In this article, we’ll take a look at the best mandolin strings and the best brands behind these bestsellers. If you need to improve the overall sound quality of your mandolin, take a look at these 10 best mandolin string sets.

I personally played and recorded the mandolin many times, and I must say that the quality of the strings is very important for the overall tone and projection. You might think that you’re stuck with a bad sounding instrument, but fear not, as there’s a lot of room for improvement.

Quick Look: Best Mandolin Strings

#1 Best Mandolin String Overall: D’Addario EJ74 


Selecting the right strings for your mandolin might be a little tricky. That’s why we’ll explore the best options as well as different types of strings and their sound qualities.

What Is a Mandolin String?

The mandolin normally comes with four pairs of strings, making a total of eight. The paired strings are tuned in unison and are similar in construction to guitar strings.

Mandolin String


Many guitar techniques have been adapted to the mandolin with ease, with the only difference being the GDAE tuning. The mandolin is quite small, and the neck width is considerably smaller than the guitar or bass, although similar to the violin. The strings on the mandolin, in consequence, are smaller in size and length.

Types of Mandolin Strings

There are several important factors to consider when it comes to mandolin strings, including the materials used and the fabrication method. Here we’ll explore some of them.


The gauge of the strings defines the tone quality, projection, and sound of your mandolin. Here there are three main categories:

  • Light: This type of string is the easiest and most comfortable to play. The lightweight nature of this type gives us brighter tones and faster playing speeds.
  • Medium: Here we have the middle point between heavy and light gauge. This type is the best balanced, taking the best features of each gauge above and below it.
  • Heavy: This type of gauge has a loud, deep, and rich tone. But it’s quite difficult to play, mostly for beginners, as you need to press with considerable strength to make them sound. A heavy gauge might take a toll on your mandolin, as the heavy type of strings creates more tension on the strings and the instrument itself.


The strings on the mandolin are made of different metal alloys. The most popular types of materials are phosphor bronze, nickel plated steel, stainless steel, and chrome steel.

String Wrap

Most strings today are made with a core and several strips of metal alloy wrapped around it. This is called string wrap. This method of fabrication gives more durability and flexibility to your strings. There are several ways to apply the string wrap:

  • Roundwound strings: This type of string is the most common and popular one. They’re comfortable to play and the least expensive of the three.
  • Flatwound strings: The flatwound or flat top type is made by polishing the top of the windings on the string. This type feels smooth to play and produces less noise when played.
  • Silk-steel strings: This method blends silver-plated copper wire with silk fibers, giving a smooth and warm sound and tone. This type of string wrap is perfect for folk and fingerstyle musicians.

Core Type

The main core of the mandolin string is normally made of steel. But you can also find other types, such as nylon, spiral steel, braided steel, and solid steel.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Mandolin String

If you’re looking for the perfect set of strings for your mandolin, you’ll need to try many different sets of strings, and there’s no way around it. The unique characteristics of each model of mandolin have their own pros and cons when it comes to strings.

It’ll take you time to find the correct set that will fit the personality and the style of your instrument. I recommend starting with a light gauge if you’re a beginner. This way it will be easier for you to play, as this type of string creates less tension on your mandolin.


The gauge or overall size of the strings is an important factor. If you’re looking for a louder and deeper sound, go for the heavy gauge, but remember that this type will cause more tension and is harder to play.

The light gauge is the most comfortable and popular gauge used. This type offers extra comfort and makes faster playing styles possible.


Each type of string offers different sound qualities. The overall gauge of the string defines the tonality, such as bright from the light gauge and deep and rich from the heavy gauge.


The price range for a set of strings for the mandolin goes from $5 to $50 per set. This price difference depends on the materials used and the fabrication method. Some of the most expensive sets will last longer, as they’re made with more durable materials.

10 Best Mandolin Strings

Here I’ve selected some of the best string sets on the market. Here you’ll find some of the most popular and well-valued string sets, which will improve your mandolin with a new refreshing sound.

1. D’Addario EJ74 Mandolin Strings

  • Gauge: Light/medium/heavy
  • Material: Phosphor bronze
  • Tone: Clear and bright
  • Best for: Intermediate players and beginners

D’Addario EJ74 Mandolin Strings is a world standard for any mandolin player. This set is created by the D’Addario brand, which innovated in string technology by mixing copper with tin and phosphorus. This new alloy offers better protection and cleaner tones, and these qualities propelled this type of alloy to become the most used in mandolin strings.

✅ Great tone and projection
✅ High-quality construction
✅ Can fit any mandolin
✅ Perfect for bluegrass
❌ The sound is too common for someone looking for a more unique tone

Why I Recommend It

I personally use this set today. If you’re not sure which set of strings to buy, you can always go with this one, as it never disappoints with its sharp and bright sound.



2. Elixir Nanoweb Coating Mandolin Strings

  • Gauge: Light/medium
  • Material: Alloy made of 80% copper and 20% zinc
  • Tone: Clean and warm
  • Best for: Intermediate players and professionals

Elixir Nanoweb Coating Mandolin Strings set is a well-respected innovation brought to you by the Elixir company. This brand is a world leader in string manufacturing that demands the highest standards for their products. This set of strings comes with a polymer coating that will protect your strings from any corrosion or dust.

✅ Great protection
✅ Smooth to play
✅ Low noise
✅ Durable
❌ Little expensive
❌ Dull sound

Why I Recommend It

I think it’s safe to say that almost every musician in the world has used some of the string sets made by Elixir in their careers. I personally used it numerous times, and I can give testimony to how durable and good sounding they are.

The Elixir brand always delivers a unique and durable product that meets the basic needs of any musician.



3. Ernie Ball Earthwood Mandolin Strings

  • Gauge: Light/medium
  • Material: 80% copper and 20% zinc alloy with steel core plated with tin
  • Tone: Crisp and clean
  • Best for: Beginners

Ernie Ball Earthwood Mandolin Strings is a budget set of strings made of durable materials that offer a clean acoustic sound for your mandolin. This set of strings is perfect for beginners that need a decent-sounding set for a good price.

✅ Easy on fingers
✅ Great tone and projection
✅ Reasonable price
❌ Tend to overstress and break

Why I Recommend It

This budget-friendly set of strings is widely used as a stepping stone for something more expensive and professional. I used them when I started with the mandolin, and I must admit that they sound pretty good for this price tag.



4. Martin M400 Mandolin Strings

  • Gauge: Light
  • Material: 80% bronze 20% zinc alloy
  • Tone: Clear and bright
  • Best for: Beginners

Martin M400 Mandolin Strings is a high-quality set for a reasonable price. The focus of the Martin brand has always been quality, and they apply it to their strings as well. If you’re looking for something simple and budget-friendly, look no further, as Martin has got you covered with this dependable set of strings.

✅ Affordable
✅ Easy to use
✅ Clean tone
❌ Tends to lose the tuning
❌ Not as durable as coated strings

Why I Recommend It

This set is quite popular with students and anyone learning to play the mandolin. It’s a great option as a starting point for anyone with a low budget.



5. Thomastik-Infeld Precision Mandolin Strings

  • Gauge: Light/medium/heavy
  • Material: Solid steel core with tin plating
  • Tone: Clear and warm
  • Best for: Intermediate players and professionals

Thomastik-Infeld Precision Mandolin Strings is a high-tier set of strings that are widely used by beginners and professionals alike. With great stability and sustain in its tones, this set is a durable and high-quality product that will certainly improve the sound of your mandolin.

✅ Easy to set up and use
✅ Stable tuning
✅ Durable materials
✅ The clean and vibrant tone
❌ Little expensive
❌ Not fitting for every style of music

Why I Recommend It

Although a little expensive, this set offers better protection and sound quality than other string sets on this list. Thomastik-Infeld Precision Mandolin Strings is a necessary upgrade for any demanding and professional musician.



6. D’Addario EJ70 Phosphor Bronze

  • Gauge: Light/medium
  • Material: Phosphor bronze
  • Tone: Balanced and warm tone
  • Best for: Beginners and intermediate players

D’Addario EJ70 Phosphor Bronze is a medium-tier set of strings created by the world-famous brand D’Addario. This set is very comfortable to play and will last longer than other sets. It’s widely available in any store and is a perfect match for intermediate players or beginners.

✅ Long-lasting
✅ Accurate tone and projection
✅ Easy to use
❌ Tend to overstress and break

Why I Recommend It

I personally used this set here and there when I needed a more versatile tone for my music. This set is a decent option if you need something natural-sounding for a decent price.



7. GHS A250 Phosphor Bronze Mandolin Strings

  • Gauge: Light
  • Material: Phosphor bronze
  • Tone: Sweet and mellow
  • Best for: Beginners

GHS A250 Phosphor Bronze Mandolin Strings is a set created by GHS, a brand that takes pride in its quality consistency. Every set of strings made by this company passes strict quality controls with a huge deal of attention to detail when it comes to string manufacturing.

✅ Very affordable
✅ Sturdy construction
✅ Easy to play
✅ Sweet tone
❌ Less volume than on other string sets
❌ Low sustain

Why I Recommend It

This set of strings is a great affordable option for any musician that needs a warm and smooth sound for their mandolin. If you’re tired of changing broken strings so often, try this set, as it’s one of the most durable in this price range.



8. D’Addario EJ73 Phosphor Bronze Mandolin Strings

  • Gauge: Light
  • Material: Phosphor bronze
  • Tone: Warm and bright
  • Best for: Intermediate players and beginners

D’Addario EJ73 Phosphor Bronze Mandolin Strings is a bestselling set of strings made by the D’Addario company. This set is a champion in the light gauge category, and it brings high-quality standards to another level with its durable construction and warm and bright tones.

✅ Easy to play
✅ Durable
✅ Good sustain
✅ High-quality construction
❌ Sound is not fitting for every music style

Why I Recommend It

If you need a great set of light strings for your mandolin, look no further. This set will provide the best tone and sustain for your mandolin, giving it a new life with warm and pleasing undertones and harmonics.



9. D’Addario J75 Phosphor Bronze Mandolin Strings

  • Gauge: Medium/heavy
  • Material: Phosphor bronze
  • Tone: Warm and deep
  • Best for: Intermediate players and professionals

D’Addario J75 Phosphor Bronze Mandolin Strings is a perfect product for deep and loud percussive parts. This heavyweight set of strings has a deep and warm tone with a good projection and sustain. If you’re looking to upgrade your mandolin with bigger-sized strings, you can certainly trust the D’Addario brand, as they always deliver high-quality strings in any gauge.

✅ Deep and rich tone
✅ Great sustain
✅ High volume
❌ Big tension makes it hard to play sometimes

Why I Recommend It

This set will add some power and sustain to your precious mandolin. The heavy gauge might create more tension on your instrument, but it’s worth it if you’re looking for a deep and punchy sound for your music.



10. D’Addario EFW74 Phosphor Bronze Flatwound Mandolin Strings

  • Gauge: Medium
  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Tone: Warm and mellow
  • Best for: Beginners

D’Addario EFW74 Phosphor Bronze Flatwound Mandolin Strings is a very comfortable set of strings made of stainless steel. This set offers a rich and warm sound with some unique and interesting undertones and harmonics. D’Addario EFW74 offers a great deal of protection and durability, but might cost a little more than your average set.

✅ Comfortable to play
✅ Resistant to oxidation
✅ Durable construction
✅ Perfect for folk and Celtic music
❌ Not enough punch for bluegrass

Why I Recommend It

This product, as always with the D’Addario brand, is of the highest quality possible. For a reasonable price, you’ll get a robust set of strings with a pleasant tone, perfect for folk and classical music.



Best Mandolin String Brands

Brands like D’Addario innovated a lot in string manufacturing methods, which made them a leader in their field. But, some smaller brands also offer decent products with unique features of their own.

Mandolin Strings

Here we’ll explore some of the most famous along with some smaller string brands.


D’Addario was created by an Italian string manufacturer in 1918. This company takes the years-long traditions and craftsmanship of their luthiers and blends them with modern innovations and material processing. This company created the popular phosphor bronze alloy, which offers robust protection without compromising the tone of the instrument.

D’Addario is a world leader in string construction, and every product from this brand is made following the highest standards on the market.


Elixir Strings was founded in 1995 with a vision of doing things differently. This company tried thousands of different alloys to find its unique formula. Their patented fluoropolymer coating offers better protection from corrosion and a more natural tone.

If you’re not sure which brand of strings you need, there are no wrong answers when it comes to Elixir Strings, as this brand takes quality control and its manufacturing methods very seriously.


This brand was founded in 1919 in Vienna, Austria. This company specializes in strings and rosins for bowed and fretted stringed instruments. Bringing European traditions and sensibilities to the modern day, Thomastik-Infeld is a high-class brand that takes pride in its quality products and services.

Ernie Ball

Roland Sherwood “Ernie” Ball was an American entrepreneur, musician, and guitar product manufacturer. His experience in the music industry made him an important figure in the development of musical accessories. Through several innovations, the Ernie Ball brand earned its place as one of the best string brands in the world.


Martin is an American brand founded in 1833. They specialize in string instruments and accessories for them. With a century-old tradition, Martin is one of the oldest companies when it comes to guitars and strings. With high standards of production and a high level of craftsmanship, this company is quite popular to this day, as they provide unique and vintage instruments and accessories.

Mandolin String Aesthetics & Build

Some strings might have different build or finish used. Each one brings a different set of features to the table.


The most common material used in strings is steel. But you also can find some other types like nylon or copper. Steel strings have a sharper and brighter sound, while the nylon ones have a mellower and warmer tone. The material used is a matter of personal taste, as each one offers different qualities for your sound.


Some strings might have a special coating made of steel or zinc. This coating will protect the string and make it more durable. But, depending on the coating level, it might lower the volume and dampen the tone.


The most common colors used are steel and bronze/copper. You can find some experimental colored strings, but I would avoid them, as they’ll certainly dampen the sound and the natural tone of your mandolin.

What’s in the Mandolin String Box?

Some bundles might offer some extra accessories with your strings. Here are some of the extras you can find with your average strings package.

Set of Picks

Some packages might come with a basic set of nylon picks for you to use. An extra pack of picks is always useful, as you may have already lost some while reading this sentence. It might sound funny, but we all know it’s true.

The true nature of picks is to randomly disappear when you need them the most.

Guitar String Winder

The guitar strings winder is a useful tool for putting on strings. This accessory will help you tune with more precision and cut the strings at the correct height. Some string bundles might include this accessory.

Extra Set of Strings

Some packs come with an extra pack of strings. They might be the same model or a different one. It’s always nice to have an extra set of strings for any emergency.

Mandolin String Brands to Avoid

I recommend sticking to the best known brands, like D’Addario and Elixir. If you feel brave enough to venture into the unknown with some suspicious brands, you might end up with a low-quality set of strings that you’ll need to change in the near future.

the best cheap mandolin

Adagio is one of the low-tier brands that’s notorious for breaking in record time.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How Often Do I Need to Change the Strings?

The most common number is around one to three months. But it might depend on how much you use your mandolin and on the string type and model. Some strings might maintain their quality for longer periods if you treat your instrument correctly.

If you’re starting to get undesired undertones and noises from your mandolin, it might be time to change your strings.

Is It Difficult to Change the Strings on the Mandolin?

It might be, but only the first few times you do it. After that, it’ll become much easier, as you’ll learn the simple basics behind this process.

Flatwound or a Roundwound String Type?

Roundwound is the most popular type, and you’ll find it on almost every mandolin string set. This type will give you a sharp and bright tone that’s perfect for country or bluegrass. Roundwound, on the other hand, will provide a more comfortable experience with a warm and smooth tone. Choose whichever wound type you prefer, as it’s a matter of personal taste.

How Much Do Mandolin Strings Cost?

The average price range for a mandolin string set goes from $5 to $50 or even higher. Each brand brings different features to the table, offering prices in substantially different ranges.

What Are the Best Mandolin Strings?

Here I’ll review some of the sets I’ve selected in this article. These are some of the best string sets you can find on the market today.

D’Addario EJ74 Mandolin Strings: Best for Beginners

This set of strings is a battle-proven standard for the mandolin. This model popularized the phosphor bronze type of construction and made it a well-respected formula for years to come. It’s a solid choice for any musician that needs quality strings for their musical productions.

D’Addario J75 Phosphor Bronze Mandolin Strings: Best for Intermediate

Here we have a medium gauge contender that will give more punch and volume to your performance. This set of strings is a well-balanced product that’s perfect for folk, classical, and Celtic music, as its warm and smooth tones will fit perfectly to these musical styles.

Thomastik-Infeld Precision Mandolin Strings: Best for Professionals

The Thomastik-Infeld Precision Mandolin Strings set is one of the most expensive sets on this list. But, with that price comes some high-tier features that can’t be matched by other brands. High durability with a smooth and natural tone is the main reason to buy this set of strings.

As always with Thomastik-Infeld, this product is up to the highest standards of quality and attention to detail.

Where Are the Best Mandolin Strings Made?

Nowadays, mandolin strings are manufactured in many different countries, including China and India. But the countries with the longest tradition when it comes to string instruments and strings are Italy, England, Austria, and the USA. I can certainly say that the countries with the best string brands are the ones with the longest tradition and dedication to string instruments.

Where to Buy Mandolin Strings

There are plenty of stores that sell mandolin strings. You can always check your local store, although the selection might not be so big for you to choose from. Online retailers might offer a better selection and prices, and with fast delivery, this option is more preferable each year.


Amazon has become an important player in this modern age. The convenience of buying from your home, reading user reviews, and fast delivery are some of the factors that made this company so prominent. On Amazon, you can find a huge selection of strings from almost every brand in the world.

Online Music Retailers

Some online music retailers might offer better deals, as they often have exclusive deals with certain brands. Here you can find more dedicated customer service and a better understanding of the needs of musicians, as these retailers specialize in musical instruments.

Here at IntoStrings we highly recommend,, and, as they offer the best services for your money.

Your Local Music Store

In your local music store, you can find a big selection of accessories and strings, but it’s certainly more limited than online retailers. Local music stores offer better service, and the salesperson can help you with any doubts you may have.

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In Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed this exploration of the best mandolin string sets I could find on the market. As we learned today, there are hundreds of options, all of them with their own unique sound qualities and construction methods.

At the end of the day, don’t forget that it will take you time to find the correct configuration for your mandolin. After trying several brands and models, you’ll eventually find that unique sound you wanted to achieve.

Hopefully, this article dissipated some of the doubts you may have about the strings on the mandolin. If you liked this article, feel free to share and comment, and I’ll gladly respond to any questions you may have.

Stay safe, and as always, good luck with your sonic adventures!