7 Best Guitar Strings for Beginners (2021 List)

Best electric


You may not know much about guitar strings, but this article will tell you what to look for in the best guitar strings for beginners so you can get started with a good set. We'll go over different types of string gauges and materials, as well as benefits to each that may be most beneficial for a beginner guitarist.  We'll also mention the popular brands of strings so you can make an informed decision on which type to buy when it comes time.

Electric/Acoustic Guitar Strings Guide

What is String Gauge? 

The gauge of the string simply refers to how big around the string is in 1000ths of an inch.  The most common string gauges for electric guitars are .9-.42 or .10-.46.  Both of these sets are light enough to bend easily, and they are thick enough that they won't rattle all over the place.  The choice between the two is really a preference thing.  The most common acoustic guitar string sets are .12-.53.  This means acoustic guitar strings are generally a lot thicker than electric guitar strings. 

Heavier gage strings also known as thicker gauge strings are good for things like hard strumming, drop tunings, and jazz.  Heavier gauge strings are advantageous for these things because if you are strumming hard, a thicker string will create more tension which makes the strings less likely to rattle creating an undesirable sound.  They are used for drop tunings for the same reason.  The more tension the less likely the strings will rattle against the frets.  Finally a heavier gauge string is good for jazz because in jazz the guitar is mostly a rhythm section instrument, and its role is to chunk out a bunch of quarter notes.  Not a lot of bending is required.

Lighter gauge strings are better guitar strings for beginners because they will hurt their fingers less, and players that are soloing a lot.  Bending is a super common solo technique and because of that lighter strings are best for soloing.  A strange exception to this is Stevie Ray Vaughn though.  He used thicker strings than most companies even sell, so not every rule is perfect, but generally thinner strings are better for soloing.

String Material

Guitar Strings can be made of a few different things. These include Nickel, Nickel wound steel, steel, brass, bronze, and nylon.  

Of all of these options the best guitar strings for beginners are certainly nylon strings.  Nylon strings are what is typically on a classical style guitar.  They require the least amount of tension to push down.  This makes it much easier for beginners because often times beginners don't have the strength to push down the strings, or their finger tips hurt really bad from playing.  Nylon strings remedy both of those.

For all the other types of strings, they really feel the same underneath your fingers.  They are all made of metal and require the same amount of pressure to push down.

Best Acoustic Guitar Strings for Beginners: Elixer Nanoweb Extra Light


  • Coating makes strings last longer


  • Some do not care for the feeling of coating

Key Features:

Prolonged Use: Elixir Strings coats the whole string, protecting more of the string surface than any other brand. This helps your strings retain their tone 3 to 5 times longer than uncoated strings.

Light Gauge: .10-.47 are very light strings for an acoustic guitar.  Light gauge strings are absolutely crucial to beginners because heavier strings are harder to press down, and will hurt the beginner's fingers much more.  

Why are these the Best Guitar Strings for Beginners?

Light gauge Elixer strings are a great choice for the best guitar strings for beginners.  This mostly comes down to three factors.  They are light, they are coated, and they are the easiest acoustic guitar strings to play.

A coated string is beneficial for a beginner because beginners are prone to using a set of strings for way too long.  Strings have a life cycle and once they are on their way out the tone completely alters.  Using these strings will allow for the player to still get great tone out of their guitar for months and months of playing rather than weeks of playing.  

The importance of a light gauge is something we have already stressed a lot in this article.  However, it is certainly still worth mentioning that beginners need light gauge strings so they can press down the strings, and their fingers will hurt less.  So these acoustic guitar strings are great for avoiding sore fingers.

Best Budget Acoustic: Ernie Ball Earthwood


  • Super Affordable


  • Wear Out Quick

These Ernie Ball strings are amongst some of the easiest acoustic guitar strings to play.  Along with that, they are dirt cheap. 

The low price of these strings makes it hard to not at least try them out.  Give them a shot, maybe you'll like them a lot.

Best Electric Strings: D'Addario NYXL


  • Super Long Lasting


  • Pricier than average strings

Key Features:

Prolonged Life: NYXL strings are up to 3x longer lasting than other guitar strings, so you can play more and change strings less.

Stronger Material: NYXL strings are made from high carbon steel, which is harder and stronger than other string materials. This allows them to hold their shape better for a more consistent feel and enhanced tone life.  

Why are these the Best Guitar Strings for Beginners?

D'Addario NYXL's are great strings for beginners and beyond.  They are used by people first picking up a guitar all the way to the tip top upper echelon.  Legends like Nile Rodgers play NYXL's, and modern greats like Tosin Abasi play NYXL's as well.

The NYXL's are the best electric guitar strings for beginners because they get you started off right.  They aren't strings that will hold you back.  Their quality control is impeccable, and you'll never get a set that feels different from others.  

They stay in tune better, break less, and bend easier.  All of these things and more are what NYXL's the best electric guitar strings for beginners.

Best Budget Electric: D'Addario Pro Steels


  • Very Inexpensive 


  • Wear Out Quickly

Key Features:

High Output:  These strings are made for rockers.  These strings have higher output than others and that is part of what gives rock and roll its sound.  

Trusted Brand:  D'Addario is probably the most trusted name in guitar strings.  It seems like everyone I know uses their strings, including myself.  They always deliver on tone and life span.

Why are these the Best Guitar Strings for Beginners?

These are great guitar strings for beginners because they sound great and don't cost much.  

These are probably the most fair priced guitar strings on the market.  They comes in around half the price of most other strings, but yet deliver the same quality.

The sound these strings produce is absolutely top notch.  The low price tag might lead you to think that they wouldn't sound great, but that is simply not the case at all.  These strings sound just as great as you would hope.

Best Nylon Strings: D'Addario EJ27N


  • Super easy on fingers


  • A sound not often found in popular music

Key Features:

Nylon: Nylon guitar strings are great for beginners because they are much easier to play than the steel strings typically found on acoustic and electric guitars.  

Standard: These strings are kinda the standard for nylon string guitar playing.  They get the job done every time.

Why are these the Best Guitar Strings for Beginners?

The EJ27N's are great strings for beginners due to their easy playing nature.  Often times beginners are discouraged by how much their fingers hurt, and how hard it is to push the string down.  A nylon string helps solve both of these issues. 

One thing to be careful of is that your guitar can handle nylon strings.  Guitars are designed to be under a certain amount of pressure from the strings pulling on the neck, and nylon strings have a lot less tension that metal strings.  This lack of tension would make the neck of the guitar all whack.  So just make sure your guitar can handle it.  

Honorable Mention: Ernie Ball Regular Slinky


  • Inexpensive


  • Some Don't like the Feel

Key Features:

Classic: Ernie Ball Regular Slinky strings are a classic set of strings that have been used by tonnes of huge names like Eric Clapton, John Mayer, and Steve Vai.  

Simple But Effective: Regular Slinky strings are the epitome of simple but effective.  There is nothing super flashy about them, but if you show up with these strings on, you should have no issue getting the job done.

The only thing holding back the Regular Slinky set from being the best pick is the gauge.  These strings unfortunately do not come in 9's, which is what I would recommend a beginner to start with.  9's are what I use to this day, so for some people 10's are just too heavy in general, even after they are an experienced player.

These strings have a reputation that speak for themselves.  Guys like Clapton and Vai don't play bad strings.  

Maybe these will work for you if you are a guy with big hands.  Then the 10's would be fine to begin on, but if thats not you, I would recommend starting on 9's.


Are light guitar strings easier to play?

Yes, light guitar strings are easier to play.  They require less finger strength to push down.  This is why it is recommended beginners start out with light guitar strings.

Are nylon or steel strings better for beginners?

The real answer is that there is no right answer.  It all depends on what you want personally.  If you have an interest in playing nylon strings, go for it, but if you have no interest at all, don't force yourself to do something you won't like.

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