The Ernie Ball Earthwood acoustic guitar strings are a standard 80/20 bronze budget offering from the company. Overall they perform the task well and fit the niche nicely. They tend towards the bright side of the spectrum and don’t last all too long, but for a travel set or a backup set, they are pretty decent.
The construction on these strings is pretty standard. The core wire is tin plated steel, and the string is wrapped in a wire that is a standard 80% copper and 20% zinc. There is no component of phosphor present to inhibit corrosion, nor is there any sort of coating to protect the strings from the dirt and oil on your fingers. Accordingly, this gives the strings a lot of punch in exchange for longevity. Ernie Ball also makes these strings in a Silk and Steel version, which includes a thin layer of silk between the core and wrap wire. This mellows out the sound and makes for a comfortable set of strings. The silk option will also reduce finger noise to some degree.
It should be noted that because these strings don’t have any provisions to inhibit corrosion, they are going to require a pretty frequent replacement interval. This is the price you pay for running a regular bronze string. Plan on replacing them about once a month or so if you play your guitar frequently. If you want a longer lasting set of strings, check out the Nanowebs.
The tone on the Earthwoods tends towards very bright on most guitars. As mentioned previously, there is no coating on the strings to warm the sound up, so you can really hear the attack from the pick shine through in an almost percussive manner. In addition to being punchy, this set of strings has pretty decent sustain. These strings would pair nicely with a guitar that has a warmer sound overall, and might just be a little too much for an already bright guitar. Guitars seem to get a little warmer over time as they age due to the changing moisture content in the wood. As such, the Earthwoods would probably suit a guitar that is a couple years old a bit better than your brand new acoustic.
In general they are pleasing to my ear, although I typically like a string that is just a little bit warmer with fuller tones. If you are into a narrower sound that is bright with a lot of snap, these are worth considering.
As with most Ernie Ball strings, the Earthwoods can be had in a variety of sizes. These range from extra light to medium with a few hybrid variants as well. The hybrids include one for blues and rock and one for folk. Although a little bit outside the scope of this site, you can also get Earthwoods for a mandolin and a banjo, as well as a 12-string acoustic guitar. There are quite a bit of choices, and you can see all of them here.
All around these are a solid set of strings, that will certainly work well if you are into the bronze sound. Don’t get them if you are unwilling to replace them occasionally though, because they will reliably wear out pretty quickly.