Acoustic Guitar Strings- What's the Difference?

By: Dan   On: 22 February 2018 

With the ever-evolving market of Guitar Strings it's hard to know what the categorical differences are between brands and their respective ranges. In this blog post I'm going to present some of the concrete differences between string varieties for Acoustic Guitars.

The first consideration should concern which type of guitar you have? Is it a steel-stringed acoustic? Or, is it a classical guitar with nylon-strings?




If it does use nylon strings, then the question is whether it uses ball-end or not? The simple way to check is to simply look down toward the bridge of your instrument, from there simply choose a tension which feels right for you. The lighter the tension, the easier it is to fret the strings; However, with reduced string tension comes increased fret buzz!

Our most popular selling nylon string is the Ernie Ball 'Ernesto Palla' range (see below)







As for the remaining steel-stringed guitarists, the plethora of choice lies with you. The main consideration is string gauge. The guitars size and the dexterity of the players hands are two of the main factors which will influence this decision. For a parlour sized guitar, with a shorter-scale, a lighter gauge set may feel and sound better to the player. Whereas with a full sized dreadnought, you can really take advantage of the larger sound chamber and dimensions with a heavier gauge. Ofcourse, these are generalisations. If you have the time and money, the best way to find what works for you is to experiment with different gauges.

 Acoustic strings generally come in either 80/20 Bronze or Phosphor Bronze. 80/20 Bronze strings are considered to project a brighter tone. However, it is worth noting these can age quickly due to the processes of oxidisation. Phosphor Bronze, are simply bronze strings with phosphor added. They are considered to have a darker, warmer tone, and to be longer lasting due to the added Phosphor. 

The most popular Acoustic strings we stock here at Somerset are the Ernie Ball 'Earthwood' series and Elixir's coated string range. 




The big difference between these brands of strings is without doubt the coating which comes applied to Elixir strings. The idea behind the coating is that it protects against string corrosion, keeping your strings fresher for a longer period than regular non-coated strings. Below is a chart explaining the differences between the range of Elixir strings. 


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