When you play guitar, you are always on the hunt for just the right set of strings for your musical expression.  Now that I’m back in an acoustic guitar swing, I have been on the hunt for just the right acoustic guitar strings and I’ll share my limited, but varied, journey with you now.

I learned over the past few weeks you just can’t beat the John Pearse acoustic strings. I use both the 600L and 700M sets and they both have such a wonderful chimey, echoey, glistening, chorus when you play that once you put them on, you’ll never want to take them off your guitar — even to change strings to the same strings!

Somehow, the John Pearse strings start off sounding grand and then only build their greatness as the weeks pass by — a complete reversal of the normal aging strings progression.  There’s some sort of magic going on, and the bright is right for focused experimentation.

The first set of acoustic strings I tried were the GHS Vintage Bronze.  I bought them because I love the sound Warren Haynes gets out of his acoustic guitars — he uses Vintage Bronze — and I’ve tried both the Light and Medium GHS gauges.

The GHS Vintage Bronze strings have a fine vibration.  They sound best the first week you put them on and then they quickly begin to play ordinary.  Their punch and ping quickly fade.

If you’re changing strings on a strict schedule, then these GHS Vintage Bronze beauties will do you fine, but if you want that “old sound” of strings becoming something greater than their windings, then head back on up this review and buy the John Pearse instead.

My biggest acoustic strings disappointment by far were the Spectrum Bronze strings from my beloved Thomastik-Infeld.  I use TI strings on all my electric guitars for Blues and Jazz and general ragging around — and they sound absolutely and completely divine in all aspects!

At three times the cost of the Pearse strings, and four times the cost of the GHS Vintage Bronze, there’s an inherent hurdle of excellence the TI Spectrum Bronze strings need to acoustically promote in the fingers.  Unfortunately, they do not and fall flat even at an eighth of their price.

The Thomastik-Infeld bronze strings have no punch or glisten.  They just sort of sit there on your guitar, trying to pretend to sound good, and failing miserably.  What a break!

Finding the right acoustic guitar strings set is always a challenge — and a necessary pathway for exploration.

You can’t begin to want what worked for your before — because there’s always danger in expectation meeting abject failure; and so you try not to guess, and you hope not to wonder and, with patience, you know conjuring joyful thoughts will help find the right strings that sound great in your ear and fine in your fingers. Yes, there’s achievable human alchemy when your hands land on the right acoustic strings!


  1. This is a real education for me – I never realized just how much choice there was in strings and how many genres there were.

    1. Oh, there are so many wild string combinations and they all matter and they all create a totally different sound. It’s actually fun to try a new string set and see how it moves you over time.

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