitar string brand is best?

There are many choices for guitar strings. At its most basic level, a string just needs to hold the tune and sustain your notes. But the string you choose has a major effect on the tone of the guitar as well as your playing style.

So, what are the best guitar strings?

Each brand has its own fits and finishes and each has characteristics that are fine-tuned for particular playing styles. The best guitar strings are those that work for you. However, there are those that work for most people, and others that are more specialized for unique playing styles.

What are the best sounding acoustic guitar strings?

There are several factors which affect the sound of acoustic guitar strings, like gauge, material, and construction. Those are great questions that are an important facet of every musicians’ pursuit of acoustic tone nirvana.

For example, nickel strings are popular among professionals and amateurs alike for their bright, "vintage" tone. 80/20 Bronze strings, on the other hand, are known to produce a "warm" sound, with an emphasis on bass.

But the differences do not end there.

A string that is made of steel has a very different note than one made from spun aluminum. And then, of course there are the compositions of the strings, in which we find nylon, phosphor bronze, silver as well as hybrid forms like plasma and titanium.

Take note that what may sound good through the headphones of your amp, does not necessarily sound good onstage, and the same could be said for recording.

What are the strongest guitar strings?

When most guitarists think about variety of strength when shopping for strings, they're usually considering the electric guitar. The electric guitar, when it comes to range and overall sound quality, has a wider range than the acoustic guitar.

When you play an electric guitar, you are going to be dealing with a much wider range of amp and cabinet setups than you would be when playing an acoustic guitar. So, naturally, you need a guitar string that will not only cover a wider range of strings, but one that can withstand higher tension in an electric guitar.

Guitarists who are playing an electric guitar will need extra durable strings that can hold up to more tension. Acoustic guitar players don't need to worry about that variance.

What gauge strings do most guitarists use?

Acoustic guitarists typically like their strings a bit on the lighter side if they play solo. Lighter strings can also be used for playing with a pick if that is your preference.

If you are playing with a heavier band, then you may want to go with a little heftier string. You will find those on electric guitars.

Conclusion

The best overall pick for the best guitar strings in money is based on the quality of the strings, the ability to maintain their tone over time, and you get a good quality package that comes with everything you need to play like a pro. This article should help you decide whether you're interested best acoustic strings, best bass guitar strings, or best electric guitar strings.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Ernie Ball Earthwood Phosphor Bronze Medium LightBest OverallErnie Ball Earthwood Phosphor Bronze Medium Light
D'Addario Pro-Arte Nylon Classical Guitar StringsBudget PickD'Addario Pro-Arte Nylon Classical Guitar Strings
D’Addario EJ16-3D Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Guitar StringsUpgrade PickD’Addario EJ16-3D Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings