Best Acoustic Guitar Strings Review – D’Addario EJ16

Product: D’Addario EJ13-3D Phosphor Bronze
Price: Cheap
Where to buy: Amazon
Amount: Choice between 1-pack, 3-pack, 10-pack, and 25-pack

The first time I broke a string on my guitar I completely freaked out because I thought it was the guitar itself that was broken. I went to the store I bought the guitar from, and they told me I needed to buy new strings. I had no idea which one I had to buy and had them pick a pack for me.

Since then, I’ve broken many more strings and have bought many more sets of strings. It’s difficult for a beginner to know which gear to buy. There’s just an abundance of information out there.

In this review, I’m going to focus on one set of strings, and why I believe any beginning guitarist should consider buying these strings.

D’addario EJ16

D’Addario is a household name with a very high reputation. They promote themselves with the slogan: “Making strings over 300 years”, but it wasn’t until 1974 that they introduced the EJ16 string set. Over the last 40 years, it has become one of the most popular and essential string sets for acoustic guitar players.

A lot can be said about these strings, but before we go into all the specifics, here’s a short clip of me using the strings:

Tone

When I was a busker I religiously bought these strings. The first time I busked I bought these special new strings because according to the internet the tone was exceptional. And the tone was really good, but after a few days of busking another busker came up to me and said my strings weren’t loud enough. He advised me to get the EJ16 set.

I was familiar with these strings, because, as mentioned before, it’s a popular set, but I never bought them because they were cheaper, and therefore “less good”.

The first time I used them I was really surprised by the tone of the strings. It was bright, but still really warm. After the initial phase where the strings sound too metallic, I even started to like the sound of these strings better than the more expensive strings I bought before.

As you can hear in the clip, it has a really balanced tone. It can be really loud, even on a busy shopping street, but they never really become unpleasant or too “in-your-face”.

Longevity

All strings break eventually if you keep them on your guitar long enough, but I never had many problems with broken strings.

Mind that I played more than fourteen hours a week, and I exposed my strings to temperatures that really weren’t healthy for any guitar or string set. A loss in quality of tone is to be expected from any string set, but I think the EJ16 excels in longevity.

Comfort

If you’re just starting out on the guitar, strings are going to hurt your fingers. There’s no way behind that. These strings though, are softer on the fingers than many other strings, even after a long time of playing.

The tension and the textures of the strings feel really comfortable to me. It has a traditional, firm feel, opposed to the looser and more slippery nature of some modern strings. When you slide your fingers over the strings there will be string noise, but I think that adds to the charm of the acoustic guitar. And again, it never feels uncomfortable.

Packaging

It’s a recycle-friendly package, which is always a plus in my opinion, but besides that, it’s always clean. There’s never a problem with it. It’s professional, it’s practical, and most importantly: It’s designed in such a way that even beginning guitarists understand which string is which, and what to do with them. It’s clear and it’s helpful.

Crazy good value

The biggest plus of this set is the prize. I’m not saying there aren’t better guitar strings out there, but you won’t find better guitar strings for this prize. I tried to, but I never did.

Even after experimenting with more expensive guitar strings, I always find myself coming back to the EJ16. It’s just crazy good value, and I know exactly what I can expect from them.

Conclusion

If you’re a beginning guitarist, and you have no idea which strings to buy, I strongly suggest giving these strings a try. You won’t find cheaper strings with better value. They’re reliable, inexpensive and most importantly, they sound great.

Tech Specs

  • Guitar Type: Acoustic
  • Number of Sets: 3
  • Number of Strings: 6
  • Coated: No
  • Gauges: .012, .016, .024, .032, .042, .053
  • Core Material: Steel
  • Winding Material: Phosphor Bronze
  • Winding Type: Round Wound
  • Manufacturer Part Number: EJ16-3D

 

6 thoughts on “Best Acoustic Guitar Strings Review – D’Addario EJ16

  1. Hi I can say, I too like the D’addario EJ16 a lot. I’ve used them for several years now and always want the same.

    I tried some others some times, some cheaper ones but that’s not satisfying after playing with the EJ16. I tried like you some more expensive ones like you to experiment but never so far had better  results.

    The EJ16 are addictive lol. I love the sound I get and the smooth surface and the durability.

  2. Hi Timo,

    the more articles I read here, the more I get enthusiastic to play the guitar. I think that I will repair strings soon and start playing. They corroded cause I haven’t played in a long time, and it is time to take a fresh start and buy new ones.

    You really give nice, clear explanations and I love your site. I will follow you in the future, in case I get serious in my intention of playing my guitar. I hope that will be the case.

    Best wishes,

    Susan

    1. Hi Susan, nice seeing you on here again 🙂

      If you do get serious with it, you’re always welcome on here for advice and questions! If there are specific themes you’re interested in, feel free to let me know.

      Greets,
      Timo

  3. Hi Timo,

    Unfortunately, I dropped my guitar. From that day on, I was very unlucky with the guitar. my guitar strings broken. I bought a new one. The product I bought was also broken. Then I bought it again. and 1 month later it was broken again. So I decided to buy it online. My question is: How often do you recommend changing these strings?

    1. Hi Ali,

      It’s not that uncommon for strings too break, especially when there’s a month in between.
      I recommend changing your strings every 4 weeks – 6 weeks 🙂

      Timo

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