Steel and also nylon etc strings space not interchangeable. If you might experiment through them and make lock work, it will certainly take a toy fee on your etc neck. Such a decision can be justification by an imaginative aspirations if you are either ready to use a committed ‘nylon-strung acoustic guitar’ and are all set to placed in the job-related to maintain it.

You are watching: Putting nylon strings on a steel string guitar

From the jaw-dropping Metallica consist of of Rodrigo y Gabriela to the soulful indie-folk the Christopher Paul Stelling, the “classical” etc strung nylon strings are not bound to any kind of one genre of music. It has been offered in tangos, fingerstyle popular music arrangements, blues, jazz, and also by country virtuosos favor Buster Jones.

Nylon and also steel strings may not be as divergent together night and also day, but they are sufficiently distinct. In this article, we’ll to mark the kind and function of steel vs. Nylon guitar strings and how this variances make them less than best as substitutes because that each other.


Nylon Strings ~ above Steel-string Acoustic: good or Bad?The Risks and Dangers of making use of Nylon Strings on steel GuitarsRelated Questions: Nylon and also Steel Strings FAQ

Nylon Strings top top Steel-string Acoustic: great or Bad?

Inspired by the artist such together José González, Willie Nelson, or Earl Klugh, at part point, us all contemplate the idea the swapping steel-strings with nylon strings on our acoustic guitar. The much more maverick of united state will even dare envisage castle on an electric.

Nevertheless, as soon as it concerns musical application, steel strings and nylon strings ‘march come a various drummer’. Let united state take a quick look at each kind before we comment on the typical issues through trying to use one instead of the other.

Steel Strings for Guitar: one Overview

“Steel strings” is one umbrella ax to define acoustic guitar strings. They space made from differing alloys of bronze, phosphor, and also sometimes aluminum. The ratio of the products used in the alloy plays a critical role in the crispness and tonal personality of the sound produced.

Phosphor-Bronze versions room warm, airy, and also preferred for fingerpicking. They sound dark but likewise have the brilliance found in other types of strings. Bronze strings (80% copper + 10% tin) space bright, but they wear the end fast because bronze has tendency to oxidize.

Nylon Strings because that Guitar: one Overview

Nylon strings emerged as a cheaper and more durable alternate to the classic gut strings. They have lower tension and a soft, warmth tone with much less clarity contrasted to steel strings. Unlike various other string-types, nylon gauges are indicated as hard, medium-hard, and also extra hard.

Like steel strings, they are available in a wide range of alternatives based top top the material, gauge, core, and composition. Though rare, you can likewise find Carbon or Fluorocarbon strings such together the D’addario EJ45FF ProArte Carbon that approximate the tone of gut or nylon strings.

From pat Metheny come George Harrison to Lauryn Hill, the nylon string guitar has actually been used by countless artists in well-known records. Also artists choose Metallica, valve Halen, and Tom Morello (the sort you’d the very least expect) have actually used it in songs and live performances.

Yet, these musicians space using classic classical guitars through nylon strings. Plenty of musicians miss out on the reality that the etc solo in “Don’t Speak” (No Doubt) was played ~ above a nylon string etc in the original record, no on a steel-string acoustic with the strings swapped.

The Risks and Dangers of making use of Nylon Strings on stole Guitars

#1 Nylon string tuning is less steady

Even on nylon cable guitars (classical), the strings need to be tuned often, together they space sensitive. The soft nylon is prone to humidity and also temperature changes and can go the end of track a lot an ext than the steel equivalent. Stole strings only go the end of tune once they are new and space relatively an ext stable once they are readjusted and cleared up in.

#2 Neck anxiety varies

The greatest drawback of using nylon strings on a steel-string etc is the damage it can do to the neck since of the absence of tension. Even if you usage a mix the steel and nylon strings, for example, 3 steel and three nylon, friend will develop uneven neck-tension. Stole strings should be wound tighter to tune them. Nylon stings room relatively loosened and floppy.

#3 girlfriend can’t use guitar picks for strumming

Nylon strings aren’t make to it is in strummed v a etc pick, as evidenced by the lack of a pickguard in timeless guitars. Since they are primarily for classic guitars, lock are renowned for fingerpicking, often with lengthy nails or (fake nails). Moreover, guitar picks will certainly wear ours nylon strings a many fast. You have the right to learn some timeless guitar strumming approaches to strum chords, return it will sound very different.

#4 Restringing problems while interchanging strings

If you’ve noticed, the steel-string acoustic guitar strings have actually a ball-end that is placed into the bridge and kept in location with a peg. Nylon cable guitars have a plain finish instead of a sphere end. In a classic guitar, the bridge is made with holes where you insert the plain end and tie the strings come the bridge with a knot. This provides restringing one acoustic through nylon strings impossible.

Some essential tips to use nylon strings on a steel-string acoustic:

As us said, the is unusual to usage nylon strings ~ above a steel-string acoustic. Obviously, numerous have defied the norm, and so might you. The was common to see nylon strings ~ above steel-string guitars throughout the urban folk revival the the 50s and also 60s. Heck, you could likewise see them offered on people instruments prefer banjos.

However, many of these songwriters and folk artists play fingerstyle tunes, often in open or alternating tunings. You have the right to swap strings if the is warranted through your creative pursuit. Just bear in mind that will expose your tool to the aforementioned risks.

Additionally, store a committed steel-string etc that is specifically strung v nylon strings. This ensures the you don’t store switching strings and mess up the neck through varying tension.

Secondly, if you want to string your steel-string guitar with nylon strings, you require to discover special ball-end nylon strings choose the Martin classic M260 or Ernie ball Ernesto Palla Nylon Black. They are a little bit harder to uncover in stores, yet you will get a decent collection online together there are rather a few guitarists who use them come string your steel-string acoustic guitar.

Lastly, if you’ve gained the dough, take into consideration buying a custom-made tool or a crossover guitar. Crossover guitars space specially draft hybrids the merge the delights of a steel-string acoustic with a nylon-string timeless guitar. A good example of this would certainly be Daniel Zucali’s Crossover Acoustic Guitar.

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Related Questions: Nylon and also Steel Strings FAQ

Is it easier to play guitar through nylon strings?

Nylon strings have actually lower tension and are softer contrasted to stole strings. This means they are less likely to cause pain or leave an impression on your fingers, particularly if you room a beginner. Many guitarists will build callouses on their fingertips through practice, i beg your pardon negates this advantage.

What is much better nylon or steel etc strings?

Steel guitar strings have actually a characteristics brightness and also crisp ton that reduced the mix with much better projection and overall volume. Nylon strings, as result of their softer material, have a irradiate attack, less sustain, and also a plush scan sound across the mids. They lack the glimmer in the highs and also the thump in the low-end.

Can you string a nylon or classic guitar v steel strings?

No, nylon guitars are not designed for the additional tension of steel strings. Stole strings have substantially higher (100 lbs more) string-load tension and will stress and anxiety the neck. And, nylon guitars commonly don’t even have a truss rod.

Moreover, nylon body tops are normally made from softer woods prefer Cedar through a diluent sounding board (top) and also different (more delicate) bracing compared to the steel-string guitars, i m sorry have more rigid tops and heavy-duty bracing. You can get away v stringing a steel-string guitar v nylon strings, however vice versa will be a lot much less forgiving.

Final Thoughts

Strings are a relatively inexpensive method to experiment with your play style and also tone. When nylon strings offer a wide range of options that deserve to utterly change the character of one acoustic, friend will need to make some amendments to her playing technique and style to compensate for their reduced tension.

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We expect this short article has outlined every the elements of making use of nylon strings on a continual steel-string guitar. You deserve to follow our advice and try it on an entry-level or mid-market instrument. ~ above an high-quality instrument, however, we’d advise versus it.

By the way, if you liked this article you should check out some of our various other string associated content, favor our take on how frequently you should adjust your strings, our overview to recycling guitar strings, and the story behind the guitar center string club!