The best guitar strings to buy in 2023: the best options for electric and acoustic players
We look at the best options for both acoustic and electric guitars
Every guitar player needs strings. But there’s a lot of options out there, and the market can be overwhelming if you don’t know where to start. So let’s dive into your best options, from bog-standard to the more specialised offerings.
The best electric guitar strings at a glance:
- Ernie Ball Regular Slinky
- D’Addario Nickel Wound
- Ernie Ball Cobalt
- D’Addario NYXL
- Rotosound Roto Yellows
The best acoustic guitar strings at a glance:
- Elixir Nanoweb Phosphor Bronze
- Martin Lifespan 2.0
- D’Addario Regular Phosphor Bronze
- Ernie Ball Earthwood 80/20
- Rotosound Roto Yellows
- D’Addario XS Phosphor Bronze
Ernie Ball Regular Slinky
There’s a reason that many players view these as the bog-standard option for strings. Made from nickel-plated steel wire wrapped around a hex-shaped steel core wire, Ernie Ball’s Regular Slinkys provide good durability and a balanced sound, while not being too expensive. They’re also available in plenty of different gauge sets, so no matter your scale length and tuning you should be covered.
Today’s best deals on Ernie Ball Regular Slinkys
D’Addario Nickel Wound
Its Nickel Wound strings are D’Addario’s standard offering, much like Ernie Ball’s Regular Slinkys. They feature nickel-plated steel for a balanced, familiar sound and come in a range of gauges.
Today’s best deals on D’Addario Nickel Wounds
Ernie Ball Cobalt
Do you feel like you need a little ‘more’ from your electric strings? Ernie Ball’s Cobalt strings, thanks to (surprisingly) their use of cobalt, have a stronger magnetic relationship with your pickups, meaning a punchier response when you dig in. Cobalt also has a different feel to most other string materials, giving you slightly easier bends thanks to reduced friction. While they’re not available in as many esoteric gauges as the Regular Slinkys, they still cover a lot of ground between 8-38 and 12-56.
Today’s best deals on Ernie Ball Cobalts
Crafted using D’Addario’s proprietary NY steel, NYXL strings may be pricier than your average set, but the value proposition is that you’ll have to buy them less often, as they promise much better durability than regular strings.
They’re also claimed to have much greater stability, meaning they’re a good choice if you’re the kind of player who abuses their whammy bar on a regular basis and likes it to return to pitch.
Today’s best deals on D’Addario NYXLs
Rotosound Roto Yellows
Rotosound Roto Yellows are a classic nickel-plated steel set, offering a good balanced sound and traditional feel. And, if you get paranoid about any unattended-to sharp edges on your tuner posts they do helpfully come with a spare high-e string, which is always a bonus!
Today’s best deals on Rotosound Roto Yellows
Elixir Nanoweb Phosphor Bronze
If you’re looking for a coated string, this is a great option. Elixir’s Nanoweb coating provides protection across the whole string from wear and dirt, meaning a brighter sound for longer, as well as a smooth feel.
Today’s best deals on Elixir Nanoweb Phosphor Bronzes
Martin Lifespan 2.0
Through a slightly secret process, Martin promises that Lifespan 2.0 strings will remain bright and usable for much longer than other strings, without compromising any of the feel or sound of a 92/8 phosphor-bronze string. While it’s a bold claim, these strings have plenty of loyal fans, and not without reason!
Today’s best deals on Martin Lifespan 2.0 strings
D’Addario Regular Phosphor Bronze
D’Addario is understandably proud that it was the first brand to use Phosphor Bronze in acoustic guitar strings back in the early 1970s. Its current set of phosphor bronze strings come in a wide range of gauges, and use a high-carbon steel core for a traditional, balanced feel.
Today’s best deals on the D’Addario Regular Phosphor Bronze strings
Ernie Ball Earthwood 80/20
As the name implies, Ernie Ball’s Earthwood strings offer some earthy harmonic overtones thanks to the 80% copper, 20% zinc wrap wire, as well as the tin-plated hex-shaped core wire.
Today’s best deals on Ernie Ball Earthwood 80/20 strings
D’Addario XS Phosphor Bronze
Like D’Addario’s NYXL electric strings, this set uses its proprietary NY steel for an easier playing feel and increased durability and stability. They also feature the unique “Fusion-Twist” ball end, and an ultra-thin coating for a natural feel.