Acoustic guitars are extremely popular in country music. The only problem is that there are so many different models out there, and so many different types of strings to choose from. It can be difficult to know which ones are right for you. In this article, we will share with you some of the best acoustic guitar strings for country music and how they should be used.
We will also go through some tips and tricks that you should know as a musician when shopping for your new strings. These include gauge, material, durability, price, etc.
What is the Best Acoustic Guitar String?
The best acoustic guitar string is one that allows you to play it easily and accurately and in tune. Because the sound of an acoustic guitar depends on how it’s played, this means that finding the right string is much more important than finding a good one. If your playing isn’t precise enough, then you won’t be able to play songs well or even at all. You should consider multiple factors when looking for a good string for an acoustic guitar.
Related: For the best acoustic guitar strings, make sure to check our best acoustic guitar strings.
Best Acoustic Guitar Strings for Country Music – In-Depth Review
Table of Contents
- D’Addario EJ11 80/20 Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings
- Ernie Ball Everlast Coated Phosphor Bronze
- Martin Guitar Authentic Acoustic Lifespan 2.0 MA540T
- Elixir Strings 80/20 Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings
- Ernie Ball Aluminum Bronze Medium Light Acoustic Guitar Strings
D’Addario EJ11 80/20 Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings, Light, 12-53 is one of the most popular strings. This set of strings comes in a variety of gauges and string types (including the heavier ones). The gauges are .010, .011, .012, .013, .014, .015. In addition to these extra heavy gauges, there are also light gauge sets available. These are good for beginners who want to learn how to play an acoustic guitar.
- Gauge: 12-53
- D’Addario’s Most Popular Acoustic Gauge, Ideal Balance of Tone and Playability
- Extra-Bright Tone Mixed with Deep and Projecting Bottom End
- Material: Bronze
- Excellent balance between lows and highs. This string shines particularly at the mid-range, with its bright bronze tone.
- Excellent intonation and tuning stability.
- Great durability, especially if we consider the affordable price.
- Great balance between tone and playability.
Definitely one of the best acoustic strings out there. With its particular retro tone, the D’Addario EJ11 80/20 is one of the best choices for country music. We like how the bronze material used in this set makes it extremely bright-sounding, which is, in our opinion, one of the characteristics of the genre in question.
The Ernie Ball Everlast are coated with a material that, according to the brand, is 500 times thinner than any other coating, providing it with the benefits of high durability while maintaining the natural feel of the strings. They are also surprisingly affordable: $12, by the time this article was written.
- Gauges: 12-54
- Everlast Treatment Is Applied to Both the Inner Hex Core and Outer Wrap Wire to Provide Ultimate Protection without Compromising Tone or Feel
- Rich, Warm Tone Played by Acoustic Greats around the World
- Material: Coated Phosphor Bronze
- As we mentioned, the coating on these strings is 500 times thinner than other brands, ensuring a great balance between durability and playability.
- The coated phosphor bronze material sounds very bright, excellent for country music.
- There’s also a pure bronze version of these strings which sound even brighter.
- Excellent materials.
We were really impressed by these strings. The fact that they are so well-balanced between durability and playability makes this one of the best choices for beginners and advanced players alike. Also, the tone is super bright and will help you cut through the mix much more easily.
Martin Lifespan strings are a great choice for those who want to improve their tone without sacrificing durability. They’re constructed from the finest materials, including treated light-gauge that provides the best possible tone and feel. The phosphor bronze of these strings is made with an excellent balance between sound and playability, so they will work well for country music.
- Gauges: 12-54
- Martin Authentic Acoustic Strings Provide Excellent Tuning Stability and Playability with Bright and Rich Tones
- Treated with a Special Coating that Protects it Against Oils and Humidity
- Material: Phosphor Bronze
- These coated guitar strings have excellent durability due to its special coating.
- Stronger output across all frequencies, if compared to other coated acoustic strings.
- Better tuning stability and intonation.
- Same playability and sound quality of uncoated natural strings.
Martin strings are known for their ultimate sound quality. Whichever is your playing style, these strings are an excellent match to play country music and offer unpaired durability. We also like the fact that the brand is very transparent about all the materials used to make these strings and every characteristic of the product.
Bright and focused smooth set, Elixir Strings are made up of 80% phosphor bronze and 20% nickel-plated steel wire. The phosphor bronze is wrapped around a steel core wire, which ensures that the string maintains its tone and volume when played. Furthermore, the durability is also enhanced by the coating that these strings receive.
- Gauges: 10-47
- Played for a Crisp, Bright Tone with an Expressive, Vibrant Presence
- Ultra-Thin Nanoweb Coating Provides a More Traditionally Textured, “Uncoated” Feel
- Material: Bronze
- As these are pure bronze strings, they have unmatched brightness and are excellent for playing country music and bluegrass music.
- These coated strings not only sound great but they have excellent durability and string life.
- The Nanoweb coating process by Elixir is one of the best among all strings.
- Reduced finger squeak and noise.
At $15 by the time this article was written, we feel like these Elixir strings have a great value for the price. Having a brighter tone than most other coated strings, this is an excellent match to your country music needs. The durability is also something to talk about since the Elixir Nanoweb coating process is one of the best among the product category.
Ernie Ball’s Bronze Medium Light strings are a soft and bright set of strings for acoustic guitars. This string features Ernie Ball’s famous aluminum bronze coated alloy wire, which is highly durable, as well as featuring excellent intonation capabilities in use. The medium-light gauge is great for modern acoustic guitars with the proper tension (medium-light).
- Gauges: 12-54
- Wrap Wire Made from a Blend of Copper and Aluminum Specifically Tailored for Acoustic Guitar Strings, Resulting in Pronounced Lows Coupled with Crisp Brilliant Highs
- Crafted in Southern California with the Freshest and Finest Materials
- Material: Coated Aluminum Bronze
- The aluminum bronze material that these strings are made with sound excellent.
- More balanced tone if compared to pure bronze strings.
- With all the technologies employed in the making of these strings and described by Ernie Ball, you know that this is a quality product.
- Excellent bass and high response.
One affordable set of strings with excellent performance and tone, the Ernie Ball Aluminum Bronze is one of your best bets. Compared to the Everlast Coated, it has a more balanced tone which is not so bright as pure bronze. We recommend that you test both since both strings sound great and it could be a matter of preference about which one is the best.
Important Factors When Choosing Acoustic Guitar Strings for Country Music
Here is a small guide to help you shop for your new set of acoustic guitar strings for country music.
Acoustic guitar string gauges refer to the thickness of the string. Acoustic guitars are mostly strung with gauges ranging from .010 to .40. For example, if you’re looking for a set of medium light acoustic guitar strings, then you may have to choose between gauges between 12-54 or 10-56. Gauges may vary from set to set.
The best gauge is the one that allows you to play comfortably and get a good sound projection from your acoustic guitar. Of course, this factor is highly personal, so you ideally should experiment with different sets before making up your mind. For beginners looking for their first set, we recommend lighter gauge strings, as they are easier to play.
Acoustic guitar strings are made of various materials. The most popular ones are phosphor bronze and stainless steel. Phosphor bronze is an alloy that is made of copper, zinc, and tin. It is a very popular choice because it sounds good and doesn’t rust. On the other hand, stainless steel has a much mellower tone than phosphor bronze.
Phosphor bronze strings have a warm tone with good projection. It is less expensive than stainless steel strings so it may be a good option for beginners to try out.
Stainless steel strings have a brighter tone than phosphor bronze strings, but they are much more expensive. They are very durable and don’t rust.
Other materials such as nickel-silver, titanium, and tungsten are also used to make acoustic guitar strings. The most popular ones are nickel-silver and titanium because they have a bright sound with good projection. Tungsten is a very brittle material that is mainly used in electric guitar strings and is not recommended for acoustic guitars because it breaks easily under high tension. Titanium has a warmer tone than nickel silver and is also more expensive than stainless steel.
Coated vs Uncoated
Coated strings have a smooth surface and a bright tone, while uncoated have a more natural feel and sound. Coated strings are usually made out of phosphor bronze because phosphor bronze is more durable. Uncoated strings are made of stainless steel or nickel-silver which is less durable than phosphor bronze but has a more natural feel to it.
Being a factor that is highly personal to each guitarist, we recommend that you try different sets in order to find the perfect one.
Acoustic guitar strings can be found in virtually any price range, from $5 to $100. If you’re a beginner, stick with an affordable high-quality product and you’re all set.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Guitar Do Most Country Singers Use?
Most country singers use Martin or Taylor guitars since they are very popular and high-quality brands, but some other famous names include Fender and Gibson.
Are Coated Strings Better than Uncoated Strings?
Yes, coated strings are usually better than uncoated strings. Coated strings are more durable and they sound brighter than uncoated ones. However, as we said before, it is highly debatable and personal which is the best one. Some guitarists prefer the natural feel and tone of uncoated strings, especially on country music.
How do I Make my Strings Last Longer?
If you want your strings to last longer, you should make sure that they are not over-tightened. Over tightening can damage your strings. Also, make sure that you clean your strings regularly with a clean cloth or some lemon oil. The more you play, the more they will require regular cleaning. Keep your instrument regulated as well.
Is a Thicker Gauge String Set Better than a Light Gauge?
Not necessarily. A thicker gauge string set will give you a more powerful sound but will be harder to play, whereas lighter string gauges will sound quieter but will be easier to play.
Can I Use Electric Guitar Strings on my Acoustic Guitar?
While you can, it is not always advisable to do so, since electric guitar strings have different tensions than acoustic guitar strings. If you try it, make sure to take it to a luthier for adjustments.
As you can see, there are lots of acoustic guitar strings that are excellent for playing traditional American styles of music. All in all, we recommend a set that sounds bright and balanced across the whole frequency spectrum: in our opinion and based on what we saw on the list, bronze is your best bet.
Whether you go with thicker strings or light strings is a matter of preference. Just keep in mind that the first will give you more tone, while the latter will give you more playability. It is also a great idea to take into account your playing behavior to decide whether or not getting a coated set is worth it: it will give you much better durability, but will also be more expensive.
How to Buy
You can find the link to each product on their respective titles on the list. Remember to research extensively since there are tons of other acoustic guitar strings that weren’t reviewed in this article but provide excellent quality. Also, make sure to check out our related articles. Thank you for reading!
Ian Sniesko is an experienced music producer and musician who loves to share his knowledge about the best audio equipment for making and enjoying great music. For the past 6 years, Ian has written extensively about the audio equipment industry and has contributed to many of the top music magazines.