The Best Nylon / Classical Guitar Strings

The Highest Rated Nylon Guitar Strings


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The strings you put on your guitar can immensely impact the sound and playability of your instrument, as such it is important to get good quality strings for your classical guitars and other nylon string guitar variants.

Here we look at what the market considers as the best nylon string sets available, based on actual reviews, ratings and recommendations from both end users and experts. This 2021 edition retains the previous grouping of string sets based on tension, which includes high, regular and low, and we've also retained the special section for ball-end sets. In this guide, you can look at market favorites, see their specifications, along with their pros and cons.

Nylon guitar strings were developed in response to war time restrictions on materials used in old gut strings. Iconic classical guitarist Andres Segovia helped develop these strings specifically for classical guitar, and helped spread its popularity. These days, nylon strings continue to be the go-to set for classical and flamenco guitars, and have even expanded into modern guitar builds to make them fit into Latin, RnB and other styles.

Nylon guitar strings come in a variety of options, the most popular of which is traditional nylon, which replaced gut as the main material of choice because of its practicality, durability and low cost manufacturing. Some brands utilize Carbon/Fluorocarbon material which are said to be closer to gut strings in terms of tone.

The Best Nylon / Classical Guitar Strings

Author & Contributors

Alexander BrionesAlexander Briones

I've written about and researched music gear for many years, while also serving as a music director at my local church, in addition to teaching guitar, bass and mentoring young musicians.

Medium / Normal Tension Classical Guitar Strings

D'Addario Pro-Arte EJ45


92 out of 100. Incorporating 14000+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

D'Addario Pro-Arte EJ45 Classical Guitar Strings

D’Addario is well known for quality guitar strings, and included in their line-up are strings like the Pro-Arte EJ45, meant to meet the need of most classical guitar players.

The bass strings feature silver-plated copper winding, which is known for offering a good balance of clarity and warmth, resulting in tighter bass response that many appreciate.

The treble strings are made from nylon, with the lightest gauge being at 0.028, resulting in a set that sounds good and easy on the hands.


  • Rich tone
  • Nylon and silver-plated copper strings
  • Treble gauges: .0280, .0322, .0403
  • Bass gauges: .029, .035, .043


Reviewers are pleased with the overall response and playability of the EJ45. Those who have been using this set for a long time are also happy to report that each string set they buy have good consistency in terms of quality and sound, a testament to D'Addario's commitment to quality and consistency.


Some reviewers note that breaking in the strings by playing them often results in better tone.


If you're a beginner or if you haven't developed a taste for particular strings yet, it's hard to go wrong with D'Addario, and the EJ45 is currently the best rated normal tension nylon set in their line-up.

La Bella 820 Elite Flamenco Red Nylon


92 out of 100. Incorporating 650+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

La Bella Elite 820

The La Bella Elite 820 is designed and tuned to be brighter for Flamenco guitars.

The strings can also be used to brighten up dark sounding guitars and provide additional attack.

The Red nylon Treble strings are laser-sorted for consistency per set.


  • Red nylon treble strings
  • Silver-plated wound bass strings
  • Treble gauges: .029, .034, .041
  • Bass gauges: .029, .034, .042


Users loved the bright sound and the sensitivity to being plucked. Longevity is also reported to be very good. It is also reported to give more clarity to instruments with a warm base tonality.


There are a few reports of early string breakage, but that can be a function of playing style.


The La Bella Elite 820 Flamenco strings are generally regarded by users as a great set for darker/warmer toned guitars or to provide additional snap and attack to players with mellower playing styles.

Savarez 520R Rectified


93 out of 100. Incorporating 850+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

Savarez 520R Rectified Nylon High Tension Classical Guitar Strings

The Savarez 520R features rectified nylon strings. These strings feature nylon that are extruded, ground, and then re-made into strings with more consistent diameter.

This process is meant to improve intonation, given that the guitar is properly setup. Rectified nylon also has a slightly different texture than regular nylon, which gives it a distinct playing feel that reduces finger slippage and affects tone.

The Savarez 520R Rectified is considered to be a bit more mellow and warmer sounding compared to conventional nylon sets.


  • Rectified nylon treble strings
  • Silver plated copper wound bass strings
  • Treble gauges: .0280, .0325, .040
  • Bass gauges: .030, .0335, .043


Reviewers are pleased with the mellower tone of the treble strings, which they say tames some of the excess high frequencies of their guitars. The texture of the strings are also favored for how good they feel when fretting, be it for single note runs, or for playing chords.


Speaking of texture, not everyone is pleased with its distinct texture, some even reporting that it results in unwanted squeaks when sliding or changing string positions.


If you're used to regular clear nylon strings, then you owe it to yourself to try a rectified set, and the 520R is highly recommended for those who are into regular tension string sets.

Savarez 540R Alliance


93 out of 100. Incorporating 475+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

Savarez 540R Alliance Classical Guitar Strings

Savarez have been making strings since 1770, and this long history and legacy enables them to produce plenty of highly rated nylon string sets.

The Savarez 540R Alliance in particular made it to this guide with its high ratings, featuring carbon composite nylon treble strings and silver-plated copper wound bass strings.

Savarez 540R composite strings are brighter and closer to gut strings in terms of projection and balance.


  • Carbon composite nylon treble strings
  • Silver-plated copper wound bass strings
  • Treble gauges: .0244, .0272, .0331
  • Bass gauges: .0295, .034, .043


While there is not much literature on some Savarez string sets, users who stand by them praise their tone, longevity, and consistency. The 540R in particular gets great reviews from the everyday guitar player to the concert virtuoso for its bright, snappy attack. Flamenco players that prefer a strong attack use the 540R as their string of choice.


While the strong attack may be a plus for some, for others that want a more mellow or balanced sound may not find the 540R's snap to their liking.


If you prefer a snappy, almost brassy and metallic attack to your sound, the 540R might be the string set for you.

Low / Light Tension Classical Guitar Strings

D'Addario Pro-Arte EJ43


92 out of 100. Incorporating 1350+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

D'Addario EJ43 Pro-Arte Classical Guitar Strings

The Pro-Arte series is arguably one of the most widely available, you can buy them at nearly every guitar store, worldwide.

The EJ43 set is a light tension set for those who prefer a softer touch coupled with a more mellow tonality.


  • Nylon treble strings
  • Silver-plated copper Bass strings
  • Treble gauges: .0275, .0317, .0397
  • Bass gauges: .028, .033, .042


Several people report that the set improved the playability of their guitars; particularly older guitars with compromised string action due to body warping or age. Affordability and availability were also a plus for people who are looking to consistently use the same set.


Several low rated reviews point to the strings stretching and not staying in tune over time. Volume and depth were also said to be lacking by other reviewers.


If you are looking for a string set that will improve your guitar's playability and that you can get almost anywhere, then check out the EJ43 set by D'Addario. It is a consistent favorite as evidenced by the multitude of reviewers who are satisfied with its performance.

Savarez 520B Rectified


93 out of 100. Incorporating 200+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

Savarez 520B Classical Rectified Nylon Low Tension Guitar Strings

The Savarez 520B features "Rectified" nylon strings in its treble set, similar to the 520R, the main difference is that this set is meant for those who prefer low tension sets.

This low tension feel combined with the distinct texture of Rectified nylon strings allow for easy playability, better intonation and tuning stability.

Although a bit pricey, some users recommend this as a good string set for students and beginners.


  • Rectified Nylon Treble Strings
  • Silverplate Round Wound with Nylon Core
  • Treble gauges: .028, .035, .044
  • Bass gauges: .030, .034, .042


Comfortable playability is the biggest reason why this set is rated highly. Even experienced musicians appreciate how easy on the hands this set is, making it easy to recommend to students. There are also plenty of thumbs up regarding tone, which is described as clear and good to the ears.


There are a few users who are turned away by the distinct feel of the Rectified nylon strings, which some exaggeratedly described as similar to sand paper.


If you're looking for the warmth and feel of Rectified nylon strings but want them with low tension, then this is for you.

Hard / High Tension Classical Guitar Strings

D'Addario Pro-Arte EJ48


92 out of 100. Incorporating 200+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

D'Addario EJ48 Pro-Arte Hard Tension Classical Guitar Strings

The Pro-Arte EJ48 features treble strings that are crafted to precision via computer controlled X-Y microscope, which ensures tension and diameter measurements are correctly followed.

The result of this process are strings that are consistent in terms of sound and quality.

The bass strings are wound using silver-plated 80/20 bronze material, which produces a tone that's distinctly warm with good projection.


  • Nylon treble strings
  • Silver-plated bronze wound nylon core
  • Treble gauges: .0285, .0327, .0410,
  • Bass gauges: .030, .036, .044


This string set is well loved for its mellow tone, which many attribute to its bronze wound. Users describe the sound as having less zing in the bass strings, while retaining a good traditional nylon sound on the treble strings, ideal for small bodied or bright sounding nylon string guitars. Many also appreciate their "lasting power", with reports of them sounding good for longer periods of time compared to others that they have tried. This longevity also translates to good value for money.


There are a few reports of string breakage that happened earlier than expected. Those who aren't used to high tension strings will find this set to be a bit difficult to play.


With its combination of good value and performance, the D'Addario EJ48 is a great affordable option for those who prefer high tension sets.

Savarez Corum New Cristal 500CJ


93 out of 100. Incorporating 375+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

Savarez Corum New Cristal 500CJ

Gypsy Jazz legend Django Reinhart famously used Savarez strings on his Selmer guitar. Nearly a century later, Savarez is still making quality strings with new developments in technology.

The Savarez Corum New Cristal 500CJ strings are designed as a high tension set with proprietary materials and processes.

This set features "Cristal" Nylon trebles and "Corum Polished" silver-wound bass strings.


  • Cristal Nylon treble strings
  • Corum polished-silver-wound
  • Treble gauges: .029, .033, .041
  • Bass gauges: .030, .036, .043


Despite being high tension, users found the playability to be excellent. Most high tension strings have some strings that sound louder than the others, but string to string volume is reported to be balanced.


The higher tension means tying them needs to be done carefully and securely as improper tying leads to tuning instability and slippage. There were some reports of this set being more difficult to secure than other strings.


This is a great set of strings for the guitarist that wants more resistance while having balanced projection across all strings.

Savarez Alliance Corum 500AJ


93 out of 100. Incorporating 425+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

Savarez Alliance Corum 500AJ Classical Guitar Strings

The Alliance Corum 500AJ features Fluoro carbon treble strings, which the company designed to provide improved sound clarity, only this set is designed to provide high tension playing feel.

The bass strings feature silver plated winding with nylon/carbon core, and adjusted for high tension feel.

This combination is described by Savarez as a set that reproduces more nuances and sonic color, while having fast response because of their stiffer feel.


  • Fluoro carbon treble strings
  • Polished Silverplate wound nylon core
  • Treble gauges: .025, .028, .034,
  • Bass gauges: .030, .036, .044


Owners are very pleased with how good sounding this set is, the tone is described as clear and singing, with deep and full sounding bass. The playing feel and immediate response of the strings are also commended. Reviewers mentioned that they work great with many different types of nylon string guitars, including Cordoba classical & flamenco guitars, along with those from other brands.


There are some reports of strings breaking too soon, specifically the D. Some also find the sustain to be a bit lacking, but this maybe more of a technique issue, especially since this is a high tension set which requires a bit more effort to sustain.


If you're looking for a premium high tension set for your nylon string guitar, then this is well worth checking out.

Ball-End Classical Guitar Strings

Martin M260 80/20 Bronze


92 out of 100. Incorporating 1200+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

Martin M260 80/20

The M260 combines the warm and deep sound of 80/20 bronze wound bass strings with the clean and clear sound of nylon treble strings.

And it does all this while having a modern ball-end, which makes it easier to install on any guitar.

The use of ball-end makes this set as easy and convenient to use as steel strings, all while keeping the expected sonic response of a Classical guitar.

It also helps that this is crafted by Martin, one of the biggest names in the acoustic guitar industry.


  • Crystal nylon treble strings
  • 80/20 bronze bass strings
  • Treble gauges: .028, .032, .040
  • Bass gauges: .030, .035, .043


Beginners who aren't used to tying strings appreciate the M260's ball end design, while experienced players are happy with the convenience that they bring, stating that there are no perceived difference in terms of tone and playing feel when compared to traditional nylon strings that you have to tie around the bridge.


There are a few reports of string breakage, but still far fewer compared to those who are happy with the set.


Given its big brand backing and high ratings, the Martin M260 deserves a closer look for those who want the sound of bronze wound combined with the convenience of ball-end string design.

Ernie Ball 2069 Earthwood 80/20 Bronze


92 out of 100. Incorporating 2300+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

Ernie Ball 2069 Earthwood 80/20 Bronze Folk Ball End Nylon Guitar Strings

The Ernie Ball 2069 is a nylon string set with bronze wound bass strings.

It carries over Ernie Ball's reputation for good sounding and durable strings, and applies that to nylon string sets.

For those that prefer converting a regular folk guitar into a nylon classical-style guitar, ball-end strings are the easiest solution.

The 2069 Earthwood 80/20 Bronze String set by Ernie Ball is one of the most, if not, the most popular string sets in this category.


  • Nylon treble strings
  • 80/20 bronze wound nylon core bass strings
  • Treble gauges: .028, .032, .040p
  • Bass gauges: .030 .036 .042


For stringing up folk guitar-style bridges with studs, the 2069 is reported to be a great sounding, balanced set. The feel is said to be a bit lighter but the tuning and intonation are said to be stable. Many of the reviewers mentioned they bought the set to convert a steel-string guitar for classical playing.


For conversions, string diameters on the set means some filing at the nut slot may be required. Some negative reviews were from people that mistakenly bought the set thinking it was a set of steel strings.


If you're looking for the best ball-end nylon string set, the 2069 is certainly a community favorite. It's tone, feel and convenience earns it a spot in our recommended list.

Things to Consider When Buying Nylon Guitar Strings

Every term you’re going to need to know to make an informed purchase is explained below, this way you can be sure you’ve got a good idea of how your strings will perform.

Nylon vs. Classical Strings: Is There a Difference?

Nylon and classical guitar strings are the same. There’s not a type of string which is considered to be the classical guitar string. Rather, players use a variety of different types (we’ll go into these different types in more depth below) based on their preferences and what works well with their instrument.

However, some strings are marketed for flamenco guitar exclusively. Flamenco guitar is characterized by its bright and percussive tone, and strings intended for flamenco are meant to emphasize these elements. These strings may pair well with a darkly voiced instrument, but they’ll offer less of the overtone-ridden and gentle sound that defines the classical guitar. They also tend to sustain less than other nylon strings, making them a good fit for flamenco and some fingerstyle arrangements but a poor fit for a more traditional classical playing style.

With that being said, even flamenco players use a variety of different strings. If you’re looking to play flamenco guitar strings designed for that genre are a good place to start, but they aren’t your only option.


There are three main types of nylon string: genuine nylon, fluorocarbon (technically not nylon, but deserves to be included due to its popularity) and titanium nylon. To avoid repeating ourselves, we would like to state that the differences inherent to each type of string are going to vary based on your technique, the instrument you use, and the proficiency/intent of the manufacturer. Consider the information below a rough guide as to what you should expect from these strings, not a definitive guide as to how they sound.

Genuine nylon strings are what most players think of when they hear the term “nylon guitar string.” These strings are made from nylon, and the three bass strings are coated with a bronze or silver alloy. These strings have a warm and rich tone, though they don’t have the volume of the other types. Cheaper nylon strings also tend to sound muddy when compared to cheap titanium or fluorocarbon strings. Another advantage of nylon strings is that they help to facilitate vibrato more so than the other two types of strings.
Fluorocarbon strings, commonly referred to as carbon fiber, are voiced brighter than classical strings. These strings have more volume than nylon and a very articulate tone, but there are instances where they suffer from intonation issues. They also lack sustain when compared to nylon strings, which depending on the pieces you play may or may not be a good thing. Faster pieces benefit from the articulation that comes from a lack of sustain, but slower pieces may sound brittle and/or unemotional.
For a look at how these two (carbon and nylon) strings compare, check out this video:
Titanium nylon strings are either made from a titanium-nylon polymer or a polyamide (a repeating molecule chain linked by a certain type of chemical bond) formula, depending on the manufacturer. Galli’s GR45 Titanium Genius is of the former category, while others are called “titanium” strings due to the coloration caused by their composition. These strings have a brighter sound than nylon strings but have a lesser representation of mid-range frequencies than true nylon or fluorocarbon strings. Some musicians state that the strings have a more metallic sound than a traditional nylon string.
The video below doesn’t have the same guitar player using the same guitar showing off the differences between different strings so it doesn’t provide as accurate of a comparison, but it does help to give you a basic idea of how titanium nylon strings respond.

Classical Guitar String Tension and Gauge

The playability and tone of steel strings are largely decided by their gauge. Gauge is the thickness of the string, with thicker strings having a higher representation of low to low-mid frequencies and thinner strings having more high-mid and treble frequencies.

Nylon guitar strings are generally divided by tension. Tension is the tension the strings are under, with low tension strings feeling easier to play and high tension strings feeling stiffer. Compared to steel strings, the difference between low and high tension strings isn’t quite as dramatic, but tension has a huge impact on tone. Gauge has the same impact on the tone of nylon strings that it has on steel strings, but the main variable is tension.

Tension influences the following variables: volume, playability, and frequency representation. Low tension strings have the least volume and are easier to play, with high tension having the opposite characteristics. Medium tension strings are a middle-ground between the two.

Low tension strings have more “body” and a higher representation of low and low-mid frequencies. Body is the presence of overtones, so a low tension string will generally have a more complex and musical tone. High tension strings have more high-end representation and more “attack.” Attack is the immediacy with which you hear a note, so the more attack a string has the more notes seem to leap out of your guitar.

Another thing to note about tension is that some instruments may not be able to hold up to the strain of high tension strings. Older instruments, in particular, aren’t designed to hold up to the strain, so before you slap on a set of high tension strings research the specifications of your instrument. If you can’t find them, take your guitar to a luthier and get their opinion on the issue before you commit to high tension strings.

If you’d like a bit more info, check out this video. It’s a bit long, but it goes into the topic in way more depth.


The bass strings (the thickest three) are usually plated, almost always with a metal. Different manufacturers use different metals and alloys, all of which have their pros and cons. The general rule of thumb with platings is that denser materials offer more clarity, while less dense materials create more warmth.

Pairing Your Strings with Your Guitar

The two biggest variables on how your strings are going to perform are the tonewood the instrument is made from as well as your technique. For the sake of brevity, we’re not going to go into much depth here, but as a general rule, you should look for strings that balance out the tone of your guitar. If you have a darkly voiced instrument (cedar topped guitars are a perfect example of this) you’d likely get great results from a brightly voiced string. The inverse is true with spruce-topped instruments, which are considered to have a brighter and more lively voice.

What About Ball-End Nylon Strings?

Nylon strings are a bit of a hassle for beginners because you have to learn how to tie them, which takes some practice. So rather than learning how to properly tie nylon strings, many beginning musicians prefer ball-end strings. Ball-end nylon strings have a ball-end just like steel strings. You just feed one end of the string through the bridge, wind it around the peg, tune it up, and you’re good to go.

Nylon strings also come in more price tiers than steel strings, with some strings being aimed at beginners and others at more advanced musicians. Because they’re more convenient for beginners, ball-end strings get a reputation of being beginner-tier strings. Companies don’t launch professional quality ball-end nylon strings because professional classical guitarists generally won’t buy them due to their reputation.

With that being said, ball-end strings aren’t any better or worse than other strings in the same price tier. However, you do limit your options by not knowing how to tie plain end nylon strings.

How to Change Plain End Nylon Strings

Once you purchase a set of plain end nylon strings, refer to this video (or follow the link and bookmark it). It’s a solid tutorial on how to change a nylon string, and once you watch it through a couple of times you’ll be able to get a handle on how to tie the necessary knot (generally the same knot, tied two or three times).

Classical Guitar Strings Selection Methodology

The first edition was published in 2017 and the current edition was published on July 13, 2021.

We first checked all available Nylon string sets from various online retailers. Our data consists of compiled user ratings and reviews, as well as user discussions in forums up until July of 2021. These were then analyzed using the Gearank Algorithm to produce rating scores out of 100 that indicate overall user satisfaction with the product. For this July 2021 Edition, we ended up with over 42,200 rating and review sources, which is over three times the data we used last year. Finally, we selected the highest rated sets per tension category as well as having a separate section for the best ball end classical guitar strings. For more information about our methods see How Gearank Works.

About the Author and Contributors

Here are the key people and sources involved in this guide's production - click on linked names for information about their music industry backgrounds.

Lead Author & Researcher

Alexander BrionesAlexander Briones

I've written about and researched music gear for many years, while also serving as a music director at my local church, in addition to teaching guitar, bass and mentoring young musicians.

While I've mainly taught steel string guitar, I did three semesters of classical guitar training at music school progressing to their advanced tier. Although I didn't push through to becoming a formal classical guitar teacher, I have taught many young students on nylon string guitars and I usually recommend starting this way unless the student specifically wants to learn electric or steel string guitar.


Alden Acosta: Product research.
Mason Hoberg: Supplemental writing.
Raphael Pulgar: Supplemental writing.
Jason Horton: Editing and illustrating.


Main/Top Image: Compiled using pictures of the D'Addario Pro-Arte EJ45, Savarez Alliance Corum 500AJ and La Bella 820.

The videos have been embedded in accordance with YouTube's Terms of Service.

The individual product images were sourced from websites, promotional materials or supporting documentation provided by their respective manufacturers.


Really awesome thought

Really awesome thought-through review, I haven't seen a better one. I especially like the depth, the inclusion of the comparison videos and explanations of the terms for amateurs, like me.

Hi Alex,

Hi Alex,

Glad the review was helpful for you! Strings are a very critical (but often overlooked) element in guitars. Whether it's nylon string guitars or electrics, each string manufacturer and model has different qualities that aren't always described from the get-go. Taking community and expert feedback gives everyone a more accurate picture of what you get. I'm glad that you weren't alienated even though there's so much information presented!

Also, Happy New Year!




I have a small (25.3” scale) acoustic steel string guitar. My impaired vision means I often prick myself with the end of the plain strings when changing strings. I’m thinking about trying ball end classical strings in the hope of reducing finger damage! What tension would it be best to start with - my current preference is for 10 gauge but often have to use 11s or even 12s for a better sound.

Best wishes,

Michael Brown

I have Cordoba made of

I have Cordoba made of Cypress. Info provided by this article is essential. I don't like changing strings - it takes weeks before they settle down and stay tuned. This article covered a lot of ground.

To help my strings settle

To help my strings settle down I over-tension by tuning them up a semi-tone or two while I'm not playing for a few days - I find this stretches the strings a little and helps them stabilize quicker.

Great article! I would like

Great article! I would like to find a nylon set that produces a spanish, really warm tone in the 3 lightest stings (e, b, g) wich also is avaliable with hard tension to get a good volume. I know I can bring a warmer tone with my fingers and I can also change guitar but I would like to find strings optimized for this. Do you have any suggestions?

I have found Savarez low

I have found Savarez low tension give the best tone, particularly for Spanish pieces like Asturias or Requerdos De La Alhambra...even for my Cedar top as well as my Spruce instrument. However, they do not hold up well at all . I play a lot, and they literally fray and come apart after 3-4 weeks.

I am returning to playing a

I am returning to playing a dreadnought guitar after many years. I have not too old Martin extra light strings on it. Do folks ever use nylon strings on an acoustic guitar? I had always thought no.

I tried this once and it didn

I tried this once and it didn't work.

Both the tension and the gauges were wrong resulting in bad intonation.

There's nothing really stopping you from trying it on your guitar, just never put steel strings on a nylon string guitar because the higher tension can warp the neck.

You are very misinformed (I

You are very misinformed (I hope). Sweetwater & Guitar center are poor sources of information. Start with Strings by Mail or Guitar Salon International for authentic information and history of nylon strings and Tone.
This site made a choice to be ignorant. Don't let the corporate "delusions" of the above brokers be your excuse. You really don't know what you are talking about.

I'm not quite sure what you

I'm not quite sure what you mean, but the businesses you mentioned were in fact all sources we used during our research.

This is a really excellent

This is a really excellent presentation on nylon guitar strings. Overall, the best I've seen.

Thank you very much Wayne,

Thank you very much Wayne, the Gearank team really appreciates that kind of support and acknowledgement.