Hands-On Review: Ernie Ball Aluminum Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings

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Ernie Ball brings a new sonic color to your acoustic palate.

By Chris Loeffler
Harmony Central Editor

Following on last year’s release of the wildly successful Cobalt series electric guitar strings, Ernie Ball has a gift for acoustic guitar players with the release of their new Ernie Ball Aluminum Bronze strings. Early praise from guitar heroes like Andy McKee go a long way towards proving this technology is the answer to many players’ problem.

A New String for a New Generation

The Ernie Ball Aluminum Bronze string builds on the legacy of the Ernie Ball acoustic line by leveraging their proprietary M-Steel (Maraging Steel) hex core technology to create a solid, toneful foundation for their new Aluminum Bronze formula wrap. The result is strings with a noticeable increase in projection and clarity and longer life with less corrosion. The strings feel great, with the perfect balance of grip and slickness, and are currently available in Extra Light (.010 .014 .020w .028 .040 .050), Light (.011, .015, .022, .032, .042, and .052), Medium Light (.012, .016, .024, .032, .044, and .054), and Medium (.013, .017, .026, .034, .046, and .056.

Ernie Ball Aluminum Bronze Light Acoustic Guitar Strings

Brilliance in Innovation

The measure of any guitar string is its tone, and those looking for balanced, focused tone will find a lot to love here. Although this may be the first string for acoustic guitar to incorporate aluminum, many stringed orchestral instruments, like the violin, have relied on aluminum winding on their strings for their soulful, singing tone for decades.

When I placed the Ernie Ball Aluminum Bronze strings on my cutaway dreadnought guitar, which always exhibited a bit more of the traditional boominess of the style than I would like, two things jumped out with the first chord- the bass reigns itself in to an equally present but much more musically satisfying and focused frequency range and the highs sparkle and reveal enhanced depth. The mids richly marry the two frequencies and bring balance without sacrificing clarity or the sweet spots of the individual guitar.

Claims of increased projection are not exaggerated; the Aluminum Bronze strings make every guitar they are placed on bigger and more present. An unexpected byproduct of this is the increase in dynamic possibilities. I found I was able to drive the top of the guitar a bit more when digging in, leading to some truly visceral acoustic tones unavailable with my standard reference set of strings. The increased projection is especially impressive in smaller, parlor-style guitars that have great tone but low output.

Corrosion Free

Bringing a new sonic color to your acoustic guitar isn’t the only perk of the new Aluminum Bronze strings; players can expect a longer-lived, less reactive string that will sound and look brilliant longer than standard bronze or phosphor bronze. I have an unfortunate body chemistry many other players experience that requires frequent string changes due to my acidity and sweat that quickly deadens strings.

After two weeks of heavy playing with multiple players, the Ernie Ball Aluminum Bronze strings were still going strong with a cleaner feel and sound than I’ve experienced with other types. Visually, the strings reflected less wear, but, more importantly, they still carried their top end and increased projection long after I’d gunked up and replaced my reference set.


While some skeptics are quick to write off new alloys and metals as a gimmick to stand out in a flooded market, the Ernie Ball Aluminum Bronze acoustic series is worthy of the hype, and worthy of your attention. Whether you’re looking to increase the clarity, volume, and balance of your acoustic or just want a great sounding string that will stand up to your playing, look no further.

Check out a set of Ernie Ball Aluminum Bronze strings and experience the next material innovation to acoustic strings today. Order with the complete assurance that comes with the Musician's Friend 45-day Total Satisfaction and Lowest Price guarantees.

Tags: Strings Harmony Central Ernie Ball


# Bouldercreek-head 2015-09-23 20:39
I love them. I put them on my Boulder Creek Solitaire and the bass is still awesome just tighter and they do last. I played that acoustic for two months straight at gigs before I ever picked my electric up again. I could actually bend notes with some vibrato. Try are slick and grippy all in one.
# Randy 2015-06-30 12:18
I just put these on my Larrivée OM-40R acoustic guitar and I absolutely HATE them. they sound cheap and thin and metallic in my opinion... I prefer a phosphor bronze type of string and probably Medium gauge instead of light.
This is all subjective .. so you may like them, but I sure don't.
# Ren 2015-06-02 05:51
Really nice strings. I usually go with D'Addario for my acoustic and ernie ball for my electric, but I decided to change it up a bit . I must say the tone is awesome. I like how the Low E rings out nice and pure. For Light Strings I am very impressed! get yourself a set or 3!!
# Stellaman 2015-02-19 14:39
Just fitted a set of 12-54s Ernie Ball Aluminum Bronze on my 1972 Stella parlour guitar - they are fantastic for slide play and fingerstyle. A lot more zing and projection, plus plenty of warmth. Also they seem more pliable for string bending, something I've struggled with on other brands. Can't wait to get a set of 12s on my Martin DM. Highly recommended!

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