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Acoustic Guitar Strings - Beginners Buyers Guide

 We'll Ensure You Get the Correct Set First Time!

Welcome to our beginners buyers guide for acoustic guitar strings.

If you are new to the guitar and buying a set of strings for the first time (or possily for somebody else), choosing from the vast range on offer can understandably feel overwhelming.

But don’t fret… we’re here to help! Our jargon free buyers guide to acoustic strings will ensure you have a great sounding set that is perfect for you before you know it.

First Thing's First

Before we discuss string options, it’s important to ascertain what type of guitar you have.  Steel strung acoustic or nylon strung classical?  When it comes to ‘acoustic’ style guitars, many people are forgiven for thinking that they are the same thing.  Whilst they look very similar,  the strings each instrument needs are quite different.  

So, how do you know what you have? The simplest way is to take a look at your current set of strings.

If all your strings are steel and the thick ones have a bronze colour then you have a steel strung “acoustic guitar”... in which case, carry on… This is the guide for you 🙂

However, if your current set of strings have three silver wound strings and three nylon strings (as in the image below) then you have a classical guitar and need a different set to the ones suggested in this guide.   If that’s you, just click here… we’ll see you over there and get you the correct set you need.

If your strings look like this click here - classical guitar buyers guide link

If your strings look like this click here - classical guitar buyers guide link

When you’re buying strings for the first time, the trick is to keep things nice and simple and resist getting bogged down in all the various intricacies… 

In our opinion, the main thing to consider is string gauge. String gauge refers to how thick the strings are and this will have the biggest bearing on how comfortable they are to play.

We suggest starting with an 11-52 gauge set.   You may be thinking “Great! But what are all those numbers about? 

There are six strings in a complete set of acoustic guitar strings.  Each individual string will be a specific thickness and have a number that depicts just how thick it is… the higher the number, the thicker the string is.

So, in the case of an 11-52 set, the 11 represents the high E (the thinnest string) and the 52 represents the thicker low E string.

A set of 11-52 strings are not too thick and not too thin and are a really good set to start with.  They will satisfy every style of playing, every acoustic guitar and are suitable for beginners and more experienced players too. 

In order to make your life super simple, we’ve carefully selected three fantastic sets of 11-52 strings below all at different price points.  Choose any set and we can guarantee you’ll have a set of strings that both sounds great and feels comfortable to play, meaning you’ll have much more fun playing which will help to improve your guitar skills faster.

As well as all the chosen sets being 11-52 gauge, they are all Phosphor Bronze wound.  This simply refers to the material of the thicker wound strings and it is the most popular type of acoustic string.  Furthermore it contains phosphates that resist corrosion meaning they your strings will last a bit longer too…. Lovely jubbly!!

Oh and for those who were wondering, yes, all the sets listed below contain all six strings needed to fully restring your acoustic guitar.

Best Value for Money - Legacy

As with most things in life, guitar string prices vary and when you’re just starting out you honestly don’t need to go for the most expensive set. Sure, a higher priced set can be nice but as a beginner the subtleties they offer are likely to go unnoticed so it’s really not worth getting bogged down with the ‘bells and whistles’ just yet.

In fact, we supply our own brand of strings called ‘Legacy’. OK, ok! Perhaps we’re a bit biased here but we are super proud of these strings.  They’ve been a long time best seller of ours not only for their great value but the quality they also bring. A perfect choice if we do say so ourselves!

Legacy 11-52 Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings

Customer Comments

Excellent quality strings at such a low price and a great sound.”  

“Bit dubious at first about cheaper priced strings but these will be my first choice of strings in future. Brilliant!”

The Best Seller - D'Addario

D’Addario’s EJ26 11-52 Acoustic strings are one of our longest standing best sellers. The quality is very high, they are super reliable and won't break the bank either.  D’Addario have been around for decades dedicating themselves to building the best strings on the market so you are certainly in safe hands if you opted for a set of these.

D'Addario EJ26 11-52 Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings

Customer Comments

“Great strings. Play really well and are comfortable to use.” Tom 

“Always used these strings, always will.”  Mark

The Longer Lasting String - Elixir

Everybody is short of time nowadays, so we understand that you’d rather be having fun playing your guitar rather than changing strings.

For that reason, we’ve included a ‘coated’ string option here.  Without going too in depth, the outer surface of coated strings are treated with a microscopically thin protective layer that prevents dirt and grime from degrading their sound and lifespan.  

Coated strings are considered somewhat of a luxury and certainly not an absolute must but they certainly serve a purpose for some players. 

Whilst they’re more expensive than the ‘uncoated’ sets listed above, they last up to 5 times longer than a standard set meaning you get more time playing than changing your strings which is of course a big benefit for most.

They are equally a good option if you play every day but also a sensible choice if you only pick up the guitar every now and then… All too often a set of strings can tarnish over time (even when not being played) so a coated set helps keep the strings sounding and feeling fresh, even if your guitar is left on a stand in the corner for weeks or months at a time.

If this sounds like a good option for you, we’ve listed our best selling set below from a brand called Elixir…  We’ll sure you’ll be a happy bunny if you opt for these.

Elixir Nanoweb 11-52 Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings

Customer Comments

Always great and last ages” William

“I have used several different similar strings for years and always return to Elixir. They constantly stay bright and with a clear sound that last a long time.” Anthony  

A few words about hand strength and sore fingers

It is somewhat of a right of passage as a new guitarist but we all have to battle through the pain barrier for the first few weeks after continually pressing down the strings. We’ve all been there... our fingertips can feel very tender and sore but unfortunately it’s just something we have to persevere through.

That being said, if you are experiencing discomfort, you may wish to try a lighter gauge (thinner) set for the time being. A set of 10-47 or 10-50 gauge strings will certainly help offer some respite in the short term and make playing the guitar a little easier on the hands. These gauges are also a great choice for young players too. 

Any discomfort is likely to mean the guitar stays on the stand rather than being played… we’re big advocates of adopting anything that helps facilitate enjoyment from the guitar.  If a thinner set helps to encourage more playing, surely that can only be a good thing.

Here are all three sets mentioned above but in a lighter 10 gauge;

Legacy 10-50 Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings

D'Addario EJ15 10-47 Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings

Elixir Nanoweb 10-47 Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings


We hope this guide has helped you quickly and easily select a suitable set of acoustic guitar strings.  

Remember, all the sets listed in this guide will be an ideal choice so whichever set you decide on, rest assured, they will help bring you joy when playing the guitar which in turn will fast forward your progress and bring you years of pleasure.

Of course, should you need any further help, we’re always happy to chat and offer further advice so feel free to get in touch.

Good luck 😀

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