Looking for nice resonator guitar strings to elevate your playing experience?
You’ve come to the right place! With their distinctive sound and rich country and bluegrass music history, resonator guitars deserve only the most suitable resophonic strings to truly bring out their acoustic tone.
Whether you’re a beginner or a professional player, the right set of strings can make a world of difference in sound quality, vibration, and overall enjoyment.
Understanding that different gauges and materials cater to various playing styles, we’ve curated a list of the top 10 resonator guitar strings to help you achieve that sweet, soulful sound you’ve been craving of.
Check out my recommendations in no particular order!
1. Elixir 11125 80/20 Bronze Resonator Strings Polyweb
It’s hard to go wrong with Elixir strings.
Both their electric and acoustic strings are usually more than worth the higher price tag these strings typically have.
One of the reasons their strings are usually more expensive is the company’s special protective coatings.
The same goes for their only resonator string set which falls into their 80/20 Bronze series.
The 11125 set is designed to sound warmer and darker.
This is the case with all of their sets that come with the Polyweb coating.
Additionally, these strings can last for quite a while. And not only that, but they keep the tone pretty fresh as well.
Overall, they sound pretty full.
They’re extremely useful for metal-bodied resonators.
They take the edge off yet still keep the attack and richness – a great combination.
Get the Elixir 80/20 Bronze in Polyweb coating here:
2. D’Addario EJ42 Phosphor Bronze
Of course, D’Addario is an unavoidable mention here.
While we know of their regular sets, there are also some great options for resonator guitars.
For instance, we have their EJ42 set. It comes with a high-carbon steel core.
These wound strings come with regular phosphor bronze wrap wire.
Such a configuration gives a pretty balanced tone.
In my opinion, you can use them on any type of resonator guitar.
From what I experienced, they let the instrument’s natural tone shine.
If you want to try this on your resonator guitar, get yours from Guitar Center:
3. D’Addario EFT13 Phosphor Bronze
With D’Addario’s EFT13 set, we have a similar yet somewhat different setup.
There’s the same core and the same wrapping.
However, this one is a bit smoother and warmer.
I’d highly advise them for brighter-sounding guitars.
Or, they could simply serve you well if you prefer a smoother tone.
4. D’Addario XTAPB1656
Another one that I’d like to mention by D’Addario is the XTAPB1656 set.
It comes with your regular 16-56 gauge for resonator guitars.
They have the same steel core and phosphor bronze wrapping.
However, there’s the so-called Fusion Twist which keeps their stability.
They’re incredibly durable and reliable. This is especially because of their special protective coating.
But what’s more, the coating won’t affect your tone that much.
They’re balanced but gravitate towards the brighter side.
But what I really love about them is incredible tuning stability and longevity.
5. GHS Americana Series Resonator
Slightly heavier than others, GHS Americana strings come with the 17-56 gauge.
And, as the name suggests, these are designed with the Americana genre in mind.
Nonetheless, they’re fairly versatile and can come in handy for other styles as well.
What makes them stand out is the special cryogenic treatment.
This brings these strings a much longer life.
Meanwhile, they keep the crispiness in the tone and a pronounced attack.
Get yours from Amazon or Guitar Center:
6. GHS Rollerwound Bright Bronze
Here, we’re looking at a lighter variant with a gauge of 15-54.
Here we have another example of 80/20 bronze wrapping.
However, GHS’ Rollerwound have an interesting twist. These strings are just slightly flattened.
They have this special method of computer-controlled rollers that put the windings over their steel core.
As a result, the wound strings are semi-flat.
This prolongs their life since it doesn’t retain that much skin residue and sweat in between the winds.
In addition, the tone will be noticeably smoother yet very rich and warm.
Therefore, I’d recommend them to all-metal resonator guitars.
7. John Pearse 3000
One issue here is that you won’t easily find John Pearse strings.
But if you get the chance to get a set or two, I highly recommend them for any type of guitar.
For resonators, there’s a great 3000 set.
This one comes with a slightly heavier gauge, 16-59.
Of course, it comes with a wound 3rd string.
What’s interesting is that this set is intended specifically for open G tuning.
These are also nickel wound strings, which makes them brighter sounding.
In my honest opinion, they come in handy for wooden-bodied resonators, your standard dobro guitars.
But if you want to cut through the mix and have that strong punch and attack, then they’re great for any resonator guitar.
8. Jim Dunlop Phosphor Bronze Resonator DOP1656
Dunlop has one resonator string set.
With a gauge of 16-56, they’re also not very expensive.
From what I can tell you, they’re one of the best options if you don’t know what to get.
They have a more or less balanced tone.
They might feel slightly scooped in some way, but they’re still great for any setting.
You can even get them through Guitar Center:
9. Pyramid Resonator Strings
Pyramid is another brand that you won’t find easily.
But I’d say that their resonator set is worth it.
It’s another standard gauge of 15-56. In my experience, they’re fairly reliable and keep the tuning stable.
What’s also great is that they sound slightly louder and cut through the mix.
Now, this is a personal preference.
So if you’re looking to pronounce those punchy mids, I’d recommend Pyramid’s resonator string set.
On the other hand, some may not like such a setting.
But it’s totally up to you.
10. La Bella RPG-1856
Generally speaking, I love what La Bella has to offer.
No matter what you’re playing, they have such a wide variety of choices that would cover all of your needs.
With RPG-1856, we have a regular phosphor bronze set.
However, compared to other phosphor bronze strings, these are slightly brighter.
Overall, we could say that the tone is brighter.
But there’s just enough crispiness to them that would make your tone stand out in the band setting.
This makes them one of my absolute favorites.
Resonator Guitar Strings: FAQs
As a fellow music enthusiast, I’ve noticed a few frequently asked questions that many of us share.
Let’s tackle these FAQs together to help deepen our understanding of resonator guitar strings.
Can you play a resonator guitar like a regular guitar?
Of course! Resonator guitars can undoubtedly be played just like traditional guitars.
However, they produce a unique sound that particularly shines in blues, country music, and bluegrass.
This distinct sound is mainly attributed to the resonator cone, which amplifies the sound, resulting in a characteristic metallic tone.
Watch this guy as he explains what to love about acoustic and resonator guitars.
Just like a regular acoustic guitar, you can also use pickups with resonator guitars. You can check out this Myers Resonator Guitar Pickup:
Do resonator guitars require special strings?
Although you can use standard acoustic guitar strings on a resonator guitar, some strings are specifically crafted to enhance the unique sound and playing experience of resonator guitars.
These specialized resonator guitar strings often incorporate unique materials or coatings to improve the instrument’s tone and resonance.
What types of strings do resonator guitars use?
Resonator guitars generally utilize strings made from a variety of materials such as phosphor bronze, nickel-plated steel, and 80/20 bronze.
Each material offers distinct tonal qualities, making exploring and discovering the best strings that suit your individual playing style and desired sound crucial.
If you’re curious on how to change or replace the strings of a resonator guitar, check out this video tutorial:
Can you use acoustic strings on a resonator guitar?
Acoustic strings can, in fact, be used on a resonator guitar.
However, to completely embrace the unique sound and improve the instrument’s performance, utilize strings manufactured expressly for resonator guitars.
This strategy ensures the best tone, playability, and durability.
What string gauge is best for a resonator guitar?
The optimal gauge for resonator guitar strings largely depends on your personal playing style and preferences.
Commonly used string gauges for resonator guitars are:
Medium gauge: .013-.056
Heavy gauge: .016-.059
Lighter gauges deliver a brighter tone and are easier on the fingers, while heavier gauges provide a richer, more robust sound.
Experimenting with different gauges is essential to determine the one that best aligns with your playing style and acoustic expectations.
Resonator Guitar Strings: Conclusion
And there you have it!
Our top ten resonator guitar strings, each with its own distinct characteristics to enhance your resonator guitar experience.
When selecting the ideal strings for your instrument, consider the materials, tone, and durability.
I hope this article has helped you think through the best resonator guitar strings for your instrument!
We invite you to try different resonator guitar strings to discover the ideal sound that speaks to your soul.
And if you want to read more about the different types of strings and their uses on this blog, then check out:
- The Best Strings for Acoustic Slide Guitar
- The Best Strings for Floyd Rose
- D’Addario vs Elixir: Which is better?
- Best Strings for Seagull S6
We’d love to hear from you as well!
Share your experiences with these resonator guitar strings or others you’ve tried in the comments section below.
Your knowledge could also assist other artists in locating their ideal strings.
The list would be more complete if Woodtone Squareneck Resonator strings were added. They really bring out the natural rich tone of squareneck lap-style resonator guitar. Give them a try if you’re interested!
Thanks, Devin! We’ll check them out!